It was an incredibly exciting Week One of the fantasy football season. There were high scoring games, great individual plays, and unpredictable busts. The first Sunday of the NFL season produced seven victories by road teams. Welcome back NFL, we truly missed you.
Here is a quick look at yesterday’s game. Is it time to panic? Will your first round pick bounce back? Those questions get answer in this week’s “Rapid Reaction.”
Fantasy Football: Week One Rapid Reaction
Skinny: It was a close game for the Packers, and Lacy still received 14 carries and two passing targets. Backup James Starks only had four carries, one more than Cobb. No 50-50 backfield time share in Green Bay. Nelson played his first game since 2014 and leads the team in targets with nine, while grabbing a touchdown. Cobb is always more productive when Nelson plays, and led Green Bay in receiving yards. Thomas was incredibly efficient for Jacksonville, totaling five catches on five targets with a touchdown. Robinson owners are panicking, but fifteen targets from quarterback Blake Bortles should calm their nerves. Yeldon had a touchdown, but a 1.9 average on 21 carries is a major cause for concern. The Packers needed to honor the pass, yet the Jaguars still couldn’t run effectively.
Skinny: The Broncos got a nice win in quarterback Trevor Siemian‘s first career start. Anderson looks to be a true running back bell cow in a league with very few. His 20 carries and four receptions produced two touchdowns. Green had a wide open touchdown batted away at the last second by Carolina defensive lineman Kony Ealy. The rumor of a snap count for Benjamin was a hoax, since he was arguably the best player on the field with 12 targets. Olsen was the Panthers most efficient receiver with seven receptions on nine targets. Do not be deterred by Stewart’s low fantasy output. He had 15 carries and a 4.3 yard average on the road against a strong Denver defense. Thomas elicited concern from fantasy owners during the game, and especially when a report surfaced on a potential hip injury. Regardless, with Siemian as the quarterback, the game script will definitely reduce Thomas’ opportunities.
Skinny: The best fantasy result from this game was watching McCoy get the goal line carries. This should lead to a top five running back season. Wallace proved he still has the speed and will be a deep weapon for Baltimore. Flacco played well in his first game back from injury, and was an efficient 23 of 34 with no interceptions. Ravens wide receiver who was targeted the most? Steve Smith Sr. with nine. If that trend continues he will be a steal where he was drafted. The Ravens play tough defensively at home, so Watkins low production (four catches for 43 yards) should not be a concern. However, Aiken is in a crowded receiving group, and was behind Wallace, Perriman and Smith this week. This is a big concern moving forward.
Skinny: Miller may have the most secure position in fantasy football. He carried the ball 28 times for 106 yards, and caught all four of his targets. Backup Alfred Blue had one single carry. Fuller impressed with a team high 11 targets for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Langford was not efficient (3.4 yards per carry) but productive (touchdown). Osweiler played well in his Houston debut, and will at least be equal to Hopkins’ quarterbacks from last season. That should make this game (54 yards and a touchdown) be the floor for Hopkins during most of the season. Eddie Royal‘s touchdown should concern Kevin White owners. Having not played all of last season, the predraft expectations may prove to have been too lofty.
Skinny: Matthews proved to be a weapon for Carson Wentz in the slot (14 targets), and should be a nice fantasy play every week. Mathews has a hold on the lead running back job, and should get some receptions in future games. Pryor looked very impressive, and with Josh Gordon out for three more games, he should be no worse than a WR3 the next few games. Johnson underachieved in a game script that made the Browns pass often. Head coach Hue Jackson will recognize that and adjust. Barnidge with only two targets and no receptions? Could last season be a one hit wonder for the soon to be 31 year old?
Skinny: Winston was superb against a Falcons secondary that was very strong in 2015. Evans had 99 yards, a touchdown, and was overthrown in the end zone while wide open. Sims is an underrated fantasy weapon, and would be a top ten running back if Martin gets injured. Coleman looked great all around, and is a valuable receiver out of the backfield. Sanu could be on his way to a career season playing opposite Julio Jones. If Winston stays productive, Jackson will get his receptions. He looked great in the preseason. After a poor ending to 2015 combined with Coleman’s strong game, the concern about Freeman is very real. His second round average draft position (ADP) may prove to be absurd.
Skinny: With Shaun Hill at quarterback, Diggs still impressed with 103 yards on a team high nine targets. Murray was all over the field, and shocked everyone with seven receiving targets. He was a very polarizing preseason player, but looked tremendous in week one. Sharpe continued his hot preseason by leading the Titans with 11 targets. Nice to see Rudolph get some looks as he may be the second pass receiving weapon for Minnesota. Matthews had a poor game, but blends experience with productivity better than Sharpe or Andre Johnson. As predicted in this column, Peterson had a poor game against the stacked defensive fronts of Tennessee. But just 1.9 yards per carry? Without Teddy Bridgewater, is this a sign of things to come?
