James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
Week 1 of the NFL season started off with a bang on Thursday night as Peyton Manning set a new career high by torching the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens for 462 yards and 7 TDs. I warned people throughout the preseason to beware of the Ravens on both offense and defense, as I feel they are overrated.
When all was said and done QBs and WRs carried most fantasy teams, while RBs hurt more than they helped. It would be a great time to buy low on guys like Mike Wallace and Lamar Miller, and sell high on guys like Anquan Boldin and Julius Thomas. Thomas will be up and down as he is third on the target list (at best), and Boldin is a a WR3 going forward, and is going to see a major step backwards next week against the top-tier Seahawks defense.
Then we have the overhyped Kenbrell Thompkins. The kid had every chance known to man to solidify his spot as an every-week fantasy starter as Brady targeted him 14 times. The rookie managed to reel in just 4 of them for 42 yards and no TDs. As I told countless people via email and social media, the kid is an undrafted rookie, and you need to reign in those fantasy starter expectations. He is only starting for the Patriots because they have Danny Amendola and nothing else to throw out there.
Colin Kaepernick – QB, 49ers: Kaepernick was projected to be a low-end QB1 this week, but finished No. 2 overall with 30.68 fantasy points (FP). He was able to throw for 412 yards and 3 TDs against the Packers, but will face a much tougher defense next week as he faces the Seahawks. If he is your QB2, you might consider selling high and upgrading your WR or RB spot with him.
Michael Vick – QB, Eagles: Eagles coach Chip Kelley said his team would run a fast-paced offense, but I’m not sure anyone around the NFL expected it to be THAT fast. The new offense had Vick looking like a comeback player of the year candidate after just the first game of the season! When the final whistle blew, Vick had put up 203 yards passing, 54 yards rushing and 3 TDs. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles are this good under Coach Kelley, or if the Redskins defense just made them shine a little brighter than they should. Time will tell.
Joique Bell – RB, Lions: Bell looks like he is No. 2 behind Reggie Bush for the Lions as Mikel Leshoure was a healthy scratch. He only managed 6 carries for 25 yards, but added 5 catches for 67 yards and 2 TDs. Bell got both goal-line looks and Matthew Stafford looked his way on a few passes, making him a nice handcuff for Reggie Bush owners.
Shane Vereen – RB, Patriots: As I mentioned earlier, Vereen was the only running back in the NFL to hit triple digits when it came to rushing yards this week (101), then added 7 catches for 58 yards to help his PPR owners out. Vereen finished No. 5 for RBs in both standard and PPR scoring, and will continue to be a strong RB2/flex play as long as the Patriots have the WRs they did in Week 1.
Julian Edelman – WR, Patriots: Edelman saw 9 targets on the day and hauled in 7 of them for 79 yards and 2 TDs. Brady is going to rely on Edelman in the slot as Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld were absolutely abysmal and showed why I warned people to stay away from them early in the season. Edelman is owned in just 1.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, and will be worth a roster spot as a week-to-week flex play in the right matchup.
Brian Hartline – WR, Dolphins: Hartline has been called a poor man’s Wes Welker, and he showed why this week as he was targeted 15 times, catching 9 of them for 114 yards and a TD. You can’t expect these type of numbers from him each week as Wallace will be worked into the gameplan more for sure. But, there is also no way he enters Week 2 being owned in just 26.4 percent of NFL.com leagues either.
Leonard Hankerson – WR, Redskins: After the game was out of control, Hankerson and Robert Griffin III kicked it into high gear. In the end, Hankerson finished with 5 catches for 80 yards and 2 TDs. Just like Jerome Simpson, this is likely to go down as Hankerson’s best game of the season, and fantasy owners would be better off not chasing points with him.
