The first week of the fantasy football season was not kind to many owners, as several NFL stars — including top overall pick David Johnson — succumbed to the injury bug. While these injuries initially caused some panic, there’s no need to give up on your season — there are capable replacements available via the waiver wire. These free-agent pickups will help you recover and get right back into the race for your league championship.
RUNNING BACK REPLACEMENTS
Johnson’s injury — a dislocated wrist that will force him to miss two-three months — was a devastating blow, as the Cardinals back was the top pick in most fantasy football drafts. Owners of Johnson who don’t have a legitimate replacement already on their roster will be pleased to hear, however, that there are some good options available via free-agency.
The top target is Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen, a short, but tough rookie who recorded 66 rushing yards, eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in his debut. While Jordan Howard is still in the fold, the Darren Sproles-like Cohen appears to have solidified himself as an integral part of the Bears’ offense as the passing-down RB. Furthermore, with top Bears receivers Cameron Meredith and Kevin White hurt, Chicago is in desperate need of playmakers. The only problem with picking up Cohen is everyone wants him, so you’ll either need to be at the top of the waiver wire list or lucky enough to be in a league full of unaware owners to claim him.
If you can’t land Cohen, target Johnson’s replacement, Kerwynn Williams, or Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen (who is also a good replacement for owners of injured Ravens back Danny Woodhead). Just to be clear: don’t drop Johnson to pick up any of these players, as the back is expected to return later this season.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars also suffered a tough blow to their offense in week one, as star receiver Allen Robinson went down with a season-ending knee injury. The aforementioned Bears receiver White will also miss significant time due to a fractured shoulder blade.
If available, your first waiver wire targets should be Adam Thielen (nine receptions for 157 yards in week one), Corey Coleman (five receptions for 53 yards and one TD), Jordan Matthews (two receptions for 61 yards) and Corey Davis (six receptions for 69 yards) — although all four are owned in most leagues. Digging deeper, you will still find several good options. The top two are Cooper Kupp (four receptions for 76 yards and one TD) of the Los Angeles Rams and Kenny Golladay (four receptions for 69 yards and two TDs) of the Detroit Lions. While neither are the no. 1 receivers for their teams, both saw their fair share of targets in week one and figure to be dynamic options going forward.
Not high enough on the waiver wire? You can also target Nelson Agholor, who looks like a break-out candidate with the Eagles, Kendall Wright, who is now the Bears’ top receiver, or Danny Amendola, who stands to gain the most from Julian Edelman’s injury in New England.
Image via Sports Illustrated