2017-18 NFL Week 1 Winners and Losers

Welcome to the first post of what I hope will be a helpful and fun website where I can share my knowledge of Fantasy Football and help you all win your leagues! Week 1 of the 2017-18 NFL Season was an exciting one filled with upsets and blowouts. I’m Justin Tuell, your young Fantasy Football expert. Let’s take a look at some of this week’s winners and losers:

Winners

QB:

Alex Smith

Smith has been under fire all throughout the preseason with the emergence of Patrick Mahomes II and his seemingly inevitable takeover looming overhead. However, with all this pressure, Smith still managed to come into Foxboro and knock off the defending champs while passing for over 300 yards, 4 TDs and posting a near perfect passer rating. With a few more performances like this one, Smith will almost surely put the quarterback controversy in Kansas City to rest.

Derek Carr

It was the battle of the broken-legged quarterbacks early on Sunday. Both Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr played well coming off their injuries, but the latter shined, leading the Raiders to a 26-16 road win over the Titans. While Carr did not post any flashy stats, he looks almost back to normal leading this high-powered offense, and looks to be making an early case for MVP should he stay healthy.

2016 QB Class

The day the Rams had been waiting for finally came on Sunday, as their top pick from last year’s draft pulled out his first win in an absolute blowout over the Indianapolis Colts. Jared Goff shined in this one, going for over 300 yards for the first time in his career, and although some of his passes looked off target from time to time, Rams fans everywhere sure hope that the best is yet to come. Another one of the top performances of the day came from up and coming QB Carson Wentz as he led his Eagles to a strong victory over the Redskins. His Favre-esque pass to Nelson Agholor early on showed signs of play that could help Wentz develop into a reliable franchise quarterback if his skills are used correctly. Finally, the Sunday Night game gave us another strong performance from Dak Prescott, as the second year quarterback stayed poised and led the Cowboys to an important 19-3 win over their NFC East rival, the New York Giants. Prescott started off slow, overthrowing Dez Bryant on two straight plays in the red zone, but he overcame this start, throwing for close to 300 yards and helping Jason Witten set the Dallas Cowboys record for career receiving yards.

RB:

Kareem Hunt

If you were one of the smart fantasy owners like me who started Kareem Hunt this week, then you were treated to one of the best fantasy performances in recent memory. From a player’s mindset, coming back from that fumble on his first career snap shows the resiliency of this rookie, as Hunt finished with 248 all-purpose yards, setting the NFL record for a debut and establishing himself as one of this game’s most promising backs.

Mike Gillislee

While he didn’t post overwhelming stats in regards to yards, having Bill Belichick trust you as the Patriots goal-line back is a huge compliment. While it is only a single game and the Patriots game plan is likely to change, Gillislee showed that he can be a reliable back both in fantasy and under the bright lights of Gillette Stadium.

Tarik Cohen

Jordan Howard better watch out. Cohen came out of nowhere a turned into one of Mike Glennon’s favorite targets in the passing game, while also gaining 66 rushing yards on just five attempts. If Howard’s struggles continue and Cohen continues to get this kind of action, we may have some Running Back controversy in Chicago.

Ty Montgomery

Hats off to Montgomery who fought through the Seahawks’ dominant defensive line and actually managed to have a productive outing. His touchdown ultimately lifted the Pack over Seattle, and even after his injury, Montgomery showed many fans that he has transitioned into a tough running back.

Leonard Fournette

Rookie Running Backs galore! Fournette lived up to his word and made the game look easy, running through Houston’s defenders on his way to his first 100 yard game while getting a score in the process. As long as the Jaguars passing game improves, Fournette will likely be a good compliment to a team looking to make a run for the AFC South title.

WR:

Kenny Golladay

If you predicted that Kenny Golladay would come down with two touchdowns vs the Cardinals, then you were likely a Detroit fan who had been paying attention during the preseason. Golladay continued his strong play while hauling in two scores from the NFL’s highest paid player, causing the NFL to ask if the Lions need to be taken seriously. The answer to that question is simple by the way: Not Yet.

