By RYAN BRAUCH
Week 1 of the NFL season is officially over and there is a lot to be taken away from, as far as a fantasy standpoint. This week was incredibly competitive and captivating, with 10 out of 16 games being decided by a touchdown or less. Without a doubt some players contributed to their team’s win more than others. So if you are asking yourself which players you should pick up or who you should sit this week, you might want to read further.
Who To Add: So that guy that you drafted in the eighth round did not work out? Well now what do you do? If you struggled in Week 1 here are a few guys at every position that could give your team a boost.
If your quarterback was underwhelming this or you just want to add depth to your bench, Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz are the guys for the job. Now I know what you are thinking: “these guys are young and unproven.”
That may be true, but they performed better than a lot of other starting quarterbacks in the league. Winston threw 23/33 for 281 yards and four touchdowns against the Falcons on Sunday. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns in the season opener.
Now let’s say that you drafted Thomas Rawls or Devonta Freeman and are now struggling due to their lack of production. If that is the case, then these running backs can provide you with decent bench points. Spencer Ware of the Kansas City Chiefs recorded 200 total yards and a touchdown as he filled in for Jamaal Charles against the Chargers.
Ware is also the perfect handcuff for anyone who owns Jamaal Charles, in case of future injury. Isaiah Crowell is another viable option, as he put up almost 80 yards and ran for a touchdown against the Eagles. With Robert Griffin III out for what looks like a majority of the season, the Browns may turn to Crowell more as they also look to open up the pass game with McCown. Wide receivers are the most hit or miss fantasy point producers.
In most cases there is always at least one receiver on your team you would not mind finding a replacement for. These wideouts will definitely give your bench more depth and structure. Mike Wallace went off on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Wallace had three receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown, but was targeted six times. If this keeps up, Wallace may become Flacco’s new “go-to” option, and if that happens, you will definitely want Wallace on your team. Chris Hogan is another free agent option that could end up having major fantasy value.
Hogan had three receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown in primetime against the Cardinals on Sunday. Another sign of encouragement for Hogan is that he played the second most snaps of all receivers, only to trail Julian Edelman. Not to mention, that in three games it will be Tom Brady under center for the Patriots. Hogan could be the sleeper free agent that sends your team over the edge.
Finally, for anyone who needs production at the tight end position, Dwayne Allen or Austin Seferian-Jenkins may be your saviors. With Coby Fleener gone and a healthy Andrew Luck, how could Dwayne Allen not be a fantasy threat? Allen posted four receptions for 53 yards and ran one into the endzone on Sunday against the Lions.
As for Seferian-Jenkins, he only had one reception on Sunday, but the reception was for 30 yards and a touchdown. Last year Seferian-Jenkins was set to have a standout year before injuries slowed him down, as Jameis Winston looked for him often. If Winston has a breakout year as predicted, Seferian-Jenkins is a fantasy “must-have.”
Falling To The Bench: During the offseason, there was a lot of hype surrounding Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls, as he had just come off of a monster year in which the undrafted rookie filled in for an injured Marshawn Lynch. Rawls was projected as a solid second round pick in most fantasy leagues to begin the season.
Unfortunately for all of Rawls’ owners, he was pulled from the starting lineup and will now share carries with Christine Michael. Meanwhile on the East Coast, a similar story is being told, as Devonta Freeman is not only struggling to get yards, but is also sharing reps with Tevin Coleman. If you chose these players to be your starters this year, there is still hope, but only if you leave these guys out of your lineup or demote them to the flex position.
Although these backs are giant letdowns, you should still hold on to them in case they finally breakout of their shell, but as far as starters go, you might want to look elsewhere. Other fantasy duds include: Kevin White, Justin Forsett, Jimmy Graham, Jonathan Stewart, the Cardinals’ defense, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Rising To The Top: if you fell into the category of having a fantasy dud, don’t worry because there may be players on your bench that can fill the void. Matt Forte was a big question mark entering Week 1, but he soon proved his worth as there was no doubting he wasn’t to be denied the ball.
Forte carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards against the Bengals defense on Sunday. He also proved himself as a receiving threat, gathering five receptions for 59 yards. With production like this Matt Forte is nothing less than a starter. Another mysterious fantasy player heading into the season was running back C.J. Anderson.
Last season Anderson’s value plummeted as he failed to produce consistently. In one game Anderson diminished the doubt as he had two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground. Anderson also combined for an impressive 139 total yards against the Panthers.
Although it may be too early to say that Jameis Winston could start on a fantasy team, Derek Carr has proven himself worthy. Carr took the league by storm last year and showed no signs of stopping as he threw for 319 yards and a touchdown in the Raiders’ narrow win against the Saints.
Carr’s touchdown count was unusually low in the Week 1 opener but expect more production out of him as the season progresses. If you are in need of receivers, Vikings’ Stefon Diggs and Saints’ Willie Snead are prime candidates to take over the flex position or even become a strong WR2. Last week, Diggs collected over 100 yards and that was with the Vikings’ backup quarterback Shaun Hill.
It is a safe bet that Sam Bradford will feed Diggs the ball once he is able to play. As for Snead, he sits behind Brandin Cooks on the depth chart but that did not stop him from catching nine passes for 172 yards and a touchdown.
Second Chances: In some cases in Week 1 you may be questioning the health of your starters as they only put up five points. Or you may be questioning if your starter even suited up for the game at all after they went scoreless in the season opener. Week 1 seemed to be a bump in the road for who is to be considered viable fantasy starters.
Players Tyrod Taylor and Coby Fleener both recorded five or less fantasy points. Now you may be considering benching these guys or even dropping them all together but these players definitely deserve a second chance. Tyrod Taylor took the league by surprise when he consistently put up 15-20 fantasy points on the board each week last season.
On Sunday, Taylor looked timid for a majority of the game, throwing short screen passes for short gains, but he also had to dodge a lot of sacks. Expect the Bills’ offensive line to tighten up this week and expect Tyrod to return to his usual form. For a lot of fantasy owners, tight end Coby Fleener got moved to the bench after his poor performance during Week 1.
One reception for six yards is all Fleener pulled in Sunday against the Raiders, putting up a hefty zero on the fantasy board. But before you shun Fleener to your bench, know that towards the end of the game he caught a 60-yard pass from Drew Brees that was called back due to a penalty. With the Saints upcoming schedule, Fleener could make a big leap, don’t count him out just yet.
I hope these tips help you in the coming weeks in your fantasy games. Though I may not have provided you Matthew Berry advice, I am confident, if you take my advice, a successful next game is in order.