Looking at trends and noteworthy performances from Week 1, including Kenny Golladay, Chris Carson and Nyheim Hines
We have concluded one week of the Fantasy Football season, and after all of the research and all of the analysis to prepare for the crazy season, it is obvious to me that we should throw it all out. A week’s worth of small samples in matchup-specific game planning conditions for players and coaches in their game that matters is obviously far more relevant than months of research and analysis.
Tyrod Taylor is going to grit and grapple his way to being a top 10 Fantasy quarterback. Sam Darnold is—at least in New York—the favorite for league MVP. Patrick Mahomes is the reincarnation of Brett Favre and the NFL’s next gunslinger superstar (This one might be true).
Okay, let’s get serious: It’s one week. While that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn anything from Week 1, it does mean that reasonable heads need to prevail and rational decision-making has to be emphasized. Austin Ekeler isn’t your answer at RB2, and Will Dissly isn’t going to compete with Gronk for more points at tight end this season.
However, that doesn’t mean Ekeler shouldn’t be claimed, or that Dissly won’t be a TE1 this year. It’s about being reasonable and having a rational approach; some of the few things I do well. I hate on what others love and I preach rational behavior. Maybe those aren’t super applicable skills in the real world, but they can be helpful in the Fantasy one.
Here are some trends and noteworthy developments from Week 1.
* Tevin Coleman had nine rushing attempts to Devonta Freeman’s six, along with two targets in the passing game. I tweeted (@CJmitch73) prior to this game that Coleman could outscore Freeman this year. At the very least, Coleman could carry the heavier workload between the tackles and be the answer to the Falcons struggles in the red zone. DFS players, pay attention.
* Phillip Dorsett’s seven targets was third the Patriots, behind just James White (nine) and Rob Gronkowski (eight). Chris Hogan was in the back of the pack with five. That said, it will be a crowded crew of options when Julian Edelman and Sony Michel return. Dorsett is likely to be the one that needs to produce more with less to be Fantasy relevant. His opening week targets were Noteworthy.
* Chris Godwin was only targeted four times, but he looked like he belonged out there. When DeSean Jackson disappears—and he always does for stretches—Godwin could be the one that appears in his place. Noteworthy. Monitor him.
* Josh Gordon was targeted three times while Jarvis Landry was targeted 15 times and David Njoku saw seven go his way. As Gordon gets more practice time, his targets will undoubtedly rise, but Landry is going to be an extremely high volume safety blanket that limits Gordon’s topmost ceiling.
* James Conner had six targets and 31 rushing attempts. There is absolutely no way Conner carries the ball 30-plus times and has 35-plus overall targets per game. Everyone was bullish on Conner prior to Week 1 and he came through for all of you, but he will be overpriced until Bell returns. Sell now and avoid him in DFS.
* Nyheim Hines was second in rushing attempts with five and third in targets with nine for the Colts on Sunday. He has an explosive skill set in the passing game, but also has more potential for production between the tackles than Tarik Cohen-types. Hines is the Colts RB with the skill set to turn less into more and be a viable Flex option.
* Ryan Grant was targeted third-most in the passing game (nine) and finished second in receiving yards with 59, one yard less than Jack Doyle and 13 more than T.Y. Hilton. If Luck is in fact back, Week 1 suggested that Grant may be the pass-catcher to own while Hilton receives defenses’ attention.
* Dion Lewis out-carried Derrick Henry 16 to 10 and also saw eight targets, second only to Corey Davis. Lewis is the RB to own in Tennessee and Week 1 confirmed what was obvious in July.
* Everyone is disappointed in the next golden boy, Jimmy Garoppolo’s, Week 1 performance, right? In six starts in 2017, Jimmy G averaged 260 yards per game and threw five interceptions to seven touchdowns. Sunday, he threw for 261 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown. Isn’t that exactly what we should have expected? All that being said, I actually do expect him to be better most weeks, especially since he had to contend with a tough Minnesota Vikings in the first game of the season. Week 1 was a reality check for the Jimmy G bandwagon.
* George Kittle was targeted nine times. He needs to be owned in all leagues.
* Matt Breida had 11 rushing attempts while Alfred Morris had 12. Breida should receive more targets in the passing game, but the rushing attack is likely to be a true committee for a while, with Morris the likely goal line guy.
* Latavius Murray had 11 carries for 42 yards to Dalvin Cook’s 16 for 40. The share could shift later in the season as Cook creates distance from his knee injury, but for now it looks like Cook’s rushing attempts will be managed. DFS players, take note.
* Blake Bortles targeted five different Jaguar receivers between four and seven times for a miniscule 176 total yards. Fantasy owners all had a different favorite Jaguar target, but if we learned anything from Week 1, it’s that Bortles and the coaching staff doesn’t have one at all. It’s a crapshoot trying to guess who to like, if anyone, in this passing attack.
* Lamar Jackson had seven carries for 39 rushing yards. The same amount of rushing attempts as Alex Collins (seven carries, 13 rushing yards) and three times the yards. Not one carry or two gadget plays, but seven carries. Noteworthy, is all I’m saying.
* I saw a sarcastic tweet on Sunday questioning “experts” doubts about whether Tyreek Hill would receive the targets needed to justify an ADP of 27. The tweet not only wasn’t funny or clever, but it showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the concerns regarding Tyreek Hill. Hill is just plain amazing, and if that’s your rationale for owning him, then I am fine with that. The concern is that Hill was almost non-existent in the red zone in 2017 and the majority of his production was when the Chiefs were on their side of the 50 yard line. The Chiefs did give him a rushing attempt inside the five that resulted in a touchdown, but at what point do defenses minimize the huge plays? I stand by my analysis that eventually, regardless of how incredibly explosive a player is, defenses can limit the enormously big plays. Sell High.
* Spencer Ware had only three carries in Week 1. Patrick Mahomes had five. Noteworthy.
* Travis Kelce was targeted six times and had only one reception for six yards. Until defenses decide to quadruple cover Tyreek Hill, game plans could be to blanket Kelce and force the rest of the cast to beat them. DFS players, take notice.
* Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny had seven carries apiece. Carson was far more productive, but they received equal opportunities. Noteworthy. If this continues, Penny may be on the chopping block from your roster.
* Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman had 15 carries apiece. Freeman’s ascension to the bell cow back took a hit in Week 1, while Lindsay is a must-own.
* Paul Richardson, WR Redskins led Washington receivers in targets with six, two more than Jamison Crowder. Noteworthy.
* C.J. Anderson had seven carries to Christian McCaffrey’s 10. The rushing attempts should be an even split, while the goal line could be Anderson’s property. Anderson needs to be owned.
* Randall Cobb led the Packers in both production (nine receptions, 142 yards, one TD) and targets (10). He was treated like a leper during the offseason, while analysts couldn’t stump for Davante Adams loud enough. However, Cobb is the best playmaker on this offense; we saw it in Week 1.
* Quincy Enunwa was targeted 10 times while the rest of the offense was targeted 11 times combined. It’s unlikely that that kind of disparity is a one week matchup anomaly. Darnold likes Enunwa, which means he needs to be owned.
* Kenny Golladay was targeted 12 times for seven receptions and 114 receiving yards. Golden Tate was targeted 15 times. Golladay could be the Lions’ best wide receiver this season. Noteworthy.
* Jalen Richard was targeted 11 times in the passing game along with five rushing attempts. Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch are washed up, while Richards can make plays on all downs and in all facets. If you want to own a Raider runner, Richards is the one.