The season opener is in the books, leaving some fantasy owners looking for love in all the wrong places. Consider this space the best of all online dating services, apps and little black books tied into one snarky, sometimes correct bow.
TE Virgil Green, Denver Broncos
As Trevor Siemian continues his growth at quarterback, he will rely on the tight end position with regularity. Green was targeted five times, catching four, in the opener, going for only 28 yards. That is largely due to the talent in Carolina’s linebacking corps and at safety. Looking to Week 2, Green gets a fine matchup with the Colts, whose defense is banged up six ways to Sunday. This same unit gave up five catches, 46 yards and a touchdown to Detroit’s Eric Ebron. Consider similar numbers a win with Green in the event you were counting on an injured starter (looking at you, Gronk) and need to cozy up with a Virgil.
WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Following a dry spell that lasted more than 700 days, Cruz finally scored. Then he danced. And all of it was caught on camera. Get your mind out of the gutter. He caught a touchdown pass for the first time since 2014! While some owners will add Cruz with the belief that he has returned to form, I’m here to tell you that will never actually happen. He’s not the go-to guy any longer, nor is he the same player athletically. In Week 2, though, against the Saints, in what could be a high-scoring affair, Cruz could go on a scoring streak. High five, brah.
Make it a Brief Fling
WR Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Look, I think Rogers is the real deal, and if you want to walk down the aisle with him, this guy won’t judge. He is included in the short-term romance section because Le’Veon Bell returns in a few weeks, Markus Wheaton should return to health, and (eventually?) Ladarius Green may see the field. Furthermore, Pittsburgh has a tough schedule leading into their Week 8 bye. So, add Rogers with the mindset that he may not succeed in the long term, but the upcoming stretch (CIN, at PHI, KC, NYJ) will be quite telling. You won’t get another chance at him without pouncing now. He’s available in 70 percent of leagues on MyFantasyLeague.com.
WR Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers
Now that Keenan Allen (ACL) is officially done for the year, Williams will have a fine opportunity to showcase his skills. He flashed during the preseason and in camp, so there might be something to be had here. The second-year wideout caught two of his five targets and managed 71 yards on the day. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he brings much-needed size to the Bolts’ receiving corps. The Chargers have a fine fantasy schedule for receivers over the next month: Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, home against the Saints, and up to the Bay Area for the Raiders. If you wake up in Week 6 and Williams is still in your bed, just go with it.
Put a Ring on That Thing
WR Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans
The talented rookie capitalized on a strong preseason with a quality Week 1 showing. He is available at a 36 percent clip on MyFantasyLeague, which means you just might have a chance at adding the smooth route-runner. He isn’t overly fast, nor is Sharpe that big of a receiver at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds. His nuanced He was targeted 11 times, snaring seven balls for 76 yards. That’s a cool 14.6 PPR points against a tough defense. He’s at least a flex play every week and — this isn’t hyperbolic — could catch 100 balls this year. Looking at his schedule, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised.
WR Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals
No ball droppin’ going on here. Four targets, four catches. LaFell will see regular work opposite A.J. Green. Tyler Eifert will miss several more weeks, at a minimum, and regardless of how promising, Tyler Boyd is still a rookie. PPR owners should be in line for LaFell’s services as a regular flex play. He has little to no value in traditional scoring, however. MFL availability is nearly 65 percent of leagues polled.
WR Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
Yes, that Mike Wallace. He’s in a good place for his mind and skillset. He was targeted six times against the Bills and hauled in half of them for 91 yards, including a touchdown grab. Given Steve Smith’s advanced age — coming off a catastrophic injury, no less — and Breshad Perriman effectively being a rookie, Wallace and Kamar Aiken are the safest bets for weekly targets in this offense.
The Big Tease
RB Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
This is a tough one, because the undrafted rookie looked sharp, and I fully admit that it may come back to haunt me (we’ve all been there before). Unfortunately, I have to be realistic: Richard’s big fantasy day was fueled by a 75-yard touchdown run against the Saints. It was pretty, too. Oakland will look to get him involved with splash plays to take advantage of his chunk-play nature, but without a home run, he’ll leave you stranded at first base. Swipe left on this one-week stand.
Grounds for Divorce
QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
Forget divorce, we’re annulling this one. Five yards per attempt? Really?!? This was against a Ravens defense that intercepted six passes the entire 2015 season. What could Taylor possibly have been so afraid of happening? He finished with a 111 passing yards and 11 more on the ground. At the present, his top receiver, Sammy Watkins, has a bum foot. I wasn’t a believer in Taylor last year, and I cannot endorse him this season. Hopefully he wasn’t drafted to be your starter. If so, here’s a pro tip: Alex Smith is available in 40 percent of MFL leagues. Make the swap, forget your draft-day mistake, and get on with your life.