Fantasy football Week 1 recap and top waiver wire picks

Is it just me or was Week 1 kind of weird? You had Tom Brady posting a dud on Thursday while Alex Smith went off. You had Le’Veon Bell gaining just 47 total yards in a juicy matchup with the Browns, getting outscored by players like Tommy Bohanon of the Jags. Who? And you had Julio Jones getting outscored by players like Andre Holmes.

There are always a few surprises in the season opener, but this year seemed odder than most.

Don’t worry about Brady, Bell or Jones too much, though. Things should return back to normal in Week 2 for them.

The big news is surrounding the likely No. 1 pick in a lot of drafts, David Johnson. The initial diagnosis is that Johnson suffered a dislocated wrist, according to ESPN, and will likely need surgery. The Cardinals are going to get a second opinion, but he could be out for a lengthy period of time. Kerwynn Williams should be picked up off the waiver wire since he’ll be Johnson’s replacement in Arizona.

D.J. Hayden #31 of the Detroit Lions tackles David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 35-23.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Something that’s almost just as concerning for the Cardinals is the play of Carson Palmer. Even if Johnson is healthy, Palmer didn’t inspire confidence. When the passing threat isn’t much of a threat at all, the running game will suffer.

Speaking of suffering running games, only nine running backs rushed for more than 70 yards this week. That’s not to say there weren’t great performances overall out of the backfield.

Kareem Hunt had the best debut for a rookie running back this season, but he wasn’t alone in putting up great numbers as a rookie.

Leonard Fournette was expected to get a lot of touches and he came through with a productive performance in his debut. He rushed for 100 yards and and caught three passes for 24 yards.

Dalvin Cook took the lion’s share of touches in the Vikings backfield while rushing for 127 yards. He had 25 touches to Latavius Murray’s two.

Count among the running back duds, everyone in the Saints backfield. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram each rushed just six times for a combined 35 yards.

One unexpected performance came out of Chicago’s diminutive Tarik Cohen. He looked great in preseason, but with Jordan Howard as the main back for the Bears, it wasn’t clear if Cohen would be used that much. Well, he was used just enough, totaling 13 touches and gaining over 100 yards from scrimmage. Cohen was very effective in the passing game, looking like Darren Sproles as he led the team with 12 targets. He even caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Cohen, Fournette, Hunt and Cook were four of the top eight fantasy scoring running backs this week. That’s a great start for my prediction that five rookies will end the season as RB1 or RB2 status. Add to that, Joe Mixon led the Bengals’ backfield in touches. He didn’t have a good game, but who did for the Bengals? That could possibly work in your favor. A piece of advice? Try to trade for him now. Buy low and benefit when his team-leading touches pay off.

Even rookie receivers performed well on Sunday. Kenny Golladay scored two touchdowns for the Lions and Cooper Kupp caught 4 passes for 76 yards and scored for the Rams.

Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions catches a fourth quarter touchdown next to Justin Bethel #28 of the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 35-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Speaking of the Rams, Jared Goff actually looked pretty good. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 306 yards and a TD. Has the Jeff Fisher curse finally been lifted? Could be, but we’ll have to see against a decent defense. If you’ve got room on your bench, go ahead and add Goff as trade bait.

This wild Week 1 really made me appreciate veteran quarterbacks who came through. Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Matt Ryan all played as well as expected. Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play great, but they didn’t stink up your team like Brady, Palmer or Eli Manning.

Another veteran, Sam Bradford, is finally starting to look like what some thought he would coming out of college. He was sharp, decisive and accurate in the thrashing of a terrible Saints defense Monday night.

As far as veteran running backs go, LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley all played well.

Antonio Brown outplayed every wide receiver on Sunday, hauling in all 11 of his targets for 182 yards. Jordy Nelson was Jordy Nelson while Amari Cooper showed signs of taking that next step owners have been waiting to see. Of course, Tyreek Hill had the best game of all on Thursday.

Monday night, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs just outright abused the Saints secondary. Thielen had 9 catches for 157 yards while Diggs scored twice.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jason Witten’s performance. He caught 7 passes for 59 yards and scored on his way to becoming the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receiving yards.

Top waiver wire picks:

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears: 5 rushes-66 yards, 8 rec.-47 yards, TD

Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings: 27-32, 346, 3 TDs

Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions: 4 rec.-69 yards, 2 TDs

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: 6 rec.-86 yards, TD

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens: 21 rushes-71 yards

Mike Tolbert, RB, Bills: 12 rushes-42 yards, TD, 1 rec.-12 yards

Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals: Will start in place of Johnson.

Jesse James, TE, Steelers: 8 targets, 6 rec.-41 yards 2 TDs

Jared Goff, QB, Rams: 21 comp., 29 att., 306 yards, TD

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Author: Staff Writer

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