MIAMI, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Drafting a solid team is just the first step in a process toward fantasy football glory.
Everyone knows that making the right trades and picking up key free agents along the way are the best ways to ensure that your team is successful. To become a true playoff contender, you must identify where your team is weak and address that need throughout the season. If you can turn that weakness into a strength, you could end up hoisting your league trophy.
Although just one game of football isn't enough to totally understand what you will get out of breakout players, don't be afraid to pull the trigger on some key free agents early.
Here are our best pickups to take a shot at after Week 1. The following players are available in most leagues.
If your gunslinger underwhelmed last weekend, it might be best to hold tight. But if you need more points at the position, don't have an elite option, and are facing another tough match up, see if one of these options are available on your waiver wire.
Winston had a very focused offseason [check out Instagram for his workouts with famed trainer Tim Gover]. He was a top-5 fantasy quarterback in Week 1, after lighting up the Atlanta Falcons on the road for 281 yards and four passing scores, against just one interception. Although Winston faces another tough road task in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, he should be rostered. If he succeeds in Arizona, Winston should seriously be looked at as a top-10 option. Buyer Beware: Winston does face the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, and Carolina Panthers before his Week 6 bye week. His second half and playoff schedule has him facing the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 and Week 16.
Flacco and Cutler might have the best Week 2 match ups if you are looking for a quick fix. Flacco's Ravens face the Cleveland Browns, who just allowed 278 yards and two scores to rookie Carson Wentz. Flacco had just one passing score in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills but look for him to improve on that number in Week 2. He has upcoming match ups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Redskins. Cutler's Bears face the Philadelphia Eagles in its Week 2 contest. Although Cutler passed for just 216 yards and one score in Week 1 against the Houston Texans, he could be more than a bye week fill-in this week. Expect Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to keep bonding and the quarterback's relationship with Kevin White to only improve.
Osweiler has a tough match up at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 2, but his offense looks good enough to make him a name to remember in 2016. The former Denver Broncos quarterback had 231 passing yards and tossed two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears last week. Look for Osweiler to emerge this season behind workhorse running back Lamar Miller and stellar receiving options in Will Fuller and Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins.
Is Tevin Coleman the best running back in Atlanta? The Falcons might think so after Week 1. Coleman played just four fewer snaps than starter Devonta Freeman against the Buccaneers. He responded with five receptions and 95 receiving yards, as well as eight carries for 22 yards. Freeman underwhelmed with 11 carries for 20 yards and four receptions for 20 yards. Coleman is not going away anytime soon. This situation will undoubtedly frustrate Freeman's fantasy owners. Coleman could garner flex consideration with a Week 2 match up against the Oakland Raiders and a Week 2 battle against the sieve-like New Orleans Saints. After that point he could be a sell-high. From Week 4 to Week 6, Coleman faces the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks. Brutal.
Dixon is arguably the most talented running back in the Ravens backfield. Although he is currently shelved with a torn MCL, he is expected to return soon and should be the lead back in a murky backfield situation. Look for Dixon to surpass Justin Forsett and Terrence West. He has the ability to put up low-end RB2 numbers and could be valuable depth or a plug-in flex start when he has a good match up. The Ravens' upcoming slate includes the Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Raiders, and Redskins.
Detroit might have showed the most promise last weekend at the running back position. Ameer Abdullah and Riddick both appear to be solid RB2 options this season, and excellent flex plays, especially in PPR format. Riddick ranked in the top-5 at the position for Week 1, while Abdullah submitted a top-10 performance. Riddick's productivity is ridiculous. He touched the ball just 12 times, but turned that into 108 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Abdullah scored once, but netted 120 yards on 17 touches. There absolutely is enough to go around in this Detroit offense for two productive running backs. The Lions also have a somewhat juicy schedule to open the season, with match ups against the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Tennessee Titans' Tajae Sharpe, Baltimore Ravens' Mike Wallace, Houston Texans' Will Fuller, Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu, Cleveland Browns' Terrelle Pryor, Buffalo Bills' Robert Woods, New York Giants' Victor Cruz, Dallas Cowboys' Cole Beasley, Indianapolis Colts' Philip Dorsett, Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams.
If Sharpe didn't catch your eye in preseason, you could be too late. But if he is available in your league, you need to snatch him up. Sharpe is Marcus Mariota's top target at wide receiver. He was targeted 11 times in his Week 1 debut. Sharpe responded to the looks with seven receptions for 76 yards. Sharpe is always a big play threat, but looks to be more than a boom-or-bust play and could end up as a solid WR3, especially in deeper leagues.
Wallace appears to have some juice left and could be Flacco's new favorite option. He finished as a top-10 play after Week 1 and should have a productive season in Baltimore. Although his target-to-conversion rate wasn't quite as high as you would like to see, Wallace turned his three catches into 91 yards and a touchdown. He also had an 11-yard run. Wallace's touchdown was a jaunt down memory lane. On the 66-yard pitch-and-catch, Wallace showed off his infamous speed, sprinting through the Buffalo Bills' secondary. Wallace should see WR2 production in the upcoming weeks with match ups against the Browns, Jaguars, and Raiders.
As mentioned earlier, Fuller looks like the real deal, at least in fantasy circles. His first NFL game had him as a top-10 fantasy play after a Week 1 performance of five receptions for 107 yards and one score. Fuller had a few miscues, but expect big things from the Osweiler-Fuller connection, opposite Hopkins.
When healthy, Allen should remain a top-10 option at tight end. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck loves looking at his tight end in the red zone. On Sunday, when it wasn't Allen hauling in his 19-yard scoring reception from Luck, it was Jack Doyle. Doyle, who scored twice, and Allen finished as the top-2 tight ends for Week 1. The Colts face the Broncos in Week 2, but have a slate including the Chargers, Jaguars, and Bears the following weeks.
Seferian-Jenkins finished the week as a top-5 play. He should be a big benefactor from a stellar sophomore campaign from Winston. ASJ has a tough matchup against the Cardinals in Week 2, but should see enough targets for starter production. If he can stay healthy, expect big things from the big target down the stretch and in your fantasy football playoffs.