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Fantasy Winners and Losers of Week 1

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There are four quarters and 17 games for a reason, but it’s undoubtedly tough not to scour our fantasy decisions after just one week.  I want to highlight some week one triumphs and some colossal fails as well.

The Good

Justin Jefferson-39.4 points

Racking up 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, it is actually surprising Jefferson didn’t do more based on how open he remained throughout the game versus division foe, Green Bay. The young receiver completely embarrassed opposing fantasy squads and is quickly asserting himself as the most dominant in the game today.  The Vikings, and fantasy owners alike, have to be very optimistic moving forward this season.  Justin Jefferson could certainly have his own category: The Great.

Patrick Mahomes-34.9 points

Tyreek who?  For obvious reasons, offseason storylines focused on the troubles ahead for Andy Reid’s Chiefs. No one could wrap their heads around an offense without the cheetah lining up alongside Mahomes.  Losing Hill to the Dolphins proved to be completely benign.  The Super Bowl-winning quarterback completed 77% of his passes and threw for FIVE touchdowns to flatten the Arizona Cardinals in their 2022.

It is not the slightest bit surprising that Mahomes outshines other quarterbacks; however, with no Tyreek Hill, Kansas City certainly had its cynics.  I think folks will be a little quieted after that performance!

Michael Thomas-22.7 points

It was a stressful three quarters for fans of the New Orleans Saints, but boy did Michael Thomas come in clutch.  In another triggering collapse for Atlanta, up 26-10 into the final quarter, Thomas hauled in two touchdowns from Jameis and ultimately set up Lutz for a game-winning field goal to seal a win in the NFC South matchup.

To give fantasy owners cardiac pains for three quarters is one thing, but coming around to score nearly twenty-three points creates an exciting rollercoaster ride. The development of Winston and Thomas is the beginning of what could be a long road ahead for defenses across the league.

Pittsburgh Defense-26.0 points

Heading into the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh D was ranked somewhere smack in the middle of the league. Opening up against 2021 AFC champion Cincinnati on the road, confidence in this team was wavering, to say the least.  A less-than-stellar defensive performance in 2021 (outside of Defensive Player of the Year, TJ Watt) did not scream powerhouse. 

The Steelers’ defense not only found a way to dominate week one, but they did it as a team effort.  Scoring 26 points as a defensive unit is straight-up quarterback points!  Forcing five turnovers and sacking Burrow SEVEN times will result in good things clearly. Fantasy owners rejoiced until, unfortunately, Watt left the game with a pectoral injury.  Positive news for the team, though: their star linebacker will NOT need surgery. 

Saquon Barkley-33.4 points                                                                

A lot of us said this over the last couple of seasons: “Will we ever see Saquon again?”  Racking up quite impressive stats intermittently over his four years with the New York Giants, Barkley is in a comeback tour of sorts.  The running back tore his ACL in week two of the 2020 season, shattering both his knee-which would later require surgery-and the hearts of Giants nation.

Adding to all of this was the uncertainty of a recently struggling offense and a new regime under Head Coach Brian Daboll. Opening their season on the road in Nashville, the Giants secured a heartfelt win 21-20 win and Saquon was a big part of it! He totaled 164 yards on 18 carries and we expect that he is just getting started.

The Bad and The Ugly

Arizona Cardinals Defense-  -2.0 points

What is going on in Arizona? There are some things that Pat Mahomes can do that cannot be stopped.  Everyone knows this. But you can’t go out there and have an egregious, negative (literally) performance like this at your home opener.  Kliff Kingsbury NEEDS to put together personnel that can do better. Period. 

After the team signed Kyler to his massive contract this offseason, it’s now time to continue building confidence and put a hurting on teams on both sides of the ball.  Negative fantasy points are quite frankly an embarrassment, but luckily we can’t panic or celebrate too much after one week of data.

Allen Robinson II-2.2 points

One catch for 12 yards.  Dreadful.  With Odell Beckham’s departure, the Robinson pickup had Rams fans salivating as they imagined another weapon downfield with Cooper Kupp. Sean McVay remained pretty nonchalant in his post-game presser simply attributing the lackluster offense to just “not getting into a rhythm.”

To McVay’s point, seven and a half sacks (generating three Stafford INTs) will disrupt any acceleration on offense so moving forward these are problems that should be remedied.  Robinson’s fantasy owners should not necessarily dispose of him as things should smooth over after that public, primetime beatdown.

Dak Prescott-1.0 point

It was an overall grim start for Dak and the Cowboys from start to finish.  Aside from one lone fantasy point, the franchise quarterback scored zero touchdowns and left the facility with a hand injury that ultimately resulted in Monday morning surgery.  His thumb was first thought to simply be jammed, but further exams determined the need for both a pin and plate to stabilize his thumb joint.

Prescott will not be placed on IR according to owner Jerry Jones.  With the potential of returning in about 4-6 weeks, the team looks to Cooper Rush to step in and fill some big shoes.  This was not the showing that America’s Team was hoping to open up with.

Amari Cooper-1.7

Browns fans were a little stunned at Cooper’s slow debut, but a win is a win!  Going just three for six targets and a lowly 17 yards, the former Dallas receiver is looking for a bounceback game against the Jets in week two.  Cooper was purely overshadowed by star-studded performances by teammates Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt who had impressive fantasy numbers. Look to Brissett to get into a groove with his team down the stretch.

Notice I did not include any kickers in the good, bad, or ugly category and we sure saw a little bit of it all last weekend! Despite a handful of doinks, blocks, and wide lefts and rights, all seems to be right with the world when a day full of football has graced our screens.  It’s human nature, but we can’t completely lose our marbles after one week whether it be our lifelong or fantasy team. 

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