Fantasy Football Edge: Week One Trends, Who’s Legit, And Who’s Not
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By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis
The first couple weeks of the season are oftentimes the period when our preconceived notions of players are quickly replaced by the reality of their current talent level and situation. For some, that means a precipitous rise in value while for others, it can mean an instantaneous loss of relevance. This week, we’re going to break down some of the impressive week one performers, and let you know if we think their performance is legit or not.
Note: no running backs appear on this list because it was an odd week for the position overall—only six running backs managed 20 carries or more, and those that did perform well were all players we expected too.
Legit: DeSean Jackson, Eagles WR
I don’t mean to preach to the choir here at CBS Philly, but this Eagles offense is going to be an enormous boon for fantasy owners. The sheer number of plays run helps every player on the team, and DeSean was the Eagle I was most impressed with Monday night. Obviously McCoy is versatile for this offense, but at receiver I was unsure of how Jackson would be utilized. Rather than just deep posts and fly routes, Jackson ran a lot of curls, ins, and outs as Vick’s primary option. At 14.9 yards per catch, he is not solely going to be used as a deep threat. His speed is still obviously a huge weapon, but if Chip Kelly gets him more and more involved in the mid-range game, that is great news for fantasy owners and news that will put him in line for a great season.
Not Legit: Julian Edelman, Patriots WR
Even with Amendola and Gronkowski out this week, I fail to buy the hype for Edelman. He’s far from the prototypical red zone target and while he has good hands, I don’t see him getting 2 TDs again in a game this season. Additionally, Brady threw 52 times on Sunday—that won’t happen every week, and every New England pass catcher’s targets will go down. Even out of those 52, Edelman received only nine targets to Amendola and Thompkins’ 14. As more and more of Brady’s weapons return, Edelman’s value will be swallowed up. I don’t think he’s worth a top pickup.
Legit: Anquan Boldin, 49ers WR
As long as he stays healthy, Boldin is the clear number one receiver in the 49ers offense. Kaepernick proved he might be even more legitimate than we thought after putting up 412 yards and 3 TD’s against the Packers, connecting with Boldin for 208 of those yards. While 200 yards and a TD every game is obviously a stretch, a standard of 80 or so yards and a TD is a very realistic benchmark for Boldin, and he’s a clear top 20-25 receiver the rest of the way.
Not Legit: Brian Hartline, Dolphins WR
Although 15 targets is an extremely encouraging mark, the Dolphins also gave Brandon Gibson 10 targets and elite cornerback Joe Haden locked up Mike Wallace. I expect Wallace to still be the Dolphins number one receiver the rest of the way, while it is also guaranteed that the team will rush for more than 20 yards each week. Week one was an ideal situation for Hartline, and one that fantasy owners should try to sell high on if at all possible.
Legit: Jordan Cameron, Browns TE
In a week where the Browns looked terrible on almost all levels, Jordan Cameron was the lone bright spot catching nine balls for 108 yards and a score. Cameron’s stat line looks incredibly similar to his preseason line as well as the scouting reports heading into the season. Considering that Josh Gordon should help open up the offense after just one more week, Jordan Cameron seems like a clear top-10 tight end option this year in Norv Turner’s tight end friendly offense.
Not Legit: Eli Manning, Giants QB
Eli Manning is a better real-life quarterback than many give him credit for, but for fantasy, this week seems a lot like a fluke. The Cowboys secondary is straight-up horrible, and the Giants will have much less stat-padding garbage time the rest of the season than they did Sunday night. Eli finished as the third best scoring QB in week one—he likely won’t finish in the top three in any given week more than once or twice the rest of the season.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems, Matt @KidCotti21, and Matt @Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.