10 Things You Need to Know from Week 1!
The day we have been waiting for finally arrived and for the most part, it lived up to the hype. I’ll be here each Monday to catch you up on the top ten storylines from the past NFL Sunday of action. Here are the things you need to know as you look forward to Week Two.
Le’Veon Lost his Leverage
When star RB Le’Veon Bell decided not to report to the Pittsburgh Steelers, we have to assume he thought he held all the cards. That’s not the case anymore after his replacement second-year RB James Conner went crazy against the Browns, totaling nearly 200 yards and two scores. Perhaps this pushes Bell back to the team, but if so, will he regain his starting gig?
Barkley is For Real
It took a while for him to get going, but rookie RB Saquon Barkley lived up to the hype in a close game against the league’s best defense. Barkley was held in check in the first-half but broke a long 68-yard score in the second period and finished with 128 total yards against the Jaguars.
QB Controversy in TB?
A few weeks ago, most scoffed when Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht suggested suspended QB Jameis Winston would not necessarily earn his starting role back when he returned. We’re not laughing anymore after veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick exploded for 417 yards and five total touchdowns, leading the Bucs to an upset win over New Orleans.
We knew QB Deshaun Watson could not sustain his other-worldly pace of his injury-shorted rookie season, but his 176-yard, one touchdown performance against the Pats was especially ugly. Outside of WR DeAndre Hopkins, there has to be a concern that Watson doesn’t have the weapons around him to compete for a deep playoff run, as most expected.
Back to the shootout between NFC South foes, sophomore RB Alvin Kamara picked up right where he left off in his amazing run as a rookie. Kamara posted 141 total yards and three touchdowns to help the Saints stay in the game. With veteran RB Mark Ingram out for three more games due to suspension, expect more of this from Kamara.
Luck is Back
His team didn’t get the win and Colts QB Andrew Luck probably didn’t throw the ball down the field as much as we’d like to see, but his 319-yard, two touchdown performance against a stout Bengals secondary is a good sign that Luck is back. He can be considered a weekly fantasy starter moving forward.
There are many backfield committees around the league and we didn’t get much clarity on most of them. Replacing RB Jerick McKinnon, veteran RB Alfred Morris and RB Matt Breida each touched the ball 12 times, but the duo combined for less than 90 yards from scrimmage. The Titans relied heavily on big back Derrick Henry before their long weather delay, but after play resumed, it was RB Dion Lewis seeing the biggest chunk of playing time. In that same game, co-starters RB Frank Gore and RB Kenyan Drake shared the role, with Gore rushing for 61 yards and Drake totaling 66 yards. Until we get a better idea of what to expect, these are situations to avoid.
Avoid the Bills (and Cowboys)
Speaking of teams to avoid, there was hope that veterans RB LeSean McCoy and TE Charles Clay could overcome the expected poor play of the Bills overall offense and still produce at a high level. That didn’t happen. McCoy totaled just 21 yards in the game against the Ravens and Clay failed to catch either of his two targets. I’m staying away from this team moving forward. The same can mostly be said for the Cowboys, who struggled to score points against the Panthers. Although he had a quiet game with 69 rushing yards and a touchdown, RB Ezekiel Elliott must stay in lineups, but he is the exception in the Cowboys lineup.
Like Kamara, Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill continued his amazing efficiency rate in Week One, scoring a trio of touchdowns, including a 91-yard punt return and a 58-yard reception from new QB Patrick Mahomes. With a crowded roster of talent, including WR Sammy Watkins and TE Travis Kelce, Hill will have some quiet games, but I won’t be betting against him.
Pack Avoid a Scare (We Think)
In the Sunday finale, the Bears defense battered and bruised QB Aaron Rodgers, sending him to the sidelines and eventually, the locker room. Fans feared the worst and prepared for a season of backup QB DeShone Kizer, but Rodgers returned and led the Packers to a second-half comeback win. While Rodgers already stated he’d be ready for Week Two, something tells me this injury story may not be through. Hope I’m wrong.
Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) is a freelance contributor for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.