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Tue Sep 13th 2022

Week One Review

Week one finally arrived, and dynasty Freeks were treated to 16 football games where the points on the field and our fantasy rostered counted. The games were a blast, especially the nailbiters and overtime games in the early slate. I had a great time watching all of the games in week one.

After following all the week-one games, here are some of my observations from a dynasty perspective.

Week One Observations

Welcome Back!

  • Welcome back to life, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas! I've been predicting that the Giants' offense would improve drastically this year under their new coach Brian Daboll, and I traded for Barkley in two leagues this offseason. I could not be happier with those trades after week one. Barkley had 194 yards on 24 touches and accounted for nearly 50% of the Giants' offensive yards and touches. He's going to be the offense's focal point, mainly since none of the other pass catchers on the team have emerged as an alpha. Barkley led the team in targets and receptions, which is fantasy gold. Barkley's dynasty value will rise significantly this year, as will Michael Thomas's. Thomas didn't play as many snaps as Jarvis Landry or Chris Olave, but he still received eight targets, including two in the red zone, which he caught for touchdowns. Once he's fully healthy and they remove his pitch count, he'll be back as an every-week starter on dynasty rosters. His dynasty value will rebound too, but not to the degree of Barkley since so many young receivers have passed him by. Even so, seeing him move from the bench to the lineup in dynasty rosters will be a much-welcomed surprise for managers who held him the last two seasons. 

Tandems and Vultures

  • Many NFL teams plan to run with the running back by committee approach, and some will give one of their backs the goal-line role. DeAndre Swift has arguably the best game of his career, but Jamaal Williams was still on the field about one-third of the time and got both of the goal-line touchdown runs. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt picked up where they started last year by scoring 18 and 21 fantasy points, respectively. Hunt scored two touchdowns while Chubb churned out 141 yards rushing and 6.4 yards per carry. While healthy, both of them should be in starting lineups. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon were expected to be a committee in Green Bay, with Dillon as the goal line back and Jones more involved in the passing game. However, Dillon received more targets in addition to the goal line work, much to the frustration of Jones managers. I doubt that Dillon will get more passing work than Jones from now on, but it looks like Jones does not have that role entirely to himself. Though less productive from a fantasy standpoint this week, the Bills, Cowboys, and Patriots also split their backfield equally. Dynasty managers must expect that RB-2s in their lineups will likely have to be committee backs while aspiring to have bell-cow back at their RB-1 position.

Turn Up The Volume

  • Speaking of RB-1s, coaches of two of the most versatile backs in the NFL need to turn up the volume on their starting running backs. Christian McCaffrey had the fewest touches of his career in the first half of a game. He touched the ball just five times in the first half and just nine times in the second half. If the Panthers are limiting his touches in an attempt to keep him healthy this year, they're sabotaging their jobs and CMC's fantasy value. They better come to their senses and get CMC the ball 20-25 times a game, or his dynasty value will fall quickly this season. The same can be said for Alvin Kamara, who only touched the ball twelve times this week. Kamara is used to producing for fantasy teams with a lesser workload than most backs, but he needs at least 16-20 touches to produce as he has throughout his career. The Saints' coaching staff better snap out of it and get him more involved in the coming weeks. For comparison, Jonathan Taylor and Joe Mixon had 35 and 34 touches in their games, though they each received extra touches in their overtime games. Turn up the volume and give CMC and Kamara 20 touches per game, please!

Putting It To the Test

  • This season is the year to put Achilles surgeries to the test. This week started terribly on that front, with Cam Akers looking like a shell of himself on Thursday night. Apart from one good game, he's not proven that he's able to play running back after this surgery. This week, Marlon Mack was cut again after not making the Texan's practice squad. D'Onta Foreman had some good moments last season but split carries with Chuba Hubbard behind CMC this week. On the other hand, James Robinson had a great first game after surgery, scoring two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. He out-touched Travis Etienne in their first game playing together. They're both healthy and ready to share the load in Jacksonville. The guy who returned to the field the fastest after Achilles surgery is Sterling Shepard. He only had two catches, but one was a 65-yard touchdown. Everyone recovers differently, but dynasty managers will have much more evidence to prove whether to fish or cut bait with players after Achilles injuries this season.

