Well, it has arrived, Week 1 of the NFL season. There was that buildup, that excitement, the feeling of a kid on Christmas morning. Then there we were in the 3rd quarter of Thursday night’s game and that feeling (as one Dynasty RedZone staff members put it best) has been replaced with the feeling of an 8-year opening a box of socks on Christmas Morning. Thankfully Sunday and Monday restored our faith and delivered much better action full of some stud and dud performances.
This week is the debut of 32 Fantasy Thoughts. The article will run weekly throughout the season. 32 teams, 32 thoughts get it? It may or may not touch on every team each week, but we will do our best to recap the previous week and give you a look at the week ahead.
1. The Philadelphia Eagles did not look like a defending Super Bowl Champion without Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery. Nick Foles struggled and all he could generate were short nothing plays to Nelson Agholor. Somehow that was enough to win their opener. The Eagles next two match-ups are in Tampa and home to Indianapolis. They may somehow be 3-0 to start the season with or without Carson Wentz (I am betting on without).
2. The Atlanta Falcons were garbage in the RedZone and it cost them the game. They blew it on their first and last series, both failed attempts at getting into the end zone from inside the 10-yard line. The way they designed their plays with the personnel on the field, they might as well of had different colored jerseys on for running and passing plays, figuring out what they were doing was being picked up by High School Defensive Coordinators. Julio Jones looked good (10/169 on 19 targets), but it should have been so much better. I am no Offensive Coordinator, but there is a better chance of having your star WR score a TD if he’s on the field.
3. Buffalo Bills fans, I am sorry, but this is going to be a long season watching the worst team in football. On the bright side, the Sabres season starts soon so maybe there is some hope there. In all seriousness that was just plain bad. I was against bringing Josh Allen into that game when they did on Sunday, but he must start from here on out. If they can assemble some sort of passing game, perhaps it limits the stacked boxes and gives the run game a lift. How bad was it for Buffalo? Joe Flacco had more completions than Nathan Peterman had yards passing. There is very little to be excited about in Buffalo unless you are counting down the days to the 2019 entry draft.
4. The Baltimore Ravens did what I expected them to do vs the Bills, they destroyed them. I thought this was going to be a big game for Alex Collins, and he was the 4th leading rusher for Baltimore. Collins saw some time on the sidelines after a fumble and Kenneth Dixon took over once the game was out of reach for Buffalo. Dixon was hurt late, and Collins is in no danger of losing early-down touches.
5. The Pittsburgh Steelers had an interesting week. Le’Veon Bell did not and has not shown up to sign his franchise tag. James Conner got the start and went 31/135/2 with 5/57 thru the air. If anyone was wondering what the Steelers players think of Bell’s actions, check out how they celebrated Conner’s first score. Pittsburgh will be better at homes in week 2. Start all the usual suspects there and Conner as long as Bell pouts at home.
6. The Cleveland Browns are undefeated this season! Cleveland had a game-winning field goal blocked and had to settle for the tie. 2018 in the best start to a season for the Browns since 2004. Tyrod had a nice fantasy day (thanks to his legs), and a horrible NFL day, expect more of that as the season progresses. It was great to see Josh Gordon catch a TD pass, it’s been far too long since we have seen that. Jarvis Landry remains a PPR machine, and as I have said all offseason remains a WR1. The backfield is Carlos Hyde’s for now. If you own him, keep him fired up in your lineup.
7. The Cincinnati Bengals pulled out the victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Joe Mixon lead the way along with AJ Green. Mixon had 17 carries for 85 yards and a score, plus 5 catches for another 54. Green had 6 receptions for 92 and a TD. Matt Brown’s boy John Ross now has positive career fantasy points, as a result of his 1 catch 3 yard touchdown. The Bengals play Baltimore Thursday night, other than Green and Mixon my Bengals are on the bench.
8. Andrew Luck’s shoulder it would appear is just fine. Luck attempted 53 passes vs Cincinnati and spread the ball around nicely to his receivers. The Indianapolis Colts run game was ugly, and I anticipate that to continue. Marlon Mack may return next week but I am not going anywhere near that backfield. Fire up Luck vs. Washington he is going to be throwing a lot again in week 2.
9. All offseason I have been pounding the drum for Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis and the Tennessee Titans offense under the direction of Matt LaFleur. Week 1 was terrible for the Titans and fantasy owners. Mariota was terrible and then injured, Delanie Walker suffered a potential career ending injury and the Titans lost a game they should have won. It is one week, but I am already concerned about this offense as they take on the Texans and their defense in week 2. Jonnu Smith takes over the lead TE role, I’d keep my expectations low for the time being.
10. The Miami Dolphins gutted out an upset in their home opener that took over 7 hours to complete. My main take away from this one is; Kenny Stills in the #1 option in Miami regardless of the health of DeVante Parker, and Adam Gas hates Kenyan Drake, and Ryan Tannehill remains a nice QB2 option.
