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Week 1 in the NFL produced some unexpected stat lines–all you need to know there is that Alex Smith is the overall QB1–but it’s not time to overreact.
Instead, it’s time to try to pounce on some buy-low candidates if other people in your league are already intent on pushing the panic button. Here’s a rundown of some players to target if their owners are feeling a little too impulsive after four quarters of play:
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Completing just 14-of-27 passes for 158 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions, Wilson was barely a QB2 in Week 1. He looked good when he had time to throw, but that was rare thanks to Seattle’s anemic offensive line, which was manhandled by Green Bay and consistently put Wilson in can’t-win situations.
The O-line play is an obvious concern, but the Seahawks and Wilson have dealt with this before, and he has still managed to churn out QB10, QB6, QB4 and QB11 finishes the past four years. His floor is a QB1, but if Pete Carroll and Co. can adjust to limit the bad O-line–when they went hurry up in Week 1, for example, Wilson and the offense moved the ball much better–he has Top-5 upside.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Two catches for 43 yards looks awfully bad for your second-round pick and WR1, but it doesn’t exactly tell the entire story. Bryant was targeted nine times overall, three times inside the 10-yard line and was one foot away from turning one of those targets into a touchdown. While he was the WR47 in PPR formats, his usage put him fourth in expected points:
Not only will that kind of usage most often result in big weeks, but things will only get easier after facing the Giants, who have one of the better secondaries in the NFL and allowed the third-fewest touchdowns to opposing wide receivers last season.
OK, actually things will only get easier after Week 2 when the ‘Boys go the Mile High to face the Broncos, who were the stingiest team against WR’s a year ago. So, you may still have a buy-low opportunity after next Sunday, but I would start throwing some offers out right now.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell, a Top-2 pick in most leagues, was atrocious in Week 1, finishing with 10 carries for 32 yards and three receptions for 15 yards. The 7.7 PPR points was far worse than his lowest output of 2016–13.0 points against Baltimore in Week 9–but there’s still no reason to panic. He’s an elite back with a work-horse role in a top offense. He’ll be fine.
Being able to buy low on a Top-2 pick after one week is admittedly unlikely in most leagues, but there are probably some owners out there who are starting to put more stock into Bell’s holdout and forcing themselves to worry more than they should. Perhaps if you float a mid- or late-first round pick who had a good Week 1–LeSean McCoy, Jordy Nelson?–you could pry away the best PPR back in the league now that DJ is hurt.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Much like with Bryant, the usage was there for Brown, who tallied nine targets but ended his day with just four receptions, 32 receiving yards and one 10-yard rush. Sixth at the position in expected points, he finished as just the WR39.
Brown carries some injury risk because of the sickle cell trait, and there’s concern about Carson Palmer’s performance, but Brown has the volume, he has the talent, and he could soak up a handful of targets while David Johnson (120 targets last year and nine in Week 1) is on the shelf. There’s legitimate WR2 upside here, but he was a late-round pick with an underwhelming Week 1, so he can likely be had for cheap.