Week 1 Weekend Player Updates
Kyle Stafford – @Kstafford32
Week One is solid proof why we lust for football. So many storylines, So many unpredictable’s. Let us take a look at the impact Week 1 had on our Fantasy Football Leagues and Teams.
Digging for Gold:
Let’s start out and keep this in perspective. It’s just one week. Say that again, It’s just one week. Remember to think big picture. In looking at the possible Free Agents there are several gems that shined, and a couple options that might be worth taking over an injured player.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF– The Chiefs defense made Fitzpatrick look like a Pro Bowler. He ranked in the top 20 in 2010 out of all fantasy players. I would not expect 4 TDs and a pass rating of 133.0 every game, but he was very efficient spreading the ball around. Five Buffalo receivers had 5 or more targets verse an above average KC secondary.
Cam Newton, CAR– 422 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int, & 110.4 passer rating are off the charts for not just a rookie, but any quarterback would love to have their name next to that stat line. I would try very hard not to get caught up in the hype though. The Panthers were handed the NFL’s toughest schedule this year. Newton will face off against the Packers, Bears, & Saints over the next 4 weeks. I was impressed with his play, as were many. Newton was going up against a weak Arizona secondary that was starting a rookie who they targeted one on one with Steve Smith all game.
Ben Tate, HOU– The scouts seem to have got it right. A healthy Tate carried the ball 16 times for 116 yards and one touchdown. Tate does have several obstacles in his way. If Arian Foster gets back healthy, then that limits Tate’s chance at getting carries. Derrick Ward also looked good on Sunday and was a former 1,000 rusher with the Giants. Health concerns also follow Tate who was banged up in Sunday’s game. I would say Tate at least belongs on your bench, if not in your flex spot.
Cadillac Williams, STL- To no surprise to me, Steven Jackson is injured. Strained Quad, questionable for Week 2 vs. Giants and will probably linger throughout the season. In enters Cadillac Williams, who rushed for 91 yards and was productive in the passing game (6 catches, 49 yards, 10 targets). Williams has a well documented history of injuries, but when healthy he is a top fantasy performer. Would be a great flex start against a Giants Defense who gave up 70+ yards and a touchdown to Tim Hightower.
Doug Baldwin, SEA- The former Stanford receiver signed as a rookie free agent with Seattle as a kick returner. On Sunday, he was Tarvaris Jackson’s go-to receiver with 4 catches, 83 yards, 1 Touchdown, and 6 Targets. At 5 10, Baldwin may be hard to spot on the field but his speed and elusiveness stood out against the 49ers. Worth a look on your bench as you are dropping Danny Amendola this week.
Jerome Simpson, CIN– In 2010, Simpson shined at the end of the season with back to back 120+ yard games. Even though he did not put up major stats (4 catches, 44 yards) he was targeted 9 times. As this young Bengal team develops, Simpson’s targets may turn into more catches.
Roy Williams, CHI- The former 1st round pick looked very efficient on Sunday. Four targets, Four catches. He is a big receiver that doesn’t mind going over the middle. He has the opportunity in a Mike Martz pass heavy offense to shine. Look back in Denver when Cutler had a big and tall wideout named Brandon Marshall.
Jermaine Gresham, CIN– If Andy Daulton comes back from his wrist injury, Gresham is his safety blanket. Eight balls came his way against the Browns, with Gresham hauling in 6 catches and a touchdown. In an offense that is going to rely heavy on the run this year, Gresham will be a nice sure handed option in the passing game.
Fred Davis, WAS– Rex Grossman almost made my list for FA Quarterback, but then I remembered his years with the Bears and I got my head straight. Grossman did show us that he prefers Fred Davis over Chris Cooley. Davis had 6 targets with over 100 yards receiving. Grossman has always relied on his TE over the years, so it is worth watching how this connection develops.
The Ups & Downs:
With teams still trying to scramble and implement their playbooks post lockout, there where many players that stepped up and also plenty that took a giant leap back.
