The first week of the 2023 NFL season was full of excitement, drama and, unfortunately, injuries. Several fantasy football stars suffered setbacks that could affect their availability and production for the rest of the year. As a result, fantasy managers are scrambling to find replacements and backups on the waiver wire. Here are some tips on how to deal with the injury wave and who to target for Week 2.
Jordan Love shines in Rodgers’ absence
One of the biggest shocks of Week 1 was the news that Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon in practice and will miss the entire season. The Packers turned to second-year quarterback Jordan Love, who had a stellar debut against the Saints. Love completed 25 of 32 passes for 314 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, leading Green Bay to a 34-27 victory. He also added 28 rushing yards on four carries.
Love is now a hot commodity on the waiver wire, as he has a favorable matchup against the Falcons in Week 2. The Falcons allowed 343 passing yards and four touchdowns to Russell Wilson in their opener, and their secondary is vulnerable to big plays. Love has a talented supporting cast with Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and Aaron Jones, and he showed poise and accuracy in his first start. He is a must-add for Rodgers owners and a viable streamer or Superflex option for others.
Kenneth Gainwell emerges as Eagles’ lead back
Another surprise of Week 1 was the usage of the Eagles’ running backs. Many expected Miles Sanders to be the workhorse, with Boston Scott and DeAndre Swift as complementary pieces. However, it was rookie Kenneth Gainwell who dominated the touches and snaps. Gainwell played 36 percent of the snaps and had nine carries for 37 yards and a touchdown along with two catches for six yards on three targets.
Gainwell showed explosiveness and versatility in his NFL debut, and he could be the Eagles’ preferred option in the red zone and passing situations. He also benefits from playing behind a strong offensive line and with a mobile quarterback in Jalen Hurts. Gainwell faces a tough test against the 49ers in Week 2, but he has flex appeal in PPR formats. He is worth adding as a potential breakout candidate or handcuff for Sanders owners.
Puka Nacua makes an impression for Rams
The Rams have one of the most potent passing attacks in the league, with Matthew Stafford at quarterback and Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee as his top targets. However, there is room for another receiver to emerge as a fantasy factor, especially with DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson dealing with injuries. That receiver could be Puka Nacua, who had a breakout performance against the Bears in Week 1.
Nacua caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown on five targets, showing chemistry with Stafford and big-play ability. He also played 42 percent of the snaps, more than Jackson (25 percent) and Jefferson (38 percent). Nacua is a former four-star recruit who transferred from Washington to BYU, where he impressed in limited action last year. He has good size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) and speed (4.48 40-yard dash), and he could carve out a role as the Rams’ third receiver. He has a favorable matchup against the Colts in Week 2, who allowed three touchdowns to Seahawks receivers in Week 1.