James Robinson (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
ESPN ownership: 29.1%
Week 1 stats: 16 carries, 62 rushing yards; 1 reception, 28 receiving yards
Week 1 confirmed that Robinson is the lead back in Jacksonville. In fact, no other Jaguars running back even logged a single carry. With little competition, it is clear that Robinson will continue to receive a large workload. Thus, he holds immense upside. He will have a tough matchup against the Titans next week, but he will then follow that up with a favorable three-game stretch (Dolphins, Bengals, Texans). He is a must-add in all leagues.
Peyton Barber (RB, Washington Football Team)
ESPN ownership: 1.3%
Week 1 stats: 17 carries, 29 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
Barber surprisingly led Washington in carries against the Eagles on Sunday. Rookie Antonio Gibson carried the ball nine times for 36 yards, and J.D. McKissic logged three carries for negative two yards. In addition, Barber received the majority of the team’s goal line carries, which led to him getting into the end zone twice. It is unclear how long Barber will be able to hold onto the top spot on the depth chart. Gibson holds more upside and was more efficient with his touches on Sunday. Nevertheless, Barber will remain fantasy relevant as long as he continues to lead the backfield.
Adrian Peterson (RB, Detroit Lions)
ESPN ownership: 21.3%
Week 1 stats: 14 carries, 93 rushing yards; 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards
In his 14th NFL season, Peterson continues to carry fantasy value. He was clearly Detroit’s most productive running back in their season opener. Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift combined for only 22 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson figures to be a major factor in the Detroit’s running game moving forward and is shaping up to be a possible flex option.
Nyheim Hines (RB, Indianapolis Colts)
ESPN ownership: 34.4%
Week 1 stats: 7 carries, 28 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 8 receptions, 45 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
In Mack’s absence, Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor stepped up. Hines’s eight receptions particularly stand out. Since entering the league, he has been active in the passing game; over the past two seasons, he has 107 receptions. If Mack misses significant time, Taylor should lead the Colts in carries, but Hines would garner more targets and become a valuable asset in PPR leagues.
Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
ESPN ownership: 3.8%
Week 1 stats: 9 receptions, 114 receiving yards
Last season, Gage quietly took on a larger role in Atlanta’s offense following the midseason trade of Mohamed Sanu. Gage had 45 receptions over the team’s final nine games. In his breakout game on Sunday, Gage was tied with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley for the team lead in targets with 12. The Falcons were third in the NFL in passing yards last season, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Gage to produce moving forward.
Dallas Goedert (TE, Philadelphia Eagles)
ESPN ownership: 27.2%
Week 1 stats: 8 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
I had Goedert listed as a sleeper on my Week 1 start/sit article, and he definitely delivered. He was Carson Wentz’s go-to receiver all game long; he led the Eagles in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Last season, he was 10th among tight ends in fantasy points in PPR leagues. It is astonishing his ownership is currently so low. Moving forward, Goedert is a borderline TE1.