Top fantasy takeaways from Week 1's action
Week 1 is nearly in the books, and there’s a lot to process for fantasy football purposes. Let’s take a look at the most important pieces of fantasy information for every team that was in action on Sunday:
Somebody had to catch the ball for the Jets. Jermaine Kearse is the Jets’ No. 1 receiver by default, and he saw nine targets on Sunday. While his seven catches for 59 yards wasn’t a massive total, his volume bodes well for PPR production. He can be considered a flex option going forward. … The backfield touches were fairly evenly distributed with Bilal Powell seeing 12 and Matt Forte getting nine. This committee will continue to limit Powell’s fantasy upside.
Tyrod Taylor was a solid streamer option this week with 222 yards and two scores through the air to go along with 28 yards on the ground. He may not be an every-week option, but Taylor played well and can still produce in good matchups. … Charles Clay picked up where he left off late last year with four catches on eight targets for 53 yards and a score. More importantly, he saw three end-zone targets for the Bills. Despite the strong performance, Clay could prove to be inconsistent this season. He remains a TE2. … LeSean McCoy touched the ball a massive 27 times, posting 159 total yards. Perhaps the only area of concern is in the red zone. McCoy did have one carry inside the 5-yard line, but Mike Tolbert had two. McCoy was dinged up on one of those two, but it’s still something to monitor.
Austin Hooper posted a massive stat line thanks in large part to his 88-yard touchdown reception, which is the longest by a tight end in Week 1 in NFL history. This is certainly an encouraging start to the season, but keep in mind that he saw just 6.9 percent of the Falcons targets. Big plays aren’t sustainable. Hooper needs to see more volume going forward to be considered a consistent fantasy option. … The backfield touches for the Falcons were fairly evenly distributed with Devonta Freeman getting 14 and Tevin Coleman seeing 12. Freeman was the better fantasy play, but barely. We’ll keep a close eye on this committee going forward.
It looks like Kevin White will be lost for the season yet again after the receiver injured his collarbone. The Bears fear a fracture, which would likely require season-ending surgery. Without White and Cameron Meredith, the Bears receiver corps is pretty sparse. … And perhaps that’s why Tarik Cohen saw a massive 11 targets in Week 1. The pint-sized rookie was impressive in his NFL debut, catching eight balls for 47 yards and a score. He also carried the ball five times for 66 yards. The genie is officially out of the bottle, and Cohen will be one of the most popular waiver adds this week. … Jordan Howard owners shouldn’t panic. Howard didn’t get off to a hot start, but he still led the Bears in touches with 16.
Danny Woodhead re-aggravated his hamstring injury, and the Ravens fear he could miss an extended period of time. This was the risk in drafting Woodhead, who is in his age-32 season. … With Woodhead banged up, Javorius Allen out-touched Terrance West 21-19. Despite the touch distribution, West was the better runner in this one with 80 yards and a score on his 19 carries. With Woodhead sidelined, we’re likely to see West lead the backfield on early downs and Allen as the passing-down back. … There wasn’t much passing from the Ravens in this one, but Jeremy Maclin did manage to find the end zone. He had two catches for 56 yards.
This was rough one for Andy Dalton. The Bengals’ quarterback managed just 15 completions on 31 attempts for 170 yards. He also threw four picks and took five sacks. … Dalton performance was ugly, but the offensive line concerns in Cincinnati are real. The unit struggled across the board, especially in run blocking. … Speaking of the run game, Joe Mixon actually led the backfield in touches with 11. Giovani Bernard had nine, and Jeremy Hill had seven. That’s a three-headed monster right there. With the lack of a clear lead back and the state of the offensive line, it’s tough to endorse any of the Bengals running backs in fantasy lineups right now.
Antonio Brown picked right off where he left off, catching all 11 of his targets for 182 yards. That’s exactly why he was drafted in the early first round. … Le’Veon Bell owners are likely very disappointed with his Week 1 stat line. Bell managed just 7.7 fantasy points this week, but no need to panic. He didn’t play poorly and was given the majority of touches out of the backfield. Bell will be just fine. … Surprisingly, Jesse James saw eight targets, catching six for 41 yards and two scores. Both of those scores came on end-zone targets. James played nearly every snap, and is clearly ahead of Vance McDonald.
