2020 Week 1: Three Things from Sunday Night Games + Top 5’s Waivers/Buy-Sell/Sleepers/DST/IDPs
Rough Week 1 shaping up across the FFM-landscape. My informal tracking looks like a 55% +/- win rate right now, with some upside if Diontae and/or Big Ben and/or Phillip Lindsay have a day on MNF. *UPDATE = Thanks, Lindsay...and your stupid toe.*
A 55% win rate is low for us (60%+ is the usual/norm, 65%+ is the goal), a weak Week 1 out of the gates. Just skimming around the various leagues and levels of play, the overall team scoring is tracking OK…but there were too many ‘beat by Davante…or beat by Jacobs’ type events. There were a couple of massive performances by star players this week…which dwarfed ‘good’ performances by Mahomes-David Johnson types and then our WRs being ‘meh’ didn’t help slay the giant performances against some teams.
Of course, now is the time of great Fantasy Football emotion (panic or satisfaction)…whatever happened in Week 1 is now in our minds as the reality forever. 0-1 teams think they may never win a game the rest of the year. 1-0 teams are a tad too confident. It’s the nature of the fantasy game. The answer lies in the middle.
Here's how you should gauge the health of your team after Week 1, won or lost:
-- Did you/are you going to score in the upper half of your league this week? If you lost but had like the 4th-highest point total in a 12-team league (example), then you would have beaten 67% of your opponents. That’s a good thing…just bad Week 1 luck.
-- Would you have won/been top half of league scoring had you played ______ on your bench over starting ______, like was there a scenario you almost did/considered it but went the wrong way? Then…your loss could have been a win/top scoring with a solution you already own…that’s good news in a bad outcome.
-- Would you have won if your opponents didn’t have Adams-Jacobs-Hopkins going ballistic? Cut those player’s amazing scores in half…would you have won/been close? You’re not going to face those guys doing that every week…and those guys won’t do that every week. You just got scheduling-unlucky.
Now, you may think that is all fuzzy math and trying to make people feel good, but it’s not. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know what happens after a Week 1 loss (and win). As your advisor, I need to keep you sane.
Reactions to Week 1 are like this parable/story…
What did you eat for breakfast this morning? How about your lunch? Any idea what you’re having for dinner? Probably a normal day of eating for you is about to happen.
You know you SHOULD eat healthier…less sugar/carbs, but who has time for that right now? Cereal in the morning. Bread on your sandwich at lunch, etc. Maybe a candy bar snack today. You’re going to eat normal today and likely tomorrow too. You’re comfortable with how you feel, etc., at the moment.
However, what if you (for the sake of this story) got a call from your doctor right now…and he said your sugar is out of control and we see an issue where your life might be in danger….you must cut out all the sugar/carbs you can immediately or you might pass away in a week or two? If you got that call, you’d immediately change everything on your eating ahead. You’d be overthinking (for good reason) everything you were about to eat…making sure it was no carb/no sugar. You’d get home and throw out all sweets to not tempt you. You’d change everything in a hurry. You’d have to change in order to survive. You’d also read articles/books on advice for a low carb lifestyle. You’d look into medication, supplements…you might die in a week if you don’t change your sugar levels in this scenario. You’d turn your normal eating life upside down in an instant with the jarring news.
Well, what if you made all those changes for a week….lost several pounds…knew you were doing good…measured blood sugar constantly…you changed EVERYTHING – but then the doctor called a week later and apologized, they mixed up the results and you don’t have any sugar issues and you’re not at-risk of dying any day? You’d be relieved and mad…but relieved.
You’d also then go out and eat a bunch of carbs to celebrate. You’d slip back to your normal ways.
This is what it is like after Week 1 in fantasy.
You won this week (regardless of the ‘why’)…and everything is well/normal. You knew you were smart about football. No need for drastic changes. Going to steer the ship steady as she goes. Normal eating day…maybe even a celebratory treat too.
You lost this week (regardless of the ‘why’)…and you immediately go want to change everything like your life depended upon it. A loss in Week 2/next week would kill your soul and you’ll do anything to avoid it. You look at the players you have, and they are the enemy today…you hate them, like you would looking at sugary foods in your house if you realized they were killing you. You want to change the team so much. You want to redraft again (if only I ate better before!). Your players all have no hope. The coach isn’t using them right. You may never win a game again.
You laugh, but that’s the feeling many of you/me ‘lost Week 1’ people have. I get it. I lost a lot this week, it looks like, more than the norm – and I walked around hating football/Bryan Edwards about midnight last night and praying to Diontae Johnson to save me on MNF. It’s a normal reaction, but one we have to fight – or you’re going to make a bunch of rash changes/decisions off Week 1/this week going into Week 2…and they will be too extreme. Too short sighted, too impatient.
We’ve got a long way to go. Hold it together. Be smart this week…not panicked.
If you win next week, even if by pure luck…you will feel like the doctor called and gave your life back. You’re a week away, a win away from emotional stability – and that’s not smart either. But it’s real. And will make you less wanting to change EVERYTHING…RIGHT NOW.
