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Fantasy Recap: Week 1

Posted Sep 12, 2017

It’s the end of Week 1, and we are already without several fantasy stars for out line-ups.

It’s the end of Week 1, and we are already without several fantasy stars for out line-ups.

Allen Robinson left the game due to a non-contact knee injury, and was quickly ruled out. Non-contact knee injuries are never a good thing, and this one ended with him tearing his left ACL. That means fantasy owners need to find a replacement for him now. My suggestion would be to grab either Paul Richardson, Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp, or Adam Thielen.

No. 1 overall fantasy draft pick, David Johnson, suffered a dislocated wrist according to Coach Bruce Arians. What we know so far is his timetable for return is anywhere from 2-4 weeks, to 3-4 months. In his absence the Cardinals will go with a committee of Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams. Committees almost always mean two running backs cancel each other out, and that is exactly what I expect here. If you need a RB off the waiver wire, check out Javorius “Buck” Allen and Tarik Cohen.

Danny Woodhead left the Ravens game early on with a hamstring injury. It is the same hamstring that limited him in training camp, and the Ravens are worried that he will miss significant time from it. With Woodhead out, [Javorius] Allen now becomes a prime waiver wire add in all formats.

FYI: Allen played 33-of-66 snaps, while Terrence West played just 27 snaps. West may be the starter on paper, but it looks like Allen will end up with more fantasy value.

 

Winners

Alex Smith – Chiefs: Alex Smith had one of the best games of his career Thursday night as he lit up the Patriots defense for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. Smith completed 28-of-35 passes, and looked like he was playing with a sense of urgency, possibly due to the Chiefs drafting of QB Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick in the draft.

Smith isn’t as good as he was in Week 1. If you own him, NOW is the time to sell high. The Patriots looked terrible on both offense and defense, but that won’t be the case every week for the Chiefs.

Matthew Stafford – Lions: Matthew Stafford had his fantasy owners screaming for joy on Sunday when he put up 292 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Cardinals stout defense. He wasn’t especially efficient, completing 29-of-41 passes, and throwing 1 interception. Nevertheless, his 292/4/1 line is good enough to rank him as the 2nd best fantasy quarterback as we head into Week 2.

Stafford’s schedule doesn’t get any easier this week as he heads on the road to take on the Giants. However, we said the same thing against the Cardinals, and he put up big numbers against them. He’s a borderline QB1, but someone to consider.

Kareem Hunt – Chiefs: I told people to start Hunt as a RB1 this week, and they are certainly glad they did after he rumbled his way to 246 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Hunt started the game off with a lost fumble on his first carry, but showed he has the talent to be a star in the NFL by putting it out of his mind and moving on.

Hunt finished with 148 rushing yards, and 98 receiving yards, solidifying his dual-threat status. Obviously the 8.7 YPC (yards-per-carry) will come down, as will the 19.6 YPR (yards-per-reception), but he is a RB1 until someone proves otherwise.

Leonard Fournette – Jaguars: In his first regular season game as a professional, Leonard Fournette carried the ball 26 times for 100 yards, and scored a touchdown. And, if that wasn’t enough, he added 3 receptions for 24 yards for those in PPR formats.

With [Allen] Robinson out for the year, we can expect the Jaguars to give Fournette enough carries every game to make him an elite fantasy RB in his rookie campaign. If he can stay healthy, a Rookie of the Year award might find its way on his mantle when the season is over.

Kenny Golladay – Lions: It looks like the Lions got themselves a gem when they selected Kenny Golladay with the 96th pick in the draft. Golladay was said to be catching everything around him at camp, and continued that trend as he made several highlight grabs against the Cardinals. He reeled in 4 of his 7 targets, for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Golladay obviously has Stafford’s eye, making him a must-grab in all formats when the waiver wire opens on Wednesday.

Nelson Agholor – Eagles: Those of us in fantasy circles have been waiting to see if Agholor would ever take the next step in his development, and if Week 1 is any indication, he has. Carson Wentz hooked up with Agholor for 6 catches, 86 yards, and 1 touchdown on Sunday.

The thing people need to remember with Agholor is Alshon Jeffery was covered by Josh Norman most of the game, which meant Wentz was able to use Agholor and Zach Ertz 8/93/0) more than he may do so normally. I view him as a WR3/4, but one with the talent to put up big numbers when defenses decide to shut down Jeffery.  

Austin Hooper – Falcons: Austin Hooper is the textbook definition of why people love to hate fantasy football. While he was targeted only 2 times in the game, Hooper turned to those targets into 2 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Hooper is a TE I told you about in the pre-season, so hopefully you were able to stash him on your roster in the final rounds of the draft. Obviously you can’t count on him for 128 yards and a touchdown most weeks, but the performance will solidify his role in the Falcons passing attack for sure.

Jacksonville Jaguars defense: The Jaguars put on a defensive clinic against the Texans on Sunday, finishing the game with 10.0 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles, 1 interception, and 1 defensive touchdown. Dante Fowler was an IDP God with his 3 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, a forced fumble, recovered fumble, touchdown, and a sack. Calais Campbell chipped in 4 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks, and Yannick Ngakoue added 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a recovered fumble.

The Jaguars have an underrated fantasy defense because people love to hate the Jaguars. I’d hold off on using them again until Week 4 when they take on the helpless Jets. We could very well see similar numbers from them in that game.

