Austin Ekeler may have some surprisingly high standalone value in 2018. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Week 1 is in the books and now the real fun begins. The roster tinkering, second-guessing, and attempting to find the next fantasy stud on the waiver wire will be in full force. This list will feature players that can contribute short-term, long-term, or maybe even all season long. Here are some of this week’s best waiver wire targets.

Quarterback:

Tyrod Taylor, CLE

It’s nothing new for Taylor to be a solid fantasy commodity. He scored at least 12 points in 11 of his 15 starts last season as his rushing ability gave him a high weekly floor. Now ideally, you won’t need to start him as your every-week QB. But if you’re streaming the position or playing the matchups, Taylor looks to have settled into his role on the Browns nicely and has plenty of weapons at his disposal. He also plays some exploitable defenses over the next couple weeks, including the Saints this week (good on paper, but they did just get torched by Ryan Fitzpatrick), the Raiders week 4, Buccaneers week 7, and Steelers week 8. Minimizing turnovers and adding some solid rushing numbers are Taylor’s calling cards, and there’s no reason to think he can’t keep doing that in Cleveland.

Case Keenum, DEN

Keenum’s breakout season with the Vikings came out of nowhere, so it’s understandable that fantasy owners didn’t  trust him to put on an encore performance. But in his Denver Broncos debut, he showed last year was no fluke. 329 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs equaled a solid 19-point fantasy day for Keenum. Much like last season, Keenum has some top-tier receivers to help him maintain fantasy relevance. Although owners (and prospective owners) will want to see a few less turnovers going forward, Keenum’s situation and legitimate talent make him good enough that he should be rostered in more than just 12% of ESPN leagues.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler, LAC

Gone are the days when he was just a handcuff to Melvin Gordon. Ekeler did most of his damage through the air in week 1, bringing in 5 receptions for 87 yards and a TD along with 5 carries for 39 yards on the ground. The Chargers planned to get Ekeler on the field not just in place of Gordon, but alongside him, and they did exactly that. It worked to perfection, so expect to see more from the dynamic Ekeler all season long. He’s shaping up as a great flex play, especially in PPR, and is owned in just 11% of ESPN leagues.

Nyheim Hines, IND

The Colts backfield looks like a nightmare situation after week 1. Jordan Wilkins led the group in carries by a decent margin with 14 compared to Hines’ 5, but he turned them into just 40 yards. Meanwhile, Hines was more involved in the passing game with 7 receptions for 33 yards compared to Wilkins 3 catches for 21. Expected starter Marlon Mack should be returning this week, and Robert Turbin will be back in week 5 following his 4-game suspension. It’s gonna be tough to trust any of these guys completely, but Hines is the best bet outside of Mack for continued production, modest as it may be. The Colts will be pass-heavy as usual this year and Hines will be the primary backfield beneficiary. He’s worth an add in PPR leagues.

Phillip Lindsay, DEN

Third-round pick Royce Freeman got all the hype in the preseason and was named the starter just before week 1. And while he had a nice debut himself, Lindsay stole the headlines. He shattered expectations (there were none) and took 15 carries for 71 yards, tacking on 2 receptions for 31 yards and a TD. Lindsay and Freeman had identical rushing lines, so don’t expect him to outright steal the starting job from the Oregon product just yet. But Lindsay’s shockingly huge workload in week 1 make him a must-add. Volume is king when it comes to fantasy running backs, and 17 touches in a debut is nothing to ignore.

Aaron Jones, GB

Jones won’t help you this week as he finishes out his 2-game suspension, but if he’s available in your league, jump on him before anyone else can. Starter Jamaal Williams was underwhelming week 1, albeit against a great Bears defense, taking 15 carries for just 47 yards and nothing through the air. Jones was the more productive of the two backs last year and figures to continue that trend when he returns in week 3. It’s never a bad thing to have a piece of the Packers offense, and when that piece could end up with a majority of the backfield touches, it’s a no-brainer. Grab him while you can.

Wide Receivers

Quincy Enunwa, NYJ

Enunwa was a popular sleeper last season before going down with a neck injury, and he showed why on Monday night. The 26-year-old caught 6 of 10 targets for 63 yards and TD, outshining both Robby Anderson and Terrelle Pryor against the Lions. He obviously has a rapport with rookie QB Sam Darnold, and if Darnold continues to look as good as he did Monday night (after the pick six of course), Enunwa could become one of the better receivers in fantasy. He’s an immediate flex option with the potential for more.

Geronimo Allison, GB

Allison has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. What, you need more reason than that to add him? Fine. Allison saw 8 targets against the Bears, reeling in 5 of them for 69 yards and a TD. With Jordy Nelson off to Oakland, Allison becomes the Packers’ #3 receiver, a spot that is more than capable of producing points. There will be weeks where Jimmy Graham is more effective and bumps him down the statistical food chain a bit, but Allison’s going to see plenty of opportunities. And hey, there’s a chance that Graham doesn’t produce the way so many think he will this season. The Packers have never been particularly good at using tight ends. But wide receivers? Yeah, Rodgers knows what to do with those.

Tight Ends

George Kittle, SF

Kittle showed up on fantasy radars last season once Jimmy Garoppolo took over under center. Garoppolo started the final five games for the 49ers and Kittle got it going over the final three. He had stat lines of 5-52-0, 3-42-1, and 6-100-0 to close out the season, and it looks like the Jimmy G-Kittle connection is just as strong in 2018 as the Niners tight end caught 5 passes for 90 yards in the opener. He’s clearly one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets. With it being so tough to find consistent contributors at the tight end position, Kittle’s a must-add, even for those who already own a solid starter.

Will Dissly, SEA

All things considered, this was probably the most shocking fantasy performance of the week, more so than the FitzMagic down in New Orleans. Dissly is a 4th-round draft pick out of Washington who was expected to operate primarily as a blocker for Seattle. Instead, Dissly decided to take 3 receptions for a team-leading 105 yards and TD in week 1. Dissly was targeted 5 times, tied with Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson for second on the team behind Brandon Marshall’s 6. With Doug Baldwin out for a few weeks, Russell Wilson will be looking for trustworthy options, and Dissly may turn into exactly that. He’s merely a speculative add, but there are definitely worse dart throws out there.

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