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but DeShone Kizer managed to produce solid fantasy numbers in his debut with 222 yards and a score through the air and an additional 17 yards and a score on the ground. Kizer is officially on the QB2 radar. … Corey Coleman was Kizer’s preferred wide receiver target in Week 1. Coleman caught all five of his targets for 53 yards and a score. … Seth DeValve out-targeted David Njoku 5-2. Njoku has long-term appeal, but he isn’t worth a roster spot in redraft leagues right now. … Isaiah Crowell got off to a slow start with 33 yards on 17 carries, but fantasy owners shouldn’t panic. Crowell was the clear early-down back with Duke Johnson receiving zero carries and Matthew Dayes only carrying the ball three times.
The Kenny Golladay hype is real. The rookie receiver went off for 22.9 fantasy points, thanks to two scores on four catches. Fantasy owners should note, however, that Golladay ran 67.4 percent of the pass routes. Marvin Jones ran 100 percent, and Golden Tate ran 95.3 percent. … Speaking on Tate, he didn’t end up seeing shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson after all. Tate was one of just two receivers with double-digit catches in Week 1. … While Theo Riddick posted the best fantasy numbers in the Lions’ backfield, Ameer Abdullah dominated the touches with 18 compared to just seven for Riddick. Abdullah’s 2.0 yards per carry aren’t encouraging, but he remains the preferred fantasy option among the Detroit running backs.
The biggest story out of this game was David Johnson’s wrist injury. There’s some speculation that Johnson could miss extended time, so owners should brace for bad news. If Johnson does end up missing time, the backfield touches will be split between Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington. With the Cardinals behind, Ellington saw more of the field on Sunday, with 20 snaps. Williams played just nine snaps. … Larry Fitzgerald saw heavy volume with 13 targets, but only caught six of them for 74 yards. Not the result we had hoped, but better days are ahead for the veteran. … J.J. Nelson found the end zone with 5 catches on 6 targets. However, he ran just 42.9 percent of the Cardinals passing routes. Fitzgerald and John Brown were the every-down receivers and remain the preferred fantasy options.
It was a great start to the season for Jacksonville with one notable exception, as standout wide receiver Allen Robinson went down with a torn ACL. He’ll miss the rest of the year. With Robinson, The Jags will look to Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns as their top two options. While Lee got off to a slow start with a fantasy goose egg, he’s the preferred fantasy option of the two. … It was tough matchup for Leonard Fournette, but the rookie running back saw heavy volume with a whopping 29 touches. He managed a solid 100 yards and a score on 26 carries and chipped in three catches for 24 yards. … The Jags defense got out of the gate fast with a whopping 10 sacks against the shaky Houston quarterbacks. Jacksonville appears set to be one of the better fantasy defenses this year. Likewise, we’ll want to target Houston as a streamer matchup.
Houston, we have a problem … at quarterback. Neither Tom Savage nor Deshaun Watson was able to effectively run the Texans offense, and that resulted in a blowout loss in this one. That being said, DeAndre Hopkins had a solid stat line with 18.5 fantasy points. Hopkins saw a massive 15 targets, which led all receivers in Week 1.
Amari Cooper saw 12 targets, catching five for 62 yards and a score. Perhaps more importantly, two of his targets came in the end zone. Cooper only saw eight end-zone targets all last season. … Very few people knew who Giorgio Tavecchio was before Sunday, but the new Raiders’ kicker knocked four field goals, including two 50-yarders. He’ll likely be a popular add at the kicker position this week. … Marshawn Lynch got off to a solid start for Oakland with 19 touches. While his 76 rushing yards don’t necessarily stand out, Lynch’s volume bodes well for his fantasy success going forward.
Corey Davis kicked off his NFL career with 10 targets. Davis led the Titans receivers in target share, but both Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker ran more routes. Davis is the most appealing of the three from an upside standpoint, but we need to see him on the field in two-wide sets before we can fully trust him. … DeMarco Murray did very little for fantasy purposes with just eight PPR points, but he did out-touch Derrick Henry 14-6. … Delanie Walker remains one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets. His nine targets led all tight ends in Week 1.
Nelson Agholor was a big Week 1 surprise, catching six balls on eight targets for 86 yards and a score. While Agholor is likely to be a popular waiver add this week, keep in mind that he ran 62.8 percent of the routes. That was behind both Alshon Jeffery (93 percent) and Torrey Smith (67.4). … LeGarrette Blount was the clear lead back with 15 touches in Week 1. It wasn’t the most efficient day on the ground for Blount with 14 carries for just 46 yards, but he managed a short receiving score. … Carson Wentz got off to a solid start with 306 yards and two scores through the air. He isn’t an every-week start just yet, but he will be if he continues to play this way. … Zach Ertz saw heavy volume with eight catches on eight targets. He didn’t find the end zone, but did managed 93 receiving yards.
