Week 1 was certainly one that will stick in the minds of fantasy owners for a while. The No. 1 overall pick in almost every league, David Johnson, injured his wrist (which required surgery and will keep him out 8-12 weeks) after accumulating 99 yards of total offense. Le'veon Bell, the almost consensus No. 2 pick in most leagues, was only able to muster 47 total yards in a game that his team won.
Julio Jones only had four receptions for 66 yards. Andy Dalton got most fantasy owners negative points by the time Cincinnati was through getting shutout by Baltimore. On the flip side, Alex Smith was the highest scoring player in fantasy, followed by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford.
That is one heck of a way to open not only the fantasy football season, but the NFL season as well.
As far as how the sleepers we chose last week faired, it looked like this (Note, points scored are according to ESPN Standard Point Per Reception values):
Carson Wentz – 22 points and number 4 overall QB
Tyrod Taylor – 17 points and 9th overall QB
C.J. Anderson – 9 points, 21 touches for 88 total yards
Terrance West – 14 points, 19 touches for 80 yards and a touchdown
John Brown – Only 8 points, but he saw 9 targets and even ran the ball once for 10 yards
Corey Coleman – 16 points, 5 rec for 53 yards and a touchdown
Coby Fleener – 16 points, 5 rec for 54 yards and a touchdown
Joe Flacco – Only 6 points and the 25th overall QB
Robert Kelly – Only 3 fantasy points
Braxton Miller – Yeah he had ZERO points and ZERO stats, let’s just forget about this one
C.J. Fiedorowicz – Only 8 points, but had four rec for 46 yards before leaving the game early with a concussion.
Jack Doyle – 6 points, the Indy quarterback situation is worse than we thought
Overall we got 8 of our 12 sleepers right. It could have been 9 had C.J. Fiedorowicz not left with a concussion.
For Week 2, let’s hope that there is somewhat of a return to normalcy. Remember, don’t overreact to your player’s performance from Week 1. There are plenty of players who have had amazing Week 1 numbers and fallen flat the rest of the season, and visa versa.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo
Believe it or not, Taylor is still owned in just 19.6% of ESPN fantasy leagues. He was the 9th best quarterback last week after finishing 11th overall last season. His ability to run the football gives him a high floor. Since the beginning of last season, he has ran for at least 30 yards 11 different times. That is 3 extra fantasy points. For reference, that is the equivalent of 75 yards passing. It is hard to go wrong with Tyrod Taylor as your fantasy quarterback.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
The start of this list feels very familiar to last week’s. Wentz is still owned in just 48.2% of ESPN leagues. All he did last week was finish as the fourth highest scoring quarterback, throwing for 307 yards to go along with two touchdowns. He faces a tough Kansas City defense this week, but the Chiefs are without one of their best defensive players as Eric Berry suffered a season-ending injury. Wentz should not be on the waiver wire in your league, he is primed for a very solid sophomore campaign.
Alex Smith, Kansas City
How is Week 1’s highest scoring quarterback a sleeper? Well, he is still owned in just 51.9% of leagues, meaning he is available in half of the leagues out there. Against a good Patriots defense, he threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns. He has perhaps the best receiving weapon (Tyreke Hill) that he has ever played with, and will be playing at home. He most likely will not repeat his opening night performance, but he should still have a productive day.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago
He came out of nowhere in Week 1 and put up 24 fantasy points, outscoring starter Jordan Howard. Cohen’s ability to impact the game as a receiver is desperately needed on a Bears team lacking offensive weapons. Don’t expect a repeat of his Week 1 performance, but it looks like the rookie is carving out a role for himself in the offense.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona
With David Johnson now gone for the foreseeable future, Head Coach Bruce Arians has said that Williams will get the first shot at the starting running back job. Although he is relatively small, he projects to also be the team’s goal line back as well, with Andre Ellington subbing in for passing downs.
In limited action thus far in his career (103 carries), Williams has averaged a salty 5.4 yards per carry. Arizona will be playing a horrible Colts team this week, and will be looking to bounce back after a rough Week 1. Unless the Cardinals are fooling everyone and decide to go with more of a committee approach, Williams has the talent to have some big fantasy days.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay
After having an extra week to prepare, the Bucs offense should be ready to go against a Bears defense that allowed 97 yards, six receptions and a touchdown to opposing running backs in their opener. Rodgers is going to be the team’s starter while Doug Martin serves his suspension. He has played well when given the opportunity in the past, and shouldn’t see too many stacked boxes with Mike Evans and Desean Jackson on the outside. Rodgers should have a high floor this week.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp had a very productive first week with four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also tied for the team lead in targets (6). This is following a very impressive preseason where he showed growing chemistry with quarterback Jarod Goff. Until something changes, or Sammy Watkins gets better integrated into the offense, Kupp looks like the wide receiver to own for the Rams.
Kendall Wright, Chicago
He is basically the only healthy and legitimate wide receiver left on the Bears. Plus, he is playing in a system that he has had success in during previous years. He may not put up huge numbers, but he should receive a decent amount of targets. If you’re looking for a fill in at wide receiver or your flex spot, Wright could have some value.
Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets
He had 12 fantasy points in Week 1 after grabbing seven receptions for 59 yards, yet he is only owned in 3% of leagues. He is being given the #1 wide receiver role for the first time in his career, even if it is for a bad team, and saw that result in nine targets last week.
That looks even more significant when you remember the fact that he was just traded to the Jets on September 1st. His team will most likely be trailing for most of the game, and if he sees the same attention from Josh Mccown (targeted on 26.3% of his routes), he will have the potential to put up solid numbers.
Coby Fleener, New Orleans
Even after his big Week 1 (five receptions, 54 yards and a touchdown), Fleener is still owned in just 33.8% of leagues. The Saints will be home against New England, and most likely playing from behind for most of this game. Fleener should have every opportunity to produce the same type of numbers.
Charles Clay, Buffalo
Clay was the sixth highest scoring tight end in Week 1 (15 points), thanks to four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted nine times by Tyrod Taylor and is actually the Bills most targeted receiver going back to week 12 of last season (thrown to on a team high 29.9% of his routes). He appears to be Taylor’s security blanket, so the opportunity should be there for him to have another fine day on the gridiron.
Jared Cook, Oakland
Owned in just 27.1% of leagues, Cook is flying under the radar so far this season. In Week 1, he caught all five of his targets for 56 yards and was second on the team on average depth of target (7.2 yards). With an elite quarterback under center, two elite wide receivers on the outside to draw coverage, and going against a below average Jets defense, Cook will have opportunities to do some damage this week.
Hit up Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs for more picks and tips for your fantasy team.