Well, Week 1 went off without a hitch. If you want an adjective, use “predictable,” because Sunday pretty much went according to plan.
Tom Savage? Pfft, more like Tom Tame. Oh, the Browns, Bears, and Jets also lost, not that anyone expected that. This really is like watching a three-hour movie, only to find out it was all just a dream in the end. Anywho, as mundane as Week 1 might have been, there are some BIG fantasy storylines to chew on. Some, you probably saw coming. Others, well, let’s just say you never know who’s going to suck, and who’s going to be great on any given Sunday.
- Kickstarting his rookie season, DeShone Kizer’s second drive against the Steelers looked like this: 6/7, 45 yards and a nice one-yard touchdown run. He finished with 222 passing yards and 21.8 fantasy points against a tough Steelers defense, and since he targeted Corey Coleman all game long, it’s safe to say that the Browns’ offense may not be as stagnant as we once thought.
- Amari Cooper saw seven end zone targets last season, and he caught a grand total 0% of them. In the first quarter against the Titans, he dropped a routine dink/dunk pass from Derek Carr that was a sure six points but redeemed himself two plays later with a touchdown. Cooper finished the day with 17.2 fantasy points, more than Julio Jones OR A.J. Green. How many times can we expect that to happen this season?
- Wait a minute, Belichick hustled us! After saying Mike Gillislee had a “ways to go” last week, here he is with three TDs, 45 yards and 25.5 fantasy points – all of which probably went to waste on your bench. If you’re in a deep league, perhaps you started Gillislee, you clever cookie. But for the rest of us, you now get to stand in the shower and wonder if Gillislee is actually “the guy” in New England – weird, huh? Just remember, all three of Gill’s touchdowns came with no more than two yards to go. The points will still be there, but don’t banish James White to the waiver wire just yet.
- Kareem Hunt is now a bonafide RB1. It only took three touchdowns (should’ve been four), but if this is just the beginning, gosh this will be a fun season. There’s a lot being made of Hunt’s elusive speed and his receiving game, but props to the Chiefs’ offensive line. They allowed only 10 hurries against the Patriots, a defense that is supposed to be pretty good. If that line stays healthy, Hunt could be running wild on everyone, brother!
- The Jaguars D/ST dump trucked the Texans for eight sacks and 33.7 fantasy points. All of that plus an interception and three fumble recoveries make this highly underrated unit even more worth an impulse add. The Texans completed just 19 of their 55 attempted passes, and if you drafted individual defensive players, Calais Campbell probably made you very, very happy.
- Down 19-0, DeShaun Watson threw his first NFL touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins. It came on a nice play fake as Watson looked up to find Hopkins wide open in the back of the end zone, and after showing some wheels to keep the chains moving on the same drive, it was a small victory on a day to forget for the Texans. Oh P.S., Watson finished with more fantasy points than Eli Manning (7.1).
- The ever so quiet achiever, Golden Tate once again shone brightly on Sunday against the Cardinals. As the Lions’ leading receiver, Tate put up 107 yards on just 12 targets and completely clowned Patrick Peterson on more than one occasion. If you drafted him in the mid rounds expecting another 1,000-yard season, you’re already halfway to complete genius status.
- Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook combined for 139 yards on just 12 targets in a happy-go lucky day for the Raiders. Crabtree is owned across all leagues, but Cook is still available in 85%. He saw five or more targets only five times last year, so he’s one to watch as the Raiders look to spread the ball around more this season.
- I’d pay good money to watch Antonio Brown do something normal, like I dunno, mow his lawn one afternoon. That way I’d know he’s human because his leaping catch amongst three freakin’ Browns defenders on Sunday certainly wasn’t. All of that, plus 10 other receptions turned into a lazy 182-yard day for the 29-year old, and most importantly, took away from Le’Veon Bell’s mediocre 32-yard performance.
- It was impressive to see Carson Wentz and LeGarrette Blount on the same page against the Skins. Blount caught only his second receiving touchdown of his career in the first quarter, but most importantly, Wentz was one of only four QBs to throw for 300 yards. The others? Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and wait for it … Jared Goff.
- Staying in LA, boy, what can you say about the Rams D/ST? Rah-rah-rah, it’s Scott Tolzien, I know, but they scored more points than the Bengals, Jets, Colts, 49ers, Texans, and Seahawks on Sunday. They also became the first team to put up a pair of pick-sixes and a safety in a season opener. Talk about bizarro!
- There was plenty to make of the Seahawks/Packers game, but Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson went full a la 2014 season on us. Rodgers did his usual trick of throwing between two defenders, and Nelson made a pretty catch in the end zone to put the Packers up 14-6. In their last eight games together excluding the playoffs, Rodgers/Nelson have combined for 51 receptions on 64 targets.
- Wrapping up, props to Jason Witten. He now leads all Cowboys receivers in yards, surpassing Michael Irvin. He still remains a really valuable TE2, and since he put up his 14th career touchdown against the Giants on Sunday night, you know he’s always going to be money in the bank against Big Blue.
- Andy Dalton, sheesh. Two first half INTs, and okay, one of them was on a tipped ball, but he flat out overthrew Brandon LaFell in the end zone against the Ravens on Sunday. That takes Dalton’s career INT total against the Ravens to 15, and his TD total vs. Baltimore to, well, a much lower number.
- Halfway through the second quarter, the Texans’ offense had 36 total yards. Tom Savage spent most of that time on the ground, while the crowd hissed and booed, and everyone gawked at his lame -1.2 fantasy points. The time eventually came for Savage to hit the showers, and after Watson provided half a pulse, it’s unlikely we see him for a while.