Terrelle Pryor saw a healthy workload with 11 targets. That volume bodes positively for his fantasy success going forward. Pryor didn’t score, but he was targeted in the end zone twice. He also saw three targets 20-plus yards downfield. … Chris Thompson may be in consideration as a waiver add for some, but keep in mind that he only touched the ball seven times and the game script favored his role as the passing-down back. … Jordan Reed is playing with a broken toe. Despite the injury, Reed managed five catches for 36 yards. Not a massive day, but the volume is encouraging.
This one was dreadful for Indy, and there are very few takeaways of value here. However, the one thing that really sticks out is the backfield touches. Both Frank Gore and Marlon Mack touched the ball 11 times. Gore was better on the ground with 42 yards on 10 carries, but Mack posted the better fantasy line thanks to a touchdown. That said, his 3.1 yards per carry wasn’t particularly impressive.
As expected, the Rams defense went nuts in this one with two pick-sixes and a safety. While this is an encouraging sign for Wade Phillips’ unit, it’s more of an indictment against the Andrew Luck-less Colts offense. Indy’s opponent will likely be one of the top fantasy defenses each week as long as Luck is out. … Cooper Kupp got off to a strong start with four catches on six targets for 76 yards and a score. There’s a chance the rookie receiver leads the Rams in catches this year. He’s a viable flex option going forward.
This one was rough across the board for the Seahawks. But the message of the week is don’t panic if your players underperformed. Russell Wilson struggled to get things going behind the Seattle offensive line, but he remains a QB1. Likewise, Doug Baldwin has better games ahead. … The Seahawks backfield remains a mess. With Thomas Rawls sidelined, Seattle got nothing done on the ground. Chris Carson led in touches, but only had seven. Eddie Lacy managed just five touches. Of the two, Carson is the more intriguing option, but he’s far from a slam-dunk waiver add. It’s likely Rawls is the lead back when he returns. … Jimmy Graham posted a disappointing eight yards on three catches, but did see two end-zone targets.
Randall Cobb led the Packers in target share, with 12 targets. He posted a solid nine catches for 85 yards. While Cobb isn’t likely to led Green Bay in targets every week, this is just a reminder that he’s still a viable PPR option. … Despite the matchup, Jordy Nelson still managed to catch seven balls for 79 yards and a score. … Davante Adams got off to a slow start with just three catches on six targets. Fantasy owners shouldn’t panic, though. Bigger days will come. … Ty Montgomery didn’t put up a massive stat line, but he did find the end zone. More importantly, he dominated the touches out of the backfield with 23. Jamaal Williams saw just two. Montgomery is an RB2-plus going forward.
Kelvin Benjamin managed just one catch on five targets for 25 yards. While that isn’t the stat line fantasy owners wanted to see, it is important to note that three of his targets came 20-plus yards downfield. … Christian McCaffrey out-snapped Jonathan Stewart 47-29, but Stewart had the edge in touches 20-18. This is a reminder that McCaffrey’s fantasy value will continue to be capped as long as Stewart is healthy.
We expected heavy volume for Pierre Garcon, and that’s exactly what we got. Garcon was targeted 10 times, positing six catches for 81 yards. … Carlos Hyde dominated touches in the 49ers backfield, with 14. Rookie Matt Breida was second with four touches. Hyde didn’t have a big day on the ground with just 45 yards on eight carries, but he salvaged a reasonable PPR day with six catches for 32 yards.
There wasn’t much of anything to like for the Giants this week. With Odell Beckham Jr. sidelined, the offense struggled across the board. Brandon Marshall was a huge disappointment with just one catch on four targets. Sterling Shepard did manage to catch seven balls, but tallied just 44 yards. Paul Perkins was unable to get anything done on the ground with just 16 yards on seven carries.
Ezekiel Elliott didn’t skip a beat, posting 140 total yards on 29 touches. He caught all five of his targets. Interestingly, Elliott only saw five targets once last season. Elliott’s value could be even higher this year if he continues to be used heavily as a receiver. … Dez Bryant led all receivers with four end-zone targets. While he didn’t convert any for a score, the usage is very encouraging for Bryant owners. … Jason Witten keeps on trucking. The veteran caught seven balls on eight targets for 59 yards and a score. He should be owned if he’s on waivers.