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Week 1 Fantasy Football Standouts and Injuries: Monday Night Football

A quick look at notes from the first week of the 2015 MNF debuts of Falcons, Eagles, 49ers, and Vikings.

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Here are deeper looks at the two Monday Night Football games. The other Week 1 game notes are here and top performers are here.

Falcons 26 vs Eagles 24

  • Julio Jones can be the #1 WR in fantasy if Matt Ryan can get a second to see downfield. Jones' nine catches for 141 yards and two TDs came on 11 targets, according to ESPN. He was unstoppable. That Falcons offensive line can kill everything, though. The Eagles are among the most aggressive blitzers in the league, but blitzing requires coverage.
  • Start #1 WRs against the Eagles. Byron Maxwell is pretty much not equipped to cover the best receivers in the game and almost every team has a guy who can punk him out. Exploit this all season. Maybe you can buy low-ish on Odell Beckham, Jr. or try more realistic, cheaper targets like Pierre Garcon to stream. Terrance Williams looks great for Week 2 right now.
  • Demarco Murray looked really bad against a defense he should have exploited. His first four carries went for -4 yards and his last four only went for 13. Hauled in four catches and scored two TDs to save him fantasy night, but Darren Sproles' 126 total yards that included seven catches for 76 stole the show. Sproles is back to having RB2 upside in PPR and may become a flex option in standard, but not just yet. Atlanta has a bad defense and we should see more.
  • Tevin Coleman seems to be the primary back for Atlanta. Devonta Freeman has a pass-catching role and had ten carries, but Coleman had 20 for 80 yards. Don't be surprised to not really see significant goal line carries from either so soon, though.
  • Jordan Matthews is a stud. Great matchup and he did with it what he should have, hauling in ten catches for 102 yards. He was oh-so-close to a TD, but the big number is 13 targets. Sam Bradford was not very good, but he threw 52 times. This offense is going to throw often until they can seal the edges for Murray to get into space. After that, we can re-evaluate, but Matthews remains a high-end WR2 in all formats with WR1 upside.
  • Bradford put up the numbers. Who cares how bad he was in real life? He threw so much that he accumulated 336 yards and a short TD. Of course, that volume also created two INTs. One more TD, which was very doable, makes this a respectable outing for the price you drafted him to just be good enough.
  • Stand pat and bench Nelson Agholor, but drop Zach Ertz. Agholor may need time, but Ertz makes for too many cooks in the kitchen with Matthews and Sproles there. Add in that Bradford looks to checkdown to RBs before TEs and that's not good for Ertz. Too many TEs with more potential for big weeks, especially with all of the young QBs starting out there.

49ers 20 vs Vikings 3

  • Carlos Hyde is a stud and Reggie Bush may miss time. Hyde (26/168/2) looks the part, passes the eye test, plods and jukes. He takes the volume and grabs the yards. And there is a lot of volume to be had. Like, top-8 fantasy RB every week volume and talent. Bush was carted off the field early with a leg injury and never returned to the game.
  • Mike Wallace is hard to own. He is a deep threat with a QB who can't throw bombs. We've seen this movie before with Wallace in Miami and it doesn't go well for fantasy owners.
  • Buy low on Adrian Peterson, if you can. He'll be fine. Looked like AP, carrying half the defense for extra yardage and was active in the pass game. He came into the game averaging only 3.0 yards per carry against the Niners in his three games against them. Different Niners now, but those results remained (10/31/0) and it makes no sense. He will be exploding through holes soon enough and won't stop after that.
  • The 49ers are still not a great matchup. Start your studs, but in close calls, avoiding the Niners for better matchup at all positions is the safe bet for now.