Pierre Garçon

This one may surprise a few people, but the 31 year old did manage to haul in six receptions for 81 yards while easily showing teams around the league that he is truly the only reliable 49ers receiver. Now this may not sound like an endorsement, but since Brian Hoyer seemed almost desperate to get the ball to his new weapon, Garcon deserves a pick up in some PPR leagues.

Tyreek Hill

Hill is what would happen if a football player had Usain Bolt’s speed and Desean Jackson’s long play ability. Tyreek Hill has quickly become the most exciting player in KC, and if he keeps it up, we could be seeing another Pro Bowl appearance, maybe this time for his offense.

Nelson Agholor

I have personally been waiting for a Nelson Agholor breakout game for some time now, and I am proud to say that that game finally came. Although this might not last, Agholor should be proud of his play on Sunday, but if defenses continue to cheat onto Jeffery and Smith, Agholor should be considered as a sleeper FLEX in some leagues.

Antonio Brown

I’ll be surprised if Brown doesn’t make this listevery week this season. The member of the 3 Bs continues to be Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target and shows no signs of giving up that title. Antonio Brown is perhaps the game’s best Wide Receiver, and he seems to have the ability to possibly go over 2,000 yards in a season. That might be a stretch, but the Browns still had no match for their namesake.

TE:

Zach Ertz

Wentz and the Eagles sure love their Tight Ends, and this showed in Ertz’s solid performance on Sunday morning. I don’t predict an amazing or flashy season, but look for Ertz to be a continual threat in the Red Zone.

Austin Hooper

Aside from those two receptions, Hooper had a quiet day. However, one of those receptions was a 88-yd TD from the reigning league MVP, so I’d say that’s notable.

Jesse James

James hauled in 2 scores on the way to a close win over the Cleveland Browns. He played a big role in the win as he was on the receiving end of both of Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdowns. Perhaps this success will lead to a bigger role for James in the future, and we will see that when the Steelers take on the Vikings this coming Sunday.

Jason Witten

A round of applause for one of the league’s best all around players. He is a future Hall of Famer, a true family man, and he continues to make a difference in the community. Oh, and he also scorched the Giants’ defense at the ripe old age of 35. Congrats on the win and the Cowboys receiving record, Mr. Witten!

K:

Giorgio Tavecchio

It may be the end of an era in Oakland. It doesn’t look good for Sebastian Janikowski, as Giorgio Tavecchio showed up vs the Titans, nailing two 50 yarders on the way to four total. Don’t be surprised if a Janikowski cut comes up in the news sometime soon.

Dan Bailey

Bailey continues to be one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers. He consistently saves the Cowboys when they fail to find the end zone, and that ability is priceless. Enough Said.

Matt Prater

A 58 yarder in Detroit? Why not?

Defense:

Jacksonville Jaguars

“Sacksonville!”, as one analyst proclaimed. Pretty fair analysis. Another fair analysis is that the Jaguars defense single-handedly won that game in Houston. They better hope their offensive counterparts stay on the field long enough to give them some rest so that they can continue this utter dominance.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams defense scored more points than the Colts. Not a good sign for Pagano’s squad. They’re gonna need some Luck in the future.

Dallas Cowboys

This was not a statistically amazing performance by the Cowboys defense, but after losing almost their entire secondary in free-agency, the boys still managed to hold Eli and the Giants to 3 points while also stopping an important drive deep in Dallas territory. Jaylon Smith looks like he belongs in the NFL. Good for him for coming back so strong from that significant knee injury. #cleareyeview

Losers

QB:

Kirk Cousins

It’s performances like these that really make you question if Kirk Cousins really is the answer in Washington. I still think he is, but if he wants to convince the Redskins front office, his play needs to improve going forward.

Tom Savage

What was the over-under for how long it would take for Savage to lose his starting job? 1 game? 2? Welcome to Houston, Deshaun Watson.

