Stars of Week 1
QB: Kyler Murray, ARI: 21-32, 289 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT (Plus 1 speeding TD)
RB: Joe Mixon, CIN: 29 carries, 127 yards, 1 TD
WR: Amari Cooper, DAL: 13 catches, 139 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Rob Gronkowski, TB: 8 catches, 90 yards, 2 TDs
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray led all sign callers in Week 1, dicing up the Titans’ secondary with 4 TD tosses, whereas including one other TD on the bottom. Murray’s comfortably a top-5 QB this yr and a weekly must-start.
Whereas a lot of the eye directed towards the Cincinnati Bengals rests with the passing sport, don’t neglect about operating again Joe Mixon. His expertise has exceeded his manufacturing to date in Mixon’s profession, but when he can keep wholesome, this may very well be the yr the place he places up top-5 numbers.
The Dallas Cowboys–Tampa Bay Bucs league opener featured a smorgasbord of fantasy affect gamers, with Amari Cooper outdueling teammate CeeDee Lamb as the highest performer at broad receiver. Cooper discovered the top zone twice whereas hauling in 13 passes from a better-than-ever trying QB Dak Prescott. Cooper stays a high 15 WR choice and a weekly should begin.
We wrap up with tight finish honors, with an previous title – and certain GOAT on the place – main the way in which. Gronk scored twice whereas catching eight balls for 90 yards, reminding us of how particular of a connection he retains with the general GOAT, QB Tom Brady. Regardless of his Week 1 efficiency, Gronk stays a high-end TE2 versus a weekly starter. The Bucs are loaded with go catchers, and Gronk is probably going fourth within the pecking order. So he’ll have nice performances over the course of the season, however don’t count on constant TE1 performances with sufficient frequency to benefit weekly starter standing.
Week 1 Takeaways – A Nearer Look
Every week we take a more in-depth have a look at a handful of performances and type out what such performances imply going ahead.
Jameis Winston, QB – NO: 14-20, 148 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs
Evaluation: For the primary time since 2005, the New Orleans Saints entered a season with a QB aside from Drew Brees as its meant starter. Fantasy managers have familiarity along with his successor, as Jameis Winston has lengthy been a family title. Sadly Winston’s notoriety comes extra so from his YOLO method and interception quantity versus his on-field success. Spring ahead to fall 2021, following a yr of attending Sean Payton QB school, and Winston appears like a brand new sign caller. In a surprising consequence, Winston outdueled counterpart Aaron Rodgers en route to 5 TD passes and a cushty win. So, has Winston morphed into an improved QB? Whereas it’s nonetheless early, there’s motive to consider so. Winston has been coached to take higher care of the soccer, being okay with dwelling for an additional play. Now right here’s the precise key query – has Winston improved as a fantasy QB, compared to his Buccaneers days? Too early to make a definitive name, however the thought right here isn’t any. Winston lacks the identical caliber of weapons within the passing sport that he had with the Bucs. Additionally as fantasy soccer stays a sport of statistical quantity, Winston’s extra cautious method doesn’t assist right here. So whereas Winston was a greater fantasy QB than real-life QB with the Bucs, he’s more likely to be the alternative with the Saints. As for the 2021 fantasy season, Winston’s a matchup based mostly QB2, with potential for a bump upon WR Michael Thomas’ return from the damage listing in a number of weeks. The Saints face the Carolina Panthers, so he’s usable for those who’re in a pinch, however he’s not a weekly starter.
– Elijah Mitchell, RB – SF: 19 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD
Evaluation: Earlier than we dive in right here, simply wish to say that I really feel horrible for San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert. He has been terrific when wholesome, however simply can’t catch a break from the damage bug. It seems like Mostert will miss roughly half the season as a consequence of a knee damage, so the following man up in Kyle Shanahan’s system is prized rookie …Trey Sermon Elijah Mitchell? Yep, Shanahan derives a sick sort of pleasure from complicated the remainder of us simpletons along with his depth charts. It wasn’t till hours earlier than the opening sport once we realized that 2021 third-round decide Trey Sermon could be a wholesome scratch, whereas sixth-round decide Elijah Mitchell could be lively. After Mostert went down early within the sport, Mitchell stepped in and seemed the half, crossing the 100-yard mark whereas discovering the top zone as soon as. Mitchell matches fairly properly in Shanahan’s zone broad scheme, making decisive cuts whereas additionally serving as a succesful go catcher. Exterior of Mostert and Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty was the one different RB to obtain a carry – actually receiving one. As for what’s subsequent, one can solely presume that Mitchell would be the lead ball provider whereas Mostert recovers. Each Hasty and Sermon ought to be within the combine for carries, however this seems to be Mitchell’s job for now. Notice that RB Jeff Wilson additionally sits on the 49ers’ damage listing, and he’s anticipated to be again sooner or later previous to Mostert. Nonetheless, Mitchell’s the highest waiver wire add for this week, throughout all positions.
