The pronounced offseason ‘champs’ lose 43-13, the quarterback that ‘can’t pass’ tosses 5 touchdowns for over 300yds passing, the defending NFC champs win 30-27 without a starting skill player scoring a touchdown, and former 1st round ‘bust’ WR goes for 158 yds and 2 TDs. Can we get an Allelujah? The NFL is back.
Unfortunately, along with all of the excitement that was brought in week 1, plenty of angst was brought upon starting fantasy rosters. Each week, the handcuff report will highlight key running back waiver acquisitions or necessary watch list candidates. Bench spots are fluid and managing who to add each week is critical in any quest to fantasy football glory. Let’s get started with the bad boyz of week 1….
Week 1 Offenders
San Francisco 49ers
Tevin Coleman was sidelined with an ankle injury and left the stadium in a walking boot. A MRI on Monday will confirm the severity of his injury, but the 49ers Head Coach is “concerned.” Raheem Mostert will be one of the hottest adds this week, if you need running back help make sure to submit a waiver request/bid. Matt Breida did leave due to hydration issues, but was able to return to the lineup. Breida will be the RB1, until Coleman can return. Shanahan’s offense has history of supporting two backs and Mostert was effective Sunday when called upon. Averaging a healthy 4.4 yards per carry, taking 9 carries for 40 yards. A sneaky name to add to your watch list is Jeff Wilson Jr., if Coleman is sidelined for multiple weeks and the 49ers call Wilson up from the practice squad. Wilson popped in the final preseason game, rushing for over 100yards and breaking a 41-yard touchdown run. In deeper leagues OR deep benches, adding Wilson should be considered if news regarding Coleman is a long term injury.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley out-touched Malcolm Brown by only 4 touches (3 carries), and surrendered 2 touchdowns to the former Texas Longhorn. Either Todd Gurley’s knee is a real problem, or this is the new look Rams as they manage Gurley’s workload over the course of the season to keep him fresh for a post-season run. Either way, Malcolm Brown needs to be considered in all leagues after Sundays performance against the Panthers. Brown received 5 rezone touches, Henderson 1, and Gurley 0. Gurley owners, don’t panic, and don’t overact to the Brown performance. Gurley dominated snaps, playing 70% of the offensive snaps to only Malcolms 26%. Don’t be surprised if Brown continues to get 10-12 touches a game. Over-priced fantasy rookie Darrell Henderson only received 1 carry for 0 yards, recorded 0 passing targets, and only 3% of the offensive snaps. Avoid a knee-jerk reaction and don’t rage-drop Henderson after week 1, but he might become waiver wire material if his snap share remains the same over the next couple of weeks.
Joe Mixon is reported to have suffered a mild ankle sprain against the Seahawks, but it is not expected to be a long term threat. He has minimal swelling in his ankle, which might cause him to be limited in week 2 but it does not look like he will miss times. The coaching staff hinted at involving Bernard more in the offense this pre-season and doubled down on this by signing him to an extension before the start of the season. Giovani Bernard should be considered on your waiver priority list. The Bengals offensive line did not look great against the Seahawks, which can funnel more opportunities for Bernard if the Bengals find themselves in “catch up” mode.
Green Bay Packers
An ugly home opener in Chicago, nothing got rolling for the Packers on the ground. Facing arguably the best defense in the league, don’t panic yet. The Packers have rough sledding the next 4 weeks, facing the Vikings-Broncos-Eagles-Cowboys, and might present a nice buy-low window for Aaron Jones. The interesting development last Thursday night was the development of Jones’ running-mate, Jamaal Williams. Williams handle 41% of the offensive snaps, to Jones’ 59% and looks to be the preferred passing down back in GB. If you own Jones, you will want to secure your insurance policy by grabbing Williams. If you don’t, add Williams to your watch list as he is not worth owning unless you own Jones.
As predicted in, Shootout Vs. Blowout, the -9.5 spread in favor of the Eagles did not lean towards a positive game script for Derrius Guice. Even though the Redskins found themselves up 17-0 early while the Eagles starters were knocking off the rust, the script flipped after halftime. The Redskins quickly found themselves playing from behind and passing the ball more than running. Thompson racked up 7 catches on 10 targets, and recorded 14.80 PPR fantasy points. As the Redskins continue to be underdogs, Chris Thompson will continue to have value in PPR leagues.
Tony Pollard needs to remain rostered, and Ezekiel Elliott owners need to grab him immediately if dropped by your league mates. The Cowboys leaned on Pollard to close out the game, but this is most likely due to Zeke getting eased back in after spending preseason in Cabo. But if anything happens to Zeke, the Cowboys are comfortable leaning on Pollard to tote the rock.
Keep an eye on Ito Smith in Atlanta. Game script heavily influenced the poor performance on the ground, but Ito Smith out rushed and out snapped Devonta Freeman. Smith averaged 5.2 yards per carry (6 carries for 31 yards) on 51% of the snaps to Freemans 2.4 yards per carry (8 carries for 19 yards) and 49% snaps. If we continue to see an almost even split in carries, then Smith will be a name to be rostered. Get ahead of it if you have the bench depth to do so.
Don’t overact to Gus Edwards receiving more carries than Mark Ingram on Sunday. As expected, this game got out of hand quickly, paving the way for Gus Edwards to receive “garbage time” carries. Mark Ingram is the unquestioned lead back in this offense. What we can learn though, Gus Edwards is the clear “handcuff” for Ingram owners. It could have been the game flow, after the lead got out of hand, that prevented pre-season hype guy Justice Hill to produce on Sunday. Hill was non-existent in the passing game, but was also not needed while BAL manhandled MIA.
The New England backfield will continue to be a headache as they continue to deploy an almost even touch RBBC. Rex Burkhead went un-drafted in most fantasy drafts the season and is an interesting add for those looking to bolster their RB dept. He out targeted and out touched James White, and out rushed Michel. Burkhead ran for 44 yards (5.5 ypc), to Whites 26 yards (6.5 ypc), to Michels 14 yards (0.9 npc), but it will be difficult to predict weekly leaders out of this backfield.
Keep an eye on my twitter to keep updated on any new developments over the course of the week.