Andy Dalton

4 INTS and a fumble. At least the Bengals’ offense scored once, right? Oh wait.

Russell Wilson

That game was not all Wilson’s fault. He played as well as his offensive line would allow him to, but clearly if the Seahawks don’t fix their protection problem, this Russell Wilson MVP talk will quickly go out the window.

RB:

David Johnson

Not looking good for the Cardinals currently. Johnson is a great young back who’s about to miss “about 12 weeks”, according to the organization. David Johnson is a pleasure to watch out on the field, and I hope he gets well soon, but if you picked him first overall in your fantasy draft as so many did, you better hope you invested in a strong backup.

Le’Veon Bell

Holdouts are plaguing the league’s top players. Bell missed training camp, and it showed vs the Browns. The 31st ranked run defense managed to hold Bell to under fifty yards. He looked out of shape, and that is about the worst thing you can be when you have expectations as high for this season as Bell’s.

Jordan Howard

As I said before, if this rise of Tarik Cohen truly materializes, Howard’s job could be in trouble. Not to say that the back who was second only to Ezekiel Elliott in rushing yards last year should worry about his future, but he had a pass from Mike Glennon in his hands to win the game in the 4th vs Atlanta, and he dropped it. How do you think fans in Chicago are going to feel about that over the next week?

WR:

Brandon Marshall

One reception for ten yards in garbage time. With OBJ down, Marshall was expected to step up and he just didn’t. Give credit to the corners of the Dallas Cowboys though, who put pressure on Marshall throughout the night. One play in particular stands out to me however, when Marshall was shut down in about 2 seconds deep in the red zone on a crucial play when CB Nolan Carroll got onto Marshall and denied him any chance of a catch or target. Marshall is 6’4. Carroll is about 6’0 ½.

Allen Robinson

Sad one here. Robinson can not seem to catch a break, as he went down in Sunday’s game with a torn ACL. Out for the year. Done deal. All this after an underwhelming season last year that completely hurt Robinson’s fantasy value for this season. Best of luck to the guy in his recovery. He deserves to have a better quarterback throwing to him than Blake Bortles.

Dez Bryant

Not the worst offender here, as Bryant did seem to get open quite a few times downfield with Dak Prescott just missing him, but Bryant is considered by many, including myself, to be an elite receiver who can deliver in big moments. Luckily vs the Giants he didn’t have to, but the Giants secondary shut him down and held him to only two receptions for 43 yards. He still needs to find a way to beat the lock-down corners in the NFC East.

TE:

Jimmy Graham

Due mainly to Seattle’s offensive line, Graham and the Seahawks offense did not perform to the best of their ability. He was held to just 8 yards on three receptions. With many expecting Graham to have a big year in Seattle, this performance was underwhelming and frankly disappointing.

K:

Caleb Sturgis

Could things have gone any worse for Sturgis? I suppose if the Eagles had lost, that would be worse for the kid. Still, he missed the first extra point of the NFL season, and he is expected to miss 4 weeks with a hip injury.

Adam Vinatieri

Hopefully this is not the beginning of the end for the future Hall of Famer, but Vinatieri missed a 38 yarder and an extra point. To be fair, it should be a good sign in your career when people are this surprised about two missed kicks.

Defense:

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts gave up 46 points to one of the worst teams in the league last year. Granted, two touchdowns for the Rams came when they were on defense, but their secondary needs to work harder at stopping the long ball in the middle of the field. Getting torched by Jared Goff is unacceptable.

Houston Texans

Two words: Blake. Bortles. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you have Blake Bortles throwing against you, the game needs to be closer than 22 points. Especially if you have one of the top D-Lines in football.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes they were my winners too, but this has nothing to do with this week. Do not underestimate how much the loss of Allen Robinson affects this team. With Robinson out, this defense is going to be out on the field a lot more. Don’t expect 10 sack games with a struggling offense on your team.

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