Backup Chicago Bears receiver Tarik Cohen scored more fantasy points than Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson combined.
The latter suffered a wrist injury Sunday that will sideline him for 2-3 months. That pretty much sums up Week 1. There were a few big booms and a lot of brand-name busts including fantasy’s top two backs and many others like DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones and Rob Gronkowski.
The good news is it’s Week 1 and if your team didn’t get the “W” chances are there’s no reason to panic. The general rule in fantasyland is to get at least a three-week sample size before making any judgment calls.
The people that need to panic is David Johnson owners. The Cardinals star back suffered a dislocated wrist and is headed to the injured reserved. Running back Kerwynn Williams is next on the depth chart and received the carries after Johnson exited the game but Andre Ellington is the favorite in the passing game. Head coach Bruce Arians said the team would consider re-signing veteran back Chris Johnson who could muddy the waters further.
It’ll be near impossible to replace Johnson who is a superstar in the NFL. The best bet for Johnson owners is either snagging Williams off waivers or looking at one of the high upside running backs from another team. If Johnson’s performance and subsequent injury left your team with a loss and you have a high waiver priority, Cohen makes a great choice as he out produced teammate Jordan Howard with 66 yards on five carries to the latter’s 52 yards on 13 carries. Cohen also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a score. Cohen looks like he could be this year’s Howard who took the job from Jeremy Langford last season and became a top ten fantasy running back. At the very least he’ll likely take over a pass-catching role, making him a boon in PPR leagues.
Other top waiver candidates include:
Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens - 19 carries, 80 yards, one touchdown
As long as Ravens running back Danny Woodhead is out, Javorius Allen will have value, in an offense that I think wants to run the football more after not having much success on the ground the past couple seasons.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions -four catches, 69 yards, two touchdowns
Kenny Golladay is a boon in an offense with Matthew Stafford throwing the ball a lot.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams -four catches, 76 yards, touchdown
The preseason connection between Cooper Kupp and Jared Goff seems to be a real thing. I like Kupp going forward.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons - two catches, 128 yards, one touchdowns
The Falcons tight end made the most of his two catches on Sunday, taking one 88 yards for a score. With Jacob Tamme gone, Hooper has the tight end role all to himself in a high-powered Atlanta offense.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs - 28/35 368 passing yards, four touchdowns
Alex Smith played perhaps the best game of his career against the Patriots. It looks like Kansas City is ready to start pushing the ball downfield a lot more.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys - seven catches, 59 yards, one touchdown
The Cowboys don’t need to rely on Dez Bryant to win anymore and that opens up opportunities for other pass catchers including Jason Witten who could be a regular candidate to score touchdowns given that the Cowboys will face better defenses this season.
Here are some deeper picks for those in larger leagues or who are truly desperate at a certain position (pro tip: very few fantasy owners should be in this position one week into the season). The running backs here don’t have defined roles but are in position to take over their backfields or take on a larger role in the offense.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks-six carries, 39 yards, no touchdown, one catch, ten yards, no touchdowns
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts-ten carries, 24 yards, one touchdown (should have had two)
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints-seven carries, 18 yards, no touchdowns, four catches, 20 yards,
Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos-17/28 219 passing yards, two touchdowns, six carries, 19 yards, one touchdown
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars-three catches, 42 yards, no touchdowns
Bennie Fowler, WR, Denver Broncos-three catches, 21 yards, two touchdowns
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles-six catches, 86, one touchdown
I don’t want to overreact to some of the stat lines from the first week of the NFL season but I still have a few takeaways:
There are two teams I’m worried about after Week 1 and both had bad offensive lines.
Arizona Cardinals- The loss of Johnson cannot be overstated. Before the stud running back went down however, the Cardinals were struggling to gain yards on the ground. The team rushed 18 times for just 45 yards. Scary stuff. Also, Carson Palmer is looking old, like time to retire old. Palmer had three interceptions on the day and a 53.2 passer rating. If this keeps up fantasy owners should temper expectations on Cardinals players.
New York Giants- For a team many thought was in line for a Super Bowl run, the Giants sure looked bad Sunday night against the division rival Cowboys. The offensive line was awful and gave quarterback Eli Manning little time to throw the football downfield. Odell Beckham Jr. missed the contest due to his ankle injury but how much better will the Giants be with him? It's a storyline to watch because if this poor play from Big Blue keeps up fantasy analysts could be talking about how much of a bust Beckham is this season.