by Andy Moore – @AJMoore21
Well, that’s week 1 in the books. As the dust settles and you begin to process all the twists and turns, allow us to get you one step ahead with your week 2 fantasy waiver dealing.
Ronald Jones – Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – owned by 49.1%
As all the preseason optimism around Jameis Winston and his receiver core began to crumble and fall in Tampa on Sunday evening, one spark of life emerged.
Second year back, Ronald Jones II, fresh off what pretty much amounted to a red shirt year, set out to prove that he isn’t a bust. Down in the third corner with ground to make up, new Head Coach turned to Jones to spearhead the fight back, the former USC man obliged, carrying the ball for good yardage on multiple plays.
Jones managed 75 yards off 13 carries (5.7 per carry), but more importantly established himself as the go to guy on Sunday. With a Thursday night match up against Carolina on Thursday, expect to see the former second rounder pick up even more of the slack.
Terry McLaurin – Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins – owned by 27.8%
Washington surged out to a surprise lead in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, aggressive play calling from Jay Gruden had the Redskins up 17-0 at one point before a Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz masterclass saw the lead slip away.
Much of Washington’s early success was caught in the hands of their third-round rookie, Terry McLaurin. The Georgia product caught a 69 yard bomb from Case Keenum and led the ‘Skins receiver group in receptions and targets, with 5 and 7 respectively.
Look for McLaurin to build on a 125 yard performance against a Dallas team which gave up 319 passing yards to the Giants last weekend.
T.J Hockenson – Tight End, Detroit Lions – owned by 63.6%
Rookie tight ends aren’t worthwhile fantasy pickups, right? Well in T.J Hockenson, Detroit haven’t got just any rookie tight end. The Iowa product had a standout opening weekend against what (admittedly) was a poor Cardinals defense.
Hockenson was on the field for 73% of the Lions offensive snaps, providing a nice option for Matthew Stafford throughout the game. The rookie was targeted 6 times, catching every one of them for 131 yards (21.8 yards per catch) and a TD.
Things may get tougher for the Lions in coming weeks as they face the Chargers, Eagles and Chiefs in succession, but with Hockenson seeing 75% of snaps, he’s got potential as a starter or high quality bye week filler in weeks to come.
A.J Brown – Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans – owned by 7.3%
Perhaps the upset of the weekend was the Titans takedown of the playoff tipped Cleveland Browns. The score perhaps doesn’t reflect the close nature of the game until Baker Mayfield threw 3 INTs in the fourth quarter, allowing Marcus Mariota to show his quality and put the game to bed.
One of the difference-makers that Mariota was able to lean on during the game was rookie A.J Brown. The Ole Miss talent was targeted 4 times, the most of any Titans receiver, catching 3 of the passes for 100 yards. His presence operating both along the side-line and in the slot created mismatches all day, and his RAC ability shone through on some huge plays.
Perhaps most promising for Brown was the lack of production from Corey Davis (3 targets, 0 catches) and Adam Humphries (1 target, 1 catch, 5 yards), who could be considered his main rival for fantasy production. Trips to the Colts, Jaguars and Falcons could all be fruitful in coming weeks, judging by week 1.
Honourable Mentions: John Ross (WR, Bengals), DeSean Jackson (WR, Eagles), Malcolm Brown (RB, Rams)
Peyton Barber – Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Barber must have been feeling good throughout the summer, with Bruce Arians publicly reassuring him that he’d been the week 1 starter at RB for the Buccs. The problem is Barber doesn’t offer a lot to support an offense which has the potential to be fantastic or awful on any given drive.
That was summarised perfectly on Sunday when the former undrafted free agent carried 8 times for 33 yards and added 12 yards through the air with two catches. It’s not good, not particularly bad, just bang average – drop him and pick up Ronald Jones instead.
Nick Foles – Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
It all started so well for the former Super Bowl MVP, he dropped in a dime to D.J Chark in the back corner of the end zone and Jacksonville must have thought they’d got their man.
Unfortunately, Foles then went off with a broken left clavicle, leaving him out indefinitely. Whilst there is a chance he comes back the season, it’s probably time to drop him in place of prospective replacement Gardner Minshew (what a name).
Honourable Mention: Tony Pollard (RB, Dallas Cowboys)