First impressions last forever. But let’s not be so bull-headed that we deny second chances.
San Francisco and Carolina- Kelvin Benjamin
Apparently, Riverboat Ron Rivera can not be trusted when he speaks as to a player’s impending role within his offense. Benjamin went from being on this strict 35 snap pitch count to suddenly being on the field for the majority of the offensive snaps. In doing so, Benjamin looked much sharper than he has throughout training camp against one of the best defensive secondary units in the entire league. Six catches for just under 100 yards with a touchdown against the Broncos is quite the feat. Benjamin should see less defensive resistance against the lowly 49ers secondary in week two. Back-to-back high-end games will have Benjamin vaulted back into the WR1 rankings.
Dallas and Washington- Ezekiel Elliott
Color us unimpressed with the grand opening of the Elliott show. It wasn’t fully his fault but it still wasn’t a warm and fuzzy welcoming. The rookie himself even labeled his debut as average. Average is a problem given not only where the Cowboys picked him but where fantasy owners selected him as well. The Giants just completely stacked the box against the run and limited any wiggle room for Elliott. Even more troubling was that when Dallas was driving downfield with the game on the line, Elliott found himself standing next the Dallas towel boy for an unreasonably long period of time. Alfred Morris was featured a little bit more than most had forecasted which can prove to be a problem moving forward. Elliott has to break tackles, get yards after contact, and display the explosiveness that make him a top-4 NFL draft pick. Washington is the perfect followup as he should be able to get moving with far more ease. If we get more of what we saw in week one, Elliott’s immediate value will start to dip.
New Orleans and New York Giants- Coby Fleener
What in the blue hell was that last week? A shootout that was still a close game which had fantasy studs left and right and Fleener was left in the dust. In a game where Willie Snead had 170 yards and Brandin Cooks outperformed most wide receivers with one single catch, free agent acquisition Fleener had 1 catch for 6 yards. Anyone who wasn’t overly concerned with Sean Payton’s comments that Fleener is still struggling with the playbook now has to be pushing the panic button, and for good reason. Fleener’s rank is going to drop like a stone if he disappears again in week two. He’ll go from a top-5 to outside the top-10. That’s how much value he has on the line here. He can either respond with a TE1 game or he’ll end up being barely roster worthy. Fleener needs to make up for his big letdown or owners will be forced to consider alternative option immediately. For this week, use patience as we should remember that even Brandin Cooks started off slow in 2015 before fully breaking out.
Miami and New England- Jimmy Garoppolo
Even if the Cardinals had nailed that game winning field goal, we would still be talking about how well the Patriots’ second quarterback played. That touchdown to Chris Hogan was a thing of beauty. It was perfectly designed and executed like a truly elite quarterback. The first outing for Garoppolo was better than any game that we saw from Brock Osweiler during his debut starts in 2015. The same Brock Osweiler who became a $75 million man after his limited starting gig. Garoppolo has worlds of fantasy value on the line over the next few weeks, both immediate and long term. He could be the Patriots answer for the upcoming decade or he can prove himself and leave for a needy franchise. Either way, Jimmy G could have an extremely bright future in this league and as a potential starting fantasy quarterback. The Pats’ quarterback should post low-end QB1 numbers here as long as he can evade the pass rush of the Dolphins.
Baltimore and Cleveland- Mike Wallace
Remember when RnF urged owners to take a late round swing on Mike Wallace? When we stated that 1+1=2 and that the same formula can be applied to Flacco’s arm and Wallace’s wheels? Does that ring a bell? Well, it happened, just like when we told you that Sammy Watkins foot was a much larger concern that most people were believing. Hopefully you listened to at least one of those pieces of advice as Wallace will likely end up costing you the top pick on the waiver wire. This week, he can end up making an even larger move up the ranks if he can blow past Joe Haden the same way Philly’s struggling wide receiver Nelson Agholor did last week.