Now that we had time to digest the ups and downs of week 1 of the NFL season, we need to look at the fantasy impact moving forward. This means going beyond just the stats and looking at how situations have changed over the past week. Can we now answer any questions we had going into the season?
Week 1 Fantasy Highlights
A.J. Green – He put up a monster day with 12 catches for 180 yards and a TD. He’s happy to have a healthy Andy Dalton back and this should be a top QB/WR combination for the rest of the year.
Drew Brees (Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks) – This highlight goes to the New Orleans passing attack in general. Brees had 423 yards passing and 4 TDs with Snead (172 yds) and Cooks (143 yds) combining for 315 yards and 3 TDs.
DeAngelo Williams – This guy just keeps running. At age 33, he was the leading rusher in week 1 with 146 yards and 2 TDs, and chipped in 6 catches for 28 yards. Bell will be back in week 4, but DeAngelo has 2 more weeks to be a RB1.
Antonio Brown – This guys is just consistently great; 8 catches for 126 yards and 2 TDs. He was taken #1 overall in fantasy drafts for a reason.
Jordan Matthews – Rookie QB Carson Wentz looked to Matthews 14 times as he hauled in 7 catches for 114 yards and a TD. Hopefully they will maintain this chemistry moving forward.
Matthew Stafford – After a terrible preseason and the loss of Megatron, Stafford actually looked good this week. He passed for 340 yards and 3 TDs, but more importantly was a leader out on the field. Let’s see if he can keep the streak going. I expect the same old Stafford by season’s end.
Larry Fitzgerald – Larry is still the #1 target for Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals. He had 11 targets in the game and caught 8 balls for 81 yards and 2 TDs. Palmer consistently looked for him in clutch situations. Michael Floyd will show up for a few huge games and John Brown has always been overhyped. Larry Fitz is my guy!
Carlos Hyde – I was intrigued by Hyde in the offseason. He’s put up some big games but hasn’t been healthy or consistent throughout his career. Chip Kelly is in town and the 49ers are going to run a lot of plays. Hyde got 23 carries and scored 2 TDs; I expect him to be heavily involved in the offense all season.
Jason Witten – While his numbers weren’t eye-popping, it was nice to see Witten get looks from rookie QB Dak Prescott. Witten caught 9 balls for 66 yards on 14 targets. For how low Witten was drafted in leagues, he’s a great target if you’re in need of a TE.
Players Returning From Injury
Kelvin Benjamin – He sure looked good on Thursday night (6-91-1) and looks to be Cam Newton’s favorite target once again.
Jordy Nelson – In Nelson’s first game back from last year’s season ending knee injury, he fared decently well. Jordy had 6 catches and a TD, but only 32 yards receiving. He doesn’t quite look to be his old self and might not get the separation that he used to, but Rodgers will still look his way often (9 targets).
Victor Cruz – It appears that Victor Cruz is past his nagging injuries (for now) and was able to log significant snaps for the Giants. Cruz caught all 4 balls thrown his way including a TD. The takeaway here is that he’s on the field and getting snaps.
New Player Additions
Marvin Jones – Jones was targeted by Stafford 10 times in week 1 as he ended the day with 4 catches for 85 yards. Golden Tate had 7 targets so Jones is already gaining the confidence of his QB.
Will Fuller – This rookie shined in his first NFL game. He caught 5 balls for 107 yards and a TD. The most interesting thing is that he had 11 targets so Osweiler is looking his way. Hopkins had 8 targets in the game.
Mohamed Sanu – Matt Ryan looked pretty comfortable with Sanu as he caught 5 balls on 8 targets for 80 yards and a TD. With Julio Jones getting double coverage, Sanu may be just what the Falcons and Matt Ryan needed.
Dwayne Allen – This is a stretch to put in the new additions section, but Rob Chudzinski the Offensive Coordinator is a new addition to the Colts and he loves utilizing the TE. The Colts’ TEs had 7 catches on 10 targets for 88 yards and 3 TDs. Jack Doyle caught 2 of the TDs, but Allen played the majority of snaps and is the guy to benefit.
Running Back Battles
C.J. Anderson – Anderson had a full workload with 92 yards on 20 carries and a TD. With Devontae Booker fumbling early in the game, C.J. looks to run the show here.
