With week 1 of the NFL season in the books, we get to take a look back and see what players helped fantasy football owners start the season 1-0, and what players may find themselves on virtual unemployment when the Tuesday morning waiver wires open.
Not only will we look at the highs and the lows of the scoring system, but I will also give you the latest information on any big injuries that occurred over the weekend. A league normally won't be won in the draft; it can be lost in the draft however with bad picks. No, a league is most often won on the waiver wire by smart GMs who add and drop players at the right moment to maximize their overall roster with depth for the injuries happen and bye weeks start knocking their starters out of lineups.
So, let's get to knowing what the other guys are waiting to see on SportsCenter still!
Doug Martin was knocked out of the game after just 9 carries (9 yards) with a knee injury. Martin himself said he would have to wait and see on the severity of the injury before commenting on his future status. While it isn't encouraging to hear a player talk about his own injury with so little knowledge of it, I wouldn't make any knee-jerk drops of Martin and adds of Bobby Rainey. Rainey is little more than bench fodder that should be looked at as just that, bench material.
It took Ben Tate one game to remind us all about his fragile state as he too was knocked out of Sunday's game with a knee injury. Unlike Martin though, Tate actually had a productive game running the ball 6 times for 41 yards before exiting. Tate is questionable to play in week 2 as of right now, and the smart money for me is Terrence West (16 carries for 100 yards) as opposed to Isaiah Crowell (5 carries for 32 yards and 2 TDs). Staying with the Browns, Jordan Cameron aggravated the shoulder injury (sprained AC joint) he suffered in training camp, and he is considered day-to-day.
Jordan Reed tweaked his hamstring as he tried to hurdle a Texans defender on Sunday. Word from Coach Jay Gruden is that Reed could be sidelined "some time." What exactly that means is anyone's guess right now, so we'll just have to wait until Wednesday and see what information we get then.
Tyler Eifertdislocated his elbow on Sunday and looks to miss a few weeks at the least. If you own Eifert, it is safe to cut him and find other options on the waiver wire at this point.
The Texans fantasy defense took a major blow this weekend as Jadeveon Clowney is now out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his knee. One player on defense rarely makes the difference between fantasy stud and fantasy dud unless your name happens to be J.J. Watt. The loss of Clowney clearly hurts the Texans pass rush though, and the defense should be considered a streaming option as opposed to an every week plug-and-play option.
And lastly we have another devastating injury to a fantasy defense as the Chiefs lost linebacker Derrick Johnson for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. It hits the Chiefs defense harder than Clowney's loss hits the Texans because the Chiefs are also without linebacker Joe Mays (wrist surgery) until week 10 at the earliest. I'm not sure I would be keeping the Chiefs defense right now if there are other legit options on your waiver wire.
- I would be negligent if I didn't at least mention the whole Ravens situation at RB. By now I am sure you all know that the Ravens released Ray Rice, leaving Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce as the top two options for carries. I'm sure the team will take a look at rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro at some point, but the main two players you need to concern yourself with are Forsett and Pierce. Here is my evaluation of the situation: Forsett is a journeyman RB whose strengths and weaknesses are well-known by now, whereas Pierce is a 23-year-old kid who projects as an NFL starting caliber RB. I think benching Pierce for a single fumble was harsh and he will eventually turn out to be the player with the most fantasy value of the committee.
Jake Locker – Titans: Owned in just 2.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, Locker put up the 5th-most fantasy points there with 266 yards passing, 14 yards rushing, and 2 touchdowns on Sunday. Locker did well against one of the better defenses in the NFL in week 1, and week 2 he gets perhaps the worst defense in the league with the Cowboys. Those looking for a cheap option next week in cap leagues could do MUCH worse than Locker.
Andy Dalton – Bengals: Whenever Dalton's name comes up I am quick to defend him because his stats completely justify his new contract and his rightful position as a fantasy QB that SHOULD be owned. This week he finished with QB1 stats thanks to his 301 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and a 2-point conversion. Rarely do you see a QB who finishes with QB1 stats and is owned in 93.4 percent of NFL.com leagues sit on the bench in 87.4 percent of those leagues. But, that is exactly what happens to Dalton. Wake up and be a contender instead of a pretender in your league!
Chad Henne – Jaguars: Did you know that Henne finished with QB1 stats this week? Yes, his 266 passing yards and 2 touchdowns ranked him 11th on NFL.com for fantasy QBs in week 1. The Jaguars play the Redskins in week 2, and Henne makes for a solid QB2 option for those who need someone in 2-QB leagues.
Mark Ingram – Saints: The Saints backfield is a dilemma for fantasy owners because you have Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Khiry Robinson all vying for touches in a pass-heavy offense. This week however Ingram came out as the big dog when he finished the game with 13 carries for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns. I wouldn't put Ingram in one of my 2 RB slots for fantasy football, but he is interesting as a flex option if he continues to see the carries.
Justin Forsett – Ravens: Speaking of Forsett, he did manage to gain 70 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with his 14 yards in the air on Sunday. He finished just inside the RB1 rankings and has since been picked up by over 155,000 people on NFL.com. I still think Pierce is the better back to own, but if Forsett is out there you have to grab him just to see where this goes.
Allen Hurns – Jaguars: Before this week I doubt anyone considered undrafted free agent Allen Hurns a fantasy asset. That all changed on Sunday when Hurns started for Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and hauled in 4 passes for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Because of that almost 66,000 people have already picked up Hurns on NFL.com as of Monday night. I'll be honest here and say that I am not one of those people because there is no way he unseats Shorts and Marquis Lee for a starting job. I know he dominated the preseason with 14 catches, 232 yards, and a touchdown in 136 snaps, but I need to hear some definitive comments about his playing time from the coaches before I pick him up in standard 12-team leagues.
