Fantasy Football: Week One Fantasy Takeaways
In Tuesday’s column and every Tuesday throughout the season, I’ll list a quick fantasy takeaway from each team and some guys to target on the waiver wire. Don’t forget to get in those waiver claims! Lot of good players are sitting out there to snag before next week begins Thursday!
Houston Texans – Andre Johnson still lead dog, targeted 16 times on the night. As predicted in my column a few weeks ago, Arian Foster/Ben Tate start the season splitting carries. That shouldn’t change as long as Tate is averaging a healthy six yards per carry.
San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers seems to be equal opportunity so far with seemingly everyone on offense having anywhere from three to six targets. Don’t look for four TD each week. Watch Malcom Floyd, who still looks to be the down-field threat, even though he only caught one ball.
Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick is an every week fantasy starter in this offense, and his team’s defense will allow him to be in some real high scoring games down the road. McCoy is back as an elite option, and DeSean Jackson may be too, but I have to see more from the latter.
Washington Redskins – RGIII won’t throw for 300 yards every week, and those stats were inflated because his team was down big early. Don’t jump to conclusions about his receivers having nice days, although Leonard Hankerson is intriguing because he’s such a big target. His problem has been dropping balls in the past.
New England Patriots – Stevan Ridley, despite his fumbles, will be back to his normal workload especially with the loss of Shane Vereen for a month or so. Julian Edelman, the forgotten man, may be Brady’s reliable target, if you factor in production AND health. Definitely worth a pickup.
Buffalo Bills – CJ Spiller with a dud in week one but do not panic. Do not touch any of the Bills rookie receivers just yet. Wait and see on them. Fred Jackson had a lot of touches, but only a stash on your bench at this point. Manuel looked poised in the second half but not worth a roster spot right now.
Cincinnati Bengals – Disappointing start for Giovani Bernard, but the Bears run defense allowed only 63 yards total on the ground. Keep him in there, especially this week against the banged up Steelers. Benjarvus Green Ellis is a three yard per carry guy and not start-able for me in any format. AJ Green is an absolute monster, and what did I tell you guys about Tyler Eifert? Five catches in week one. Budding star.
Miami Dolphins – Mike Wallace (one catch) is a hot button topic, but he’ll catch his share of deep bombs as the season wears on. He was never a possession receiver anyway. Wide-outs Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline both worthy of a long look today on the waiver wire. Combined for 16 catches on 26 targets. Browns run D was a wall, or was it? Lamar Miller looked lost. They miss Jake Long on that offensive line. Beware.
Cleveland Browns – Brandon Weeden shouldn’t be owned in any league until he learns how to throw the ball to the team wearing, well, brown. Trent Richardson is still an elite option, despite his paltry week one totals. I spoke about tight end Jordan Cameron Friday night appearing on OT w/ Jim Murray, saying he would be a hot name going into week two. Couldn’t be hotter coming off of a 10 catch, 108 yard performance reaching the end zone as well. Grab him on waivers immediately.
Minnesota Vikings – Couldn’t have gone much worse on offense for the purple after the first play from scrimmage, a 78 yard touchdown run for the reigning MVP. As far as the passing game, Jerome Simpson did what he could to help, catching seven balls on eight targets for 140 yards. As rookie Cordarrelle Patterson (one catch on just one target, played five snaps) learns the position and Greg Jennings continues to be double covered, Simpson could be beneficiary. Worth a speculative add on the waiver wire today.
Detroit Lions – Told the world in my preview column that Reggie Bush would have a monster year in Honolulu blue up in Detroit. His owners are smiling today, 191 total yards and a touchdown racked up for the former Heisman winner. Vikings took Calvin Johnson out of the game (and succeeded) but don’t expect that to be an every week occurrence. Joique Bell as the change of pace back scored two goal line vulture touchdowns. Worth a look as a bench guy.
