We are off with a bang to start the 2015 season. There were big performances by studs such as Julio Jones and Rob Gronkowski as well as new players in starting roles such as Carlos Hyde and Tyrod Taylor. Rookies stepped up in week one as well, as we saw Marcus Mariota and Ameer Abdullah perform well.
This week will be the first week of waivers, trade opportunities and evaluating how your team did. The first thing is to not overreact to the Week 1 stats. There were a ton of letdowns from players in good matchups. For instance, of the top 10 wide receivers drafted, only Julio Jones and Antonio Brown put up elite numbers. Don’t panic right away, it’s just one game and they will put up the numbers we expect them to.
Injuries however have to be dealt with right away. If you have Dez Bryant, you have to decide what roster moves to make. If you are able to stash him on the bench and ride it out until he returns then that would be the best option. For those that are now left without a true WR1, they will have to decide if they will have to make a trade to fix the situation.
This week, I return with my awards for the best and worst from the previous week. Make sure to keep reading for my DraftKings market value report.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Carlos Hyde – 26 carries for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hyde stepped into the starting roll after playing behind Frank Gore as a rookie last year. On the big Monday night stage he put on the best fantasy performance of the week.
Julio Jones – 9 receptions for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones had a prime matchup on the Monday night stage as well in the earlier game against the Eagles. He caught 9 of 11 passes thrown his way. Jones has had trouble staying healthy and already is banged up for Week 2 so monitor his status.
Rob Gronkowski – 5 receptions for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns. Gronk kicked off the 2015 season with a bang as he had his way with the Steelers defense. Not only was he scoring with ease but the defense didn’t even bother to cover him on one of the scores. Gronk could be in for another big game this week as he faces a Bills team he has scored 9 times against in his career.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Adrian Peterson – 10 carries for 31 yards. Not everyone shined on Monday night. Of all the disappointing players in Week 1, Peterson was by far the biggest. When the first pick in the draft puts up a performance like that, you more than likely lost your first matchup.
Calvin Johnson – 2 receptions for 39 yards. Sometimes game flow hurts your players production. In this case, Johnson only saw 4 targets. How is that possible to only target your best receiver 4 times? His defender is 5′ 9″ while Johnson stands at 6′ 5″. There should have been multiple scores for him in that game.
Peyton Manning – 175 yards passing and 1 interception. How bad was Manning in this game? How about he missed 4 touchdowns and who knows how many other big plays. He was out-scored fantasy-wise by Ryan Mallett, Matt McGloin and Johnny Manziel who all did not even start the game.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Carson Palmer against the Bears. Last week, the Bears defense gave up 3 touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers who needed just 18 completions to get it done. They were one of the worst units last year and will be just as bad this season.
Drew Brees against the Buccaneers. The Bucs defense is another unit that continued where they left off last season as they were ranked 28th last year. They made Marcus Mariota look good in Week 1 as they were beaten for 4 touchdowns. Last week, Brees put up 355 yards but had just one touchdown. This week, I expect him to have no less than 3 scores. This one could get ugly quick at the Super Dome.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Colin Kaepernick against the Steelers. We will see how bad the Steelers defense is this week as they face the 49ers. If they cover Torry Smith like they did Gronkowski, he will run right by them all game. Smith is by no means an elite receiver but with this matchup he might finish in the top 5 scoring for wide receivers.
Good running back matchups this week:
Chris Ivory against the Colts. Last week, Ivory proved that he could be a lead back in this league as he racked up 91 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. For an offense that lacks quarterback play, the Jets will continue to lean on the run game. This week he has a good matchup against a Colts defense that gave up two touchdowns rushing to open the season and allowed LeSean McCoy to get 41 yards on one leg.
Chris Johnson against the Bears. Andre Ellington left the game last week with an injury and Johnson will start this week. The Bears defense gave up 133 yards and a score on the ground. We will see how much Johnson really has left in the tank in this matchup. If he lays an egg, cut him.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Tevin Coleman against the Giants. Coleman ran well in his rookie debut against a tough Eagles front 7 posting 80 yards. The Falcons gave Coleman 20 carries as he shouldered the bulk of the running duties as Devonta Freeman has been banged up. This week, look for the Falcons to give Coleman more snaps against a Giants defense that was 30th in the league last year and is still without Jason Pierre-Paul up front.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Kirk Cousins against the Rams. I’m wondering when the Redskins will be forced to swallow their pride and turn back to Robert Griffin III. Chances are they might go to Colt McCoy first but after a few losses it won’t matter. Cousins threw 2 picks last week and was sacked once. The Rams defense had 6 sacks last weak against the Seahawks. Expect Cousins to have a rough outing in Week 2.
Ben Roethlisberger againt the 49ers. It is tough to stay in a shootout when you have both Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant on suspension. The 49ers defense was a surprise in week one as they racked up 5 sacks and had 1 interception. When you have Markus Wheaton dropping passes and Darrius Heyward-Bey lacking field awareness it makes the defense’s job much easier. We will see this week if the 49ers defense is a legitimate unit.
Tom Brady against the Bills. Brady is 11-4 versus Rex Ryan in his career and after a big win in week one will be favored. The Bills defense last season gave up 4 touchdowns to Brady in his best game all season. This season, the unit is improved and handled Andrew Luck last week with two interceptions and two sacks. I expect Brady to have a similar game where he is limited to just 1 touchdown.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Benny Cunningham against the Redskins. We aren’t sure if Tre Mason will play this week or if Todd Gurley is ready to suit up soon. What we do know is that the Rams backfield situation is one to avoid. Last week, Cunningham had success catching the ball out of the backfield but managed just 45 yards on the ground. The Redskins are good up front defensively and held the Dolphins to 74 total rushing yards as a team last week.
Latavius Murray against the Ravens. Murray was a popular middle round selection in fantasy drafts but week one was not great as he rushed for just 46 yards. David Carr left the game with an injury and Matt McGloin could start in Week 2. That will allow the Ravens to stack the box to force McGloin to have to throw. Last week, the Ravens held C.J. Anderson to just 29 rushing yards.
Doug Martin against the Saints. Martin rushed for just 52 yards last week as the Buccaneers fell behind early forcing them to throw. I expect the Bucs to be down early which will limit the carries Martin will get for a second straight week.