Fantasy Football is a grind. If you’re playing blackjack with a ‘system’, you have to play a lot of hands for the odds to play out in your favor. One hand, one win/loss does not judge the entire system’s validation. Whether you dominated, won lucky, lost unlucky, lost in a depressing manner this week – it’s one week. If this happened Week 5…you’d feel it less. Don’t let ‘Week 1’ make you do ‘strange things’ to try and fix everything in one fell swoop. There is so much football/fantasy to go.
Let’s look over all the game tape and see how we can improve a 1-0 team or 0-1 team.
-- Here’s Three Things/quick notes that caught my attention from each Sunday game --
-- We learned that Zach Moss (9-11-0, 3-16-0/4) is not a mystical unicorn rookie RB. HOWEVER, we also learned it’s a 60/40 split with Devin Singletary (9-30-0, 5-23-0/7)…with Devin as the lead.
Actually, we learned it’s a 50/30/20 backfield.
50% = Josh Allen
30% = Devin Singletary
20% = Zach Moss
-- We learned that Le’Veon Bell (6-14-0, 2-23-0/2) still has some zip left, but he hurt his hamstring and missed a good chunk of the 2nd-half. We also learned his team is terrible, so it will be a slog with Bell…an RB2 in PPR on volume. Little upside. Hopefully he’s traded soon to another NFL team.
-- We learned that I was right about Sam Darnold (21-35 for 215 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) all along…two years before he was ever drafted, as EVERY single football person absolutely assured us that Darnold was a high end franchise QB. What were they watching? Anyone can be wrong on a player, but they are so wrong so often and this one was so glaring it’s ridiculous.
Because that’s true…everything in this pass game is dead for consistency and upside. Denzel Mims’s near future outlook is looking really dark right now.
-- We learned that Bill Belichick knows Preston Williams (2-41-0/7) is more dangerous than Davante Parker (4-47-0/4), that he dispatched Stephon Gilmore (5 tackles, 1 PD) to shut PW down. Bad news for his output this game, good news that Belichick confirms what we believed all along – Williams is their #1.
Facing Buffalo next week…no, thanks using Preston Week 2. Week 3 suddenly might be an issue with C.J. Henderson/JAX.
-- I didn’t learn enough about the Miami backfield situation from the live watch, but if the Dolphins think using Myles Gaskin (9-40-0, 4-26-0/4) heavy is getting them anywhere they are sorely mistaken.
I’m not sure why Howard-Brieda were so benched/sidelined most of this game but it makes no sense what I saw. And it means this whole backfield is a mess to try to figure out.
-- Speaking of backfield messes…
Cam Newton (15-19 for 155 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 15-75-2) is going to suck the life out of the other fantasy RBs here…he will steal touches/TDs from Michel/Harris and not throwing enough to drive James White (5-22-0, 3-30-0/3) to his former PPR glory.
-- Like I complained about all last year, and why I dropped Baker Mayfield down in all my valuations in 2020…Odell Beckham (3-22-0/10) is no longer a top WR, or even a ‘good’ WR anymore. He is killing the Browns’ offense and they haven’t come to terms with that yet.
He will be NFL-traded soon (for very little in exchange) because he can be cut in the 2021 offseason for no financial impact. The Browns would like to hold him through 2020, cut in 2021, and get a 3rd-round compensation when he signs elsewhere but he’s likely to be such a cancer in-season that they’ll probably be forced to dump him for whatever they can get just to be rid of him.
…that’s what a smart team would do.
What the Browns do tends to be the opposite of ‘smart’ but buckle up because this is about to be a story in the weeks to come…the final downfall of OBJ in the NFL. I don’t think he’ll play/finish the 2021 season (he’ll quit football soon). He won’t be a Brown that’s for sure.
-- Speaking of Baker (21-39 for 189 yards, 1 TD/1 INT), he can’t succeed in this offense with these WRs…he’s effectively done for 2020 as any type of fantasy asset.
Baker owned the league, in a sense, as a rookie…so we know he has ability, but this is what happens when bad coaching/surrounding cast/franchise destroys a player. I suspect Baker will try and force his way out of Cleveland in 2021. Players are able to do it and Kevin Stefanski will want a grinder/backup QB talent to talk to.
This whole Browns situation is a powder keg waiting to blow…and it’s awful for fantasy for all involved. It’s even bringing Nick Chubb (10-60-0, 1-6-0/1) down.
-- J.K. Dobbins (7-22-1) looked good but note that he will not be reliable for FF until Mark Ingram (10-29-0) is out of the way. Dobbins will be a 5-12 carries a game guy, with a big PPR problem…
Lamar completed 20 passes in this game…not one of them to a running back (1 to a fullback).
-- This is Phillip Rivers (36-46 for 363 yards, 1 TD/2 INT)…
36 completed passes, 17 of them completed to running backs. Rivers is a short dump passer and sketchy downfield thrower now…and has been for a year+. Good news for the PPR aspect of their RBs.