Players on the Rise:
Jay Cutler QB, CHI: With already a year under Mad Martz, Cutler is figuring it out. Did a great job of distributing the ball around. The Falcons Defense may have came into the season a bit overrated but this was a matchup of the #1 and #2 seeds from last year. Cutler carved them up with 312 yards and 2 TDs. Cutler may have 30 TDs this season, but the only concern is will he have 30 Ints to go along with it?
Mike Thomas WR, JAC: The 5 foot 8 inch Thomas is the top target in Jacksonville. With 11 targets thrown his way, we can only hope Luke McCown can turn into a decent quarterback. He has big play ability deep, and can also find success in the open field.
Anquan Boldin WR, BAL: Boldin is finally healthy and it showed. Four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. With Derrick Mason gone, Flacco has Boldin as his main option. You just hope Baltimore doesn’t abandon the pass game like they have done in the past.
Javid Best RB, DET: If Javid Best is on your bench, move him up now. This second year back is a threat on the ground and in the passing game. If Stafford and him stay healthy, this connection has very high potential. Best had 110+ total yards and had the ball 25 times. Health and the curse that he is a Lion are his only downfalls.
Players on the Down:
Chris Johnson RB, TEN: The Titans could have used a little help on Sunday from their recent investment, but Johnson performed like he was still holding out. 49 totals yards was all Johnson could come up with. With his huge payday behind him and stuck on a mediocre team, Johnson has little to play for. While many fantasy owners are all in on Johnson, I have been very skeptical since his holdout. A quick look at recent history, I would say the Larry Johnson effect is on in Tennessee.
Donovan McNabb QB, MIN: McNabb should have considered retirement after his last season with the Eagles. This once top Quarterback could only produce 39 yards with a pass rating of 47.9. This not only effects the production from the talented Viking receiving core, but the Vikings are going to have to rely on Adrian Peterson even more. Unless McNabb can find some of his old magic, the Vikings are likely to end up at the bottom of the NFC North.
Rashard Mendenhall RB, PIT: Mendenhall had a disappointing outing against Baltimore again. Just like the last time Mendenhall faced the Ravens, he couldn’t rush for more than 45 yards and produced zero touchdowns. I would not push the panic button yet on Mendenhall, but the Steelers also like his backup Mewelde Moore.
Vincent Jackson WR, SD: Two Catches for 31 yards is not what you expect from an elite fantasy wide receiver. Jackson looked uninterested and sloppy on Sunday. Luckily for the Chargers, Philip Rivers found Gates and Floyd for 21 total targets. Jackson is capable to putting up huge numbers, but holdouts and contract distractions have been his biggest highlight over the last 12 months.
Buy or Sell:
You should always be looking to buy low off other team’s rosters and sell high on your roster. Just don’t get trade happy. The goal is to upgrade your current position.
Michael Turner RB, ATL- Put up a quiet 100 yards on Sunday
Plaxico Burress WR, NYJ- Looked like the Plax of old against the Cowboys
Mike Thomas WR, JAC- Most owners don’t realize his potential because he plays in Jacksonville
Ryan Mathews RB, SD- Had 118 totals yards on Sunday, and Tolbert’s health is in question
Fred Jackson RB, BUF– The Curtis Martin of this era, give him his due
Kevin Kolb QB,ARI- Another 300+ yard game. Consistent and nice weapons.
Chris Johnson RB, TEN- I would get value for him now, before your season is over
Joseph Addai RB, IND- The Colts probably have the worst overall team in the league, get what you can out of Addai
Frank Gore RB, SF- Even though the 49ers won Sunday, the offensive line looked horrible. I don’t see much for the aging Gore.
Reggie Wayne WR, IND- Curtis Painter is one Kerry Collins injury away from being the starting QB. This would be devastating for Wayne owners. Sell Now!
Cam Newton QB, Car- His stock will never be higher in 2011, claim him off waivers and trade him.
THE GOLDEN RULE:
Do not panic, it’s only Week One……. Unless your roster is Peyton Manning, Arian Foster, Steven Jackson, Danny Amedola, and Tony Moeaki…. Then by all means…. panic