NFL

Fantasy football fails and wins: week one

That’s a wrap on an exciting first week of NFL regular season and fantasy football. Who should you panic about and drop and who deserves a second chance?

The Tampa Bay vs Dallas game did not disappoint to start off the NFL regular season with a bang and there were some big fantasy-player wins in that game, but also a few fails. Some of the following fails could just be one-offs or had reasonable outliers, but others may take some re-thinking if you’ve got them on your team. Some of the wins, however, were unexpected and could see some players making a name for themselves and becoming top fantasy picks.

The Fantasy Winners:

Dak Prescott, Cowboys, QB
42/58, 403 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Well, after his lack of play time in the preseason, we were relying on faith that Dak would be back to normal this season against the Bucs in the NFL opener, and boy did he prove himself back to normal and then some. His first game in 11 months, coming off a compound fracture in his ankle and strained latissimus muscle in his shoulder, Dak shocked us all by throwing 47 passes by the third quarter, more than any QB since Aaron Rodgers in 2016. There's no reason to think he won't continue on this path into next week.

Tom Brady, Buccaneers, QB
32/50, 379 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INT

Brady started his 300th regular season game with the Bucs win over the Cowboys in a 22-year-long career. Brady proved he’s still the QB we all know and expect to see on the field. From the way he played with his offense, it looks like the team is getting closer to achieving the togetherness they lacked last season. Brady was playing with a bad knee last year, and still managed to win the Super Bowl. He’s healthy this year, so we can expect to see him as a consistent fantasy QB starter who can connect well with his o-line.

Amari Cooper, Cowboys, WR
16 targets, 13 receptions, 139 yards, 2TDs
and
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys, WR
15 targets, 7 receptions, 104 yards, 1 TD

Amari Cooper’s 21-yard scoring reception with less than a minute in the third quarter is what put Dallas ahead of the Bucs late in the game. He had a career-high 13 catches during the game, and it’s likely he’ll continue the trend. Ceedee Lamb finished with seven catches and a touchdown. Though he had some costly drops for the boys, he did quite well for fantasy owners.

Chris Godwin, Buccaneers, WR
14 targets, 9 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
and
Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers, WR
8 targets, 8 receptions, 90 yards, 2 TDs

Gronk caught eight out of eight passes thrown to him and two touchdowns. The chemistry between he and Brady allows and will continue to allow him to rack up the fantasy points. If you have him on your team, he’s a safe bet to start any week. Godwin scored the first points of the game for the Bucs and was the receiver Brady targeted most, getting thrown to 14 times.

Kyler Murray, Cardinals, QB
21/32, 289 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT — 5 attempts, 20 yards, 1 TD

Murray’s ability to run plus his talented receivers make him one of the top fantasy QBs in the NFL right now. In the game against Tennessee, he was able to connect with Deandre Hopkins and Christian Kirk in the end zones.

Deebo Samuel, 49ers, WR
12 targets, 9 receptions, 189 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble

Considering Brandon Aiyuk didn’t get a single target, Samuel was the next up on the receiving end. He was targeted 12 times and caught nine. As of now, Samuel is a trusty option to start. He is a reliable player, but fantasy owners will need to pay attention to potential injuries.

Corey Davis, Jets, WR
7 targets, 5 receptions, 97 yards, 2 touchdowns

Davis was the reason the Jets even had a chance in week one. He caught two touchdown passes in the second half after a shaky first half of the game against the Panthers. In the end, he was tied with Braxron Berrios for the lead in targets, so let’s see if that continues in the next weeks to come.

Jameis Winston, Saints, QB
14/21, 148 yards, 5 TDs — 6 carries, 37 yards

Winston’s first game with the Saints did not disappoint. He passed the ball 21 times, which doesn’t sound like much, but he completed five of those for touchdowns. He proved that he can work well with the Saints offense, and though he had a little help from a weak Packers defense, he should be a solid start for fantasy owners.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, WR
15 targets, 11 receptions, 197 yards, 1 TD

Hill ended up being the second highest fantasy contributor in the Sunday night games. He has one 75-yard touchdown which earned fantasy owners huge points. If you have pretty much anyone on the Chiefs offensive line on your team, start them.

The Fantasy Fails:

Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers
4 carries, 14 yards, 4 targets, 0 receptions, 0 yards
and
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
6 targets, 3 receptions, 0 yards,

Jones played for just six snaps, perhaps due to a fumble early on in the game and then a general lack of help on offense. He could be a risky week two start as it seems like the Bucs could switch between him, Leonard Fournette, and Giovani Bernard. Evans caught only three of six passes and managed just three receptions for a whopping 24 yards. He’ll be up against Atlanta in week two so maybe don’t give up on him just yet.

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers, WR
0 targets, 0 receptions

Woah, what happened here? Did Aiyuk get injured, you ask? Nope. He played for 26 snaps and saw no targets at all. That’s why he’s here and Deebo Samuel is up there in the win section. It’s possible that Aiyuk will see more targets in the coming weeks so it might be worth holding onto him at least one week longer to see.

Derrick Henry, Titans, RB
17 carries, 58 yards — 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

The Titans did not fare well against the Cardinals defense and poor Henry took a beating. Next week, they’ll be up against an equally tough Seattle, so he’ll be hoping to bounce back, but as it stands now, I wouldn’t start him again.

Najee Harris, Steelers, RB
16 carries, 45 yards — 3 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards

Well, it wasn’t what was expected of the RB, especially considering he was on the field the whole game. But the Bills defense kept this a low-scoring game, and thus a low-scoring player in Harris. Considering he played the whole game, he should see more opportunities in the coming weeks so don’t get rid of him just yet.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers, QB
15/28, 133 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs

Who saw this one coming from last year’s MVP? Rodgers threw two interceptions and only completed 53.5% of his passes in a blow-out loss to the Saints. He didn’t even end up finishing the game as he was taken out with 10 minutes left to play. Ouch. This was most likely a one-off for Rodgers as the Saints are an extremely tough defense. Don’t panic. Next week, he will be up against the Lions and should have a much more Aaron-Rodgers-like game.

Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB
10 carries, 26 yards — 3 targets, 1 receptions, 1 yard

Barkley owners also don’t need to panic, though he could be risky to start in week two when the Giants play a tough Washington football team. Barkley led the backfield with 29 snaps but failed to make any impact in the 27-13 loss to the Broncos.