-- Jonathan Taylor (9-22-0, 6-67-0/6) was not intended to be their starter. He’s going to have to take it…and it won’t be available easy. Frank Reich is totally bizarre on his personnel, and he is going Mack-Hines lead/split until absolutely forced to change.
The Marlon Mack injury forced that change here, and you could see Taylor is so obviously the best back they have -- it’s clear to anyone watching, except to Frank Reich. Taylor didn’t play a snap until Mack got hurt into the 2nd-quarter.
Now that Mack is done…it’s game-on, mostly, with Taylor. Hines will buzz around, but Taylor is going to march to an RB1 status soon enough.
-- I had Keelan Cole (5-47-0/5) as one of our WR ‘outta nowhere’/sleeper of the week because he was ‘reportedly having a great camp’ (like five other Jags’ WRs), but more so because of how Gardner Minshew was talking about him in the preseason. I knew Cole had NFL starter talent, and now he’s stepping into the role running as a slot in this offense. He’s the non-Chark to have here for FF right now, not Laviska Shenault (3-37-/4, 2-10-0)
-- Dwayne Haskins (17-31 for 178 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) is an abomination…still worse than Sam Darnold but plays with more spirit than Donald. You have to sell all things passing game tied to Haskins. You’re going to be reaching for Steven Sims (3-50-0/3) to have consistency week-to-week. Terry McLaurin (5-61-0/7) will always be the #1 here with Haskins, and these are the types of stat lines TML is going to have most weeks. It’s embarrassing that Haskins is an NFL starter.
This will all change if/when Alex Smith takes over. But with this win…that could be a few more weeks away.
-- Antonio Gibson (9-36-0, 2-8-0) looks solid enough in his debut, but this was my fear trying to use him Week 1…when it mattered, Peyton Barber (17-29-2) was trusted to put the game away.
Barber is not good enough to be ‘the man’ over time, so Gibson has a real shot to emerge here…even if just a lot more work in games they are losing. With a chance at a win, Barber will be tapped…when things start crumbling it will be Gibson getting experience/work.
-- Boston Scott (9-35-0, 2-19-0/2) got injured and left the game early. Miles Sanders missed the game completely. Unimpressive Corey Clement (6-19-0, 2-2-0/2) could be the man Week 2 v. LAR. Running behind that battered O-Line…not a good combination.
You know the Eagles are worried about the RB situation if rookie Michael Warren is elevated from the practice squad this week.
-- I wasn’t in love with this matchup for the Lions’ passing game because of the decent Bears defense (and a missing Kenny Golladay), and it ended up pretty ‘meh’ across the board for FF. The upside to the Lions’ passing game is ‘to come’ – from Weeks 2-12, the Lions are playing a collection of some of the worst pass defenses I saw Sunday (and THU), and plays most of them in domes (whether at home or at their place). Buy the Lions’ passing game after this week.
-- David Montgomery (13-64-0, 1-10-0/3) did end up cleared for Week 1 and was the main ballcarrier. He did his typical ‘yawn’ performance. He is the main ballcarrier, so he has solid RB2 potential…but, man, does he look beyond average still…and, now, even smaller, physically. I don’t like what I see.
-- Somehow Adrian Peterson (14-93-0, 3-21-0/3) is a decade+ older than David Montgomery but looks faster/more athletic. He just walks into Detroit a few weeks before the season and is their starter. I remember the days when I took heat for saying Kerryon Johnson (7-14-0) and David Montgomery looked more like busts coming into the NFL…but it’s playing out before our very eyes right now.
-- Well, I guess Aaron Rodgers (32-44 for 364 yards, 4 TDs/0 INT) + Davante Adams (14-156-2/17) are in midseason form. I don’t know how much is ‘Rodgers being Rodgers’ and how much is the Vikings new cornerback group are going to be a problem.
The schedule is mostly kind ahead for GB/Rodgers+Adams. They are going to be wrecking balls this year…at least Adams is. Rodgers is looking strong to go back into the QB1/top 12 race again (after being way outside of it last year in PPG).
-- The Packers score 43 points and Allen Lazard (4-63-1/4, 1-19-0) gets 4 targets as the #2 WR. Apparently, his lot in life will not change until teams double/triple Davante or Davante gets hurt. Lazard looks terrific but he cannot seem to get high target games even on accident or in blow outs.
-- Looking for Irv Smith (1-11-0/1) to step up this year with the Vikings needing more receiving help? Nope. Same old Vikings. Same old Packers. Own Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and everything else is ‘once in a blue moon’ good games within the season.
-- I thought I’d feel better about Carlos Hyde (7-23-1) having more carries than Chris Carson (6-21-0, 6-45-2/6) in this game but Carson went wild on simple screen pass TDs and won the FF day. I’m not sure we know what Seattle’s offensive plan is for backfield touches after this, but Carson seems like the clear lead and Hyde in to spell him. Not a 50-50 split, but I need to re-watch it.
