Wow, what a Week 1 so far in the NFL. And as I type this late Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers is being carted to the locker room, while a Pro Bowl tight end is likely out for the season. Here is hoping both Rodgers and Delanie Walker are able to come back this season and help owners that invested in them (me raising my hand in trading for Walker prior to Week One).
As mentioned during the “All out Blitz” Sunday morning show, we went around the league to find the best fantasy bets for this week, while getting everyone the best lineup possible to win some $. With much of the action complete, here is a recap of some of the hits, misses, statements and duds from a very surprising Week One.
The Fantasy BONANZA in San Diego: While we predicted a Chargers win, yet again, as they do every year, they are off to a slow start. But that did not Rivers, Allen, Ekeler, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon from approaching and exceeding double-digit in fantasy points. On the other side of the ball, Patrick Mahomes and the hype train chugged right along with a 4 touchdown performance, while Tyreek Hill accounted for 3 touchdowns and over 200 yards of total offense.
James Conner, Steelers, RB and Carlos Hyde, Browns, RB: Given the awful weather in Cleveland, it was clear the Steelers and Browns would rely on their ground games or much of the afternoon. While Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon both found the end zone, it was Conner and Hyde who were the focus of their teams attacks. And both did not disappoint. Each found the end zone and Conner went well over 100 yards. Le’Veon Bell who? Expect more of the same if Bell were to sit out next weeks contest as well.
Benching Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers, QB and starting Kirk Cousins, Vikings, QB: As expected, Jimmy G was handed his first career loss, while throwing 3 interceptions in a road loss. Cousins, who replaced Case Keenum for the Vikings, tossed 2 touchdown passes, threw for 244 yards and added 20+ yards on the ground. Expect more of the same for the former Redskin.
Anything and everything Ravens: We told you to be in on John Brown. Touchdown. Same for Michael Crabtree. Touchdown. A short yardage Alex Collins score. Nailed it. Flacco a resurgent game. Got it. Ravens defense exposing the ineptitude of the Bills and their coaching staff. Check. All predicted as part of the 47-3 rout.
Drew Brees, Saints, QB, Alvin Kamara, Saints, RB and Michael Thomas, Saints, WR: It sure was not these players faults that the Saints gave up 48 points and lost their opener. Brees went for 439 yards and 3 scores, Kamara had over 140 all-purpose yards, 9 catches and 3 scores and Thomas caught an amazing 16 passes (on 17 targets), for 180 yards and a score. As predicted, they lit up the Bucs defense and may be in for more of the same next week, in another home date, this time with the Browns.
Benching every Jaguars receiving game option: Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief combined for 9 catches, 119 yards and no touchdowns. Michael Thomas outperformed all three. The Jags passing game will be a work in progress all season, making each member of the unit unstartable. And with the potential loss to the offense of Leonard Fournette, the Jags rushing game will also take a hit. In a matchup against the Patriots next week, you have to bench all Jags offensive skill position players.
Kenny Stills, Dolphins, WR: As predicted in the “All out Blitz” show Sunday morning, Stills was a sneaky selection as a big play receiver for the Fins. And he delivered. 4 catches, 106 yards and 2 scores. While the rushing attack sputtered as predicted, Stills was electric. More to come this year for Stills.
Case Keenum, Broncos, QB: We told you this morning that Keenum had a solid matchup against the Seahawks in the thin air of Mile High. A 300+ yard game with 3 touchdowns overshadows the 3 interceptions he threw, especially as he did so in a winning effort. With a well-balanced ground game, which saw two backs rush for 71 yards each, Keenum delivered with a fourth quarter comeback. He has solid receivers, backs and defense. Expect more of the same for Keenum early on in the 2018 season.
Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB’s: Just like the old adage that having two startable quarterbacks is like having no true quarterback, the Seahawks rushing attack is the same way. Carson and Penny split carries and neither established themselves as the go-to guy. Expect this timeshare to continue moving forward and is thus a situation to steer clear of.
Andrew Luck, Colts, QB: While I am still not 100% sold, Luck did everything he could to lead the Colts to victory. With his team driving to take the lead late in the 4th quarter, Jack Doyle had a key fumble which was returned for a game-clinching Bengals touchdown. Luck did not disappoint, throwing for over 300 yards, 2 scores and only one interception, which came on his first throw. For Week 1, the negative outlook for Luck was overstated.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers, QB: Mr. Fitzpatrick. I am sorry. You must have seen my game preview that said you were 57 years old, could not throw and were washed up. I apologize. Cause that performance against the Saints was outstanding. 5 total touchdowns, 417 yards and a statement that Jameis Winston may not earn his starting job back when he returns from suspension. The Bucs get the Eagles defense in week two, which should be more of a formidable unit than the awful Saints unit that let many fantasy owners and survivor pool entrants, regretting their selections.
