Week one is in the books and now is the time when you look at your team and ask yourself “what the hell was I thinking?”. It’s easy to do, and concern will be setting in after a few of the NFL’s studs underperformed to open the year. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my years of playing, it’s this: don’t panic; don’t over-react.
For instance, it was abandon-ship on all things Todd Gurley II during the preseason and while he started slowly, a stat line of 97 yards on 14 carries isn’t anything to be sneezed at. In comparison, Aaron Jones totalled 39 yards from 13 carries, but I wouldn’t be worried about that either. Running backs don’t usually fare too well against the Chicago Bears defence. Last year, they allowed an NFL least 80 rush yards per game.
On the other hand, Dante Pettis was a hot name during the preseason but there were also some worrying rumours floating around. And then he totalled just 2 snaps all game. Not catches. Not targets. Snaps. 2 plays he was on the field for. That one is a worry.
And then there’s Lamar Jackson. He was a monster in week one (like 17/20 completions, 324 yards, 5 touchdowns and a perfect passer rating good) and his Baltimore Ravens embarrassed the Dolphins 59-10. The beating was so bad that reports surfaced post-game about “several Dolphins players” contacting their agents to demand a trade. But a couple of things about that. We already knew the Dolphins would be bad. Maybe not that bad, but still bad. And the Ravens have a history of doing this in week 1.
In saying that, Lamar could be a solid start over the next month of football. The Ravens next four opponents are Arizona, Kansas City, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In week 1, those defences gave up 1356 passing yards, 67% completions, 12 TDs while recording only 1 interception. On that note…
START / SIT
- Tom Brady, QB, New England – After what I just said about the Dolphins, plus the way he dismantled Pittsburgh, how could you not start Brady?
- Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta – As an Eagles fan, I’m always extremely nervous when our defence comes up against a premier passing offence. Keenum torched us last week, in the first half anyway. I’d start Ryan.
- Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati – He had a career day in a loss to the Seahawks, but faces ex-Hawk Richard Sherman and a 49ers D that gave Jamies Winston fits. Sit him if you’ve got other options.
- Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco – Matt could also feature below as a waiver pickup, so if he’s not rostered, keep that in mind. He’ll now start for the 9ers with Coleman and McKinnon both out for the foreseeable future and he should start for you too.
- Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay – Despite not panicking on Jones, I think he’s a sit against a tough Vikings team.
- Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland – TyWill jumped to WR1 in Gruden’s offence after the other clown finally got released. And he didn’t disappoint. The Chiefs also allowed DJ Chark, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook many catches, yards and TDs. Must-start.
- Philip Dorsett, WR, New England – If AB remains out, then Dorsett is a must-start. He just had 95 yards and 2 TDs on Pittsburgh. Now plays Miami. But only if AB is out.
- Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota – You can’t really sit Diggs if you got him, but it’s likely to be a very tough afternoon for him against Chicago.
- Evan Engram, TE, New York – Engram showed exactly what he can do as essentially the first-choice receiver and now plays the Bills. He’s a start.
- Darren Waller, TE, Oakland – Anyone who watches “Hard Knocks’ will be familiar with Waller. And if you’re not, just ask Catfish about him. He’s in love. Start.
WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS
Waivers from last weekend should start clearing on this afternoon, or Thursday if you’ve got a late setup. The following is a quick hit of some of the players I would be targeting if they’re available to you.
- DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia – The concern was whether DJax and Wentz would have had the time to develop the required chemistry for him to be a weapon from the get-go. He answered that with two-50+ yard TDs. So, I guess it’s a yes.
- john Ross III, WR, Cincinnati – Another WR who showed out. 7 catches, 158 yards, 2 TDs. Ross is a former first round pick and the Bengals have just been waiting for him to break out. This could be it.
- Chris Thompson, RB, Washington – Derrius Guice hurt his other knee and will now miss “a couple of games”. So, not only will AP get a recall, but Thompson should see a bigger workload.
- TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit – TJ Gronkenson more like. He’s already garnering some huge comparisons. Get him before it’s too late.
- Austin Ekeler, RB, LA Chargers – This guy did Melvin Gordon no favours in his holdout for a bigger contract. Kind of like how James Connor exploded on the scene in Pittsburgh last year.
- Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis – In the same game, Brissett looked pretty good in Andrew Luck’s old gig. There are worse options at (backup) Quarterback.
- Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City – When the offseason Tyreek Hill scandal was in full force, the Chiefs drafted a rookie replica. And now Hill has a dislocated clavicle which will see him miss games. So sad for him.
We saw some big first up scores in Dream Team thanks to Lamar’s day, along with Mahomes, Watson and Wentz. It’s nice to get that initial leg up, but as I keep saying, don’t panic if you started elsewhere. There are still 16 weeks to go.
With 24 trades available to us, I’d lean towards using two if you need to fix up your team. But then only if you’ve made glaring mistakes. Anything can happen in a week, and you’ve got another chance yet to look at the guys you’ve missed before prices change.
But by all means, make those trades if you got guys like Tyreek Hill, Derrius Guice, Joe Mixon, Nick Foles, etc. Basically, anyone on the injury reports who might be looking at a couple of weeks on the sideline.
Guys I’d be looking at are Marquise Brown (WR, $3.4M), Gardner Minshew (QB, $2.6M), Hockenson (TE, $3.8M), Malcolm Brown (RB, $2.8M), Devin Singletary (RB, $2.6M), Terry McLaurin (WR, $2.6M).
P.S. what was it I said in the preseason about the Antonio Brown show??