Brandin Cooks – Saints: I have been talking up Cooks all preseason as a sleeper WR to target in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts; did you listen? Well, on Sunday Cooks showed why I was so excited about him as he reeled in 7 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, then added 18 yards rushing on one carry. Cooks is going to shine with Kenny Stills out, and I would be asking his owner what it would take to snag him while he may still think he is selling high on him.
Zach Ertz – Eagles: Ertz entered the fantasy draft season as a somewhat under-drafted player given his ability and role within an Eagles offense that should put points up on the board. Ertz was able to reel in 3 passes on 5 targets to finish with 77 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Tight end is an all-or-nothing position for fantasy football, but Ertz will have enough chances this season to be worth trading for if you find yourself in need of a TE.
Minnesota Vikings defense: Here is my fantasy defense advice for the season: just stream whoever the Rams play for defense and you'll do well. This week it was the Vikings as they finished with 5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 defensive touchdown, and 6 points allowed. Only 6.9 percent of people own the Vikings on NFL.com, so chances are you didn't get burned by your opponent owning/playing them. Next week the Rams play the Buccaneers, as an FYI.
Jacksonville Jaguars defense: Even though the Jags defense drew a tough matchup against an Eagles offense that is highly touted, they performed well and finished with 5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 recovered fumbles on Sunday. Those defensive stats were good enough to earn them 10.00 fantasy points on NFL.com, and a #6 ranking for week 1. Don't sleep on the Jaguars defense for those who prefer to stream defenses throughout the season.
Aaron Rodgers – Packers: I don't think there was a single person who knows anything about football who thought Rodgers would roast the Seahawks defense. But, I also don't think anyone could have predicted them holding Rodgers to just 189 passing yards and a TD-INT ration of 1-1 either. Rodgers clearly avoided Seahawks DB Richard Sherman as he didn't throw at him one time during the game. When a DB can shut down an entire side of the field, it really limits what a QB can do offensively
Robert Griffin III – Redskins: The more I watch RGIII, the more questions I have about Coach Gruden's confidence in his ability to lead his team down the field. Griffin basically just checked down the entire game on Sunday, and finished with 267 empty passing yards and a lost fumble. No touchdowns means no meaningful fantasy points on NFL.com (8.88) and a 28th-best fantasy QB ranking to start the season.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Raiders: I warned people about MJD this week, but I doubt many listened because he was still started in a good portion of fantasy leagues throughout the various websites. MJD managed just 23 yards of total offense (11 rushing and 12 receiving) this week, and it is clear to me that his tank is near empty. I know he did great things in Jacksonville, but there is no burst left in him and he isn't breaking any tackles. If you own Jones-Drew, it is best to cut him now and find other options on the waiver wire.
Stevan Ridley – Patriots: Remember last year when Ridley was a must-own fantasy player? Now fast-forward to training camp this year and Ridley almost didn't make the 53-man roster. His fumbling problems have really knocked him out of favor in New England, and there are 94.5 percent of fantasy owners on NFL.com who are probably regretting drafting Ridley right about now (I personally cut him and picked up Toby Gerhart when Scott from FuelOnline cut him in my Pro league).
Ruben Randle – Giants: I personally put everyone on the Giants on my Do-Not-Draft list except Rashad Jennings because I have zero (0) faith in Eli Manning's ability to be a fantasy asset. What did Randle do to prove me wrong? Nothing! Randle finished with 2 catches for 1 yard on Sunday. That means 85.3 percent of people on NFL.com own a guy who got them 0.10 points to start the season. I don't want to waste another spot saying it, but Victor Cruz only managed 2 catches for 24 yards, which equals 2.40 fantasy points on NFL.com.
Michael Crabtree – 49ers: I had an emailer ask if he should play Crabtree or one of Cooks, Randle, Bishop Sankey, or Danny Woodhead, and I told him Crabtree. Why, if I am SO high on Cooks, you ask? Because the 49ers-Cowboys game should have been a shootout if Tony Romo didn't think the Ice-Bucket challenge was only done on Sundays, in uniform, during a live game. Moving on from that; Crabtree finished with just 2 catches for 25 yards in a game that was over early on.
Jason Witten – Cowboys: It's hard to put up stats that keep you off this list when your QB throws 3 INTs and just one TD on the day. Alas, Witten makes the list with his 11 yards receiving on one reception in week 1. The truth of the matter is that Witten is 32 years old and this is his 12th year in the NFL, so there are a LOT of miles on his body. Terrence Williams looks like he is going to be Romo's No. 2 option in the passing game, pushing Witten to No. 3. Add in DeMarco Murray needing his touches and Witten no longer looks like the fantasy TE he once was. I'm sure he'll have his good games this season, but if I owned him I'd be shopping him around to see if I could get something for him on name value.
Baltimore Ravens defense: I was a little surprised to find out that 33.7 percent of people own the Ravens defense on NFL.com. Far too many people think of Ray Lewis when they draft than they do about the current roster of players. The Ravens allowed 23 points to the Bengals on Sunday and didn't record a single sack or INT to help fantasy owners. Because of the points allowed and lack of defensive state, the Ravens scored 0.00 fantasy points. That's right, you would have gotten the same amount of points if you hadn't even played a defense this week!
And for those wondering how I did in my picks, I went 15-18, missing on Gerhart, and both the Bucs and Bills defenses this week. And remember, it was I that told you to sit Cam Newton before he was ruled out; I told you to sit DeSean Jackson and Antonio Gates; it was I that told you to play Jay Cutler (owned in 96.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, but started in just 13.4 percent of them); I told you to start Terrence Williams (owned in 91.3 percent of NFL.com leagues, started in 3.7 percent of them!
I wonder if any of those big-box websites were 83.3 percent accurate in their fantasy predictions and advice this week? I was! #Winning