Fantasy Focus: Week 1 Hot and Not
The NFL is back! Week 1 kicked off on Thursday, and while every team started undefeated and in first place, that as that began to change this weekend, a few players stood out thanks to some particularly impressive (or unimpressive) performances. Time to take a look at who was hot and who was not in the first week of games this season.
Hot Fantasy Updates
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee- One of the biggest names in sporting news out of the NFL draft this season, second overall pick Mariota shined in his first NFL game, throwing for four touchdowns and completing an efficient 13 of 16 passes in a 42-14 blowout against first overall pick Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay. Mariota passed for 209 yards, including 52 on a touchdown reception by Kendall Wright. The Oregon product didn’t run too much, gaining six yards on two carries, but showed impressive presence in the pocket. It will be interesting to see how he responds against a better defense, however.
- Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City- Perceived as a breakout candidate by many fantasy analysts, Kelce proved it on Sunday against the Texans, catching all five of his targets and finding the end zone twice on 95 yards receiving. The Texans defense did a good job containing tight end production last year, but Kelce helped QB Alex Smith burn them for 27 points in the victory Sunday. Look for Kelce to continue a breakout season as a force in the red zone and one of Smith’s most reliable targets.
- James Jones, WR, Green Bay- After making recent fantasy news, Jones found his footing as a target for QB Aaron Rodgers in Sunday’s win vs. Chicago. Jones caught all four of his targets for 51 yards and two touchdowns in a triumphant return to the Packers. Jones won the #3 receiver job for Green Bay late in training camp and asserted his hold on a starting job Sunday. Look for Jones to remain fantasy relevant this season for Green Bay, especially in light of Jordy Nelson’s season-long injury
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati- Eifert seized on an opportunity Sunday by serving as Andy Dalton’s security blanket, catching two touchdowns, from thirteen and eight yards, respectively. The Notre Dame product caught 9 of 12 targets, putting up 104 yards in the process. At 6’6” and 250 lbs, Eifert should be able to serve as a big red zone target for Dalton and the Bengals and should provide good value as a starting tight end.
Not Fantasy Updates
- Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore- Flacco had a tough day against the Broncos defense, throwing two interceptions without finding the end zone. The Ravens QB completed 18 of 32 passes but only passed for 117 yards in a 19-13 loss, good for his worst full-game yardage performance since 2010. Flacco did not complete a single pass for more than 22 yards, so there’s a chance he will have better days when the deep ball is working for him, as he’s usually reliant on long passes. As he develops a rapport with a relatively inexperienced receiver corps, owners should expect better performances.
- Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis- Many expected Gore to thrive in what should have been a big offensive day for the Colts, but the Bills put the kibosh on that in what became a 27-14 defeat for Indy. Gore struggled for just 31 yards on eight carries and gained no receiving yards on two catches. It was a bad day all around for the Colts, and Indianapolis struggled to establish a ground game all day. Next week will pose a challenge as the Colts face a tough Jets defense, but it will not be difficult to improve on this week’s performance.
- Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit- “Megatron” looked poised for a big day against the Chargers secondary, but “mega-flopped” in Sunday’s loss, hauling in only two receptions on four targets for only 39 yards. Johnson also failed to find the end zone. Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers was on “Megatron” for most of the afternoon and kept him quiet throughout the afternoon. The Lions face the Vikings in Week 2, and if they succeed in giving Matt Stafford a tough time in the pocket, Johnson’s numbers may remain diminished next week as well.
- Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina- Olsen had a great chance to feast on Sunday against a lackluster Jaguars secondary and as QB Cam Newton’s primary target after wideout Kelvin Benjamin went down, but finished the game with only one catch and 11 yards receiving on only three targets. Newton ended up spreading the love on Sunday, with nine receivers splitting 31 targets. Olsen ended up losing out Sunday, but also fell victim to some added coverage. Olsen should still receive more targets as the season goes on.