Fantasy Storylines: Monday Night Football Takeaways
Your natural reaction to Week 1 of the NFL season is going to be to overreact. Don’t worry, it’s natural; it happens to everyone. Even season Fantasy football analysts. We go seven months without watching football, and after an offseason filled with coaching changes, QB moves, and “Best Shape Of My Life” fluff pieces, and your inclination is to treat Week 1 as this monumentally important event that will define how the entire season works out.
It isn’t. Or, at least, it won’t be for everyone. Sure, Week 1 sometimes tells us what the rest of the season is going to look like, such as when Lamar Jackson went off for five touchdowns or Michael Gallup had 150-plus yards ahead of their 2019 breakouts. But just as often, it’s a red herring: Think of Marlon Mack’s league-leading 174 rushing yards, or Sammy Watkins‘ 198-yard, three-touchdown masterpiece a year ago, and how those didn’t exactly lead to either dominating the rest of the way.
Sometimes, Week 1 is just another week. Players have good and bad weeks. They have good and bad matchups; sometimes games just go sideways. Just because it happened at the beginning of the season doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more meaningful than any other week. Separating what you can believe from what you can’t is vital.
Because, of course, you can’t afford not to react to Week 1. You can never afford to be passive in Fantasy football. It’s a tough balance to strike, and it’s hard enough to keep up with everything that’s going on around 16 games, which is why I like to reach out to the Fantasy Football Today team to guide me. Every week on Tuesday morning, we do a survey on some of the biggest storylines and rankings dilemmas of the week. Here’s what we are reacting to from Week 1 — and what we might even be over-reacting to.
1. Who is your top waiver-wire target for Week 2?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Benny Snell as of Monday night. That could change Tuesday night if we get a positive report on James Conner (ankle). But if Conner is going to miss any time then Snell has top-10 upside as we saw with his performance against the Giants. If Conner is healthy, then I’ll take Nyheim Hines.
- Dave Richard: If James Conner misses even one game, Benny Snell is the best add of the week. He might end up taking the job for good, though I’m not sure he looked great because of the Steelers offense or because of the Giants defense. Nyheim Hines would be next-best. Anyone on pace for 128 receptions is worth the add.
- Heath Cummings: Hines is number one for me. I expect him to be a less-efficient Austin Ekeler in this offense and a top-20 running back in PPR moving forward. Malcolm Brown and Snell are worth adding as well.
- Adam Aizer: Hines in PPR leagues and Brown in non-PPR leagues (or 0.5 PPR leagues). I believe Hines is basically Tarik Cohen now, and Brown is the Rams top RB until Cam Akers overtakes him. Considering Miles Sanders never overtook Jordan Howard (before Howard’s injury) in 2019, we should at least give Brown a shot to keep the job.
- Chris Towers: Brown for me. If Snell starts in Week 2, he’ll deserve to be ranked ahead of Brown, but Brown has a more direct path to a significant role moving forward. Sure, maybe Akers or Darrell Henderson are ready for a larger role at some point, but Brown looked good enough in Week 1 that the Rams don’t need to rush anything. He looks like a No. 2 Fantasy RB given his passing downs and goal-line role.
2. Assuming your answer for No. 1 is an RB, who is your top non-RB target?
- Jamey: Anthony Miller. He’s someone I talked a lot about this offseason as a sleeper entering his third year, and he had a solid debut in Week 1 at Detroit.
- Dave: Probably Dallas Goedert. Anyone on pace for 128 receptions is worth the add.
- Heath: Mike Williams looked very good with Tyrod Taylor on Sunday and he may go bananas in a better game script in Week 2. I’m making sure Williams is rostered in all of my leagues.
- Adam: Parris Campbell led the Colts in receiving and was tied for the team lead in targets. He looks like a must-have in PPR leagues.
- Chris: It’s gotta be Goedert, a top-10 tight end last season who outclassed Zach Ertz in every way in Week 1. That doesn’t mean he’s the Eagles top option just yet, but it does mean he needs to be viewed as a must-start tight end moving forward. Considering there are maybe six of those, that makes Goedert a real priority.
3. Which player helped himself most long term in Week 1?
- Jamey: Josh Jacobs. Forget the three touchdowns, it was the four catches on six targets. I expected him to be more involved in the passing game, and this was a great start.
- Dave: I feel a heck of a lot better about David Johnson than I did before the season. He looks smooth and is going to get leaned on quite a bit with Duke Johnson seemingly sidelined.
