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. *
The first weekend of NFL football is behind us, and we learned some things about the players and their fantasy value that is both good, and bad. As with everything in life, where there are winners, there also have to be losers. And, it is time to look at the stats and see who was a winner and who was a loser as I bring your fantasy into my reality.
Matt Ryan – QB, Falcons: The Falcons let Ryan do his thing with the offense and they were rewarded to the tune of 299 yards passing, 25 yards rushing and 4 TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing) on the day. Ryan was one of my "sleeper" QBs in the preseason, and he showed exactly why I would have put him in the top 5 for fantasy QBs.
Robert Griffin III – QB, Redskins: Yes, I said to bench Griffin and I was wrong. But, in my defense, 88 of his 320 passing yards came on one play to Pierre Garcon. Had that play not happened, he would have finished with 232 yards passing and a single TD. However, it did happen and Griffin finished as a top-tier play this week despite my misgivings. Could he be this year's Cam Newton?
Julio Jones – WR, Falcons: Julio Jones was another one of my "sleeper" picks that went into full beast mode on Sunday. Jones finished with 6 catches for 108 yards and 2 TDs, numbers good enough to put him in the top scoring spot in standard scoring leagues.
Andre Johnson – WR, Texans: Sorry Dolphins fans, but Johnson did put up huge fantasy numbers on Sunday as he finished the game with 8 catches for 119 yards and a score. While I don't think he can do this week in and week out, Johnson is a top 3-5 fantasy WR play most weeks because of this type of potential.
C.J. Spiller – RB, Bills: Some would say it was only a matter of time before Fred Jackson went down due to injury, so Spiller was always a must-own player. Others would say that it was time for the Bills to see what Spiller can do on the field. Either way, Spiller let his stats do the talking as he ran the ball 14 times for 169 yards and a TD. Those stats will make his owners go overboard with his future value, so keep in mind that Ryan Fitzpatrick is still his QB and WR Donald Nelson may have a torn ACL.
Stevan Ridley – RB, Patriots: While Welker and Brady both struggled, Ridley stepped his game up and made fantasy owners take notice. I had him as a sleeper pick all along, and his 125 yards rushing, 27 yards receiving and a TD allowed him to finish the week as a RB1 despite being started in roughly 30 percent of leagues.
Jimmy Graham – TE, Saints: Graham entered the season as a top pick at TE, and he showed exactly why as he hauled in 6 passes for 85 yards and a TD. The guy is a stud and will be a top 2-3 pick every single week this season.
New York Jets Defense: The Buffalo Bills offense is just or more to thank for this ranking as is the Jets defense. While the Jets did give up 28 points to the Bills offense, they also tallied 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD and 1 return TD for those in leagues that count them as defensive stats.
Eli Manning – QB, Giants: While he didn't have a statistically horrible game, Manning didn't wow fantasy owners with his 213 yards passing and one TD either. The Giants as a whole had a terrible game against the Cowboys, so I am not worried about his prospects going forward. Chalk this one up to opening game hurdles and keep him locked into the QB1 spot next week.
Josh Freeman – QB, Buccaneers: Freeman and the Bucs may have won against the Panthers on Sunday, but his 138 yards passing and one TD won't win him any fans in fantasy football. The good news is that there is a very good chance that this will be the worst game of the season for him, but the bad news is that his offensive scheme is going to keep his fantasy value extremely low, too. He is someone to avoid and this game is a good reason why.
Greg Jennings – WR, Packers: I don't think anybody expected Green Bay to lose at home, which makes Jennings's game sting a little more. He did manage to rack up 34 yards on 5 receptions, but he failed to score and that hurt his fantasy owners. He will be fine, but the 49ers sure took the wind out of the Packers sails in this one.
Wes Welker – WR, Patriots: Welker was the odd man out in the passing game on Sunday, and he managed to finish the game with just 3 catches for 14 yards. These numbers are just appalling, and there is little left to say about them. Shake it off and pray that this was a fluke.
Peyton Hillis – RB, Chiefs: People around the Chiefs really thought that Jamaal Charles and Hillis would split the workload fairly evenly this season, but that is not what happened on Sunday at all. Hillis managed just 16 yards on 7 carries and no scores. I would employ a wait-and-see mentality with Hillis this season.
Toby Gerhart – RB, Vikings: Nobody expected Adrian Peterson to carry the load for the Vikings this week, but that is exactly what happened as he rushed 17 times for 84 yards and 2 TDs. That left Gerhart with just 6 carries for 18 yards and no end zone visits. AP is back and Gerhart can be cut if there is a FA worth picking up.
Jason Witten – TE, Cowboys: While Witten did manage to play in the season opener, his owners may have wished he just sat it out and get a little healthier. He managed to finish with just 10 yards receiving on 2 receptions, barely enough stats to get him a blip on the fantasy radar.
San Francisco 49ers Defense: Just as I warned owners about, the Niners allowed 22 points while getting just 3 sacks and one INT in return. The team may have won, but the fantasy defense was among the lowest scoring this week.