-- One thing we can ‘know’ from this game…the Falcons have maybe the worst pass defense in the NFL and they are ones to target every week – WRs/TEs and RBs. Dallas in Week 2…
-- The Falcons got down big and went to an all-throw end of the game, as they tend to do…thus they spawned three 9 catch receivers this game in Julio/Ridley/Gage. As long as the Falcons are in shootouts (and it looks like 15 more of them to come this season), it’s going to work for Julio-Ridley-Gage more than not…with Gage on the low end as much as he has sweet games.
-- What happened to the big Bryan Edwards (1-9-0/1) event I promised? Believe me, I’ve only heard that 100+ times since 4pm+ Sunday. I’ll see more on the rewatch and report back, but it looked like he started/played most of the game with Henry Ruggs (3-55-0/5) as a 1-2 punch WR set (Edwards played the most snaps of any LV WR here). I’m not sure why he got ignored but one specific play (that he got hit low/knee and was out for a little bit before returning).
The Raiders threw 30 passes and ran 31 times…61 plays…Josh Jacobs (25-93-3, 4-46-0/6) had 31 of 61 directed at him. That’s part of the issue for the rest of the Raiders.
Why I broke late to pushing Jacobs so high in draft guide rankings – there are rare few RBs who ARE their team’s offense. Jacobs is one of them. Make contenders near his ADP fell this day, and maybe it’s just a one off but…Ekeler, Chubb, Sanders, Drake are among those who are facing ‘sharing’ issues.
-- Curtis Samuel (5-38-0/8, 1-5-0) was second in targets and second in catches, but it really was a nothing event. I was hoping Matt Rhule would usher in a unique usage for Samuel, but he got his usual. Months to plan, and we got the Norv Turner special.
-- The big three WRs for Carolina were spread out pretty equally in usage/targeting by Teddy and his lone TD pass was kind of a broken play/broken tackle event for a long TD. I didn’t see anything here that made me excited about Teddy going forward…for fantasy. He was fine but everything looked a little off. Could grow into it, but right now it looks clunky…against a very inexperienced Raiders secondary.
-- Well, Justin Jackson (2-4-0) held off Josh Kelley (12-60-1) as a split starter for about a quarter, then Lynn got frustrated and activated Kelley, and he responded. Jackson is done. Kelley is now the new split starter.
-- My great fear for Austin Ekeler’s (19-84-0, 1-3-0/1) was Tyrod Taylor’s lack of throwing to RBs…and we saw it manifest Week 1. Ekeler in a 60/40 split with Kelley and not getting much targeting…he’s not worth what anyone paid in redrafts.
On top of that, I thought Ekeler looked like the Duke Johnson effect…guys losing their wiry speed/spryness by bulking up too much and starting to get a bit stiffer than they were before. Maybe when I rewatch I’ll dismiss that, but my guy feeling in the live watch was worried for Ekeler.
-- The answer to the question of Joe Burrow’s (23-36 for 193 yards, 0 TD/1 INT, 8-46-1) favorite target to throw to = A.J. Green (5-51-0/9) not Tyler Boyd (4-33-0/5), right now. Burrow didn’t look all that comfortable in his debut, but not bad…and Green was his main target.
-- Kyler Murray (26-40 for 230 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 13-91-1) had a sweet fantasy game, but watching it live…I didn’t love what I saw. Not that he was bad…I just didn’t see anything different than in 2020. Same short, quick passes. Same routes. Same iffy pass protection and the only thing new was Kyler was willing to run/scramble a lot more this year…and that’s good for FF.
Kyler’s schedule is neat/nice for the next six weeks. We should be in a ‘start Kyler’ mode about every week of the season now.
-- I was surprised to see Kenyan Drake (16-60-1, 2-5-0/2) had so many more carries than Chase Edmonds (6-26-0, 3-19-1/5). Live watch, it felt like they were about even. Edmonds has a very definite role here…like a 70/30 split for sure. Drake is not among the ‘holy’ RBs who the offense is built around.
-- Jerick McKinnon (3-24-0, 3-20-1/5) really looked solid here in his return to football after 2+ years of injuries – which further complicates this situation going forward. It’s a three-headed monster led by Raheem Mostert (15-56-0, 4-95-1/5) but as this game went on and McKinnon proved himself and Tevin played a few snaps – Mostert was not leaned on as much. Mostert did his damage in the first half, basically off of one play (a 76-yard catch and run TD).
-- If I only used this game as my guide, I’d say Ronald Jones (17-66-0, 2-16-0/3) will be the Bucs starter all year and Leonard Fournette (5-5-0, 1-14-0/1) will be out of football in a year. Jones looked exponentially better than Fournette…not even close.
Now, Fournette may have been slowed by lack of feeling good about the plays and such, and he looked a bit better as the game went on but overall, he looked terrible…jarringly terrible compared to Ronald Jones. I don’t want to jump to conclusions too hard after one game/week, but I’ve gone from excited to frightened on Fournette after this one. Let me rewatch and see if I see more/better and it’s not so bad.
