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Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 WRAPUP

-Well that was fun.  No doubt the prime contender to be the number 1 waiver pick this week is Chicago Bears rookie scatback Tarik Cohen who carried over a big preseason into the games that count by rushing for 66 yards on just 5 carries, while also adding 8 catches for another 47 yards and a score.  Clearly the Bears are going the Atlanta Falcons route in terms of riding two running backs by pairing Cohen with Jordan Howard this season and so this arrangement looks quite interesting.  Cohen should obviously be added in all formats, with a heavy emphasis on PPR leagues due to the fact the kid can catch the football.  Now as far as Jordan is concerned, the 2017 first round pick was mostly ineffective in rushing for just 52 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.  Jordan did add 3 catches for 14 yards but he was clearly outplayed by Cohen and already you have to wonder if a strict timeshare is in order.  This would be disastrous for Howard's fantasy football value as he was drafted to be a bellcow back and was coming off a big rookie performance.  In the "what have you done for me lately" NFL however, last season simply does not matter.  Something to really watch closely over the next couple of games.

-It was a successful return to action for Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch who showed his old power burst by rushing for 76 yards on 18 carries, while also catching a 16-yard touchdown pass.  Lynch did cede quite a bit of work to Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington but when it counted most, the former Seahawks star was on the field.  All in all a nice debut in a Raiders uniform for Lynch who looks like he is ready to be a solid RB 2 at the very least.

-Despite missing pretty much the entire preseason with a tough hamstring injury, Tennessee Titans rookie wideout Corey Davis showed why he was the top receiver drafted in 2017 by catching 6 balls for 69 yards on 10 targets.  While Risard Matthews and Eric Decker remain as viable receiving alternatives, Davis's stock already is looking up to the point of being a WR 3 in PPR formats starting next week.

-Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz looked like a nice and affordable fantasy football sleeper this summer and so far, so good on that front as he completed 26-of-39 passes for 307 yards with 2 TD an 1 INT.  Wentz continually escaped pressure to hit targets down the field and with the Eagles having assembled a nice array of weapons for him, the upside is looking quite stark.

-While he missed quite a bit of throws which is not unexpected for a rookie passer making his first start, Cleveland Browns QB DeShon Kizer opened some eyes by both throwing and rushing for a score.  Kizer completed 20-of-30 throws for 220 yards and the one score with one INT, while also rushing for 17 yards and a score on five carries. While we wouldn't touch Kizer in single QB formats, he can be added in two passer leagues to see where this goes.

-It looks like the big turnover among the Washington Redskins wideouts contributed to the ugly game by QB Kirk Cousins on Sunday.  Behind his receivers all game and being careless with the ball, Cousins completed only 23-of-40 throws for 240 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, while also losing two fumbles.  The Redskins will now face the potent defense of the Los Angeles Rams next week and so Cousins is possible a bench option going forward until he gets in sync with his new weapons.

-As if Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan doesn't have enough weapons, add tight end Austin Hooper to his stable of pass catchers.  The second-year Hooper caught 2 passes for 128 yards and a TD in Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears to put himself squarely onto waiver wire attention for Week 2.  While Hooper has some evident skills, we wouldn't go crazy here just yet as Hooper really had one huge catch and did little else.

-Julio Jones had a bit of a quiet day Sunday as he caught four balls for 66 yards in the win over the Bears.  While not the worst day in the world, Jones is used to supplying big weekly numbers for his fantasy football owners.  He will be just fine and remains a secure WR 1 weapon.

-With Alshon Jeffery being bottled up by Redskins CB Josh Norman, there were some catches up for the grabs among the Eagles wideouts Sunday.  It was the forgotten Nelson Agholor who stepped up as he caught 6 balls for 86 yards and a score.  While it was a nice game, don't run to get Agholor off waivers as Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Darren Sproles, and Zach Ertz all remain ahead of him on the receiving depth chart this season.

-A huge value play recommendation from this peanut stand, the always underrated Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions was big yet again in posting another fourth quarter comeback on Sunday.  Stafford completed 29-of-41 throws for 292 yards with 4 TD and 1 INT in showing off a big array of weapons against a usually stout Arizona Cardinals defense.  Ride Stafford as an every week QB 1.

