Stars of Week 1
QB: Kyler Murray, ARI: 21-32, 289 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT (Plus 1 dashing TD)
RB: Joe Mixon, CIN: 29 carries, 127 yards, 1 TD
WR: Amari Cooper, DAL: 13 catches, 139 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Rob Gronkowski, TB: 8 catches, 90 yards, 2 TDs
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray led all sign callers in Week 1, dicing up the Titans’ secondary with 4 TD tosses, whereas including one other TD on the bottom. Murray’s comfortably a top-5 QB this yr and a weekly must-start.
While a lot of the eye directed towards the Cincinnati Bengals rests with the passing sport, don’t neglect about working again Joe Mixon. His expertise has exceeded his manufacturing so far in Mixon’s profession, but when he can keep wholesome, this may very well be the yr the place he places up top-5 numbers.
The Dallas Cowboys–Tampa Bay Bucs league opener featured a smorgasbord of fantasy impression gamers, with Amari Cooper outdueling teammate CeeDee Lamb as the highest performer at large receiver. Cooper discovered the top zone twice whereas hauling in 13 passes from a better-than-ever wanting QB Dak Prescott. Cooper stays a high 15 WR possibility and a weekly should begin.
We wrap up with tight finish honors, with an outdated identify – and sure GOAT on the place – main the way in which. Gronk scored twice whereas catching eight balls for 90 yards, reminding us of how particular of a connection he retains with the general GOAT, QB Tom Brady. Despite his Week 1 efficiency, Gronk stays a high-end TE2 versus a weekly starter. The Bucs are loaded with cross catchers, and Gronk is probably going fourth within the pecking order. So he’ll have nice performances over the course of the season, however don’t anticipate constant TE1 performances with sufficient frequency to advantage weekly starter standing.
Week 1 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we take a better take a look at a handful of performances and type out what such performances imply going ahead.
Jameis Winston, QB – NO: 14-20, 148 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: For the primary time since 2005, the New Orleans Saints entered a season with a QB apart from Drew Brees as its supposed starter. Fantasy managers have familiarity along with his successor, as Jameis Winston has lengthy been a family identify. Unfortunately Winston’s notoriety comes extra so from his YOLO method and interception quantity versus his on-field success. Spring ahead to fall 2021, following a yr of attending Sean Payton QB faculty, and Winston seems to be like a brand new sign caller. In a stunning consequence, Winston outdueled counterpart Aaron Rodgers en route to 5 TD passes and a snug win. So, has Winston morphed into an improved QB? While it’s nonetheless early, there’s purpose to imagine so. Winston has been coached to take higher care of the football, being okay with residing for an additional play. Now right here’s the precise key query – has Winston improved as a fantasy QB, compared to his Buccaneers days? Too early to make a definitive name, however the thought right here isn’t any. Winston lacks the identical caliber of weapons within the passing sport that he had with the Bucs. Also as fantasy football stays a sport of statistical quantity, Winston’s extra cautious method doesn’t assist right here. So whereas Winston was a greater fantasy QB than real-life QB with the Bucs, he’s more likely to be the alternative with the Saints. As for the 2021 fantasy season, Winston’s a matchup based mostly QB2, with potential for a bump upon WR Michael Thomas’ return from the harm listing in a number of weeks. The Saints face the Carolina Panthers, so he’s usable in case you’re in a pinch, however he’s not a weekly starter.
– Elijah Mitchell, RB – SF: 19 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Before we dive in right here, simply need to say that I really feel horrible for San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert. He has been terrific when wholesome, however simply can’t catch a break from the harm bug. It seems like Mostert will miss roughly half the season attributable to a knee harm, so the subsequent man up in Kyle Shanahan’s system is prized rookie …Trey Sermon Elijah Mitchell? Yep, Shanahan derives a sick kind of pleasure from complicated the remainder of us simpletons along with his depth charts. It wasn’t till hours earlier than the opening sport after we realized that 2021 third-round choose Trey Sermon could be a wholesome scratch, whereas sixth-round choose Elijah Mitchell could be lively. After Mostert went down early within the sport, Mitchell stepped in and seemed the half, crossing the 100-yard mark whereas discovering the top zone as soon as. Mitchell matches fairly effectively in Shanahan’s zone large scheme, making decisive cuts whereas additionally serving as a succesful cross catcher. Outside of Mostert and Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty was the one different RB to obtain a carry – actually receiving one. As for what’s subsequent, one can solely presume that Mitchell would be the lead ball service whereas Mostert recovers. Both Hasty and Sermon must be within the combine for carries, however this seems to be Mitchell’s job for now. Note that RB Jeff Wilson additionally sits on the 49ers’ harm listing, and he’s anticipated to be again in some unspecified time in the future previous to Mostert. Nevertheless, Mitchell’s the highest waiver wire add for this week, throughout all positions.