-- Tom Brady (23-36 for 239 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs) looked like a 40+ year old QB entering the decline phase of his career. Still viable, but he’s not ‘Brady’ anymore…and that’s bad news for Chris Godwin (6-79-0/7) because with Mike Evans (1-2-1/4) not 100% and getting Marshon Lattimore on him and TB down and throwing a bunch…this Godwin line is exactly what I feared is coming for him with Brady.
-- Michael Thomas (3-17-0/5) was a huge disappointment for those who took him in the 1st-round of redrafts. He’s fine. Don’t worry. They all can’t blow up every week. This is really more a sign of – TB CB Carlton Davis (4 tackles, 1 TFL) really is a shutdown corner now. Which is bad news for Robby Anderson next week and Courtland Sutton Week 3 and Keenan Allen Week 4 and Allen Robinson Week 5. I can’t wait to see him Week 6 v. Davante Adams.
-- The big story here is the Rams-DST…under new management (new D-C). They looked sharp and had a real nice pass rush with rotational depth. Dallas was supposed to be a big-time offense, but the Rams held them to a hard fought 17 points.
The bigger story…Wentz, J. Allen, D. Jones, Haskins, Jimmy G., Foles, Tua the next six weeks. The Rams-DST is going to be terrific the next 7 weeks and the Rams are going to be at/near the top of the NFC West in the first half of the season.
-- Rare few had Malcolm Brown (18-79-2, 3-31-0/4) as the winner of the Rams’ RB sweepstakes, but it appears to be the case. He was far superior to Cam Akers (14-39-0, 1-4-0/1) and Darrell Henderson (3-6-0) is just a bit player at this point. By default, Brown is the lead of the RBBC/hot hand.
-- Blake Jarwin (1-12-0/1) almost certainly has an ACL tear and is done for the season. Dalton Schultz (1-11-0/4) is not a great replacement. Maybe the Raiders will trade them Jason Witten?
-- Bell cow James Conner (6-9-0, 2-8-0/4) made it one whole quarter before breaking down. Lost in the 'injury' is that he looked terrible again on-field. The Bennie Snell (19-113-0, 0-0-0/1) experience is coming on faster than expected. Snell isn't great either but he may be the healthy one. Jaylen Samuels (1-2-0, 1-1-0/1) suddenly got heart paddles applied.
-- Diontae Johnson (6-57-0/10) looked all out of sorts the 1st-half or so...fumbled/muffed punt to start the game. A drop. A wrong route. He was rattled -- you could see it on his face. I thought he might get pulled by Tomlin at one point.
But there's a silver lining here. After Diontae messed up multiple times, which is unlike him, Ben pulled him aside and then 'fixed' it...and Diontae responded/rose up/didn't fade away. Diontae wasn't pulled by Tomlin. Ben didn't quit on Diontae. Diontae didn't fold. Diontae led the team with 10 targets. I think this rocket ship is about to take off -- your last chance to acquire reasonably before it does. Most of you have him already.
-- Evan Engram (2-9-0/7) got the good targets but a lot of bad luck...a drop, a big catch pulled back by penalty, a possible TD shot, another taken away by P.I. A tough Steelers defense on him aside from that. I'm definitely buying low! Not scared here at all.
-- Phillip Lindsay (7-24-0, 1-11-0/1) was starting to seize the 60/40 lead back role here, but then he got hurt and allowed Melvin Gordon (15-78-1, 3-8-0/3) to walk in and steal it back. It's the cherry on top of the things that went wrong for my fantasy week.
-- The Titans got pulled into a game where they needed to throw the ball, and Corey Davis (7-101-0/8) had a game...because Denver covered him the least/worried about him the least. Circumstantial good game. I was more impressed with Adam Humphries (6-47-0/7) work, but I know he'll go 2-18-0/3 next week.
-- I love Noah Fant (5-81-1/6) but I think Courtland Sutton being out helped bump Fant up a tick. I hope this is his output this season, but I don't trust Drew Lock (22-33 for 216 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) and his low passing game ways.
===== FIVE PLAYERS… =====
**NOTE: Tuesday Night Waiver Madness Video Q&A 8:00-9:30pmET, where we will go over more of all these things (below) every Tuesday night**
Five Waivers To Trust…
*Looking at players owned less than 50% on average in leagues across the whole FF-landscape. Your league, obviously, may be different/deeper.
1) Malcolm Brown, LAR
The popular thing to do here is assume Cam Akers is the future, and that his future is now…and I get that. However, Brown is just a better, more trusted RB for the Rams at this point. McVay has gone through hell and highwater to keep Brown on the team…including a nice contract a few years ago with Todd Gurley still there.
I know the Rams will push Akers even if it makes no sense, but for the right now – Brown understands the offense better, is an equal talent to Akers but with way more experience.
Akers will get touches. Darrell Henderson might have his say soon. But Malcolm Brown is a ‘rock’ for Sean McVay. Brown is going to play a key role. He’s not going away for a while.