Oakland Raiders – Terrelle Pryor leads the league in rushing after totaling over 100 yards. Is he worth an add? I still say no. The team is still going to be bad and they want to run the offense through Darren McFadden, who scored this week. Stay away from any Raider receiver including Denarius Moore. They just won’t put enough points up as a team on a week to week basis.
Indianapolis Colts – Intriguing to me here was Vick Ballard grabbing 13 carries, more than double what Ahmad Bradshaw received. Continue to use him as a flex option going forward. Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne were reliable as they should be all season long. Both should be every week starters if you own them.
Atlanta Falcons – Harry Douglas was benefit of Roddy White’s lingering foot injury. Not worthy of an add with so many other options Matt Ryan has to choose from. Seems like Tony Gonzalez is going to score a touchdown every week.
New Orleans Saints – Still wouldn’t feel confident starting anyone but Darren Sproles out of the Saints backfield. Mark Ingram was ineffective and Pierre Thomas doesn’t see enough snaps for my liking. Expect Lance Moore, who only had two catches Sunday, to increase his production going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman is a disaster, completing less than 50% of his passes. The Jets defense is stout but 15 completions the entire day? The ONLY three viable starters on a week to week basis are Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and of course, Doug Martin.
New York Jets – Seems as if Geno Smith will be the starter from here on out, but still not worth a pickup in any league due to the fact he won’t throw the ball down the field enough. They are built to run the ball and throw short, quick passes in that West Coast offense. Kellen Winslow is an intriguing pickup at a position where quality week to week production is scarce. If you don’t have a Jimmy Graham or a Tony Gonzalez, you may want to add him before Thursday’s game at New England.
Tennessee Titans – Still the only start-able option for me is Chris Johnson who rushed 25 times for 70 yards. Not good numbers but the volume of carries shows you against weaker rush defenses he’ll probably break a long one sooner or later. Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright, two early season sleepers for many (not me), combined for 36 yards on just a trio of grabs. Not worth your time.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Four of 13 on third downs, no rushing first downs the entire game. Offense was in disarray the entire day. The backfield should be avoided, especially this week in Cincinnati for the Bengals home opener, and as for the passing game, I’d sit all Steelers this week and not even bother picking up Jonathan Dwyer who was just signed back to the roster when Larod Stephens-Howling went down with a torn ACL.
Seattle Seahawks – The receiving core is a hodgepodge of guys who are borderline starts, with Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate seemingly the favorites for the lion’s share of targets (each had 8 in week one). Russell Wilson is still a borderline fantasy #1 quarterback for me. They’ll run the ball more in future games, especially when not facing a Panthers front that is legit. Marshawn Lynch held to 43 yards but that’s a testament to how good that Carolina front seven really is. 0-for-3 in red zone in terms of touchdowns for the visitors.
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton didn’t reach the 200 yard mark, but I’m willing to give him a break considering the Seattle secondary is probably the best in the league. Everything was underneath, including five catches on 10 targets for Greg Olsen. He’s an every week starter and should get into the end zone as soon as this week up in Buffalo.
Kansas City Chiefs – Smoke or fire here? Was the Jaguars defense that bad or was the Chiefs offense that much improved from a year ago? Jamaal Charles got his fill Sunday, 100 yards on the nose on the ground and through the air with a touchdown thrown in. Anyone besides Dwayne Bowe as far as Chiefs receivers should be ignored, including Donnie Avery and Junior Hemingway, each of which reached the end zone. Still too early to declare them worthy of your attention.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Well, the Blaine Gabbert experiment may be over for good. He was brutal in week one and now sits due to injury. Chad Henne, while not great, is certainly capable and should provide a minor spark to an offense that averaged 2.5 yards a play last week. Maurice Jones-Drew was taken out of the game plan once the Jaguars fell behind by two scores. He’s still an every week option to me, and should rebound this week against the Raiders.
Arizona Cardinals – If Carson Palmer is going to throw the ball 40 times, wide receivers like Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd are worthy of your attention as Larry Fitzgerald’s sidekicks in the passing game. Alfonso Smith did get double digit carries working in tandem with Rashard Mendenhall, but in an offense that probably will wind up with a pass to run ratio at 2:1 as we go forward, neither is worth your time as a legit week in, week out starter.