Devanta Freeman (Tevin Coleman) – Freeman had a poor outing with only 20 yards on 11 carries. Tevin Coleman had 8 carries and was more active in the receiving game, and that’s not the split Freeman owners want. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the upcoming weeks.
Justin Forsett (Terrance West) – At this point, I’ve had enough of the Baltimore Ravens backfield. Justin Forsett had 10 carries and 41 yards while Terrance West had 12 carries and 32 yards. I don’t know who will come out on top of this one, but will any of them really help our fantasy teams???
Spencer Ware (Charcandrick West/Jamaal Charles) – With Jamaal Charles sidelined, Ware shined carrying the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a TD as well as catching 7 balls for 129 yards. Charcandrick West was supposed to garner quite a few carries (only got 3), but Ware was an absolute beast in this one. Ware looks good to start until Charles is active.
Matt Forte (Bilal Powell) – Matt Forte got 22 carries to Bilal Powell’s 4. Powell may pick up a few more in the coming weeks, but this is not a timeshare.
Ryan Mathews – Mathews had 77 yards and a TD on 22 carries. Darren Sproles was 2nd on the team with 5 carries and Kenjon Barner got 4. Mathews is poised for a heavy workload as long as he stays on the field.
DeMarco Murray (Derrick Henry) – Murray got the majority of work for the Tennessee Titans with 13 carries and 7 targets (77 total yards). Derrick Henry had 5 carries and 2 targets (44 total yards).
Christine Michael (Thomas Rawls) – While Christine Michael got the start, it was pretty much a timeshare and Thomas Rawls is slated for more work next week. I don’t expect either of them to be a true workhorse and it’ll be a committee moving forward, with Rawls having the edge.
LeGarrette Blount (NE RBs) – With Belichick you never know, but in this one Blount rushed 23 times and no other RB came close. He’s the guy in running situations but not passing downs.
Matt Jones (Chris Thompson/Rob Kelley) – Jones couldn’t get anything going against the Steelers and I don’t know how long he’ll hold onto the starting job. Jones had 7 carries for 24 yards; Chris Thompson had 4 carries for 23 yards. Rob Kelley is also in the mix if the team decides to make a change.
Week 1 Injuries (and Week 2 Replacements)
Keenan Allen – Allen suffered a torn ACL and is out for the year again. Travis Benjamin was one of my sleepers entering the year and I like him that much more now. Tyrell Williams appears to be the guy to replace Allen. Gates and Woodhead might pick up a little extra work but they’re always involved. Dontrelle Inman should get some action too.
Demaryius Thomas – Suffered a hip injury on Thursday against Carolina. While originally thought to be serious, Thomas is actually questionable for week 2. If Thomas doesn’t play, there isn’t a must play fantasy pickup for him.
Sammy Watkins – He reinjured his foot in Sunday’s game and has a game on short rest on Thursday. Tyrod Taylor doesn’t pass enough to make Watkins’ replacement relevant, if he doesn’t play.
Russell Wilson – He injured his ankle against Miami but is expected to play in week 2. This injury will probably limit his mobility and may take some time to fully heal. Trevone Boykin is the backup and the whole offense would take a hit with him under center.
Robert Griffin III – He is on injured reserve and out for 8+ weeks with a fractured bone in his shoulder. Josh McCown – He will replace RG3 as the Cleveland Browns QB. This actually improves the value of Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson as RG3 wasn’t a “check down” type of QB.
Week 1 Concerns
Cam Newtown – How much of a beating can Cam take? Cam isn’t in this section because he won’t put up stats. He’s here because he took a beating from the Denver Broncos in week 1 and I can’t imagine him staying healthy all year. When he plays, he’s a beast.
Todd Gurley – While many people may be worried about Gurley, I’m not so concerned. Yes, the Rams offense looks bad. Really bad! The offense was bad last year and he still excelled. Don’t put too much weight into one game, but this situation is worth monitoring. He may not be the best RB in the league, but he’s still a solid RB1 and I expect him to improve.
Words of Wisdom
Do Not Overreact! We’re only one week removed from our drafts and a good or bad week 1 performance should not greatly change our rankings. Over the next couple weeks, we need to determine which performances are smoke and mirrors and which ones are a sign of things to come. Only time will tell!
John Kocur (Sports Writer)