Everyone is going to chase the sexy, younger names in a split role…Joshua Kelley, Zach Moss, Cam Akers, Myles Gaskin, J.K. Dobbins, Antonio Gibson, James Robinson. But Malcom Brown is a less sexy split role/lead back for a good offense and there’s value in that for the right now. Long term, Brown might not be the answer but he is the lead guy of the split right now and he will not easily be moved out of the way.
*UPDATE* RB Bennie Snell, PIT
Conner is losing his grip on his starting job fast...whether by injury or performance. Conner will get back and have another chance or ten, but Snell is a vulture circling to take over soon. He might be the guy Week 2 with Conner out\, possibly going on I.R.
2) Joshua Kelley, LAC
He’s moved into the split role with Austin Ekeler and he’ll be the 8-14 carries a game guy with low/no targeting and fighting Ekeler-Tyrod for the limited goal line work. I don’t know how great this will be for fantasy. I think the world of Kelley’s ability/person…I just don’t know that the FF points are here co-existing with Ekeler, and being the lesser option, right now.
It’s worth betting on the talent, but I’m afraid this will be a split role/lesser role frustration more than ‘found the new workhorse for LAC’. The talent is there for it, though. If you’re not in a rush, Kelley is better investment than Malcolm Brown…but if you need help now, I’d take Brown for the next few weeks.
Any RB in a split role, trying to guess them, is worrisome. Kelley is not going to be ‘the lead’ over Ekeler for a while.
3) Dallas Goedert, PHI
A lot of tight end flops Week 1 while Goedert shined. We tend to make too much of Week 1 as it is, but Goedert has hope every week because the Eagles’ WR group is so bad they can use two TE and make them work for FF.
4) Adrian Peterson, DET
Why do the Lions even keep Kerryon Johnson rostered? I thought he was so great? A guy who is a decade older and joined the team a few weeks ago is already ahead of Kerryon. Unreal…unreal how everyone was sold Kerryon a few years ago. There was one dissenter all along…
9/15 UPDATE: Scotty Miller, TB
The question was raised on the Video Q&Q tonight...What about Scotty Miller (since I wasn't saying much at all).
Fair questions/point, and I was going to rewatch TB v. NO after the show, so I went and looked at all the Scotty Miller events in it-- and I have to say, not bad...not bad at all. I thought he might be more 'random' in a game where it was getting away in the 2nd-half, but really he is a legit target...he's taking targets away from Chris Godwin, in a sense...the type stuff that might go to Godwin naturally.
I liked the connection of Miller + Brady, it's coming along better/faster than I thought. Miller isn't in the game all the time, he enters as a #3 WR...so, some worry there on volume upside but he is getting good looks in bubble screens and downfield it appears -- when he's in Brady is working him.
Miller is a legit PPR look for waivers this week...as a WR3/flex with bonus for distance plays appeal. Possible WR2 if he gets hot fora stretch.
Miller will be down some weeks because Evans-Godwin-Gronk are clicking, but Miller is pushing into the mix faster and faster. He's as good a WR name as you might find on waivers in many leagues this week (depending on how deep your rosters run).
5) Frank Gore, NYJ
With Le’Veon down, the Jets are forced to turn to Frank Gore. Like it or not. It’s probably going to be very ‘meh’ for fantasy…but he will be getting good touch counts and that’s something. If Le’Veon is back Week 2…then I have no real interest in Gore.
6) Corey Clement, PHI
If Boston Scott and Miles Sanders are out…it’s going to be Clement’s show. He’s not that great a talent, but he’ll see 10-15+ touches without those other guys around. If either Scott or Sanders is cleared to play…this is nothing.
Five Waivers To Distrust…
1) Myles Gaskin, MIA
I honestly do not know what Miami was doing with their backfield Week 1, but it was ugly. Gaskin is the least talented of the four RBs they used…and yet he seemed like a lead dog at a certain point. Brian Flores thought Kalen Ballage was a lead dog too…evidently, Flores is a terrible judge of RB talent. Don’t get suckered in here.
You’d rather play with dull Malcolm Brown or Frank Gore or Peyton Barber then go here.
2) Quintez Cephus, DET
10 targets in his rookie debut, but that’s with Kenny Golladay out and Marvin Jones getting extra attention. Cephus is a solid NFL hand/prospect but I do not believe this Week 1 was a sign of a shift in Detroit. He only caught 3 of the 10 targets anyway.
3) Robby Anderson, CAR
Teddy spread the ball around and Robby didn’t seem any more or less important than Moore/Samuel…it’s just Robby got a mildly fluky play for a long TD and made the day.
Robby is good. Teddy is ‘meh’. But Robby is likely to get top shutdown corners on him the next two, possibly three weeks (if Patrick Peterson is a shutdown guy anymore Week 4). Not a good outlook the next two weeks, and he’ll be back on waivers soon enough…and then we can reassess.
