Week 1 is often chaotic for fantasy football -- player usage is all over the place, offenses are messy and random players top the fantasy leaderboard, while expected "studs" disappoint. This is the time to take a deep breath and look to capitalize on trade opportunities. Take advantage of league-mates who are overreacting to just one week of a long football season.
Here's my list of players you should look to acquire on the cheap after a disappointing debut performance or who you should consider selling high after they outperformed their future fantasy outlook.
If your league-mates are already out on a quarterback who finished as the fantasy QB5 in 2022 due to one bad performance in Week 1, you need to take advantage of that silliness. Even in a horrendous game in which Justin Fields had just one touchdown, while turning the ball over twice, he still scored 14.5 fantasy points (more than Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson). If anything, Week 1 was further proof that Fields' fantasy floor is incredibly safe week-to-week. And we've seen his insanely high ceiling. Don’t miss out on a trade window for Fields, it's not going to last long.
TEN?! The Steelers ran the ball 10 times in Week 1 against the Niners. Even when playing from behind, that's some inexcusable play-calling from offensive coordinator Matt Canada. After ripping off a 24-yard run in the second quarter, Pittsburgh rewarded Najee Harris with just three more carries the rest of the game. This team is built to lean on the run game and play good defense -- I envision these changes will be made after last week’s debacle. Harris’ fantasy production will bounce back this week against a Browns defense that he has regularly bested over his career. He then gets to face the Raiders and Texans in Weeks 3 and 4. If you have the opportunity to steal a player with low-end RB1 potential for the rest of season on the cheap, do it.
There are certain players who are completely matchup-based fantasy producers, and Gabe Davis is one of them. The good news is, those types of players can still be extremely useful on your fantasy roster, when utilized correctly. I'm not worried about Davis’ fantasy output in Week 1 -- the stingy New York Jets defense is the worst matchup for a guy like Davis, who gets the majority of his production from downfield targets. Josh Allen and the Bills' offense will no doubt get back on track quickly at home Sunday against the Raiders, and Davis’ usage gives me optimism that he will be heavily involved moving forward. Per PFF, Davis ran the third-most routes among all wide receivers in Week 1. That's the type of workload we love to see as fantasy managers, and it's a great benchmark for a future spike in value.
Another Steelers player!? Gross, I know. That's likely how your league-mates are feeling about Pittsburgh’s offense, which is exactly why this is a perfect time to buy low. Luckily for the Steelers, they don’t have to face the 49ers' defense every week. Despite the poor play-calling and quarterback play in Week 1, George Pickens still looked good, hauling in five of his seven targets. And with Diontae Johnson on IR with a hamstring injury, Pickens should be utilized as the top target in this offense. If Kenny Pickett wants to turn his season around, he better start chucking it up to Pickens on a regular basis.
There is no denying that Tua Tagovailoa looked elite in the Dolphins' season-opener against the Chargers, throwing for more than 450 passing yards and three touchdowns. However, while we saw these huge performances from him last season, his fantasy production ended up being highly inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. Tagovailoa will likely have more big fantasy outings in 2023, but the schedule gets tough for the Dolphins moving forward. In five of their next seven games, they play the Patriots (twice), Broncos, Bills and Eagles. Looking even further into the future, Tagovailoa will face the dominant Jets and Cowboys defenses in the fantasy playoffs. Ouch. If you can trade Tagovailoa for a guy like Justin Fields (see above), I would jump on that opportunity.
The Lions leaned heavily on the veteran rather than first-round rookie Jahmyr Gibbs in a huge Week 1 win over the Chiefs. David Montgomery had 21 carries and was on the field for 78 percent of the Lions’ offensive plays, while Gibbs saw just seven carries and 28 percent of offensive snaps. However, I don’t expect the disparity in this backfield split to last very long. Gibbs was clearly the more talented and explosive runner, and it's going to be hard for coaches to keep him off the field moving forward. Don’t miss this opportunity to sell high, before Gibbs eats into Montgomery’s workload and diminishes his fantasy value.
This isn’t the ideal moment to “sell high” on Garrett Wilson -- following the nationally televised season-ending injury to the Jets' future Hall of Fame quarterback. Even without Rodgers, Wilson's Week 1 fantasy box score still looked solid, and there will be managers willing to spend for the sophomore star this week. It cannot be overstated how awful Aaron Rodgers' injury is for Wilson’s fantasy production. The 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year goes from a wide receiver with top-three fantasy potential to a player who will be fortunate to finish in the top 12 at best. In the season-opener, Wilson had to make an absurd catch -- where he basically intercepted a throw Zach Wilson aimed straight at Bills CB Tre'Davious White -- just to save his fantasy day from being a big dud. This Jets offense, outside of Breece Hall, is again destined to be lackluster with Zach Wilson at the helm. Try to sell on Garrett Wilson’s name value now, before it takes the Zach Wilson hit.
NOTE: This does not mean sell Wilson for just anything. He should still be a solid WR2 option most weeks. Aim for a stud return.