New Jersey No Problem

  • A.J. Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Jarvis Landry dominated target shares on their teams and told dynasty managers they don't need to worry about them switching teams this offseason. Brown had 13 targets, ten receptions, and 155 yards. He fell short of the goal line twice, or his day would have been even better. Hill had 12 targets, eight catches, 94 yards, and one run for 6 yards. He failed to reach the end zone, but he will be fine in Miami, even with a far inferior quarterback. Landry will not lead the team in targets once Michael Thomas is off his pitch count, but this week he did with nine targets, seven catches, and 114 yards. Landry is on his third NFL team, and all he's done with each team is rack up catches and provide a solid floor for fantasy managers. Their dynasty managers can confidently say, "New Jersey. No problem."

Playing Day One

  • Many rookie wide receivers ran with the first-team offenses or received significant playing time in week one. Drake London, Chris Olave, George Pickens, and Jahan Dotson were every-down starters, and I saw a lot of managers start them in their fantasy lineups. Treylon Burks, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and Kyle Pillips also saw a lot of action and could move into starting fantasy lineups even before bye weeks hit. It's always exciting when rookie players see the field early in their rookie season and can move into starting lineups in their first year. I think that will happen a lot. I'm pleased that the two receivers I drafted the most in rookie drafts this season had two of the best games this week. Jahan Dotson was the highest-scoring rookie receiver this week after scoring two touchdowns in his debut. Kyle Phillips had the highest target percentage per route run (42%) of any receiver that ran 20 or more routes this week and was the most targeted player on the Titans. This class is looking great already, especially two of my most rostered players.

Blame It On The Rain

  • Trey Lance looked pretty bad in his debut, but I'm giving him a pass this week, given the downpour in Chicago. I've been apprehensive about what the 49ers' transition to Trey Lance will mean for the dynasty value of other 49ers players. Due to this concern, I sold two of my three shares of Deebo Samuel this off-season. It's only Lance's first week, but I'm glad I did so far. Now I wish I had moved my two Kittle shares, too. He has time to improve and deserves a break given the field conditions, but he needs to prove something quick, or all of the 49ers' pass catchers will see their dynasty value dip alongside Lance's.

Way To Go Newbies

  • All five first-time head coaches won their games this week. Not all new coaches did, but all first-time head coaches did. Doug Pederson and Josh McDaniels lost their first games, and Lovie Smith tied in his first game, but those there have been head coaches before. First-time head coaches Brian Daboll, Mike McDaniel, Dennis Allen, Kevin O'Connell, and Matt Ebeflus all won on Sunday. I write this article before the Monday night game, so I don't know if Nathaniel Hackett will make it six for six, but I suspect he will. There's not much to take away from this from a dynasty perspective, but it is nice to see new faces and ideas injected into the NFL. Four out of the six first-time head coaches come from an offensive background which often helps the fantasy production of their teams. Congrats to these guys for their first career wins. In dynasty leagues, adding a new manager to the league can bring new life to an orphan team too. A first-year dynasty manager won one of my leagues last year. I picked up two orphan teams this offseason and smashed both teams I played in those leagues this week. It's fun to take over a busted team and bring it back to life. New dynasty managers can change a team's future like these first-time coaches.

The Worst Part Of Fantasy

  • In my opinion, the worst part of playing fantasy football is injuries. It stinks when you've built a strong roster and see it fall prey to injuries. It stinks to lose a week when players get injured early in the game. I hate that part of this game, but it's a reality we have to live with. Dak Prescott injured his finger Sunday night and will miss the next 6-8 weeks, plunging the fantasy production of every Cowboy for the next two months. Elijah Mitchell made it through the preseason healthy, only to injure his knee in the first half of the rain game in Chicago. Tee Higgins suffered a concussion early in the game, and Chris Godwin and Keenan Allen left games early with hamstring injuries. George Kittle didn't even make it to week one this season before getting sidelined. It's a harsh and brutal game they play and a sad and frustrating one to watch. I was going toe-to-toe in one match-up this week with the best team in the league when Tee Higgins, Elijah Mitchell, and Keenan Allen left the game in the first half. It's a brutal way to lose a game, let alone a season. One of the reasons I rarely trade two second-tier players for one top-tier player is that we need depth on our dynasty rosters. We have to be able to overcome one or two injuries. I can usually do so, but if Mitchell, Higgins, and Allen are gone for too many weeks in that league, I will have a hard time not falling behind in the standings. I hate injuries.

