Week 1 hasn’t been particularly kind to Fantasy first round picks thus far. Trent Richardson saw just 15 touches while accumulating 77 total yards in the Browns loss to Miami. Cleveland never trailed by more than two scores in the game, so to say it’s a surprise that T-Rich didn’t see more carries would be an understatement. After Brandon Weeden’s poor performance expect that to change in the weeks ahead.
C.J. Spiller had 22 touches against the Patriots, but only managed 55 yards and a fumble. His longest play from scrimmage was nine yards. Big plays are his calling card, and he was completely bottled up by New England. Fred Jackson actually racked up 108 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches and saw much more open space. Bill Belichick just supplied a blue print on how to handle Spiller to opposing defenses.
Marshawn Lynch had his worst performance since Week 4 back in 2011; he was held to just 43 yards on the ground in Carolina. As usual he ran hard, but the Panthers front seven is dramatically improved this year. Seattle’s offensive line isn’t elite, and this match-up proved that. Week 2 won’t exactly get any easier with San Francisco rolling into town, so keep those expectations low.
Calvin Johnson could have salvaged a decent game but had a touchdown overturned via replay. He was targeted nine times but managed to haul in just four catches for 37 yards. Consider this game more the exception than the rule, though, as he had at least 100 receiving yards in 11 of 16 games last year. Megatron will get back on track in Arizona next Sunday.
Predictably, the Vikings first play from scrimmage was a handoff to Adrian Peterson. What no one could have predicted was that he would take it 78 yards all the way to the house. As an AP owner in a few leagues, I knew I was in for a treat. He ended up scoring all three of Minnesota’s touchdowns. He also hauled in four passes, another big bonus. What didn’t happen, though, was a monster rushing yardage total. He had 18 carries on the day, but only managed to gain an additional 15 yards over his last 17 totes. Detroit’s defensive line took over the game from that point, tackling Purple Jesus for a loss five times. While I know Peterson is a stud, I had my doubts about the Lions defense, particularly in terms of discipline. They gave up one big play, and then completely dominated this contest. This defense is going to be a matchup to avoid going forward. Rashard Mendenhall is going to get eaten alive next week.
In terms of offense, there wasn’t a team that opened my eyes more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Too bad it was for all the wrong reasons. Nothing went right against Tennessee, as they were able to rush for just 32 yards on 15 carries. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times and under constant duress. Things aren’t going to get better for him either, as center Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the season with torn ACL and MCL requiring surgery. Those of you out there stashing Le’Veon Bell hoping he’ll make an impact on your squad should definitely temper your expectations. This offensive line wasn’t good prior to the loss of Pouncey, now they are bordering on awful. To succeed, this team is going to have to throw, and do so with a barrage of quick-hitting passes. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will be the only Fantasy-worthy players on this roster because of this.
Colin Kaepernick has all the makings to become the league’s best signal caller. Photo Credit:Football Schedule
Heading into this season, Colin Kaepernick had his skeptics. Many doubted whether he would continue to succeed after defenses had a full offseason to prepare for him. The loss of Michael Crabtree during OTA’s gave further reason to doubt, as the lack of weapons in the passing game would only hurt him. My eyes saw a guy who was special, though, and I continued to draft him as often as possible this year. Any questions remaining about him should be completely erased after his thorough dismantling of Green Bay. He completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 412 yards and three touchdowns through the air and added another 22 yards on the ground. He was the best quarterback on the field, and that says a lot when you share it with Aaron Rodgers. Kaepernick was masterful getting the ball into the hands of bothAnquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, launching them both into weekly must-start status.
With just two Monday night games remaining of this week’s slate, Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor is the leader in the clubhouse with 112 rushing yards. Only New England’s Shane Vereen was able to eclipse the century mark with 101. While we all know Oakland is terrible, Pryor did show two things. First, that he is capable of hitting his first passing read if open, and second, that he will tuck and run if nobody is open. That running ability is what makes him interesting. His 112 yards rushing is worth 11 Fantasy points. A standard pocket-passing QB would need to throw for 275 yards to get those 11 points. Prior also threw for 217 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions against Indy for 19 total points. I won’t go as far as endorsing Pryor yet, but I will say he is worth a roster spot in all leagues. If he continues running 13 times a game he may not hold up. But if he stays healthy he will definitely be quite useful in leagues that employ two quarterbacks.
Entering the season, there were rumblings down in South Beach about the lack of chemistry between Ryan Tannehilland newly-acquired deep threat Mike Wallace. While you can’t write the book on a situation after just one game, it sure was telling that Wallace was targeted just five times in the game. Brian Hartline (15), Brandon Gibson (10) and even Charles Clay (6) saw more love from the Dolphins signal caller. As we all know, Wallace makes his money taking the top off opposing defenses. That becomes extremely difficult when your quarterback is working behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. If Wallace is going to get going this season, it’s going to be because he succeeds running short and intermediate routes. If the coaching staff continues running him down field to pull a safety away from the middle of the field on most of his routes, he is going to have a really long season.
A change of scenery is sometimes just what the doctor ordered when it comes to a player coming into his own. Jared Cook was prescribed a move to St. Louis, and it looks like he is ready to emerge as a premier tight end in this league. Many slept on the fact that Jeff Fisher was Cook’s coach prior to getting fired in 2010 and fully aware of his potential if utilized. After hauling in seven grabs for 141 yards and a pair of scores, I think it’s safe to say he has everyone’s attention now. His day could have been even bigger had he not had the ball knocked out of his hands by Tyrann Mathieu as he was heading in for another score. Cook will now be utilized properly by the Rams, and because of this he needs to be locked into all lineups regardless of opponent.
*All statistics include the games of Sunday, September 8.