Fantasy football: No need to panic after Week 1
Looks like I picked the wrong week to face Brandin Cooks in both of my fantasy leagues. When I watched Drew Brees launch that pass from the end zone, catching Cooks perfectly in stride en route to a 98-yard touchdown, I knew it was going to be a long day.
At least my opponents didn’t double up with Brees in their lineups. Or Cooks’ counterpart, Willie Snead. Or A.J. Green, for that matter.
In fact, thanks to solid, if not spectacular, outings by most of my starters, and with a little help from DeAngelo Williams on Monday night, the Fools should be off to a 2-0 start to the 2016 campaign.
My charges also avoided the dreaded opening-week injury bug that befell those who invested a premium pick in Keenan Allen, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. And though Russell Wilson overcame a bum ankle to lead the Seahawks to a comeback win over my beloved, and surprisingly competitive, Dolphins, the “significant” injury could force his owners to go to QB Plan B this coming weekend.
Those banking on Sammy Watkins — or Tyrod Taylor, for that matter — got some unwelcome news Monday morning with the revelation that the receiver’s surgically repaired foot still isn’t right. There are whispers that Watkins could be shut down for several weeks, if not longer, if he can’t manage the pain. And you were hoping Taylor would bounce back from his Week 1 implosion …
Meanwhile, for one week at least, David Johnson rewarded those of us who entrusted him with our first pick, while Zeke Elliott and Adrian Peterson made their owners wish they had gone the wide receiver route.
There were other surprises. Such as seeing Melvin Gordon, who touched the ball more than 200 times in his rookie season without scoring, find pay dirt twice on just 14 carries. Yet, true to form, he still played a lesser role in the Chargers’ offense than Danny Woodhead. Don’t be surprised if that trend continues, especially with Allen out of the picture.
DeMarco Murray’s yards-per-carry death spiral continued in Tennessee, yet he doubled his career scoring receptions total by taking two passes to the end zone against the Vikings.
And Trevor Siemian, Shaun Hill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Osweiler and Carson Wentz all piloted their teams to victory in their first starts for their respective teams. Wentz and Osweiler might even prove to be worthy fantasy passers over time.
All that said, whether you got “Dez’d” on Sunday, or you’re still basking in the glow of Larry Fitzgerald’s ageless performance, just remember that one week does not a trend make. Don’t panic, and don’t rest on your laurels, either. There’s a lot of football left to be played.
CATCH ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: If you’re in one of the four-out-of-10 leagues that left Winston undrafted, grab him immediately. He put to rest any concerns about a sophomore slump with his 281-yard, 4-TD performance and, just as important, showed the rapport that was often missing last year with his star wideout, Mike Evans.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans: The rookie earned a starting job in the off-season, and he solidified it on Sunday by leading the team with five receptions for 107 yards and a TD. He won’t out-perform DeAndre Hopkins often, but he’ll surely continue to benefit from the double teams his All-Pro counterpart attracts.
Victor Cruz, WR, Giants: It’s been three years since Cruz was a fantasy standout, but after watching him salsa in the Cowboys’ end zone Sunday, it’s not out of the question that he could be dancing on a regular basis again. He has a well-established connection with Eli Manning and a superstar counterpart to take the pressure off. He’s worth scooping up and keeping handy should his renaissance continue.
DON’T BE FOOLED
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens: You know Wallace, and you passed him up in your draft for a good reason. Don’t let his 66-yard scoring reception in his Ravens debut fool you. He tallied just three receptions, and Joe Flacco completed passes to nine other receivers in the opener. Wallace is the definition of boom or bust.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons: There’s nothing particularly unusual about Sanu’s strong performance in the opener. He had a handful of stellar games throughout his career in Cincinnati; just not enough to make him a reliable fantasy receiver. His prospects dim further after injuring his ankle on Sunday.
Jack Doyle, TE, Colts: Sure, he caught two TD passes against the Lions. But there’s a reason you’ve never heard of him, even though this is his fourth year in Indy. Doyle is a spare cog in the Colts offense, and he’s unlikely to capture your attention again. Starting TE Dwayne Allen, on the other hand, is definitely worth a look for those who got “Fleenered” or “Barnidged” on Sunday.
Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and four-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).