Welcome back for the instant analysis of what just happened in fantasy
football courtesy of TMB! There’s always plenty to discuss
after Week 1, so let’s get started with ten buzz-worthy observations…
Theres' no replacing David Johnson but
there are a number of waiver wire options to help ease the
1. The Lead Story is a Bummer
Iíd much rather start re-capping with something exciting,
but the truth is, David Johnsonís wrist injury is the biggest
news that took place this past weekend. While we donítí
have a definitive announcement from the team, it appears he will
miss multiple weeks. There is no ďnext man upĒ in Arizona
from a fantasy perspective as the two guys who will likely split
time in DJís absence (Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington) canít
hold a candle to Johnsonís abilities. Hereís hoping
that Johnson owners drafted Kareem Hunt (see below). If not, itís
going to be a mad scramble on the waiver wire for the likes of Tarik Cohen, Chris Carson and Javorius Allen, with Johnson shelved for
the foreseeable future.
2. Kareemed in Foxboro
In a week in which offensive production was difficult to find, one
player stood out above all others. Kareem Hunt was drawing plenty
of interest during the two weeks leading up to the season due to
Spencer Wareís season-ending injury. Now, fantasy owners are
wondering if Hunt can be a top-five running back for the remainder
of the season after he exploded for 246 yards from scrimmage and
3 TDs on Thursday night. The answer to that for anyone who actually
watched the game is yes. Most likely, Hunt is going to be a RB1
moving forward and if you got him for a bargain price on draft day,
thereís no one in your league that is more excited about what
is to come than you. Incidentally, the top QB and WR performances
of the week also came from Chief players as Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill further carved up the Patriots defense. Their numbers are likely
to come and go, however, based on game script. Not so with Hunt
who will be a factor moving forward if Kansas City is playing from
behind or ahead. What a draft day steal.
3. Bottom of the Barrel
Kansas Cityís offense in Week 1 was the exception, not the
rule. In all, 7 teams scored 12 points or fewer on Sunday with the
Bengals providing the floor netting exactly zero points vs. the
Ravens. The struggles of Scott Tolzien, Brian Hoyer, Tom Savage,
Josh McCown, and even Eli Manning (without Odell Beckham) were predictable,
but how do you explain Andy Dalton? Dalton barely completed 50%
of his passes and tossed four interceptions. Weíve seen this
from Dalton before, but the addition of Joe Mixon and the clean
bill of health for Tyler Eifert were supposed to insure some offensive
stability from Big Red. Weíll see what Cincinnati can do on
a short week vs. Houston who has offensive woes of their own. Until
things get sorted out, I would recommend sitting Mixon and Eifert,
but continuing to start A.J. Green without exception.
4. It Was a Great Sunday/Monday for
Itís days like Sunday that I wonder why I donít just
use the second half of my fantasy draft to gobble up rookies. Even
in a redraft league, there is enough upside to make the strategy
worthwhile. In addition to Hunt, how about wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp? Both rookie wideouts turned their 4 catches
into touchdowns (2 in Golladayís case) and in doing so put
up two of the top ten performances for the week at the position.
At running back, Chicagoís bite-size sensation, Tarik Cohen,
lit up the Falcons for 113 yards while Marlon Mack vultured a TD
from veteran Frank Gore. But, the best of the backs not named Hunt
was Dalvin Cook with 137 yards in a debut that was better than what
Adrian Peterson accomplished a decade before. Another rookie RB
had over 100 yards rushing...
5. Marrone, Fournette, and Robinson:
The Perfect Storm
Prior to Week 1 we knew Doug Marrone-led teams run the ball. A lot.
With Blake Bortles struggling to make even the simplest of throws,
it became obvious early in the preseason that Jacksonville was going
to be a running team. On Sunday, The Jags lost Allen Robinson for
the season with an ACL tear. That came on the heels of rookie Dede Westbrook also being placed on injured reserve. So, what is a run-first
guy like Marrone going to do now? Iíll give you a hint: Much,
much more of what we saw on Sunday. Rookie Leonard Fournette ran
the ball 26 times vs. Houston and even caught 3 passes out of the
backfield. At that pace, Fournette will get 416 carries this season
and catch 48 passes. I really think the days of RBs getting 400+
carries are probably over, but I do think Marrone will push Fournette
to the brink of 400 if he stays healthy. Bottom line: The stars
are aligned for league-high volume going forward for Fournette.
