Fantasy Football Fallout: Top pick-ups after Week 1

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell runs for a 38-yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel) (Lon Horwedel, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

After Week 1, there’s always a connundrum for fantasy football owners because there’s an instinct to overreact, but also, there’s a first glimpse at what could be a breakout player who could make all the difference for your fantasy football team.

Here are some of the top pick-ups and some takeaways after some glorious football action.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

This should undoubtedly be the top guy getting claimed off waivers in all leagues. Raheem Mostert, who was looking on his way to having a huge game with two carries for 20 yards, is out for the season. Mitchell is undoubtedly the number-one running back now for the Niners and he showed what he could do, albeit against a shoddy Detroit Lions defense. The key, though, is that Mitchell took advantage of the opportunity, carrying the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a score. JaMycal Hasty had all of one carry by comparison. Pick Mitchell up if he’s somehow still available at this point.

Mark Ingram, RB, Houston Texans

We’re not expecting the Texans to win a ton of games or anything, which is always a factor for fantasy running backs, but it was clear in the Texans’ opening week that they plan to run the ball a lot if they can, and Ingram clearly leads this committee of running backs. The stats were more solid than spectacular with his 26 carries for 85 yards and a score, but if you watched the game, you know Ingram runs hard and he can be effective. Worthy of a pickup and stash for the right matchups.

Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints

Everybody knew Winston could make plays, but most everybody didn’t expect Winston to not throw a single interception. Five touchdown passes and no interceptions. If Winston is truly reborn like he was in Week 1, he will be an amazing fantasy quarterback. It’s far too early to annoint him as completely different from his past, but if you need a quarterback, Winston could be a nice gamble.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

The Giants won’t be very good, so they’ll be passing the ball quite a bit. And when they do, Shepard showed in Week 1 he’ll get the volume of targets and he’ll also produce quite a bit. The stats? 9 targets, 7 catches, 113 yards, and a touchdown. If Shepard is available now, he is absolutely worthy of a pick-up.

Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets

Davis is clearly the playmaker you want to pick up from the Jets. If he is not picked up already, he is definitely worth a claim. For one, the Jets will continue to be one of the worst teams in the league, which means they’ll pass the ball a lot, and Zach Wilson clearly looks to Davis and Davis clearly will make the plays. Five catches on seven targets, 97 yards, two scores in Week 1. Not too shabby at all.


  • Darren Waller is a target beast with his 19 targets. Get ready for double-digit catches for 100+ yards nearly every game for the Raiders tight end, with a score or two on the regular.
  • Jalen Hurts could be a fantasy beast. Clearly, Lamar Jackson, who will be better than his Week 1 performance, and Kyler Murray are the known fantasy cheat codes. Even if it was against a weak Falcons defense, Hurts still produced with his three touchdowns, no picks, and 62 yards on the ground on seven carries.
  • Bummer for Jerry Jeudy - I thought he was on the verge of a breakout year with more stability at quarterback. Jeudy produced for the Broncos in Week 1 with his 6 catches for 72 yards, so it’ll be interesting to see who Teddy Bridgewater now goes to. Noah Fant undoubtedly will get his, but who else? Tim Patrick? Courtland Sutton? K.J. Hamler? This is a situation that bears watching.
  • Things may change, but for right now, Jaguars RB James Robinson deserves a spot on your fantasy bench. If Week 1 is any indication, no matter how talented Robinson may be, the Jaguars will be one of the worst teams in the league, meaning less of Robinson. Also, the Jaguars are so mistake-prone that Robinson’s good plays against the Texans were wiped out by penalties anyway. This is not a good fantasy situation. I was encouraged overall by Trevor Lawrence. He’s undoubtedly going to have his struggles, but there’s enough there to see the rookie quarterback will be passing a lot and get his fair share of touchdown passes. Lawrence will only get better - not quite a fantasy beast yet, but worth keeping an eye on.
  • One word to describe the Matthew Stafford Rams offense - wow! Cooper Kupp looks like he’ll have a huge year. Darrell Henderson looks like the solid top back for the moment, but I’m considering that Sony Michel might get more usage once he has a better grasp of the playbook. Either way, this Rams offense looks really good for fantasy.
  • Meanwhile, the Jared Goff Lions offense looks like it will primarily be stacked with the two running backs (DeAndre Swift and Jamaal Williams) and the tight end (T.J. Hockenson) in the passing game. The three combined for a whopping 30 Goff targets in Week 1.

Later in the week and every week during football season, I’ll go into my top FanDuel daily fantasy value plays for that week. That article will be for KPRC 2 Insiders only, so be sure to sign up because it’s absolutely free!

And good luck with all your pick-ups for Week 2.

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!