11. San Francisco opened in Minnesota and the undefeated string for Jimmy Garoppolo came to an end. The Niners played without Marquise Goodwin for the majority of the contest, and rookie Dante Pettis saw an increase in snaps as a result. He had a nice TD grab for the Niners. George Kittle led the way and dropped what was sure 80-yard TD, that would have changed the game dramatically. The following play was a pick 6 for the Vikings, and turned the game in a negative direction for San Francisco. Look for the Niners to get back on track at home in week 2 vs the Lions.
12. Minnesota Vikings did just enough to defeat San Francisco. Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Stefon Diggs were good. Nobody was great for Minnesota. The defense was its usual self, forcing 4 turnovers. Big test for Minnesota in week 2 at Green Bay. I am still starting all my Vikings and that DST.
13. Deshaun Watson struggled mightily for the Houston Texans and seemed to miss Will Fuller who was scratched due to injury. The highlight of this one for Houston was the run game. Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, and Watson combined for 174 yards, and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins to no surprise led the WR crew with 8 catches and 78 yards. I will continue to fire up my Texans next week in Tennessee against what I feel is an overrated Titans D. Hopefully Fuller can get back on the field.
14. 41-year-old Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to victory once again. Rex Burkhead emerged as the lead RB for the Pats, and Rob Gronkowski and Phillip Dorsett led the way in catches. Chris Hogan was a disappointment and Jeremy Hill was lost for the season after a torn ACL. Patriots have a tough one next week in Jacksonville and Brady and Gronk will be my lone starters in week 2.
15. I took a quick scan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule and I had them starting 0-4 and finishing 3-12. Ryan Fitzpatrick had something to say about that. Fitz (who was on my bench in 2 super-flex leagues), was the week 1 QB scoring leader and along with Mike Evans, Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin shocked the world, beat Saints 48-40, ans destroyed survivor pools everywhere. The run game was average and rookie Ronald Jones was a healthy scratch. Next up is the Eagles and a nice warm serving of reality for the Bucs.
16. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara combined for 321 yards, 4 TDs, and 81 fantasy points in the week one loss to Tampa. The run game was nonexistent for the Saints and it was the old Drew Brees 37/45 439 yards and 3 TD passes, that his fantasy owners know and love. New Orleans hosts Cleveland in week 2 and I would expect the stars to shine again for the Saints.
17. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the New Your Giants 20-15. Blake Bortles was not impressive and as a result, his receivers were not as well. It still remains a mystery as to who the number 1 target is for the Jaguars. Leonard Fournette the focal piece of the Jags offense left in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury. TJ Yeldon took over as the prime ball carrier and will continue to do so if Fournette misses any time. I would also keep my eye on Corey Grant who has the potential to make the most of his touches if given the opportunity.
18. The New York Giants struggled against the Jacksonville defense. Odell Beckham still managed 11 catches and 111 yards. Rookie Saquon Barkley made up for a lackluster day with a beautiful 68-yard TD run. Without that beauty, he was 17/38. At this point, unless Eli Manning improves, OBJ and Saquon are the only two I will be comfortable with in my starting lineup.
19. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs had a successful debut mainly in part to the performance of Tyreek Hill. Mahomes threw for 256 yards and 4 scores on 15 completions. Tyreek made Mahomes look great by taking two of those completions for scores of 58 yards and 1 yard on passes that Mahomes may have thrown 1 yard combined. The run game was held in check as Kareem Hunt was limited to 49 yards on 16 attempts. Lost in all of this was Travis Kelce with 1 catch for 6 yards and Sammy Watkins with 3 for 21. Next week in Pittsburgh I would start all Chiefs with the exception of Watkins. I need to see something from him to earn a spot in my lineups.
20. The Los Angels Chargers lost a game I thought they would win. Philip Rivers had a big game that should have been even better if Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams could catch. Nice to see Mike Williams produce. Melvin Gordon was solid on the ground and great via the pass. Austin Ekeler was also involved. Chargers get the Bills next week. Start everyone even if they are likely to be on the sidelines 8 minutes into the third quarter.
21. The Washington Redskins surprised me with a win in Arizona. I don’t think the Cardinals are that tough of a match-up but I don’t think the Redskins are all that good either. Adrian Peterson rushed for career TD 100 on one of his 26 carries. AP combined his 96 rushing yards with 70 receiving yards. This is a dude I am selling right now. Alex Smith was solid, and Jordan Reed got back into the end zone and managed to stay healthy. Chris Thompson picked up where he left off last season and Jamison Crowder continued to be disappointing. Washington is home to the Colts in week 2, feel free to fire up all your Redskins against that weak defense.
22. As mentioned I expected the Arizona Cardinals to defeat the Redskins and I expected a decent day from Sam Bradford and a nice day from David Johnson. The result was the opposite. Bradford was horrible and somehow Johnson only got 14 touches. The Cards have the Rams in week 2. Other than DJ, I am fading everyone.
23. Cam Newton and his legs led the Carolina Panthers to a relatively easy win over Dallas. Big news in this one for the Panthers is they lost TE Greg Olsen to a broken foot again. He is likely out until very late in the season. Go grab Ian Thomas if you can, he will get an opportunity now. Christian McCaffery was decent and DJ Moore wasn’t targeted. Not much of an offensive game in this one. The Panthers are in Atlanta in week 2. Cam, CMC, and perhaps Funchess will be solid starts. The rest I am leaving on the bench.
