Week 1 is in the books folks, and some quirky things happened; as per usual for the first week of football. We had some standout performances, some major let downs, and as always injuries. We will take a gander at some of the performances you were ecstatic to see in your lineups and players you were screaming at your phone to catch some more passes. To round out the conversation, we will look at some players you can add to supplement some of the injuries your team may have taken during Week 1.
You Got What You Paid For
Julio Jones- The title bodes well for the Falcons and their fans. After signing his new massive contract only about a week prior, Julio showed the Falcons organization that their money won’t be going to waste. Jones was often matched up against Byron Maxwell on the outside and he simply couldn’t stop him. Jones was effective on the inside slants, comeback routes, and go routes down the sidelines all night long. This opening week performance against such
a high paid corner really shows what he is capable of doing. Continue to expect big things from him with Matt Ryan at the helm.
In Week 2, Julio will be matching up with Prince Amukamara or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when the Falcons head to New York to take on the Giants. Those two corners are not push overs by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, with Julio’s pure athleticism and dominance on all parts of the field, the Giants may struggle to keep his numbers pedestrian. Expect Julio to have another big week and be a sure-fire WR1.
Antonio Brown- Mister consistency. A 33rd game with at least 5 catches for 50 yards, and that was almost accomplished by the end of the first quarter. Bill Belicheck is known for taking away any given teams best weapon, and making the other guys beat them (See T.Y. Hilton). Although, that may have been the plan in place, Brown still went off to the tune of 9/133/1. His touchdown came late in the game during some garbage time production, but don’t all of those points count the same? Paying the high price tag in your drafts for Brown, has already returned some dividends, it’s only one week, but Brown picked up right where he left off.
In Week 2, expect Antonio to have parallel numbers to what he had in Week 1 if not surpassing them. He and Big Ben will be taking on a remade 49ers secondary that should lend its hand to plenty of opportunity for the dynamic duo. Bridgewater and company were not able to take advantage of a porous defense, but the Steelers have a way more high-powered offense and I envision them taking care of business early and often on Sunday.
DeAndre Hopkins- Not as big of a name as the other two mentioned above, but if you took RB/RB or Gronk/RB, you have to be feeling really satisfied with Hopkins showing in Week 1. We knew the departure of long-time Texan Andre Johnson would open the door for Hopkins to become a WR1. The questions of who would be throwing him the ball throughout the season made people question his WR1 status. Well, we got to see both of the quarterbacks in question throw him the ball in Week 1 and he finished with a line of 9/98/2. Mallett looked the better out of the two passers, and it will be hard for coach O’Brien to go back to Hoyer.
This week, the Texans’ will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers. No matter who the Texans’ throw out at quarterback this week, Hopkins should see anywhere from 9-14 targets. When opportunity presents itself, that allows players to accumulate statistics, which is what we are all worried about in the fantasy realm. Expect Hopkins to finish as a top 10 WR in Week 2.
Week 1 Let-Downs
Notice I refrained from using the word bust, because you can not determine any player being a bust after one week. Do not panic quite yet, it was only one week of football, and fluky things happen Week 1. Do not have your hand hovered over the panic button for these players. For these players, some of it may have just been matchup based, game flow, or quarterback ineffectiveness, but do not shy away from putting these players in your lineup for Week 2.
Calvin Johnson- The only worrisome aspect of his fantasy dud performance, was that he only saw a measly four targets, only catching two of them for 39 yards. Megatron and Stafford both came out after the game and said that they were rolling double coverage towards Johnson all game long and that’s the reason he was not targeted heavily. It’s not like this is the first time he has been double-covered in his career though. It could be the emergence and trust of second year tight-end Eric Ebron that allowed Stafford the comfort of not having to force the ball into double coverage.
I would not be trying to trade away Megatron at this point, or be thinking of putting a lesser WR in your lineup for the time being. Just ride the wave, and if this continues to happen for another 3-4 weeks then you can start to re-evaluate rostering Megatron.