- The Patriots D/ST looked drunk on Friday night. Tyreek Hill burned the secondary way too easily, and after ranking 21st in yards allowed last season, this could be a new leaf the Patriots wish they never turned over. The Chiefs D/ST wasn’t fantastic either, and the loss of Eric Berry certainly bruises their value. It’s still early, but both defenses could fall out of the Top 10 by next week.
- The Cowboys dominated the Giants on Sunday night, but they certainly weren’t all guns blazing. The Dak/Dez combination stunk, producing just two receptions good for 43-yards. Those stats could be worse, but considering Prescott missed Dez on several wide open attempts (two of which were in the end zone), this is far from the Rodgers/Nelson combination we spoke of earlier.
- This one could take a while, but let’s talk Eli Manning. Hands down, this was one of his worst performances ever. Don’t let the 220 yards fool you, Manning was awful on Sunday night, and I’m not sure a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. would’ve made much of a difference. There were the missed throws, and of course the awful blocking from right tackle Bobby Hart, but the lack of diversity and creative playcalling from Ben McAdoo was mind boggling. Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram owners, you have every right to be mad about their combined, wait for it … one reception on just nine targets.
- Matt Ryan had a day, but somehow Julio Jones went walk-about. Okay, we can’t sneeze at 66 yards, but it was a low scoring fantasy day for a first-round pick against a Bears defense that allowed 50 plays of 20 or more receiving yards last season. On the flip side, Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio outscored Jones this week … oh wait, that isn’t a positive.
- And in kicker news, Adam Vinatieri, where art thou? He missed a “gimme” point after attempt and a field goal against the Rams in his 354th game. If this is happening already, it’s going to be a very long season.
It took a couple of tries, but Leonard Fournette got there in the end. His first NFL touchdown came on a crunch-crunch play on the Texans’ goal line, and 100 yards later, Fournette had himself a way too early vote for Rookie of the Year. The Jaguars’ offense was run rather smoothly actually, something we haven’t come to expect as of late. Doug Marrone mixed 21 pass plays with 39 rushing attempts, but the poise and patience Fournette showed was bliss multiplied by infinity. On an 18-yard rush (his longest of the day), Fournette patiently waited for holes to develop before bouncing to the outside on a generous angle. Better yet, it was probably more encouraging to see Marrone place a great deal of trust in Fournette on his 4th and 1 touchdown run. Backing all of this up was Chris Ivory with 42 yards of his own, and alongside a pretty intimidating defense, suddenly the Jaguars’ run game looks like a capable two-headed monster – right in time for Allen Robinson’s injury.
On the Shelf
- The news was pretty wishy-washy on Odell Beckham Jr. right up until Sunday afternoon, but eventually, we learned his ankle injury would cost him the Giants’ opener. Eli certainly missed his No. 1 dude, but this is obviously a “better safe than sorry” situation.
- Jordan Reed was listed as questionable with a fractured toe, but he still played against the Eagles. None of it was pretty, though, as Reed and Kirk Cousins hooked up for just 36 yards on eight targets. Already Reed looks to be a VIP member on IR previews all season long.
- David Johnson is probably responsible for your irregular heart beat. A wrist injury sustained on an overall lousy day for the Cardinals threw more salt in Arizona’s wound, and although x-rays have come back negative, you’re still probably going to need a replacement RB for three to six weeks. An MRI on Monday will reveal all.
- The Jaguars day wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Allen Robinson left the field during the first quarter with a torn ACL, making Blake Bortles’ life even harder. Owners looking for a replacement, don’t forget Kenny Golladay is owned in just 6% of leagues.
- Not to be a Debbie Downer, but Danny Woodhead ain’t lookin’ so good, either. He too left the first quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, but we’re still awaiting news on just how serious it is. In the meantime, Terrance West owners rejoice – the backup finished with 80 yards and a touchdown in what will be a much larger role in terms of workload going forward.
This spot should be reserved for Kenny Golladay, but let’s talk Nelson Agholor instead. It’s been two years coming for the Eagles’ 2015 first round pick, and after fumbling the ball early in the first quarter, Agholor made up for it with a 58-yard touchdown on a beautiful deep ball from Carson Wentz. We were promised all offseason that Agholor had reinvented himself, and while you may want to hold off from choo-chooing all aboard the hype train just yet, it was certainly encouraging to see him place the receiving responsibilities on his back while Alshon Jeffery engaged with Josh Norman. In the end, Agholor put up career highs in catches (4) and yards (86), and he even managed to move the chains on third and long on four separate occasions. For what it’s worth, Agholor is now on pace to put up his first 1,000-yard season, and with a new and improved mental outlook, the Eagles’ first rounder could very well go much earlier in fantasy drafts next year.
There was always a target conundrum in Cleveland, but this?! Kenny Britt put up a lousy 13 yards on three targets, and after transforming into such a popular late round sleeper, already we have to question just how much chemistry Britt can muster up with DeShone Kizer. Well, actually, maybe we don’t have to question it because Britt’s crucial drop over the middle on 2nd and 19 pretty much painted the ugly picture for us. Trailing 21-10, the Browns needed a big catch from Terrelle Pryor’s replacement, and since Kizer hit Britt smack bang in the bread basket, there’s really no excuse. It’s too early to do anything drastic, but if you can package Britt in a trade, press accept and don’t look back.
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