 

Losers

Eli Manning – Giants: The Giants were without Odell Beckham to start the season, and the offense looked completely lost without him. Eli Manning managed to complete 29-of-38 passes for 220 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 interception. Even with Brandon Marshall on the field, 9 of Mannings 29 completions were check-downs to RB Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield.

Beckham is expected back for Week 2, so Manning is a great bounce-back candidate against the Lions iffy defense. He’ll still be a QB2, but a high-end one. 

Russell Wilson – Seahawks: The Seahawks complete lack of a running game doomed the passing game from the start. Wilson managed to complete just 14-of-27 passes for 158 yards and no touchdowns. Wilson looked healthy scrambling around, but the Packers pass-defense was just too much for him.

The Seahawks host the 49ers in Week 2, meaning I am sticking with him as a top-tier fantasy QB in my rankings on Thursday. If Thomas Rawls doesn’t come in and be the RB they want him to be, it could end up being the type of year where you have to pick and choose when to play Wilson.

Tom Brady – Patriots: The Patriots as a whole looked old and rusty Thursday night, but none more than 40-year-old Tom Brady. Brady did look sharp on his first drive, shredding the Chiefs defense. But, after that, Brady was throwing passes high, and to covered receivers.

Danny Amendola left with a concussion, and the Patriots are already without Julian Edelman, so Brady has little room for error this season. Brady’s fantasy owners are hoping this was just Week 1 rust, but they have to accept that 40-years-old may just be when he finally hits the ability wall.

Adrian Peterson – Saints: Well, Week 1 certainly answered the question of “what value will Peterson have with Drew Brees and the Saints?” Peterson said he wanted to “stick it to” the Vikings in his first game against them, but all he managed to do was stick 18 rushing yards to them in the end.

Mark Ingram carried the ball 6 times for 17 yards, Peterson had 6 carries for 18 yards, and 3rd round rookie Alvin Kamara carried the ball 7 times for 18 yards. With the carries split almost dead even between the 3 backs, the real difference came late in the game when Brees was passing and Ingram (5 receptions for 54 yards) and Kamara (4 catches for 20 yards) were a factor, while Peterson was not.

Eddie Lacy – Seahawks: Eddie Lacy is as good as done in the NFL is this week is any indication as to what he has left in the tank. Lacy managed just 3 yards on 5 carries, and looked every bit as slow as the stats suggest. As a point of reference, 7th round rookie Chris Carson managed to gain 39 yards on just 6 carries, and added another 10 yards on his lone reception.

Lacy needs to be cut right now for almost anyone on the waiver wire. We can clearly see what Lacy is, a warm body to keep the end of the bench warm. Rawls is expected back for Week 2, ending Lacy’s short run in fantasy circles.

Paul Perkins – Giants: Perkins is the Giants starting running back, but that is about as far as his fantasy usefulness goes. He gained just16 yards on 7 carries, but it was Vereen’s 51 receiving yards on 9 receptions that proved to be the bigger fantasy storyline.

Perkins showed little in the pre-season, gaining 46 yards on 17 carries. Considering that he averaged 2.7 YPC in the pre-season, and 2.3 YPC in the first game of the regular season, Perkins’ owners need to prepare themselves for RB4 value from him this season.

Dez Bryant – Cowboys: The reason why I don’t own Bryant in any of my 49 leagues (yes, 49) is because of the games like he had in Week 1. Bryant finished with 43 empty yards after hauling in just 2-of-9 targets.

Bryant is one of those fantasy guys whose name is bigger than his [fantasy] game, and I’d be looking to trade him if I had him. Bryant totaled just 3 100-yard games in 2016, 1 in 2015, and 4 in 2014. That is 8 games in 3 years where he had 100-plus yards receiving. Those numbers are that of a WR2, not the WR1 people consider him to be.

T.Y. Hilton – Colts: Hilton managed to catch 3-of-7 targets on Sunday, ending with 57 yards and a lost fumble. Without Andrew Luck, Hilton is forced to rely on the abilities (or lack thereof) of Scott Tolzien and/or Jacoby Brissett.

With that being the case, Hilton has been relegated to a bench player in all fantasy formats, regardless of the league size. He’s a hold since Luck is expected back around the midpoint of the season, but not someone you want to start with the Colts QB situation right now.

Jimmy Graham – Seahawks: It would take far less time to tell you what went right for the Seahawks on Sunday, than it would be for me to list what went wrong. Graham is a victim of the lack of a passing game as he finished with 3 catches for 8 yards.

While Graham did see 7 targets, hauling in just 3 of them isn’t going to make his owners feel much better. Like Wilson, Graham has a plus matchup against the 49ers in Week 2, so don’t give up on him just yet.

Houston Texans defense: Nothing went right for the Texans on Sunday as they tried to put Hurricane Harvey out of the minds of their fans for a few hours. The offense was atrocious behind Tom Savage, and the defense took a hit when J.J. Watt dislocated his finger. Watt was able to return, but a dislocated finger surely hinders a defensive lineman’s effectiveness.

The Texans gave up 23 points while failing to register a sack, interception, or recovered fumble. The safest bet for defensive streamers this season is to play whoever plays the Jets, Texans, or Colts until Luck gets back.

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