With week 1 of the 2014 season down, it's time to get some reactions to the on-field action other than "how the hell did I manage to lose by 40 points." I chose to talk about 11 different players/situations because 10 just didn't seem like enough and I like prime numbers. So without further ado, let's react!
Hurns picked up right where he left off at the end of the preseason, and put up a 4-110-2 line on 8 targets. That’s good. He also didn’t record a catch in the second half. That’s bad. It means either the Jags took him out of the game plan or Philly found a way to stop him pretty quickly (I’m not sure which, haven’t watched the game yet). Hurns should be rostered in all leagues, but temper your expectations. He’s most likely a bye-week fill-in with TD-based upside.
He’s back, baby. Julio and Roddy’s injury issues clearly cost Matt Ryan in 2013. Yeah, it was the Saints passing D, but Ryan showed that, with his two receivers back at 100%, he’s a force to be reckoned with. If Ryan’s at home in the dome, he’s a must-start every week.
The Bucs Passing Offense
This was a bad week for the Tampa Bay fantasy-relevant players. However, there’s reason to be optimistic. Josh McCown has a job because he beat up bad pass defenses last year. Vincent Jackson has also historically been a guy who beats up bad pass defenses. The Panthers have a good defense. With Jackson and Evans both getting 9 targets this week, you can expect the two to put up bigger games in the future. McCown is a streaming option for now.
Demaryius was pretty disappointing this week, putting up 4-48-0. On the bright side, he had 11 targets, including 3 redzone targets on the first drive. He and Manning appeared to be on slightly different pages, but I wouldn’t expect that to last. If Demaryius sees double-digit targets every week, he’ll finish as a top-5 receiver. Depending on how much the resident Demaryius owner in your league overreacts to week 1 performances, you may be able to buy low on him. It’s certainly worth a shot.
Gronk played only 38 of 86 offensive snaps (44%), and he still led the Patriots in targets with 11. He only caught four of them to finish with a 4-40-1 line, but his heavy usage when actually on the field should be incredibly encouraging to owners. Expect his numbers to increase as he gets healthier.
The Browns Running Game
The Browns RBs, as a whole, gashed the Steelers. Bad. The issue is that the future of the backfield is very convoluted. Ben Tate left the game with an injury after 6 carries for 41 yards. Terrance West then went on to rush for 100 yards on 16 carries. However, he ceded the redzone work to Isaiah Crowell, who went 5-32-2 on us. To further complicate matters, the Browns made no mention of Tate’s injury on Monday, so we have no idea whether he’ll play in week 2 or if he’s out for the season. Crowell should be a hot waiver wire pickup this week, but proceed with caution. The way the Browns offense works, they may not see the redzone for games at a time.
I, along with pretty much everyone in the world except Matt Rodgers, have been extremely low on EJ Manuel. So what does EJ do? He promptly goes out and puts up 17 points in standard fantasy leagues. I’m not saying you should rush to pick him up, but perhaps he should be in the conversation when we’re talking streaming options.
The Raider Offense
As you may or may not know, I’m a diehard Raider fan. But holy shit, this was bad. The run game was nonexistent, and the pass game wasn’t far behind. MJD played 30 snaps, and McFadden played 27, so this is an even timeshare in which both backs are ineffective. Don’t start either until they actually show they can do something. If there’s one WR to own, it’s probably Rod Streater, who was targeted 7 times and scored a touchdown, but don’t start him anytime soon either. For his first career start, Derek Carr wasn’t terrible, but there’s very little fantasy fruit to be harvested here.
Everyone’s favorite breakout candidate had a huge week, putting up over 18 standard fantasy points. I’m here to tell you, though, that not all is well in the land of Cordarrelle. I could be wrong, but I would guess that Patterson won’t finish the year with 34 yards per carry, and he won’t be breaking a 67-yard touchdown run every week. In the passing game, he went 3-26-0 on only 4 targets. That’s not the receiving numbers you want from your WR2. I know the big-play potential is what you drafted when you took Patterson, but don’t expect him to repeat this kind of performance every single week.
Benjamin didn’t miss a beat with Derek Anderson replacing the injured Cam Newton. The rookie out of FSU went for 6-92-1 on 8 targets and looked every part the number 1 WR in Carolina. You can play him no matter who the starting quarterback is in Carolina.
Mike Wallace saw 6 more targets than any other Dolphins receiver. That’s a lot. He ended up with 7-81-1 on the day, and, though he did fumble, he still had a very solid fantasy day. Whether or not you believe Mike Wallace is a good football player, it appears he’s going to be heavily featured in Bill Lazor’s offense. I’d be confident starting him as a WR2 or WR3 after this week’s performance.
Like what I have to say here? Think I'm stupid? Think Demaryius is a lost cause? Still wondering how Josh McCown managed to fumble and throw a pick on the same play? Let me know! As always, I'd love to talk fantasy football.