4) David Njoku, CLE
Played 23% of the snaps. Got some garbage work. Don’t get suckered in. *Hurt now now anyway*
Five Buy Low Players…
*NOT ‘Buy at any price’…it’s buy LOW. Try to find a deal. If none to be had, walk away. It’s also NOT…go immediately ask the owner ‘What do you want for ____’, don’t telegraph your desires.*
1) David Johnson, HOU
His TNF game was good-not-wow (statistically) and is long forgotten with all the Sunday action. Of all the RBs in prime position to be a strong RB1 but still has the general opinion/analyst love of an RB2…it’s DJ. There are rare few ‘the guy’ RBs left – DJ is one of them…and he looked fantastic Thursday.
This is probably the last window to get in on him. He’ll be ranked low for Week 2 because ‘v. BAL’. So, let the national rankings/projections hit Tuesday for people and then try and strike while the defenses/visibilities of DJ owners are down.
2) Ronald Jones, TB (especially if you are counting on Fournette)
Looked WAY WAY WAY WAY better than Fournette. Use the Fournette handcuff thing to go grab Jones off his ‘meh’ FF results from Week 1. This could be a steal when we look back. Jones looks terrific.
3) Antonio Gibson, WAS
I need to rewatch this game, but I rewatched just his carries this morning -- he was effectively starting and looked decent/solid in my live watch. He was replaced by Peyton Barber for most of the game as the more trusted hand. Some/many will look at this box score and snap count and believe Gibson is the backup. He might be.
But I think when Washington gets into games where they are losing (and they will, a lot) there will be an extended look at Gibson…that he’ll see a lot of developmental time in games. He’s the most gifted of the Washington RBs, and when he gets his sea legs under him, he might be ‘the man’.
There was no need to buy in early or pay a high price pre-Week 1 because this type of game I knew was coming and would cut down the price. Now is the time to try to ‘buy low’ and maybe you find an RB diamond in the rough for a few weeks from now or in BYE weeks, etc.
4) Zach Ertz, PHI
The bad news swirling around Ertz is creating a great opportunity to jump in on him. He is complaining about his extension/contract negotiations. He got out-stat’d by Goedert Week 1.
But you know Ertz is Carson Wentz’s guy, and he’ll go back to him heavy ahead…whether Goedert shines or not. There are dark clouds all around Ertz…it’s a good time to strike for PPR.
5) D’Andre Swift, DET (PPR only)
When passing needed to happen, Swift was in…supposedly ‘not ready’ due to missed camp time – but he was in when it mattered (44% of the snaps played). He dropped a game-winning TD pass that if he would have caught -- people would have gone nuts for him now.
He is the PPR back to AP’s run game lead.
6) Marvin Jones, DET
When Golladay is back in the next week or two it will help Marvin’s production, coverage shifts to KG when he returns. At the same time KG returns, the Lions’ schedule of pass defenses to face Weeks 2-12 is mostly amazing. Go all in on cheaply acquiring Detroit Lions passing things this week.
7) Matthew Stafford, DET
For the same reasons above. Weeks 4-5 (NO-BYE) are iffy but then awesome otherwise until Week 13.
8) Kenny Golladay, DET
For the same reasons above. Weeks 4-5 (NO-BYE) are iffy but then awesome otherwise until Week 13.
9) Diontae Johnson, PIT
If people watched the 1st-half only it looked like Diontae didn't know how to play football. He rallied with a team high 10 targets and looked great in the 2nd-half. He's about to takeoff for PPR, don't miss it.
10) Evan Engram, NYG
Terrible stat line, but the reality was much better. If they want to bail on him, I'll take him.
Five Sell High Players…
*NOT ‘Sell at any price’…it’s sell HIGH/sell good. Try to find someone in love with your player or values thrown into a multiplayer deal. If no one respects the player/buys right…then walk away.*
1) Sammy Watkins, KC
He did this last year too. The Week 1 leader in WR scoring…3 TDs opening day 2019…never scored a TD again the rest of the regular season.
The top three scoring WRs from Week 1 last season, #1-2-3 were: Sammy Watkins, John Ross, DeSean Jackson.
A good reason to not panic on your WRs is to consider the top 10 PPR WRs Week 1 last year…only one of them ended up in the top 10 in PPG by the end of the season. The high scoring QBs-RBs-TEs tend to be ‘a tell’ for the season from Week 1, but not so much the WRs…at least it wasn’t so last season.
2) Stefon Diggs, BUF
The Bills will be facing better and better pass defenses the next few weeks, ones with top shutdown corner types. Diggs-Allen didn’t look great to me Week 1, despite a decent result. I’d sell it if there was a big buyer.
3) Russell Gage, ATL
I’d sell only if someone was over-hyped on him. I don’t know that he collapses from here, but the 3rd-wheel WR on the Falcons tends to be a lot of WR3-3.5 results…not bad, but not anything inspiring. Huge Week 1 for a guy analyst’s loved coming in – he might have some value in the marketplace to see if you can upgrade.
4) Jamison Crowder, NYJ
Not a must-sell, but Crowder tends to have a big catch game and gets everyone excited and then disappears into WR3-land and disappoints. The Jets passing game is SO bad. Their team is so bad. Crowder is Darnold’s guy, and he might rack numbers in the 2nd-half of blowouts…but Crowder is usually an erratic performer that people ‘like’ after a big game. He has some trade value.
