Just one week in and we’ve already got enough to either be grinning ear to ear or be sticking our heads into the toilet. We got our first taste as to what the draft cost versus production payoff are going to be. While it’s not time to sound the alarm, it’s been enough time for us to see a little bit of the writing on the wall. Good, bad, or indifferent, the forecast is starting to become a little more clear. In week two, we’re going to be able to piece together a little more of the long term forecast.
ON THE RISE
T.Y. Hilton versus Washington
As drafters ourselves, we were very standoff-ish about investing too heavily into both Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. Not only was Hilton looking to be the only player for the defensive to divert attention to, but the health of Andrew Luck was and still is, very much hanging in the balance. But one week in, our nightmares have not taken life and now Hilton and Luck get to go up against one of the more favorable defenses in the league. Yes, Josh Norman is going to be a problem but Hilton can be moved around enough to still see a productive afternoon. Hilton was very heavily involved last week seeing 11 targets on the day but he wasn’t able to break the big play we’ve grown so used to seeing. If his target share remains this high and he goes for over 100 yards he’ll have broken back into weekly WR1 status. We’re expecting a top 10 week for Hilton so if he doesn’t hit, he’ll find himself in the fallers category next week.
Emmanuel Sanders versus Oakland
The love that Case Keenum showed for Sanders in the preseason carried over into the regular season in a very big way. Sanders saw the same amount of targets as the aforementioned Hilton but Sanders was able to secure a ridiculous total of ten. Sanders was a beast with those 10 catches too, going for 135 yards including a big time touchdown play. Keenum loved his slot man in Minnesota as he made Adam Thielen into a household name. Now he’s moving the chains with Sanders in the slot. As long as the targets remain close to double digits this week, Sanders will find himself leap-frogging up the weekly rankings. Going against one of the worst defenses in the league, there is no reason to not believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen. We’ll set the bar at the 100-yard marker. Back-to-back weeks with 100-yard games to open the season will have Sanders cemented as a top end WR2 with WR1 growth and potential. Coming up short against what amounts as trash competition would have Sanders newly found value in question. Is he a must start? Is he is a spot start? Another resurgence game on the 2018 tour of redemption would have owners sitting pretty.
Chris Thompson versus Indianapolis
Is there another running back in the league that offers this much value who isn’t even officially the starting option on his team? Tevin Coleman in Atlanta maybe? An argument could made for that but it would be a stretch filled with word “if” a bunch of times. Thompson is a beast who carried RB1 status at a RB4 price tag on draft day. The only shade people were throwing at him was the fact that he flat out stated that his leg wasn’t 100%. Well, even feeling a little less than his normal self, Thompson was still able to ball-out to the tune of almost 130 yards with a score. He’s clearly firmly back in our flex or RB2 slots at this time. The only thing that we’d like to see for Thompson to continue to build upon his ascending value on is more chances to produce. 11 touches were enough for Thompson to “go off” but it’s obviously going to take more touches to do it on a consistent basis. So, here we are against what just might be the worst defense in the league with the Indianapolis Colts. This goes one of two ways. The first is that Washington gets up big on Indy early and the Redskins end up seeing Adrian Peterson with 25 touches. The second is that Andrew Luck and company keep this game tight and high scoring. We’re hoping for the latter as that’s the best opportunity for Thompson to go off like an M-80.
Tom Brady versus Jacksonville
We’ll be clear in our personal position regarding Thomas “The Goat” Brady. We were in a position on draft day where close to 8 quarterbacks were selected ahead of Brady as drafters were turned off by the fact that he was throwing to no-namers on offense. People were disinterested in a 41 year old surrounded with drama and his lack of an offensive entourage. We, however, were tickled pink to see one of the most trustworthy options at the position still lingering around so late in the draft process. With our personal stake in TB12 out in the open, could anyone outside of Roger Goodell draw up a worse week 1 and 2 than Houston and Jacksonville? Houston has a recharged defense with some of the biggest names in the game and Jacksonville has signed every big name defensive free agent in close to four years. If Brady can come close to the type of numbers we got out of him last week, it’s going to be hard to see a situation down the line where he isn’t a weekly Top 2 play behind maybe only Aaron Rodgers. His value has the chance to increase here and potentially set himself up for another increase down the line as Julian Edelman waits in the wing.
Kenny Golladay versus San Francisco
It’s easy not to be able to see the forest through the trees. Getting lost behind how straight up awful Matthew Stafford was on Monday Night Football and how Golden Tate was able to pay off in the second half with his touchdown, is how effective Kenny Golladay was in the opener. He saw 12 targets from Stafford and brought in 7 of them for 114 yards. It’s also worth applying the eye test here as Stafford was throwing just a little too high in the end zone when targeting Marvin Jones. Multiple long tosses that woulda, shoulda, coulda been touchdowns were like, no joke, two inches too high. It’s weird that Golladay measures two inches taller than Jones as Stafford may be reverting to his old Calvin Johnson days. Chuck it up to the big man early and often and let him do the rest. That would be a very big deal for Golladays’ value moving forward. If he sees even 8 targets and suddenly pops up as Stafford’s preferred man in the red zone after all the Jones’ missed chances in Week 1, all of the buzz and chatter could start translating into on the field production. With Richard Sherman hopefully working on Marvin Jones, Golladay could be mismatched on San Fran’s CB3 en route to a big day. A lot of noise from Golladay could mean a ton of upside for the rest of the season.