Week 1 is in the books and the NFL season is underway. There were a ton of great games, a few not so good games, some underperforming as well as over-performing. The bottom line is that we live in a world of dichotomy, and with the ‘good’, comes the ‘bad’, and the ‘ugly’ rears its head along the way, which brings me to the very first installment of a weekly segment where I break down the good, the bad and the ugly from the previous week.
The Good: Will Fuller
Every week as we sit and watch all the games, there is always a few heartwarming performances, triumphs, and overall compelling story lines. In week 1, we say some rookies shine in their debuts, four quarterbacks made their first career NFL starts with three of them pulling out the victory, but maybe the best of all, we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of 9/11. Even amid the controversy, nothing was overshadowed and we saw some teams lock arms in unity. Carson Wentz played well, albeit against the lowly Browns, Jimmy Garoppolo looked poised in the pocket against a solid Arizona defense, and Trevor Siemian, although the stats didn’t jump out of the screen, played well in his debut, beating the reining NFC champions in the process. All three picked up their first career victories, but from a fantasy standpoint, I want to talk about Will Fuller. The rookie sensation has obviously built some report with new quarterback Brock Osweiler as he sang to the tune of 5 catches for 107 yards and a TD. He even dropped a pass that would have likely gone for another 83-yard score, capping off an already stellar NFL debut. What is potentially the most intriguing stat, however, was that he was targeted 11 times, which was 3 more than superstar DeAndre Hopkins, which leads me to believe that he will continue to be a viable fantasy option going forward. If he is available in your league, don’t hesitate and pick him up immediately.
The Bad: Early Round Fantasy Superstars
As I mentioned earlier, there are always a number of players who don’t live up to the expectations for their fantasy owners in every week. The underperformance was shocking this week as 6 of the top 25 drafted players (Rob Gronkowski and LeVeon Bell were not included due to being inactive) failed to reach even 5 fantasy points in leagues that use a standard format. Todd Gurley, Adrian Peterson and DeVonta Freeman all disappointed and gained 113 total yards COMBINED. Wide receivers also fell short of expectations as Dez Bryant finished with 1 catch for 8 yards, Brandon Marshall recorded 32 yards on 3 receptions and Sammy Watkins had the best day with of the bunch hauling in 4 passes for a whopping 43 yards. Bryant almost salvaged his fantasy day with a touchdown catch, but could not keep possession as he was taken to the ground. If you drafted these players in the top 2 rounds of your fantasy draft as they commonly were, chances are you might already be regretting it, but there is no need to panic and sell low on these players as they are sure to regain form. The two guys you may want to monitor a little more, however, are Sammy Watkins and DeVonta Freeman. We don’t yet know the full extent of Watkins’ foot injury and could play a major role in limiting his speed and overall fantasy production. Freeman is another guy you might want to pay close attention to as his teammate Tevin Coleman outperformed him. If nothing else, Freeman owners should pick up Coleman as a handcuff if he is available.
The Ugly: Injuries
Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game and two players’ seasons were just cut short. Robert Griffin III suffered a fractured coracoid bone in his left shoulder late in the 29-10 loss to the Eagles. It’s a sad narrative as many experts thought that this could be his chance at redemption working with QB mastermind Hue Jackson and a wide receiver core loaded with talent. RGIII’s rebirth could be slipping away now, as he was placed on IR and will be sidelined until at least week 10. This wasn’t even the most devastating news of the week, at least from a fantasy standpoint, as Keenan Allen, the 24-year-old ball magnet from San Diego tore his ACL on a non-contact play late in the first half of their matchup against the Chiefs. It’s a shame as well as Allen was off to a great start catching 6 passes for 63 yards before sustaining the injury. From a fantasy perspective, Tyrell Williams is a compelling player to pick up, as he steps in as the number 2 wide receiver, and showed some flashes of brilliance in limited action.