Brandin Cooks- This was also a function of matchup based production. Cooks was being shadowed by LSU running mates Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu all day Sunday and was deemed ineffective at best. Cooks did see eight targets from Drew Brees, but was only able to turn that into four catches for 49 yards. Cooks is not your prototypical red-zone target standing at 5-foot-10, so he really needs to improve upon his receptions and yardage for him to pay off his round 3/4 price tag.
The Saints’ will be returning to the Superdome to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don’t think you need a reminder of what Marcus Mariota did in his first NFL game to this same defense. Look for Drew and Cooks to get the ball rolling and have a much better game. Maybe take a look around in your leagues and see if the Cooks owner is panicking and slide a trade offer his way.
Demaryius Thomas- What an all-around awful game from the Denver offensive squad. They could not seem to get anything going on the ground or through the air. Peyton looked like the guy we are used to seeing in December, with absolutely no velocity behind his throws, and was missing wide open receivers on several occasions. Although, the Broncos looked terrible offensively in their debut, they were facing a stingy Ravens’ defense who knew former coach Gary Kubiak’s offense pretty well.
The Broncos travel to Kansas City for a Thursday Night Football game, which may give the Broncos some problems offensively due to a swarming defense and loud crowd noise. Nevertheless, those Chiefs allowed the tandem of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett throw for 298 yards and two scores. Peyton Manning has also had the Chiefs number throughout his career, posting a record of 11-1, and 5-1 at Arrowhead Stadium. In his two games against the Chiefs’ last season, Peyton went a combined 38 for 60, 421 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Thomas did have a touchdown in each of the teams matchups in 2014, so look for him and Manning to get off the snide in that aspect.
Take a peek around your leagues and see if any of these players are available on the cheap, some owners may over-thinking after Week 1.
Scouring Through the Waiver Wire
Donte Moncrief- Hilton’s knee injury will keep him out for a couple of weeks, opening up target opportunities for Moncrief. He took over as one of the starting receivers next to Andre Johnson, playing 57 of 77 offensive snaps. Moncrief took advantage of garbage time in a blowout loss, grabbing six catches on 11 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
With Hilton out and Johnson looking woefully ineffective, Moncrief is a good bet to lead the Colts in targets while Hilton is out. He should be owned in every league, but there’s one major red flag coming to Indy next week, and its name is Darrelle Revis. Keep your expectations tempered, at least for Week 2.
James Jones- Did you hear that Jones scored 14 touchdowns with the Packers in 2012? That might have been mentioned once or twice during the Packers victory over the Bears. Anyways, Jones picked up right where he left off with Aaron Rodgers, grabbing two touchdowns on four catches against the Chicago Bears.
After a lost season with the Oakland Raiders, Jones is back where he belongs as Rodgers’ red zone target with Jordy Nelson out. He should continue to produce WR3 numbers with the occasional touchdown, rendering Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis afterthoughts in fantasy. He could easily find the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks if Kam Chancellor’s holdout drags out another week.
Cole Beasley- Bryant suffered a broken bone in his foot and will be out for 4-6 weeks. Fantasy owners might be tripping over themselves to grab Terrance Williams, but I happen to think Beasley will be the safer play. He’s been quietly reliable as a poor man’s Julian Edelman for Tony Romo, operating as a pesky chain-mover out of the slot.
If you’re expecting chunks of yards you’ll be disappointed, but Beasley should have WR3/4 consideration in PPR leagues. He has a plus matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, who have precious little depth in the secondary. If the Cowboys continue to struggle running the football this may lead Romo to have to air it out more often than not, boding well for Beasley and the Dallas WR.
Bold Predictions for Week 2
Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown both go over 80 yards and with a touchdown each against the Bears.
Allen Hurns is the leading receiver in the Jacksonville/Miami game with 7/100/1.
Brandin Cooks goes bonkers to the tune of 9/155/1 against Tampa Bay.
Alshon Jeffery gets shut down by Peterson and the Cards for 3/25/0.
Come back for next week’s article and see who we will be talking about putting up huge performances, or those who put up goose-eggs. In the meantime, go to your smartphones and pick up some of these players on the waiver wire. Drafting well will help win you fantasy championships, but the real key is staying active on the waiver wire. Until the next time folks, good luck in Week 2.
Find me on twitter to ask any questions about fantasy: @zaksauer
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