Each week of the NFL campaign we will sift through the deeper options at each position with an eye on identifying streaming fantasy commodities with valuable matchups to consider.
Do you need replacement options for players who were injured in Week 1? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues early in the season? We have some choice names to consider for those seeking widely available options at each position. Ken Daube's focus is on aiding managers in deep leagues, as all of his selections below are rostered in less than 20 percent of ESPN leagues.
The beauty in Goff's Week 1 performance against the Indianapolis Colts for fantasy owners wasn't his 72 percent completion rate or the fact that he posted the third-highest passer rating for the week, but rather that he threw the ball 10 times in the second half when the Los Angeles Rams had a lead of 27 or more points. This week, Goff's Rams will face the Washington Redskins, who just allowed Carson Wentz to throw for 307 yards and two scores. Look for new head coach Sean McVay to continue his aggressive playcalling and for Goff to have ample opportunity to post quality numbers. -- K.D.
Successful streaming requires we dismiss the lure of recency bias -- such as the fact Flacco struggled statistically in a win over Cincinnati in Week 1 -- and instead value the promise an inviting matchup fosters. Flacco posted QB1 production against the Browns in two games last season, tallying nearly 600 yards and five touchdowns in the series. The Browns have ceded the highest touchdown rate (per attempt) in the NFL since the start of last season, while they claim the fourth-lowest pressure rate (per dropback) since the beginning of 2016. Afforded time to operate against a suspect pass defense in the friendly confines of Baltimore, Flacco is poised to post QB1 numbers at merely the price of a few clicks and a roster spot. -- J.M.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens
Tarik Cohen and Kerwynn Williams also fit the bill of being available in more than 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues, but I don't think either of them actually need to be recommended for you to consider them. Allen intrigues me because of the volume of usage he received in a game that was being thoroughly handled by his team. With the loss of Danny Woodhead to a hamstring injury, Allen out-snapped teammate Terrence West 29 to 25 and was called on to stay in as a blocker only once during the seven passing plays he participated in. While the Cleveland Browns seemingly clamped down on Le'Veon Bell, that was likely a product of Bell missing all of training camp and the preseason more than a positive development for the Browns, who allowed the second-most points to opposing running backs in 2016. --K.D.
Truly for those in deep PPR leagues and desperate situations -- or some blend of both -- Ellington is an interesting flex candidate for managers who can't acquire Williams. In relief of an injured David Johnson, Ellington played on 16 snaps to Williams' eight. Game script while trailing certainly aided Ellington's exposure rate. I believe the team will rely on Williams on early downs, but a valuable share of the receiving work that buoyed Johnson to special heights will go to Ellington, who worked as a slot receiver at times in the offseason. Ellington ran a route on 15 of his 16 snaps and produced 35 yards on his two receptions. There is clearly risk in deploying Ellington, yet I also find some intriguing upside to consider given what should be a respectable snap share. -- J.M.
Despite being acquired just days before the regular season opened, Kearse played on 52 of the New York Jets' 55 offensive snaps. He led the Jets with 10 targets, seven receptions and 59 receiving yards. Those are impressive achievements that point to an expanded role in upcoming games, as he can actually be factored into the offensive game planning. In Week 2, the Jets don't have a great matchup as they'll face an Oakland Raiders team that allowed the 11th-fewest points to opposing wide receivers last season, but there's so little competition for targets for Kearse that the chance for significant fantasy production should not be ignored. -- K.D.
J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals
If you find the Cardinals' emerging committee backfield too murky to figure out for fantasy purposes, there is some clarity in Nelson's role as a vertical playmaker for Arizona. Nelson was targeted on a team-high 28.6 percent of his routes in Week 1, while his average depth of target -- or aDOT to the cool kids -- is 15 yards downfield since becoming a key cog in the offense in Week 12 of last season. In this sample, Nelson leads the Cardinals with five receiving touchdowns, as no other peer has more than two. Next up is an entirely exploitable Colts secondary, as Nelson's valuable share of the offense could support another solid statistical showing. -- J.M.
As stated last week, before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11 of the 2016 season, Miller was the sixth-highest scorer at the tight end position. On Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, Miller was targeted six times, which was tied for the eighth-highest amount for his position for the week. In Week 2, he'll face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who allowed more than 10 fantasy points to opposing tight ends in half their games last season, making it a solid matchup if you need to go deep onto the wire. -- K.D.
You'll want to act quickly with Anderson, as the Texans play on Thursday night against the Bengals. With Houston losing C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin to concussions in Week 1, Anderson could consume a rewarding share of targets for a Houston offense that ranked second last season in targets allocated to the position. The Bengals, meanwhile, have allowed the most yards to tight ends among AFC teams since the start of last season. -- J.M.
The Ravens just absolutely dominated the Cincinnati Bengals during their opening week matchup and now get the Cleveland Browns at home in Week 2. While DeShone Kizer may have looked capable against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fact of the matter is the Browns gained just 3.82 yards per play in that game, which was the third-lowest mark in the league. The Ravens should be able to bring consistent pressure on Kizer while eliminating any potential threat the Browns running game could have, making them a candidate for a top-five finish for this week. -- K.D.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I was tempted to toss out the Raiders' D/ST as a key streaming option given a choice matchup with a sloppy Jets offense, but figure the market will surely notice this obviously exploitable matchup. Instead, let's look to the Bucs and a meeting with a Chicago offense that has been decimated over the past month at an already thin receiving depth chart. In their past eight games dating back to last season, the Bucs have yielded a passer rating of 72.9, second lowest in the league over this stretch, while registering the sixth-highest sack rate in the NFL. Widely available and well-rested for this unique home opener, the Bucs are poised to pounce on a limited Chicago offense. -- J.M.
Individual defensive players
Talent and production haven't been lacking for Lawrence as a pro, but availability has proved an enduring concern. Now that he's active and ready to go, this edge menace is a fine streaming addition against a Denver front that ceded steady pressure in the pocket to the Chargers in Week 1. -- J.M.
The league's leading tackler after the first week of the season, Goodson was impressive on the field in an every-down capacity for the Giants. Goodson made good on the opportunity, with a whopping 14 solo tackles and 18 total tackles in the division battle with Dallas. Still widely available despite such a rewarding role in the middle of New York's front seven, Goodson is an ideal addition for those streaming until they find a fixture at linebacker. -- J.M.
Jabrill Peppers, Cleveland Browns
On the field for every defensive snap in Week 1, Peppers will be afforded every opportunity to produce big plays as a rookie. It would be nice to see Peppers work in the box against the run a bit more, but he should be busy in coverage on Sunday against a Baltimore team that lead the league in passes of fewer than 5 yards last season. -- J.M.