St. Louis Rams – If Jared Cook somehow went un-drafted, he should be your number one target this week on the waiver wire. Seven catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns. Already a top five tight end and we’ve only played one of 16. Tavon Austin had a nice debut with six catches on seven targets and should continue to see ample targets, worthy of a spot in your starting lineup. Daryl Richardson is a run of the mill running back for me, even with his 96 yards and five catches to boot. A borderline number two back as they go against the Seahawks and Niners elite run defenses twice before the season is out.
Green Bay Packers – Jordy Nelson is back. James Jones is not. Carry on. Seriously though, Nelson and Randall Cobb seem to be the main targets for a team that will throw the ball 35-40 times a game on average. Each had very nice days against a tough Niners defense and will have even bigger days against the Redskins up at Lambeau this Sunday. Eddie Lacy to me still is a borderline #2/flex guy even though he reached the end zone in week one.
San Francisco 49ers – Probably the most shocking fantasy performance of the week goes to Anquan Boldin, acquired for a late draft pick in the spring from the Ravens and proceeds to have a 13 catch, 207 yard day that left collective jaws around the league dropped. If he’s not somehow owned in your league, he needs to be. Don’t expect Colin Kaepernick to throw for 400 yards again this year, however. The Packers defense is still Swiss cheese, even with that knucklehead Clay Matthews making a couple of brilliant plays in the backfield. Niners will face stiffer competition in the weeks to come.
New York Giants – I could sit here and write for hours about how good and bad that fantasy performance was for the Giants, but we’ll stick to just two players for now. Can’t be much worse for David Wilson, fumbling twice in the first half and benched for the rest of the game after accumulating only 19 yards on the night. He’ll be back in there this week, and against a Denver defense without Von Miller should have a nice rebound game in the home opener for Big Blue. Don’t give up on him just yet. He will pay dividends, I promise. Speaking of paying dividends, the brilliant from Sunday night in terms of the Giants was Victor Cruz. Seemingly open on almost every play, five catches for 118 yards and a trio of scores helped a lot of fantasy owners (including me) Sunday night who needed him to come up big. Expect him to continue to produce with big numbers going forward, especially if Champ Bailey is ruled out again in week two.
Dallas Cowboys – The Giants game plan was not to let Dez Bryant beat them, rolling a safety to his side of the field on almost every single passing situation. My #1 ranked wide receiver heading into 2013 was held to just four catches in week one for 22 yards, but against the Chiefs this week who have yet to be tested in the passing game, expect him to double that catch number in week two. Jason Witten remains a reliable tight end, scoring twice which is half of his four from 2012. Terrence Williams, the rookie wide-out from Baylor, could be a sneaky pickup and play the Laurent Robinson third wide receiver role from a few years back. He was targeted just four times and caught two balls, but if teams are going to take Dez Bryant out of the game, guys like Williams could be the beneficiary.
Baltimore Ravens – They had to abandon the run game in the second half due to Peyton Manning racking up seven TD’s, forcing Flacco to throw more than he or anybody on that sideline wanted. Ray Rice will be fine going forward, touched the ball 20 times and will continue to have that total minimum on a weekly basis. Forget adding Dallas Clark. Those totals are boosted by the fact Flacco had to throw the ball 62 times in what was a one sided affair.
Denver Broncos – Well, now everyone knows who Julius Thomas is. If you missed the game Thursday against the Ravens he caught five balls, two of which were long touchdowns, and eclipsed the century mark in terms of yards. A must add in any league with the best QB of our generation under center. All the Bronco receivers minus Decker got a healthy fantasy total in week one, and Decker’s line would’ve been better if he didn’t drop a couple of catchable balls. He was targeted seven times, good for third most behind Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Keep starting Decker and watch him score against the Giants this week. Put that in ink.
Till next time,