Skinny: Green lit up Darrelle Revis for 180 yards and a touchdown. Clearly, he has lost a step. Don’t expect future teams to make that mistake. Forte had 22 carries and five receptions for a great all around game. LaFell will benefit from the coverage on Green in future weeks, and Decker catching a touchdown is simply expected at this point. Bernard was a non-factor, but his versatility will keep that as a rarity. Marshall had eight targets, but both Quincy Enunwa and Forte could hurt his season long production.
Skinny: Drew Brees was…well…Drew Brees. Cooks and Snead were the beneficiaries as they combined for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Murray is the lead running back behind a great offensive line, and Amari Cooper established himself as the top wide receiver (11 targets for 137 yards) in his sophomore season. Fleener’s one catch for six yards is baffling, but the Saints have produced too many great tight end seasons to worry. Washington looked to be the backup to Murray, but training camp star Jalen Richard seems to have that role locked up.
Kansas City vs. San Diego: Kansas City wins 33-27 (OT)
Fantasy Stock up: Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Spencer Ware, Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin
Relax about…Philip Rivers
Be concerned about…Keenan Allen
Skinny: Gordon had two touchdowns in this game, after having zero touchdowns all of last season. Woodhead showed he can still be fantasy relevant when Gordon is producing. Ware had a monster game with Jamaal Charles out. It was so good that Charles’ opportunities could be lessened when he returns. Alex Smith just finds a way to produce. He has three total touchdowns to go with a rare 363 yards passing. Maclin continues to be overlooked, but he is the clear cut top option and is a guarantee for six plus targets each week. Limited fantasy point production for Rivers (15 points), but Ken Whisenhunt‘s return to offensive coordinator is already paying dividends.
Skinny: Wilson hurt his ankle in the third quarter, which really limited his effectiveness. Providing he is healthy, there should be no fantasy concerns moving forward. Foster received a ton of work (13 carries, 3 receptions) against a tough Seahawks defense. Landry received his usual double digit targets (10). Baldwin picked up where he left off last season with 92 yards and a touchdown. Kearse remains incredibly undervalued, and is still on most waiver wires. There were high hopes for Cameron prior to the season, but against a team that covers tight ends poorly, he produced two receptions for six yards. He should be dropped in all formats.
Indianapolis vs. Detroit: Detroit wins 39-35.
Fantasy Stock up: Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett
Relax about…Frank Gore
Be concerned about…T.Y. Hilton
Skinny: The new no-huddle offense implemented by Detroit offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was a huge success. Stafford looked comfortable and worked through his progressions easily in a quality win. Luck shook off a slow start to finish with 385 yards and four touchdowns. There are no injury concerns moving forward with the Colts star quarterback. Abdullah and Riddick were perfectly efficient on receptions. Both running backs caught five passes on five targets. Gore heated up in the second half and still proves to the be the main (and only) running back of significance for Indianapolis. Moncrief and Dorsett combined for 158 yards and ten receptions. While this is a positive for those respective fantasy owners, it is a big negative for Hilton. His third round ADP dictates more than six catches for 79 yards in a 35 point home game output.
Skinny: Manning threw three touchdown passes in a strong intradivisional road win. Cruz looked great in his first game in 700 days, catching all four of his targets including the go ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter. Beasley will be a huge safety valve for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, and his 12 targets may be a sign of things to come. Jennings proved the Giants believe in his strong finish to 2015, as his 18 carries clearly showed. Bryant frustrated fantasy owners with just one catch on five targets, but that will improve as Prescott gets more comfortable. Tye was a popular late round tight end target, but seeing teammate Larry Donnell catch a touchdown should worry fantasy owners.
Arizona vs. New England: New England wins 23-21
Fantasy Stock up: Jimmy Garoppolo, James White, Malcolm Mitchell, LeGarrette Blount, David Johnson
Relax about…Michael Floyd
Be concerned about…John Brown
Skinny: Garoppolo was outstanding in a huge Patriots week one win. Bill Belichick’s game plan was smart and played to his strengths. White will be a point per reception (PPR) monster until injured running back Dion Lewis returns. Mitchell showed an ability to separate and make tough catches in his regular season debut. Blount will be featured in a ball control offense, and was top five in running back carries (22). Johnson looked the part of a top fantasy running back. Floyd was Malcolm Butler‘s assignment throughout the game, so the low stat line should not be a concern. His three straight targets on the goal line late in second half proves Floyd will be featured. There many mouths to feed in the Arizona offense, and John Brown wasn’t even the best Brown on the offense last night. Jaron Brown had ten more receiving yards.