Evan Engram, Giants, TE: Did we think Engram was going to go off? No. But 2 catches for 18 yards on 5 targets? That is a terrible performance in the season opener. He did have an outstanding catch called back by penalty, but he was unable to get it going against the talented Jags defense. Better days lie ahead for the former Ole Miss Tight End, but his opener was a severe disappointment.
Chris Hogan, Patriots, WR: 1 catch for 11 yards. In an offense with no Julian Edelman, Sony Michel and Danny Amendola to steal targets from, much was expected for Hogan. Not this week. It was Gronk, Dorsett, White and Burkhead who got many of the targets. With the Jags on the schedule for Week Two, he is someone to stay away from in many formats for that contest.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs, TE and Kareem Hunt, Chiefs, RB: While their teammates went bananas in the Chiefs surprising road win, Kelce (1 catch) and Hunt (49 total yards), were less than stellar. Expect them to bounce back in what may be a shootout with the Steelers next week.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins, RB: Mr. Peterson, we apologize. We did not expect you to total over 100 yards and score in what was an unlikely starting opportunity a few weeks back. But Peterson carried the rock 26 times, caught two passes and even looked spry. While the success is not likely to last, we acknowledge our mistake here.
Joe Mixon, Bengals, RB: With the move of Jeremy Hill to New England and the realization that Gio Bernard was nothing special in the backfield, the Bengals let Mixon carry the reigns in Week One. 95 yards rushing, 5 receptions, 50+ yards in the air and a score. Not bad for the 2nd year pro from Oklahoma. With Cincy playing Baltimore on a short week, owners will have a tricky decision to make as the Ravens completely shut down LeSean McCoy and the Bills offense.
DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers, WR: DeSean, where have you been? 146 yards, 29 yards per catch, 2 touchdowns. It was like 2009 for D-Jax against the Saints. Assuming he escaped injury, Jackson will be a hot pickup on the waiver wire. And with the motivation to play against his former team next week, he will be amped up to repeat his performance.
Tom Brady, Patriots, QB: 3 touchdowns, close to 300 yards, a win against a top AFC contender. Ho-hum. The GOAT improves to 1-0 and proves yet again that he’s still got it.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, QB: We called it a hit, but he was so good, he deserves another mention in the statement category. 256 yards and 4 touchdowns, on the road against a divisional rival. Wowza! You go Mr. Mahomes.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks, WR: Even worse then the fact they lost their opener, the Hawks lost Baldwin to a sprained MCL in his knee and he is expected to miss some time. This is NOT the same knee that he hurt and kept him out of the preseason. Now with two bad wheels, Baldwin may be looking at a lost 2018 season.
LeSean McCoy, Bills, RB and Kelvin Benjamin, Bills, WR: 7 carries for 22 yards for McCoy. 1 catch for 10 yards for Benjamin. Yuck. We told yah.
Deshaun Watson, Texans, QB: Another year, another loss for the Texans against the Patriots. A tradition unlike any other. This year, the Texans were never in the game and much of that came from Watson, who completed only 50% of his throws, for under 200 yards, with just one touchdown pass. He also committed two turnover, one that came on the Texans opening drive and led to a Gronk touchdown. A major disappointment for the Texans signal-caller, who was expecting to come back in a big way in 2018.
Derrick Henry, Titans, RB and Marcus Mariota, Titans, QB: What a clunker for the Titans to open the season. Henry carried the ball 10 times for a whopping 26 yards. Mariota on the other hand had a horrid afternoon before giving way to Blaine Gabbert as he suffered an elbow injury. With the Titans set to face the Texans in Week Two, both Henry and Mariota will be serious candidates to bench, while Delanie Walker, Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews would all see their value dip if Gabbert is indeed the starter next week.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys, QB: 170 yards and no touchdowns. Played skittish, unable to connect with receivers and was more of the 2017 Dak than the breakout performer of 2016. If I am the Cowboys, despite it being one week and on the road, I am worried.
Cam Newton, Panthers, QB: Did his team win the game? Yes. Was he solid? No. A rushing score saved his fantasy afternoon, but Newton needs to rectify the continued problems he has with getting the ball down the field. When your leading receiver in terms of targets is your running back with 9, that says where his comfort level is. Not a Newton fan and this game proved he is not a reliable option.
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