Just For Kicks

  • The only thing some dynasty managers hate more than injuries is kickers! I'm a little different than most dynasty managers in that I like being in leagues with kickers and without. I enjoy being in both types of leagues. I only bring up kickers to say this was a hilarious week for kickers, not so much from a fantasy perspective, but from a reality perspective. When the early slate games are close, I love watching the Red Zone channel to see the games play out all at once. This Sunday was either a superstar show or a comedy of errors for kickers in that window. The superstars were Cade York, who kicked a 58-yard field goal to win the game for the Browns, and Will Lutz, who hit a 57-yarder to win the game for the Saints. The comedy of errors began with Rodrigo Blankenship, who missed a game-winning field goal that sent the game into overtime and ultimately a tie. Best all, however, was Evan McPherson missing an extra point with no time on the clock, causing the Bengals to go to overtime with the Steelers. Then he missed a game-winning field goal in overtime. Boswell hit the goal post on his game-winning try. Later Boswell redeemed himself with less than a minute left in overtime by hitting a 53-yard game-winner. Kicking is part of the game, and games are won, lost, or tied because of kickers. For that reason alone, I enjoy the randomness of kickers in some of my dynasty leagues, though I know I'm in the minority.

Week One Waiver Wire

Remember, I play in leagues with 300 to 360 players rostered. In dynasty leagues with that many players rostered, here's a list of the players I plan to add to my rosters this week.

1. Jordan Mason

  • Savvy dynasty managers added Mason before the season started once the 49ers released Trey Sermon, and Mason made the 53-man roster. He was picked up in seven of my nine leagues already, but in the two that he's available, he'll be the first player I'd like to add. Elijah Mitchell is already injured, and the 49ers always seem to find a productive running back off the trash heap. I'm convinced that Jeff Wilson will be the primary back while Mitchell is out, but Mason could start to get worked into the rotation as soon as this week.

2. Greg Dortch

  • Dortch had the most targets and receptions for the Cardinals on Sunday, and I think he can continue to get the same amount of work while DeAndre Hopkins is suspended and Rondale Moore is injured. The Cardinals have one of the worst defenses in the league and will be behind in many games this season as they were against the Chiefs this week. Dortch bounced around the league on several teams since coming to the NFL three years ago, but he was a productive college player at Wake Forest and could carve out a role with the Cardinals that lasts longer than the start of this season.

3. Ben Skowronek

  • Skowronek played 88% of the snaps for the Rams Thursday night, only six fewer snaps than Allen Robinson. Plus, he had more targets and receptions than Robinson. He's only 25 years old, and if Allen Robinson turns out to be washed up, Skowronek could become the WR-2 on the team. I don't think that will happen, but even if he's just a back-of-the-roster player, I'd be willing to add him this week to see if Robinson is washed up. At the very least, he's a WR-3 on a pass-heavy team.

4. Devin Duvernay

  • I try to chase volume over touchdowns on the waiver wire, so I will likely not add Duvernay to my roster this week since other managers will chase the two touchdowns he scored this week. I'd love to add a fellow Longhorn to my team, but I think the target tree in Baltimore is too narrow for Duvernay to get enough targets. If he catches all three of his targets and scores two touchdowns again, I could regret not being more aggressive on my bids for him. I still consider him 4th in my order, but others will have him as their number one.

5. Noah Brown

  • Late last week, beat reporters said Brown would start opposite CeeDee Lamb because Jalen Tolbert did not do well enough to earn a starting role. After hearing this news, I picked up Brown in several of my deep leagues before the games kicked off on Sunday. After watching the game on Sunday, I am glad I did. He had nine targets on Sunday and was the clear WR-2 on the team. If Dak Prescott were healthy, Brown would be number two on my list, but Dak's injury caused me to move him down to fifth.

6. O.J. Howard

  • Howard's first game in Houston turned into a two-catch two-touchdown day. It's a flukey stat line and performance, but his draft capital and previous dynasty value make me willing to take on more stab at Howard. I may even be ready to drop Brevin Jordan, his competition at the position, to do so. Houston signed him for a reason, either for upside depth or thinking they don't think Jordan is the answer.

7. Dontrell Hillard

  • I'm not chasing Hillard's two-touchdown day as much as I am interested in rostering the backup to Derrick Henry. Hasaan Haskins did not play on Sunday. It was only Hilliard behind Henry. He's a pro and has the backup job locked up for the time being. I never leave a backup running back on the waiver wire. I fill my roster with them instead.

8. Richie James

  • For some reason, only the coaches or Daniel Jones know, James was the most targeted wide receiver for the Giants on Sunday. I'd like to know why, and in super deep leagues would add James this week. Wan'Dale Robinson got injured this week, Kadarius Toney is in the doghouse, and Kenny Golladay's practice reports have been terrible. Maybe the Giants know they don't have what they need. Perhaps Sterling Shepard and Richie James are the best they've got.

Week One Trades

It's early in the season, so there were no trades this week in my leagues. I'm sure that won't be the case next week.

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