Pickups of the Week: Phillip Lindsay demands your fantasy attention

Fourteen of sixteen opening week games are now in the books, which means, in all likelihood, that your fantasy team is in need of repair. A few decisions that seemed spectacular on draft day are now looking questionable-to-poor. But that’s OK. Often, our best fantasy plans don’t survive the season’s first week. The key to winning any league is remaining an active, aggressive owner. Let’s hit the wire, looking for roster enhancements…

Phillip Lindsay, backfield committee member in Denver

Royce Freeman investors aren’t really allowed to complain about a 15-71-0 rushing line, considering it was the rookie’s first NFL game. Freeman was fine. But it’s also clear that he won’t be the only first-year runner who gets snaps in Denver’s backfield. Phillip Lindsay matched Freeman’s rushing performance yard-for-yard on Sunday (15-71) while hauling in two receptions, one of which became a highlight TD…

As you can see, Lindsay has wheels (4.38 at his pro day). He’s a smallish runner (5-foot-8) who had a terrific career at Colorado, finishing with back-to-back seasons in which he topped 1700 scrimmage yards. Lindsay caught 117 balls in his four years with the Buffaloes, so he’s approved for use in all situations. He was a buzzy player in camp for Denver, but appeared to be buried on the depth chart. Instead, Lindsay played only three fewer snaps than Freeman in the opener. He clearly needs to be owned in deeper formats.

Schedule, next three weeks: Oak, at Bal, KC

FAAB bid ($100 budget): $18

Austin Ekeler had a greater-than-expected role in opening week, could emerge as a flex-worthy fantasy option. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Austin Ekeler delivers triple-digit yardage in opening week

Melvin Gordon is the unchallenged featured back for the Chargers, and he filled the box score in opening week (166 scrimmage yards, 9 REC). But Ekeler was involved as well, carrying five times for 39 yards, adding five catches for 87 and a touchdown. And in case you missed it, one of the receptions was absurd. Ekeler was a Division II star at the collegiate level, then impressed NFL scouts with a terrific pro day (40.5-inch vertical, 4.43 speed). He averaged 5.5 YPC on 47 rush attempts last season, also catching 27 balls on 35 targets. There’s plenty to like in his game, particularly if he’s going to see 8-12 touches per week. Consider Ekeler a handcuff with benefits.

Schedule: at Buf, at LAR, SF

FAAB bid: $7

Case Keenum has tasty matchup on deck, coming off 300-yard day

Keenum completed 25 of 39 pass attempts to Denver receivers on Sunday afternoon, plus another three to Seattle defenders. So it would be fair to say he did not have an entirely clean game. Keenum did, however, deliver a useful fantasy line against the Seahawks, passing for 329 yards and three scores. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 16 receptions, 198 yards and two touchdowns, demonstrating that the pair remains among the league’s best receiving tandems. Next Sunday, the Broncos will face Oakland’s user-friendly defense, catching the Raiders on a short week. There’s a very good chance Keenum will produce a second straight top-ten positional finish. Add as needed.

Schedule, next three weeks: Oak, at Bal, KC

FAAB bid: $6

Ted Ginn is still doing Ted Ginn things

Ginn is 33 years old and still roasting young defensive backs. He saw six targets in New Orleans’ season-opening loss, catching five for 68 yards and this way-too-easy score…

His speed remains a problem for opposing corners. Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith were popping up on fantasy sleeper lists throughout the summer, but Ginn is running as the clear No. 2 wideout for New Orleans. He’s a dangerous weapon tied to an all-time quarterback, but he’s been largely ignored by Yahoo managers (17 percent ownership).

Schedule, next three weeks: Cle, at Atl, at NYG

FAAB bid: $6

Geronimo Allison got the comeback started for Green Bay, cooking Kyle Fuller for a long TD. He’s seeing plenty of targets in a great offense, which makes him a pickup of interest to fantasy players. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Geronimo Allison sees eight targets in Green Bay’s opener

Allison was on the field for 42 of his team’s 60 offensive snaps on Sunday night and he was targeted eight times, catching five balls for 69 yards and a key fourth-quarter score. (Ridiculous throw. No. 12 is unfair.) He should be an easy sell to fantasy managers, because the man is a key supporting player in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense. Allison is entering his third season with the Pack and seems likely to draw 5-7 premium targets per week. This team’s offense is clearly capable of supporting multiple roster-worthy pass-catchers.

Schedule, next three weeks: Min, at Was, Buf

FAAB bid: $11

Eric Ebron makes a house call in Week 1

Jack Doyle out-targeted Ebron in opening week (10 to 5), but the new addition to Indy’s offense delivered the better fantasy line. Ebron snagged four of his five targets for 51 yards and a score on Sunday. Colts head coach Frank Reich had plenty of nice things to say about Ebron over the summer, and the veteran tight end was worthy of the praise, at least for one week. Everyone knows the issues that Ebron had in prior years — drops, injuries, more drops — but it’s not unusual for tight ends to have mid-career/second-contract leaps in value. Keep an open mind here. If you’re among the zillions of fantasy managers suddenly looking to replace Delanie Walker (ankle/leg) or Greg Olsen (foot), Ebron deserves consideration.

Schedule, next three weeks: at Was, at Phi, Hou

FAAB bid: $4

Chargers D was torched on Sunday, but Buffalo is up next

Yeah, OK so the Chargers defense was humiliated in the team’s season-opening loss, playing without Joey Bosa (foot). But sometimes in fantasy, it’s helpful to have a short memory. LA travels to Buffalo in Week 2 to face a squad that was eviscerated by the Ravens on Sunday, 47-3. Bills quarterbacks Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman combined to go 11-for-33 for 98 yards, two picks and six sacks. Even if Bosa remains sidelined, it’s hard to imagine Buffalo lighting up the Chargers, Mahomes-style. Feel free to stream, streamers.

Schedule, next three weeks: at Buf, at LAR, SF

FAAB bid: $1

Also recommended: QB Tyrod Taylor (at New Orleans next week, site of Fitz’s binge), QB Eli Manning (at Dal), RB T.J. Yeldon (vs. NE, but it sounds as if Fournette’s hamstring issue is not dire, so don’t blow the budget here), RB LeGarrette Blount (at SF), RB Darren Sproles (at TB), WR Chris Godwin (vs. Phi), WR Brandon Marshall (at Chi, where he may wish to inflict pain on a former employer), WR Cole Beasley (vs. NYG), WR Philip Dorsett (at JAC), WR Dante Pettis (vs. DET), TE Geoff Swaim (vs. NYG), TE Jonnu Smith (vs. Hou), TE Will Dissly (at Chi. Dissly was a low-volume receiver as a collegiate player, but obviously delivered a notable opening week performance on five targets. Dissly won’t be my priority TE this week, though he deserves attention, given the dearth of receiving options in Seattle.)

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