The Chiefs released Jeremy Maclin to make cap room on Friday and the impact on the field will definitely be felt. How, exactly, is still up for debate. We’ll keep a close watch on where Maclin ends up, but for now we’ll look at things from the Chiefs’ perspective.
One thing is clear and that is, as the roster stands right now, Travis Kelce is the best bet to have an increase in targets. He’s in the top-3 of tight ends and had a great season last year. What remains to be seen is how things will shake out with the wide receivers on the roster.
Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson are all likely to get more work, but the Chiefs must see something they like in their first-year receivers if they’re willing to lose Maclin. They drafted Jehu Chesson in the fourth round and one of their scout’s thinks he’s polished enough to play very soon, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Demarcus Robinson, entering his second year is another player who could possibly step up to get more playing time.
For now, it makes sense to move up Hill and possibly Conley in your rankings. Hill had 12 touchdowns as a rookie and Conley had solid, though not impressive numbers last season. Watch training camp and the preseason to see if taking one of the other options on the team makes sense with the final pick of your fantasy drafts.
This doesn’t really affect Alex Smith too much, since he’s only a streaming quarterback option at this point in his career.
Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.
Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit in your upcoming fantasy matchups.
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks — Seahawks-Rams likely will be a low-scoring affair as neither offense has looked great. The Seahawks will try to control the clock with their running game, especially with Russell Wilson dealing with an ankle injury. Rawls had nearly as many touches as Christine Michael last week and was named the starter for Week 2.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants — He had 19 touches last weekend in the win over the Cowboys and finished with 78 total yards. This week, he gets to face a Saints defense that is second worst in points allowed to running backs. I bet he gets into the end zone.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles — The play of Carson Wentz last week against the Browns made Matthews a top-six receiver in fantasy scoring. They’ll face the Bears, who are 23rd in points allowed to receivers.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers — Melvin Gordon scored twice last week? Well, Woodhead had more touches and more yards from scrimmage in addition to one score. Last year without Keenan Allen, Woodhead led the Chargers in receptions.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns — He had a breakout season last year, but his dismal start last week might have you ready to cut ties. Don’t be so hasty, though. He had Robert Griffin III at the helm in the opener, but with Josh McCown now starting, Barnidge may have new life. They have a solid rapport going back to last year.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers — The “slimmed-down” talk ended after it appeared that he had trouble getting a lot going against the Jaguars last week. He had just 15 touches and will face a Vikings defense that allowed only 45 yards rushing in the opener.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers — Last year, he killed the Vikings to open the season. This year, he scored twice against what was thought to be a solid Rams defense. I’m not a believer yet, and he faces a Panthers defense that looks to bounce back after giving up a great game to C.J. Anderson.
Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs — I wouldn’t count on him having 363 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Texans, who are eighth best in points allowed to quarterbacks.
Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals — He faces a good Steelers run defense and hasn’t fared well against it in the past. Jeremy Hill probably has more of an opportunity to score should the Bengals get into a goal-line situation.
Any receiver facing the Ravens, Seahawks or Panthers — Got a Browns wideout? Leave him on the bench. Tavon Austin owner? Maybe next time, pal. Hopeful for points from Torrey Smith? Give it up.
No man’s land
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams — There’s no way you can sit Gurley, but you really wish you could, given that his team’s one-dimensional offense has to face the Seahawks. If the passing attack doesn’t take the pressure off of him, it could be a long day.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys — You probably used a first or early second-round pick on him and, as a result, have to start him. Dak Prescott makes no bones about hitting the check-down receiver instead of taking chances on his biggest playmaker so you’ll just have to cross your fingers.
The fantasy football season opened up the throttle on Sunday, and there were definitely some high-octane performances.
Andrew Luck started his attempt at a bounce-back year with a stellar performance; he threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns without committing a turnover. Drew Brees might have been the top scorer of the week had he not lost a fumble. He threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns, including a 98-yard score to Brandin Cooks. And A.J. Green had a brilliant start, catching 12 of his 13 targets for 180 yards and a 54-yard touchdown.
The best performance by a running back came from the waiver wire pickup of the week, Spencer Ware. Once word got out that Jamaal Charles wasn’t quite ready, owners rushed to pick up his main backup before the season kicked off.
Ware didn’t disappoint as he rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown while catching seven passes for an additional 129 yards.
At the tight end spot, both of the Colts’ ends found paydirt. Dwayne Allen caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown while Jack Doyle had three catches for 35 yards and two scores.
The top defense of the week started slow but turned it on in the second half. Minnesota allowed 16 points to the Titans but forced three turnovers and added two sacks in addition to scoring two touchdowns.
It wasn’t all positive in the fantasy world. Quite a few players had some games to forget:
At the top of that list has to be Dez Bryant, who caught just one pass for 8 yards in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants. He had a touchdown called back when it was reviewed and determined that he didn’t control the ball before touching out of bounds in the end zone.
Brandon Marshall, the top option for the Jets, had just three catches for 32 yards despite being targeted eight times.
Sammy Watkins also disappointed as he caught four passes for 43 yards. Additionally, Tyler Lockett, who was expected to break out for the Seahawks, had just three catches for 17 yards.
At running back, we saw Devonta Freeman produce just 40 total yards as Tevin Coleman gained 117 yards on 13 touches for the Falcons.
In Tennessee, Adrian Peterson rushed for just 31 yards as the Titans were able to key on the run with Shaun Hill starting at quarterback for the Vikings.
A striking theme from Sunday was the great performances from second-year players. Jameis Winston, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Donte Moncrief and Stefon Diggs all produced well to start their sophomore seasons.
Cooks, also in his second season, had 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately we saw Keenan Allen go down with a torn ACL after catching six passes for 63 yards. And word broke on Monday that Robert Griffin III could be done for the season with a shoulder fracture. Russell Wilson also has a sprained ankle to be monitored.
With that, look to the waiver wire:
Alex Smith, Chiefs (363 passing yards, 3 total TDs)
Carson Wentz, Eagles (278, TD)
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots (264, TD)
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (227, 0 turnovers)
Will Fuller, Texans (5 catches, 107 yards, TD)
Mike Wallace, Ravens (6-91, TD)
Chris Hogan, Patriots (60, TD)
Nelson Agholor, Eagles (57, TD)
Sterling Shepard, Giants (43, TD)
Victor Cruz, Giants (34, TD)
Tajae Sharpe, Titans (7-76)
Michael Thomas, Saints (6-58)