5) Miles Sanders, PHI
Another ‘not a must’ sell, but if he gets cleared for Week 2…this is still Sanders working with a heavily-injured O-Line and not a good passing game, so Sanders may not have a ton of space to run…and his RB1 upside analysts have cooed about falls to an erratic RB2 performer week-to-week. You might could sell the RB1 appeal before he hits the field…a big gamble-sell by you.
Five Deep Sleeper Waivers Pickups…
*Total flyer/lowly owned or not-owned players
1) Jordan Akins, HOU
Want a TE2 investment for insurance from your scary TE1 right now? Akins played 81% of the snaps Week 1. It might have been heavy time due to the deficit, but I think Akins is about to take off to #10-15 FF TE decency…potentially. I’m buying this emerging story. I might sell it the following week, but for many reasons (including how much he was talked about by insiders), I‘m interested now.
2) Devontae Booker, LV
You saw how Josh Jacobs was the center of the Raiders’ universe? Well, if Jacobs breaks down for any reason – Booker is the replacement/handcuff. There’s value in that…especially if you own Jacobs.
3) Mitch Trubisky/Anthony Miller, CHI
Not a big fan of either guys play that I witnessed Week 1, but the results were there because they played an awful team/pass defense. Well, they actually play even worse pass defenses the next two weeks – NYG and ATL, and Week 4 IND is not bad either. This has a limited shelf life.
4) Austin Hooper, CLE (assuming he’ll be dropped/shopped a good amount this week)
When OBJ and Landry completely fall off or possibly be cut/traded…it will be Hooper as the most experienced target Baker has to work with. Hooper is already the best target he has. Why Week 1 was so low, I need to rewatch/watch (this game was blacked out on all devices for me due to the stupid 9 games at 1pmET, and DirecTV can only show 8…and this was the one they kicked out and I was blacked out from it online).
5) Josh Adams, NYJ
You know I love him, but if Le’Veon is going to be out for a bit…it’s Gore…and Adams. And what if Adams plays for his life and shows a spark? Or is 600-year old Gore going to take 30 carries in games the Jets are losing by 20+ at halftime?
I’m just sayin’…Adams is the top Jets RB in fantasy scoring this year. He might get a chance
6) Jaylen Samuels, PIT
If Conner goes down and out, it's Snell + Samuels and then Samuels might get a chance to outshine Snell...which is easy to do.
Five…it’s OK to quit them players:
1) Justin Jackson, LAC
He was the co-starter for about one quarter and then he died and went to #3 RB heaven.
2) Kerryon Johnson, DET
Well, it took a few years…but I was finally ‘right all along’ on Kerryon. If my eyes are still as sharp – this is bad news for my Cam Akers outlook.
3) Baker Mayfield, CLE
I’ll still hold long term/dynasty because I know the talent is there, but he’s in a cesspool in Cleveland with OBJ/Landry and he will never be great again until he’s gone from Cleveland. Baker as NE’s starting QB Week 1 in 2021 is getting closer and closer.
4) LeSean McCoy, TB
He’s going to end up being cut soon. He was useless Week 1, and he almost got Brady killed with his back blocking on the few plays he was in for.
5) Mecole Hardman, KC
Unless you’re in a deep roster league and still want to hold…he does not appear to matter to that passing game, again.
Streaming DST Waiver(?) Options…
Nice showing SNF v. Dallas. This defense is on the rise under a new D-C. Sean McVay is no fool.
PHI-BUF-NYG-WAS-SF-CHI-MIA the next six weeks. Six strong starts that I see. A lot of you/me drafted them to start the season…now, the payoff is coming. But they are universally under 50% owned right now.
Going to get dropped a lot because of the bad showing v. NO (or were already not owned by most), but the Saints’ offense (obviously) is not easy to contain. I thought the Bucs-D flashed at times in this game.
CAR-DEN-LAC-CHI the next 4 weeks…I like it.
Looked pretty decent vs. SF, no? I was surprised how they rallied off a terrible looking start Week 1.
Well, Week 2 v. WAS is great. DET-CAR-NYJ Weeks 3-5 isn’t bad either. I’m not ready to fully trust this unit from what I saw live, but I’ll trust anything against Washington.
Sleeper/lesser-name IDP’s whose box scores or live watch caught my attention…
1) Aldon Smith, DAL
I’ll buy that he’s back, rehabbed and might be about to drop 10+ sacks this season. 11 tackles, 1 sack in his return.
2) Takk McKinley, ATL
5 tackles, 1 sack…but 6 QB hits. He looked ‘inspired’ Week 1. He has talent.
3) Micah Kiser, LAR
8 tackles in his debut as a starting ILB. Looked very solid.
4) Darian Thompson, DAL
With Vander Esch out again, Dallas has issues on the back seven…and Thompson’s IDP stats may benefit from it.
5) John Reid, HOU
6 tackles in his rookie debut. He may emerge as a sure CB starter by attrition and be the one who gets picked on and elevates his IDP numbers in the process. A deeper sleeper play here.