- Heath: Cam Newton may have been rusty throwing the ball but it was great to see him running like the Cam of old. Once he settles in as a passer he may just be a top-five quarterback again.
- Adam: James Robinson got every carry for Jacksonville and did well with them. I think he’s a good sell-high candidate because I still expect the Jaguars to struggle and have to throw more, but Robinson is obviously a Week 1 winner.
- Chris: DeAndre Hopkins. There was a lot of skepticism about how many targets he would see playing for a new team with a new quarterback, but Kyler Murray seemingly only had eyes for him. He might be back in that top-three group at WR after one week. Honorable mention to Aaron Rodgers, who showed a willingness to throw down the field that has been missing from his game too often lately. If he can trust Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, he could be in for a huge season.
4. Which player hurt himself most long term in Week 1?
- Jamey: D.J. Moore. New coach, new offensive coordinator, new quarterback and a poor start from the (hopeful) third-year breakout. Hopefully, Week 2 at Tampa Bay goes better, but I’m concerned.
- Dave: Not only did Mark Ingram not come through against a suspect Browns defense, but his own team limited his playing time (played 21 of 53 snaps with Lamar Jackson). It’s impossible to feel excited about him.
- Heath: Evan Engram was awful on Monday night and Darius Slayton was a star. Engram shared tight end targets more than I expected in Week 1, and that trend may continue.
- Adam: Carson Wentz. Really, Wentz’s offensive line is the problem here, but Wentz has not been a top-10 QB on a per game basis in either of the last two seasons, so maybe he’s just overrated?
- Chris: Engram. Because tight end is so shallow, you’re still starting Engram in Week 2 in all likelihood, but this was a rough showing from Engram. He got his hands on several balls but wasn’t able to bring them in, and there’s going to be even more competition for targets with Golden Tate likely back in Week 2. There’s so much potential here, but he sure didn’t show it Monday night.
5. Who are three players you are starting in Week 2 who weren’t drafted as starters?
- Jamey: Hines, Jamison Crowder and Goedert. The latter is a great pickup if you just lost Blake Jarwin (ACL) or if you just need a tight end with upside.
- Dave: Goedert, Crowder and CeeDee Lamb. All three should see plenty of targets in Week 2.
- Heath: Newton, Hines, and Goedert.
- Adam: Slayton, Miller, Lazard. How can you sit Slayton after Week 1? Miller and Lazard have great matchups.
- Chris: Excluding injuries, I’ll go with: Russell Gage, Robinson, and Goedert. You might want to see more from Gage, but he had a solid camp and saw as many targets and ran nearly as many routes as Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. And the Falcons may have to throw the ball 50 times again to keep up with the Cowboys. Robinson (Jacksonville’s starting running back) and Goedert speak for themselves.
6. Who are three players who are on notice for dropping if they don’t perform in Week 2?
- Jamey: Tevin Coleman, Christian Kirk and Austin Hooper. I’m hoping Coleman was limited to just six snaps in Week 1 against Arizona because of the air quality due to the wildfires there because he has the sickle cell trait, but the presence of Jerick McKinnon could be a problem for Coleman, as well as Raheem Mostert. Kirk had one catch for 0 yards on five targets against the 49ers while DeAndre Hopkins had 16 targets. And Hooper had just two targets in Week 1 at Baltimore.
- Dave: I might dump them before Week 2, but the three names I’m thinking of are Mecole Hardman, Hooper and Kerryon Johnson.
- Heath: Hayden Hurst, Kirk, and Johnson.
- Adam: James White, Rob Gronkowski, Johnson. Let’s see what roles Johnson and White have in Week 2, and Gronk needs to show us he’s the best TE on his team.
- Chris: Hardman, Chris Herndon, Matt Breida/Jordan Howard.
7. Who is your top streaming QB, TE, and DST?
- Jamey: Mitchell Trubisky, Goedert and the Packers. Trubisky should build off his strong Week 1 performance against the Giants, Goedert was awesome against Washington and the Packers should make things difficult on the Lions, especially if Kenny Golladay (hamstring) remains out.
- Dave: Same quarterback as last week: Minshew. Goedert would be the tight end, and the DST I’d pick would be the Packers, provided Golladay is still sidelined.
- Heath: Mitchell Trubisky, O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay.
- Adam: Gardner Minshew, T.J. Hockenson if he’s available and Dallas Goedert if you can’t get Hockenson, and the Browns.
- Chris: Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Thomas, and the Rams.
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