Wow, Week 1 was a strange one, right? Only two of the top tier wide receivers lived up to expectations -- Antonio Brown and Julio Jones -- and another (Dez Bryant) suffered a significant injury, possibly forcing him out for most of the season. Running backs such as Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey, Chris Ivory, Danny Woodhead and DeAngelo Williams were among the top scorers at the position. What seemed like every tight end in the league went off in Week 1, as there were 22 total touchdowns caught by tight ends. Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Tyler Eifert and Austin-Seferian Jenkins stood out in particular. Eh, what're you gonna do, right?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints - Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET
San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals - Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET
I get it. The Bengals were playing the Raiders in Week 1. But they still looked great! Andy Dalton carved them up in the middle of the field with Tyler Eifert going nuts for 9 catches for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 targets. While all of those numbers are great, it's the 9 catches and 12 targets that most interest me. This tells me that Eifert was a big part of the offense from the start and I think that's going to continue, especially if he continues to play well. He's a Top-5 tight end. Dalton himself was steady, with a 74% completion percentage for 269 yards and the 2 touchdowns to Eifert with no interceptions. I'm not starting him if I can help it due to his ability to have a terrible multi-pick game at any time, but he's in the Top-15 range at QB this week. Jeremy Hill salvaged his fantasy day with 2 goal-line touchdowns in what was an otherwise lackluster performance. I'm still an ardent Hill supporter, but he's going to have to improve on his 3.3 yards per carry average from last week. Let's hope he does just that, as he's a Top-5 RB for me this week. Giovani Bernard made the most of his 8 rushing attempts, as he gained 63 yards (7.9 yards per carry), but only managed 25 receiving yards on 6 catches. I expect those numbers will even out, but 14 total touches is nothing to sneeze at for Bernard. I'd consider him as a flex option and he's intriguing as a deep DFS play because of his big play potential. A.J. Green only caught 5 passes for 63 yards, but he had 8 targets and Eifert was just tearing the Raiders defense up. I'm not concerned. Green is elite and is in the Top-5 range at WR. I'm not interested in any other wide receiver options in Cincinnati at this point, as I'd like to see how the Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu situation works out.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants - Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET
Julio...freaking...Jones. If you watched the Monday night game against Philly, you saw that Jones did most of his damage (and there was a lot of it) in the first half and wasn't in the game for big chunks after halftime. An injury to his hamstring wasn't mentioned until after the game, but you could tell something was up. Despite only having 1 catch in the second half, Jones finished the game with 9 catches, 141 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 targets and he looked like he couldn't be covered. The dude is amazing and if he's playing, he's in your lineup. He's a Top-2 wide receiver the rest of the year, as long as he's healthy. Other than when he was throwing to Jones and Roddy White -- who had 4 catches for 84 yards on 8 targets -- Matt Ryan didn't have a great game. He still put up 298 yards and 2 touchdowns (with 2 picks) to end with a decent fantasy day, but it could have been better. I think he's a Top-5 QB this week in the match-up against the questionable Giants' defense. The aforementioned Roddy White looked pretty good in Week 1 and made a couple of nice plays. I'd consider him a low-end #2 WR or a solid flex play this week. Rookie running back Tevin Coleman made his NFL debut in Week 1 and looked pretty good doing it, carrying the ball 20 times for 80 yards. He also had 2 targets in the passing game, but was unable to come up with a catch. With Devonta Freeman gaining only 18 yards on 10 carries -- along with 3 catches for 29 yards -- it looks like Coleman will be featured in the running game and Freeman will be more of the change of pace back. I think Coleman will get another good workload this week and he's in the #15-20 range at RB for me, while Freeman is someone I'd leave out of my lineups for now. At this point I'm not interested in any of the tight end options (Jacob Tamme and Levine Toilolo) unless one of them gains some separation and is used more in the offense.