– DeVonta Smith, WR – PHI: 6 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The NFL has entered into an unprecedented period of large receiver play, with bumper crops of WRs coming into the league every of the previous couple of years. The Philadelphia Eagles snagged one such gifted rookie WR this previous offseason, touchdown Alabama alum and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Known as a tactician route runner with clean fingers, football of us had considerations with Smith’s perceived slight body for a WR, six-foot ft and 170 lbs. Well, we’re one sport into Smith’s NFL profession, and what made scouts fall in love with him at Bama vividly appeared within the Eagles’ sport versus the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Jalen Hurts focused Smith a team-leading eight occasions, hooking up for six catches and 71 yards, together with one landing. Importantly, Hurts seemed the half as effectively, elevating confidence within the Eagles’ passing sport. It took Smith no time to safe WR1 standing for the Eagles, and he ought to discover his approach into your fantasy lineups transferring ahead. Consider Smith a low finish WR2 ceiling to a WR3 / flex possibility flooring, relying upon matchups. He’s the true deal.
– Brandon Aiyuk, WR – SF: 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Targets
Analysis: As we circle again to the 49ers right here, it’s time to cross the torch of most irritating NFL coach for fantasy managers from Bill Belichick to Kyle Shanahan. In the preseason, Shanahan perplexed the NFL world along with his snap by snap rotation of QBs Jimmy Garappolo and Trey Lance. We coated Shanahan making prized rookie RB Trey Sermon a wholesome scratch above. Now, we transfer to the large receiver place. Rising second yr WR Brandon Aiyuk led the 49ers final season throughout a number of receiving statistics, and was comfortably the highest 49ers’ WR off the board in fantasy drafts. Facing a juicy matchup in opposition to the Lions, Aiyuk’s fantasy prospects seemed dashing for Week 1. Instead, we received donuts throughout the board. Who the what??? And per Pro Football Focus, right here’s the snap depend at WR for the 49ers in opposition to the Lions:
Deebo Samuel 46
Trent Sherfield 27
Brandon Aiyuk 26
Mohamed Sanu 20
So what occurred? Only Shanahan is aware of, however rumblings point out that Aiyuk had a hamstring challenge that wasn’t absolutely healed, which contributed to his drop within the crew’s WR depth chart. Sounds like a half-answer somewhat than a full one. For these of you with Aiyuk in your roster, don’t panic, however sadly he’s unlikely to return his draft day worth given Shanahan’s mad scientist method to his crew. Instead, Deebo Samuel snared many of the targets, with Trent Sherfield additionally showing to edge out Aiyuk in snaps. As a consequence, Aiyuk must discover a seat in your bench in the meanwhile, with the hope that he’ll return to beginning duties in some unspecified time in the future within the close to future. But regulate his worth accordingly…extra of a flex ceiling than a WR2 going ahead. Please ship all 49ers associated complaints on to Shanahan.
– Tim Patrick, WR – DEN: 4 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Broncos have assembled fairly a core of cross catchers, with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Ken Hamler at WR and Noah Fant at TE being essentially the most mentioned. Unfortunately, accidents have been prevalent in Week 1, with Jerry Jeudy amongst these impacted. Jeudy suffered a high-ankle sprain and might be out for a number of weeks. Jeudy’s harm opens up a chance for an additional strong Bronco WR, Tim Patrick, to carve out a bigger function within the passing sport. The fourth yr Utah alumnus quietly scored six TDs final season to associate with 742 receiving yards in 2020 – he’s been productive when given alternatives. Note that Patrick already had his 4 catches and TD reception (from 4 targets) within the bag previous to Jeudy’s harm, so anticipate Patrick’s targets to extend to the six-to-eight vary per sport. Also vital, Patrick was second in WR snaps for the Broncos per PFF with 46, behind solely Sutton’s 53. Patrick stands to profit essentially the most from Jeudy’s absence, so go choose up Patrick in case you want a WR. The Broncos have a tasty matchup versus the Jaguars subsequent week, and Patrick might be a viable flex possibility.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free-agent pickups from every place for deeper leagues, in every case 1) somebody who has NOT been featured above, and a couple of) a participant accessible in additional than 50% of leagues.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs LV)
RB: Tony Jones, NO (@ CAR)
RB: James White, NE (@ NYJ)
WR: Sterling Shepard, NYG (@ WAS)
WR: Darnell Mooney, CHI (vs CIN)
TE: Cole Kmet, CHI (vs CIN)
#Note-Author Name – Neema Hodjat, RealGM