Consider trading for him if the price is not too steep and hope
that Marrone doesnít run him too far into the ground.
6. Roaring Like Big Cats in the Motor
Itís really a shame that Calvin Johnson retired when he did,
because Matthew Staffordís 2016 season plus the first game
of 2017 are what happens when a quarterback finally reaches his
potential. Stafford (290+ yards passing, 4 TDs) was one of the few
players on Sunday that produced stud numbers and Iím left
to wonder how he dropped so far in preseason rankings and August
drafts? Ameer Abdullahís return was supposed to make the Lions
offense more balanced, but when the going got tough this past weekend,
the Lions just did what they do best- shred other teams through
the air. Sure, Stafford plays 8 games on the road and some will
be in sorry weather conditions late in the year, but you canít
help but notice that he appears to have near total command of the
offense. One note of caution: Stafford did open 2016 with a similar
effort (300+ yards, 3 TDs) but the addition of Golladay seems to
make production a more sustainable entity. If Eric Ebron can get
healthy, this team could be scary good from a real world and fantasy
point of view.
7. A Mix of the Strange and the Familiar for Pittsbugh
Prior to Sunday, I didnít read one report that expressed concern
about LeíVeon Bellís long layoff. Maybe itís something
I should have considered. Bell looked strangely sluggish in a matchup
that last season rendered a 200+ yard game and a TD (he sat out
the second game vs. the Browns). He didnít resemble his dominant
self in any way, shape, or form. What was familiar was the sight
of Antonio Brown making big plays downfield on his way to leading
all wideouts in receiving yards in Week 1? No two players monopolize
the production per team more than Bell and Brown. But, the difference
between the two in Week 1 was stark. The guess here is that Bell
will find his sea logs soon while Brown continues his dominance.
Oh, and donít expect another multi-TD game from Jesse James
this year. Those will eventually go to Martavis Bryant once heís
fully acclimated to the offense.
8. Run For Your Life!
If you were able to catch the Packers-Seahawks game on Sunday afternoon
you watched two quarterbacks scrambling to avoid a sack on nearly
every pass play. Russell Wilson was especially forced into frantic
mode and the offensive line in Seattle has begun this season resembling
their 2016 effort. That's not good news for the running back group
of Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and Chris Carson. Of
the four, Carson looked the most elusive, but wiggle will only get
you so far behind arguably the worst line in the league. In theory,
the inability to run means more points for Wilson, but I'm worried
about him lasting all 16 games. If you're rolling the dice with
him moving forward, make sure you have a backup plan. And, don't
start a Seattle RB until further notice. Period.
9. I'm Digging ItÖ
Last night, we finally got to see another offense besides Kansas
City fully in sync and surprisingly, it was the Minnesota Vikings.
Stefon Diggs has shown flashes in the past of being an elite wide
receiver only to follow up big performances with disappearing acts.
Diggs and Adam Thielen were without question the best WR duo of
Week 1, combining for 16 receptions, 250 yards, and 2 TDs (both
to Diggs). While that is encouraging, it's important to note who
the opposing defense was. It appears we can continue picking on
the Saints defense. But, don't overestimate production when it's
against the Saints. Last year, they were responsible for many players'
best game of the year.
10. The Agony That is Bennie Fowler
Finally, an acknowledgment of the pain that Demaryius Thomas and
Emmanuel Sanders owners feel this morning. Maybe you stayed up half
the night needing only a few more points from your guy to edge out
an opponent. There are few things certainly more agonizing than
seeing Trevor Siemian find Bennie Fowler for not one, but two TDs
in the red zone while Thomas and Sanders labor in vain. I guess
wide receivers can vulture TDs, too.
That will do it for this week. Look for offenses to strike back
in Week 2… just not on Thursday night when the first team
to ten points will win the Texans and Bengals matchup.