– DeVonta Smith, WR – PHI: 6 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD
Evaluation: The NFL has entered into an unprecedented period of broad receiver play, with bumper crops of WRs getting into the league every of the previous couple of years. The Philadelphia Eagles snagged one such gifted rookie WR this previous offseason, touchdown Alabama alum and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Generally known as a tactician route runner with clean palms, soccer of us had issues with Smith’s perceived slight body for a WR, six-foot ft and 170 lbs. Nicely, we’re one sport into Smith’s NFL profession, and what made scouts fall in love with him at Bama vividly appeared within the Eagles’ sport versus the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Jalen Hurts focused Smith a team-leading eight occasions, hooking up for six catches and 71 yards, together with one landing. Importantly, Hurts seemed the half as properly, elevating confidence within the Eagles’ passing sport. It took Smith no time to safe WR1 standing for the Eagles, and he ought to discover his means into your fantasy lineups shifting ahead. Contemplate Smith a low finish WR2 ceiling to a WR3 / flex choice ground, relying upon matchups. He’s the true deal.
– Brandon Aiyuk, WR – SF: 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Targets
Evaluation: As we circle again to the 49ers right here, it’s time to go the torch of most irritating NFL coach for fantasy managers from Invoice Belichick to Kyle Shanahan. Within the preseason, Shanahan perplexed the NFL world along with his snap by snap rotation of QBs Jimmy Garappolo and Trey Lance. We lined Shanahan making prized rookie RB Trey Sermon a wholesome scratch above. Now, we transfer to the broad receiver place. Rising second yr WR Brandon Aiyuk led the 49ers final season throughout a number of receiving statistics, and was comfortably the highest 49ers’ WR off the board in fantasy drafts. Going through a juicy matchup in opposition to the Lions, Aiyuk’s fantasy prospects seemed dashing for Week 1. As a substitute, we received donuts throughout the board. Who the what??? And per Professional Soccer Focus, right here’s the snap rely at WR for the 49ers in opposition to the Lions:
Deebo Samuel 46
Trent Sherfield 27
Brandon Aiyuk 26
Mohamed Sanu 20
So what occurred? Solely Shanahan is aware of, however rumblings point out that Aiyuk had a hamstring situation that wasn’t absolutely healed, which contributed to his drop within the staff’s WR depth chart. Feels like a half-answer slightly than a full one. For these of you with Aiyuk in your roster, don’t panic, however sadly he’s unlikely to return his draft day worth given Shanahan’s mad scientist method to his staff. As a substitute, Deebo Samuel snared a lot of the targets, with Trent Sherfield additionally showing to edge out Aiyuk in snaps. Because of this, Aiyuk must discover a seat in your bench in the interim, with the hope that he’ll return to beginning duties sooner or later within the close to future. However modify his worth accordingly…extra of a flex ceiling than a WR2 going ahead. Please ship all 49ers associated complaints on to Shanahan.
– Tim Patrick, WR – DEN: 4 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD
Evaluation: The Broncos have assembled fairly a core of go catchers, with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Ken Hamler at WR and Noah Fant at TE being probably the most mentioned. Sadly, accidents have been prevalent in Week 1, with Jerry Jeudy amongst these impacted. Jeudy suffered a high-ankle sprain and shall be out for a number of weeks. Jeudy’s damage opens up a chance for an additional strong Bronco WR, Tim Patrick, to carve out a bigger position within the passing sport. The fourth yr Utah alumnus quietly scored six TDs final season to associate with 742 receiving yards in 2020 – he’s been productive when given alternatives. Notice that Patrick already had his 4 catches and TD reception (from 4 targets) within the bag previous to Jeudy’s damage, so count on Patrick’s targets to extend to the six-to-eight vary per sport. Additionally vital, Patrick was second in WR snaps for the Broncos per PFF with 46, behind solely Sutton’s 53. Patrick stands to profit probably the most from Jeudy’s absence, so go decide up Patrick for those who want a WR. The Broncos have a tasty matchup versus the Jaguars subsequent week, and Patrick shall be a viable flex choice.
Speedy Hearth Pickups
Every week we’ll throw out potential free-agent pickups from every place for deeper leagues, in every case 1) somebody who has NOT been featured above, and a couple of) a participant accessible in additional than 50% of leagues.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs LV)
RB: Tony Jones, NO (@ CAR)
RB: James White, NE (@ NYJ)
WR: Sterling Shepard, NYG (@ WAS)
WR: Darnell Mooney, CHI (vs CIN)
TE: Cole Kmet, CHI (vs CIN)