Week 1 is in the books so hopefully you are a perfect 1-0. If not, don’t worry champ there’s always this week to get you back in the path of success. With the conclusion of both the Monday night games, there’s a lot that happened in the NFL from Thursday to now. Players were hurt like Tyreek Hill or Derrius Guice, while others were let go last minute, Antonio Brown. Either way let’s get to the good stuff in
What Fantasy Football Lessons Did We Learn In Week 1?
To begin, I think it would be swell to start with the bad stuff, then go to the good stuff.
These two players were high fantasy picks in all of our drafts but didn’t come up with any gold. Stefon Diggs and Tyler Lockett each had two targets, Diggs had two receptions and Lockett one. Diggs was the worst of the two with only 5.7 fantasy points (PPR of course), while Lockett got a TD saving score for his and your team. Diggs has the Packers coming up so this may be a revamp on the WR and Seattle has the Steelers at home, hopefully giving Lockett an opportunity to have some breakout plays.
Christian Kirk is another player I thought would be interesting to highlight. In his first game with Kyler Murray as his QB, he was targeted 12 times, only one less than Hall of Famer to be WR Larry Fitzgerald. The difference: Fitzgerald caught eight of his targets, while Kirk only hauled in four. To give Kirk some kind of defense, fellow Arizona WR KeeSean Johnson also had 10 targets but only half the receptions. What does this mean? Well for one, Kyler Murray is definitely spreading the ball around, and two, though the ball is being spread, maybe the accuracy is not.
The next player is one that had a very promising outlook last year and led the RB boards for a good amount of the year. Todd Gurley slipped in our fantasy drafts this year no doubt but not until we saw a game with the Rams did we truly see where Gurley falls in the lineup. Between he and Malcolm Brown, only three attempts split the RBs. Gurley had the subtle advantage in carries but Brown kept us all interested in points. Not only that, the Rams weren’t utilizing either RB in the passing game because Gurley had the sole target and reception between them. What does this mean? Well, it looks like Gurley officially has a hand-cuff that is going to start reaping TDs from Gurley and our fantasy teams.
Let’s face it, who thought the loveable Browns would go down to the mysterious Titans? Nobody. Well, Vegas only had them a field goal ahead as favorites so it couldn’t have been that much of a downhill battle. Mayfield found this to be very true. His stats were less than expected and he threw three interceptions. I wouldn’t hold this against Mayfield though, the Titans Defense finished 8th overall last year in defense and 6th in passing defense with an average of 216.9 passing yards. I would say Mayfield might have better luck this week against the Jets since they just gave the Bills a comeback victory after their two TD lead.
Jackson, on the other hand, had an almost perfect game. How could this be on the “bad” side of the list? Well, Jackson had an almost perfect game against a team that was very imperfect. Last year the Dolphins had the 29th overall defense with 391.1 passing and 145.3 rushing yards averaged a game. Surprisingly enough, Jackson actually had less than their average with 324 yards and a very safe 20 attempts. The big kicker for Jackson was the rushing yards. In total, Miami gave up 265 yards on the ground, well above their average, therefore, opening up the passing game for Jackson to flourish.
In all, I wouldn’t say this is a very bad thing but kind of stuck in the middle of good and bad. Bad because if the Ravens don’t mirror this rushing performance, Jackson’s numbers will never be this awesome, but good because with a successful running game, we can see that Jackson truly has some potential that can be unlocked.
Now for some of the good stuff.
We know all know of the Barkley’s and McCaffrey’s and Julio Jones’s of the season are going to get their numbers so I thought highlighting the “other guys” might be some of the true nuggets of knowledge.
Melvin Gordon, yes I said it, Melvin Gordon. Thanks to him, massive points and the steal of the week, Austin Ekeler, fell to the 8th or 9th rounds in many of our fantasy drafts. We all knew holdouts were the theme of the offseason but the Chargers are one of the only teams to wait so long to come to any conclusion with their player Gordon. Now we know why. Ekeler killed it both on the ground and passing game. Proving he can be that three-down back most teams look for in an RB, especially guys like us who want these dudes to score points.
DeSean Jackson came back to his stomping grounds, possibly where he might want to retire, and what a surprise, he scored a poop ton of points. This might be deja-vu from last year’s crazy numbers with five targets/receptions, 146 yards, and two TDs. But this year he does slightly better with 10 targets, eight receptions, 154 yards, and two TDs again. What could this mean? Well, Jackson looks like when he’s got a capable QB at the beginning of the year, he gets big numbers. Last year he followed his Week 1 performance with 22 fantasy points, so if you believe in destiny, it might be destined for Jackson to start in your Week 2 lineup. Personally I think with Carson Wentz as his QB now, his success is in good fortune, but with that, Alshon Jeffery might get the back end of it.
Both Sammy Watkins and John Ross have stumbled into injury success. Tyreek Hill went down in Kansas City’s game in Jacksonville, while A.J. Green went down in the preseason with (another) leg injury. As cause and effect go – our second string WRs scored big-time starting WR numbers. And if you want to take injury out of the equation, how about Tyrell Williams? With AB out of the picture, Williams proved to us, and the Raiders, of his starting WR abilities. In total: Watkins finished the game with 46.8 fantasy points, Ross with 34.8 and Williams with 22.5. So judge the points as you please.
Finally, Gardner Minshew. Who? Yeah, I didn’t know who he was either. Not until I really started researching some stats did I notice Mr. Minshew of the Jacksonville Jags. He, like Ross and Watkins, got a start after Nick Foles went down with a broken clavicle. Unfortunately for Jaguars fans, Foles is going to be out for a little bit, but don’t sleep on Garnder Minshew. His numbers on Sunday against KC were 22 completions on 25 attempts, 275 yards, two TDs, and one pick, finishing 16th overall in Week 1 in fantasy with 22.4 points. Scoring more points than names like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and poor ol’ Cam Newton. Not too bad for his coming in as Nick Foles’ backup.
So what did we learn from Week 1?
To summarize, WRs that were high draft picks need to pan out, QBs against tough defensive matchups need to be paid attention to when starting lineups, and injuries or holdouts to starters make your sleeper picks look less like a shot in the dark.