-Age could very well be derailing Cardinals QB Carson Palmer who was simply awful Sunday in completing 27-of-48 passes for 269 yards with 1 TD and 3 INT.  Palmer is getting closer to 40 and has a lot of mileage on his arm which cause one to question whether he still has it.  Until he shows he in fact does, bench Palmer everywhere.

-As if there was any debate that Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown was not the top receiver in fantasy football, he goes out and catches 11 balls for 182 yards in the team's win over the Cleveland Browns.  The return of Martavis Bryant should help open up room for Brown on the other side and thus add to the reception and yardage totals.  What a gem.

-Prior to the start of the season, I said Detroit Lions slot man Golden Tate could catch 100 balls.  He is off to a nice start on that front as Tate caught 10 passes for 107 yards Sunday despite having to deal with the coverage of Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson.  Tate did injure a finger that required a postgame splint but all involved say it is no big deal.  In PPR leagues, Tate looks like gold yet again.

-Terrell Pryor already seems to be the favorite target of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins as he caught 6 passes for 66 yards and got a total of 11 targets.  The chemistry was not exactly perfect which was to be expected early on but Pryor looks capable of being a WR 2 in PPR formats and a WR 3 in standards.

-Lions rookie wideout Kenny Golladay was a sleeper that not many were on in terms of 2017 fantasy football drafts but surely there is no some regret for not looking into him more closely as he caught four passes for 69 yards and 2 scores.  Now Golladay is the clear third wideout behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate which means some volatility week-to-week is likely but for now he is worth adding in all leagues given the pass-leanings of the Detroit attack.

-Age seems to be nothing but a number to Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy who rushed for 110 yards on 22 carries, while adding 5 catches for another 49 yards.  Head coach Sean McDermott meant what he said when he noted he would use McCoy very heavily and that is good for his fantasy football owners who in the backs of their minds worried a tad about the age getting up there.  Be that as it may, McCoy could wear down later in the year under such a workload so this is not a perfect long-term scenario.

-Corey Coleman was on better passing terms with Browns QB DeShon Kizer Sunday as he caught five passes for 53 yards and a score.  Coleman was a first round pick for a reason and so he has clear WR 3 upside with a strong-armed passer throwing it his way.

-What foot problems?  Jacksonville Jaguars rookie power back Leonard Fournette rumbled his way to 100 yards and a score on 26 carries, plus added 3 receptions for another 24 yards in his NFL debut.  There was virtually no sign of anyone else encroaching on the Jaguars backfield and so this is tremendous news for Fournette owners who heard all sorts of news about his role/workload over the summer.  Talent has never been the issue here and instead it has been health that has held Fournette back in the past.  At least for one week, he seems secure as one of the more pronounced bellcow backs in the NFL.

-Wow Jamison Crowder went bust Sunday.  An interesting sleeper coming into the season in PPR formats, Crowder was a victim of the rough Redskins offense debut Sunday in catching just 3 balls for 14 yards.  There was no talk of any injury issues holding Crowder back but boy the best course of action is to stash him for Week 2 to see if things change.  If not then cut him loose.

-A slow start for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger ended with a nice finish as he completed 24-of-36 throws for 263 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT.  With Martavis Bryant coming back to join Antonio Brown, Big Ben has a silly array of weapons that should lead to big numbers each week.  As long as he can stay healthy of course.

-The Jaguars blew out of the Houston Texans but QB Blake Bortles was not allowed to screw it up as he completed 11-of-21 throws for 125 yards and a score.  There is virtually no reason to own Bortles as his own team doesn't even trust him.

-With Danny Woodhead being carted off with a hamstring injury, Terrance West responded for the Baltimore Ravens by rushing for 80 yards and a score on 19 carries.  West did not catch a single pass as per his standard league history but he gets a juicy matchup versus the Cleveland Browns next week.  However Buck Allen actually got more carries with 21 so a platoon is in order here.







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