Jared Cook – TE, Rams: Cook dominated the action with 7 catches for 141 yards and 2 TDs in his Rams debut. He showed that the Titans lost a TE1 and that his NFL.com ownership should be higher than the 81.5 percent it is at right now. I would have no problems putting him in as my TE1 going forward and leaving him alone until his Week 11 bye.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense: It’s not often an NFL team holds its opponent to just 2 points, but that’s what the Chiefs did on Sunday against the helpless Jaguars. For fantasy stats, the Chiefs defense racked up 6 sacks, 2 INTs, and scored on a 10-yard interception return. All total, the Chiefs defense put up 23.00 points on the board in NFL.com standard scoring, and it looks like you can just play whatever defense is facing the Jaguars from here on out.
Dallas Cowboys Defense: The Cowboys did allow 31 points to the Giants, but their 3 sacks, 3 INTs, 3 recovered fumbles and 2 defensive touchdowns were enough to put 26.00 FP on the board and land them in the No. 1 defense spot heading into Monday Night Football. The Cowboys will be a situational fantasy defense this season, so pick and choose where you play them.
Tom Brady – QB, Patriots: Sure, Brady threw for 288 yards and 2 TDs, but he also threw an INT and lost a fumble, giving him 15.12 FP in standard scoring formats. Those 15.12 points rank him 17th for QBs this week, and nowhere near the top 5 people drafted him at the QB position. I stayed away from Tom-Terrific this season because he’s 36 years old and his weapons are limited. He is still likely to be an every-week fantasy starter, just not someone I will trust without question.
Blaine Gabbert – QB, Jaguars: I normally wouldn’t post a player like Gabbert in this list because he shouldn’t be owned in any type of format, regardless of league size or scoring options. But, we have to when a QB throws for just 121 yards and 2 INTs, and the team doesn’t cross the 50-yard line until there was just under 8:00 left in the game. It is time to move on and let this one go Jaguars fans. For some odd reason he is owned in 0.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, which means I am praying that the 0.2 percent are reading this now.
Montee Ball – RB, Broncos: The guy is owned in 96.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet managed just 24 yards on 8 carries in his pro debut. The Broncos RB situation is going to be a frustrating one for fantasy owners all season long, and I would suggest that you avoid using any of them until they settle on one guy to handle the majority of the workload.
Stevan Ridley – RB, Patriots: Ridley managed just 46 yards rushing and failed to reach the endzone for the 99.7 percent of people who own him in NFL.com leagues. Ridley’s fumble problems have likely cost him the starting job in New England, and he should be considered nothing more than a boom-or-bust flex play going forward. Try and trade him if you can and pass Week 1 off as a buy low situation. I know I will!
Calvin Johnson – WR, Lions: Megatron was a mega bust this week as he managed just 4 catches for 37 yards and no TDs. Everyone has a bad game now and then, and this will most likely go down as Johnson’s worst game of the season. Better to get it out of the way sooner rather than later I suppose.
Dwayne Bowe – WR, Chiefs: This game was never close, and
Dez Bryant – WR, Cowboys: It’s disappointing to have a guy as high profile as Bryant finish with just 4 catches for 22 and no TDs. He is a lot like Johnson above in that he is a stud and this was just a bump in the road to fantasy glory. If you can trade for Bryant and get a discount on him, I’d do so right now.
Zach Sudfeld - TE, Patriots: We all thought Sudfield was going to be the starting TE with Rob Gronkowski out, but that didn’t happen. What also didn’t happen was Sudfeld making a catch in Week 1 of the NFL season. He saw one target that was intercepted after he failed to haul in an easily catchable throw. I’d cut him loose if I were the 21.8 percent of people who own him in NFL.com leagues and forget his name.
Baltimore Ravens Defense:Speaking of the Ravens being overrated on the defensive side of the football, they finished in the bottom 3 for Thursday/Sunday defenses after allowing 49 points to the Broncos, and adding just 3 sacks and 2 recovered fumbles. The Broncos offense is going to make most defenses look bad, but the loss of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed looked like it hurt the team more than people thought it would.