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Week 1 Review: I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing

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Pryor took Week 1 by storm, and he's here to stay. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Pryor took Week 1 by storm, and he's here to stay. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Wow. Week 1 was, as it always is, a reality check for many of us. Stud running backs got off to slow starts, hype trains got stopped dead in their tracks, and tight ends showed us that the position isn’t dead yet.

So let's look at some of the most surprising stories of Week 1:

1. Jimmy Graham didn’t finish as the only viable fantasy tight end. In fact he didn’t even finish in the Top Five.

Jared Cook, Julius Thomas, Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, and Jordan Cameron make up the top five thus far. Even Kellen Winslow managed to outscore him. Even so Winlsow should stay on the waiver wire right now, there's no reason to trust anyone on the Jets offense right now.

Julius Thomas should have some fantasy value moving forward, but he obviously won’t score two touchdowns every week. If you need help at tight end, try grabbing him on the waiver wire. Before you plug him into your lineup on a weekly basis, we’ll have to see if he can stay consistent in an offense with so many weapons.

This is the first of many examples where "staying the course" is appropriate, Jimmy Graham is the 10th highest scoring tight end heading into Monday Night Football, but there's really no need for concern here. There's no reason to believe that he won't be back to his old self next week.

2. Terrelle Pryor currently leads the NFL in rushing yards (prior to Monday night).

In fact, only Pryor and Shane Vereen managed to rush for 100 yards this week (prior to Monday night). Honestly, this is the most baffling thing that happened so far. Vereen started the game as a change of pace back and finished as a workhorse, totaling 101 rushing yards to go along with 58 receiving yards.

I don’t know about everybody else but when Adrian Peterson ripped off a 78-yard touchdown run right off the bat I pretty much gave him 100 for the day. Either way he still had a great fantasy week and finished as the top back. Coming in right behind him were a pair of Lions running backs, Reggie Bush who was hyped early and often once he signed with Detroit and Joique Bell both had themselves a day. Bush will continue to have value week in and week out in any format. Bell on the other hand is a good bench stash and a bye week play. He’s going to continue to get goal line and short yardage work but his weekly output will be far from reliable.

Besides the aforementioned running backs, it was really a down week for the position all around the league. Don’t hit the panic button just yet, it’s a long season and one week isn’t the end of the world. I’m looking for a bounce back from more than a few workhorses next week.

3. Peyton Manning is just, wow.

There’s really nothing else to say here the guy had one of the best statistical games of all time, fantasy or not. Don’t expect another seven touchdowns any time soon, but the Broncos offense is going to be exciting to watch this year. Peyton’s was a tough act to follow but Colin Kaepernick managed to do a pretty good job of it as he showed that his emergence last year was no fluke.

As I mentioned earlier Terrelle Pryor leads the NFL in rushing yards, which is shocking to say the least. But, I wouldn’t get too excited if I were a Raiders fan. As a fantasy owner, I’d stash him on your bench for now. His rushing ability could make him valuable during much of the year, but let's see it more than once first. EJ Manuel looked like you’d expect a raw rookie quarterback to in his first start. He had flashes of brilliance and made some really poor throws. All in all, it wasn’t a bad performance, but he’ll need to work on consistency before he gains any fantasy relevance.

Finally, if you own Cam Newton, Tom Brady, or Russell Wilson… don’t panic! They should still be locked into your starting roster lineup week, don’t read too much into their lackluster performances. If you don’t own one of those three guys you’d be wise to buy low while you still can.

4. After all of the talk about the rookie wide receivers in New England Julian Edelman scores two touchdowns.

At the top of the list there are some familiar faces – AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald – and some not so familiar faces – Brian Hartline, Jerome Simpson. If you drafted Fitz, especially in an ESPN league where he was likely an absolute steal, then you got your money’s worth today. If you were even smarter and drafted Anquan Boldin late, then you got your money’s worth and then some. Talk about a player going off.

Don’t get over excited about Jerome Simpson, he had his week in the sun and now he’s going to go back to the shadows. He won’t have another week like that all season, and he’s the team’s third option at best. Hartline on the other hand could have some potential value. Consistently disappointing fantasy owners may be in the past with the addition of Mike Wallace in Miami. With Wallace drawing the top corner every week, Hartline should get a lot of opportunities. If nothing else, he’s worth a bench spot in a lot of leagues right now.

All throughout training camp I heard (and in some instances contributed to) about how good a lot of rookie wide receivers were going to be, and how they would have an immediate impact. In Week 1, the note-worthy rookie wide receiver in standard scoring was Marlon Brown, go figure. Seriously though, he could definitely have some value heading into the future as the Ravens WRs and TEs are a mess right now.

Some advice: the worst thing to do is to overreact and drop a player prematurely. One week does not a season make. Don't freak out because you drafted Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, or Calvin Johnson in the first and they had a down week. It isn't indicative of how they'll play all season. If you're lucky enough to be playing with a manager who is panicking jump on the chance. Just like the stock market the best advice that I have for you is buy low, sell high.

Finally, here are a few players available I'll be keeping my eye on during Week 2:

  • Several quarterbacks are worth monitoring if you’re planning on streaming QBs, or if you’re guy is a little banged up. These include Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford, Alex Smith, and Carson Palmer.
  • Second-year WR Jermaine Kearse made some noise in the preseason and backed it up with a touchdown Week 1. I like what I’m seeing.
  • Another Seahawks wide receiver, Doug Baldwin, reminded us he is a talented and could be a factor.
  • Alshon Jeffery's role is increasing this year and he is very talented. With more opportunities he could be a sneaky play before long.
  • Fred Jackson’s role was larger than anticipated this week, if that continues then he’s worth a look. Fragile Fred may still have some life in those legs.
  • Dallas Clark had a rough week with drops and a fumble, but he looks like he could be a major part of the Ravens depleted offense. If they go back to him next week then he definitely proves that he has TE2 value.
  • Kansas City, Miami, and Buffalo are all rarely owned in most leagues, and they were among the top D/ST units this week, go figure. Just proves that a week-to-week approach is a very real strategy for fantasy owners when deciding on a defense.