24. The Dallas Cowboys looked terrible in this one. Dak Prescott was limited to 170 passing yards and he is quickly realizing that Cole Beasley is his #1 WR. Ezekiel Elliott was limited to 69 rushing yards with a TD on 15 carries. If I play in a league with DST, I am streaming my DST vs the Cowboys until they show they can do something on offense.
25. Russell Wilson is an excellent QB. The Seahawks lost Doug Baldwin early and Wilson still managed to put up over 20 fantasy points. The Seattle Seahawks will continue to struggle running the ball with the weak offensive line and will struggle to throw its a depleted WR core. I am not buying into TE Will Dissly. The Broncos are notorious for struggling against the TE, and Dissly is primarily a blocking TE. I compare Dissly’s week 1 to Austin Hooper’s week 1 in 2017. Hooper did little the remainder of the way and so will Dissly.
26. The Denver Broncos did just enough to hold off Seattle on Sunday. Case Keenan threw 3 TDs and 3 INT along with 323 yards. Keenan is the best QB in Denver in years and as a result, the passing game will show signs of life. The running games was more of a committee that I anticipated. Royce Freeman and UDFA Phillip Lindsey each had 15 touches and both went for 71 yards. Lindsey added two catches for 31 more and a TD. I would expect Lindsay to find himself promoted from taxi squads and added everywhere he is available this week. Denver gets the Raiders in week 2. If you own a piece of this offense, fire it up that defense is a dumpster fire.
27. The Chicago Bears broke my heart Sunday night and I am not even a fan of them. They looked like a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball early especially on the defensive side. That D clearly ran out of gas in the second half. Item of note, Jordan Howard ran more routes and was targeted more than Tarik Cohen. If that continues, Jordan Howard is a top 12 RB this year. I am buying Howard where ever possible. The Bears defense will continue to improve as well with those beasts getting in game shape. Chicago hosts Seattle on Sunday night and I anticipate the Bears to punch the Seahawks in the mouth early and often in this one. I like all the usual suspects on offense and fire up the D as well.
28. The Green Packers had a case of déjà vu when all-world QB Aaron Rodgers grabbed his knee and was carted off the field towards the end of the first half Sunday night . Rodgers returned for the second half and led the Packers to an amazing comeback victory. I am convinced that Aaron Rodgers is an alien, he is simply not human. Tough test for Green Bay against my Minnesota Vikings this week. Rodgers is questionable and if he can’t go I am not starting any part of the Packers. If he does go, you have to start him and Devante Adams. I am not buying the Randall Cobb line, he struggles vs Minnesota and that 75 yard TD score was the result of terrible defense more than a great offensive play. Geronimo Allison won’t get a start from me this week, but he is a buy if his price didn’t go sky after week 1.
29. Well, the New York Jets ensured that I don’t have to worry about my survivor pick for the rest of the season. Sam Darnold overcame a pick-six on his first career pass and played a solid game. His favorite target was clearly Quincey Enunwa. Enunwa had 6 of Darnold’s 16 completions and 10 of his 21 targets. Isaiah Crowell was solid on the ground going over 100 yards with a pair of TD. The Jets are home to the Dolphins in week 2. Don’t look now but the Jets will be 2-0. I am comfortable starting my Jets if I don’t have a better alternative next week. That includes Darnold, Crowell, Bilal Powell, and Enunwa. I have faded Robby Anderson until we see Darnold more comfortable firing it down the field.
30. The Detroit Lions couldn’t have looked worse if they tried. That was a game that had to be and should have been a victory. The result was embarrassing. Stafford was picked off 4 times and his relief Matt Cassell wasn’t to be left out as he had a pick of his own. LeGarrette Blount was ineffective and injured and Kerryon Johnson struggled behind an offensive line that was supposed to be improved. The bright spot for me was Kenny Golladay with 7 catches for 114 yards. Kenny G is someone I am looking to buy, as he is going to be relevant in that offense. Detroit travels west to San Francisco in week 2. I am going to avoid all aspects of the Lions if possible in this one.
31. The Los Angels Rams seemed like they were playing preseason game #5, on Monday night. They seemed to struggle on offense producing two offensive TDs against a defense that is possibly the worst in the league. Todd Gurley turned in a typical fantasy game with 23.7 points and finishing as RB6 for the week. Jared Goff at one point in the third quarter had 5 completions. He finished with 18/33 233 & 2 TD. Cooks and Kupp led the way with 5 catches each. The Rams have the Cardinals in week 2. Fire up all Rams as they will look to right the ship in their home opener.
32. The Oakland Raiders started strong and looked good early. They ran out of gas as the game progressed and resembled the team I thought I would see the entire game. Jon Gruden took the loss in his return to the sidelines. The Raiders have re-signed Martavis Bryant in hopes of sparking the passing game. Derek Carr started off strong and finished with a couple of terrible INT, and less than 7 fantasy points. Amari Cooper had 1 reception on 3 targets for 9 yards. My concern for Cooper is alive and well.
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