The Giants let most fantasy owners down last week, as most of their fantasy relevant players under-performed, including Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning. So what do we do? Double down baby! I think the Giants' offense will bounce back this week, and I'm looking for Manning and Beckham to have better days. I'd consider Eli in the same range as Philip Rivers this week, around 10-12 at QB. As for Beckham, after just 5 catches for 44 yards on 8 targets, hopefully he can get some help this week from Reuben Randle or some other Giants' players (i.e. Larry Donnell) to pull some attention away from him. Jordan Matthews just put up 10 catches for 102 yards against the Falcons secondary -- albeit mostly from the slot -- and I think Beckham will have some room to operate if the Giants can clear the field for him. He's a Top-5 WR this week. That slot production I just mentioned? It could possibly go to Donnell -- although fellow tight end Daniel Fells took some targets in Week 1 as well -- but I wouldn't consider him anything other than a waiver wire flier. At the running back position, Rashad Jennings had a decent fantasy day last week, finishing with 13 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. It looks like Jennings is the primary running downs back for now and I think he could get more work this week, as long as the Giants don't get down early. He's in the #15-20 RB range. Also, Shane Vereen is an interesting PPR option (4 catches for 46 yards on 5 targets), but I'd only look at him as a flex play.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles - Sunday, Sept. 20, 4:25 p.m. ET
That sound you heard on Sunday night was the sound of the collective gasps/yelps/wails of Cowboys' fans and fantasy owners alike, as Dez Bryant has been reported to have a foot injury that would keep him out anywhere from 4 weeks to the rest of the season (according to numerous conflicting reports). Obviously this hurts the Cowboys' offense, Dez is one of the best players in the NFL. That being said, I don't think the 'Boys will be completely helpless when the offense is out on the field. Tony Romo is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league and while his numbers may not be quite what they would be with Bryant, I think he'll be able to piece it together. He's been throwing to Jason Witten for forever, I think Terrance Williams will step up, Cole Beasley is a good slot receiver and Lance Dunbar is a very good receiver out of the backfield or lined up out wide. I'll have Romo right around #10 at QB this week in a possible shootout. Witten had a great Week 1 (8 catches for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 targets) and will be a big part of the offense going forward with Bryant out. He's in the #5-7 range for me at tight end this week. I mentioned Terrance Williams before and he'll be lining up as the Cowboys' #1 receiver until Dez comes back. Against the Eagles, I like Williams as a #2 WR in standard leagues and I think he's a very strong choice in DFS leagues. Cole Beasley is also an interesting player, but only as a flex in PPR at this point. Now, the running game was a big question for Dallas coming into opening week. Joseph Randle got the vast majority of work in Week 1, with 16 carries for 65 yards and 3 catches for 42 yards, while Darren McFadden received only 6 carries for 16 yards (along with 1 catch for 19 yards). Randle's decent performance makes him the likely choice going forward and he's a pretty solid #2 RB for me this week. As I said above, Lance Dunbar could see his role solidified or increased now that Bryant is out, specifically in the passing game. He actually led the Cowboys in receiving last week with 8 catches for 70 yards and I could see him continuing to be useful if the Cowboys feel they need more receiving weapons out on the field. He could be a strong PPR flex play this week.
As for the Eagles, let's start with Sam Bradford. In Week 1, he had a whopping 52 pass attempts, completing 36 of them for 336 yards for 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Ironically, Bradford likely should have had 1 more touchdown and 1 less interception, both of which involved wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Anyway, Bradford played well in his debut, especially considering the Eagles' running game was nowhere to be found and they were down 20-3 at halftime to the Falcons. I'd consider him in in the 5-8 range at QB this week, as neither pass defense scares me in this game. The previously mentioned Matthews was a target monster in Week 1, with 10 catches for 102 yards on 13 targets and what looked to have been a touchdown which wasn't called on the field or challenged by Head Coach Chip Kelly (the Eagles scored one play later anyway). He's a Top-10 WR for me. The rest of the Eagles' passing game -- minus the running backs -- is a little iffy. Rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor only had 2 targets in Week 1, which is concerning considering how much Bradford was throwing the ball. I like the match-up against the Cowboys' secondary, but I wouldn't risk playing Agholor as anything more than a flex if you're desperate. I thought Zach Ertz looked pretty decent after his playing status was up in the air leading up to the game and he finished with 3 catches for 46 yards on 8 targets. If Ertz continues to get a high amount of targets, I think he'll improve and could eventually be a #1 tight end this year. Until then, I wouldn't be starting him in standard leagues. The running back situation is the real puzzler for Philadelphia. DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles combined to total only 16 carries for the entire game against Atlanta. Murray only had 8 carries for a measly 9 yards, although he salvaged his day with both a rushing and receiving touchdown. I don't see that happening again, as the Eagles want to run the ball and I expect Murray to get the majority of carries going forward. I like him as a Top-5 option this week. Sproles looked great in Week 1 with 5 carries for 50 yards and 7 catches for 76 yards, but I'm not sure that's sustainable. Still, he's worth a look at flex in PPR leagues and could give you some big plays. Mathews also got into the end zone to also somewhat save his fantasy day, but I wouldn't be rolling him out as your flex until the Eagles' backfield situation clears up.
Surprise Fantasy Game of the Week: Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers - Sunday, Sept. 20, 8:30 p.m. ET
I know, I know. It's Seattle's defense we're talking about here. But did you see last week's game against St. Louis? The Seahawks D looked mortal and gave up 34 points to the Rams. The Rams! I don't think traveling to Green Bay to play against Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and the Packers' offense is the best remedy for what ails them (that would be getting everyone healthy and convincing Kam Chancellor to get back on the field). As for the Seahawks' offense, I really like Marshawn Lynch this week after the Packers just gave up 141 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 attempts to Matt Forte. I look for Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham to have good games here as well, as there's potential for this game to be higher scoring than you think.
Well, that's it for this week! I'll be making this a weekly series for the rest of the season, so check back for more analysis on the best fantasy games each week. Good luck in Week 2!