We waited 8 months, but the first week of the NFL season has officially taken place. It should be considered a national holiday. Ranking right up there with Thanksgiving and Christmas, with Roger Goodell being some sort of twisted football Santa Claus, handing out fines and suspensions instead of presents.
It all started Thursday night with the Kansas City Chiefs steamrolling Tom Brady and company in Foxborough. The game was full of ups and downs for fantasy owners. However, if I am a Kareem Hunt owner, I am Kareeming in my pants. With Spencer Ware’s injury not being determined season ending until a week before the opener, Hunt was the steal of every fantasy draft in the country. Albeit, most owners probably pissed in their pants after Hunt fumbled on his first career carry, but he immediately redeemed himself. It was expected that he would have a decent game, but the numbers he put up on Thursday were unreal. Hunt had 148 yards rushing with 1TD, and 98 yards receiving with 2TDs. Completely insane rookie debut.
Kareem Hunt was not the only rookie RB to have a great debut. Leonard Fournette put up a monster day against the Texans defense, which was thought to be one of the best defenses in the league. Fournette ran for a whopping 100 yards and 1TD, in a surprising Jags victory. Not too shabby.
If you took the gamble and drafted Ezekiel Elliott, even with the six game suspension looming, the Fantasy Gods rewarded you mightily when the United States Judicial System whipped out its big meaty scepter and slapped it across Roger Goodell’s smug face, and possibly (more than likely) postponed Zeke’s suspension until next year. Zeke did nothing but impress in his season debut, putting up 104 rushing yards on 24 carries. However, if you drafted Darren McFadden thinking that you would have a six-week rental, you had better think again. McFadden is surprisingly behind Alfred Morris on the depth chart, and with Zeke’s suspension more than likely reversed things are not looking good for McFadden.
Marshawn Lynch made his highly anticipated return to NFL, after coming out of retirement this offseason to sign with his hometown Oakland Raiders. Beast Mode looked as if he did not miss a beat, breaking tackles and trucking defenders like he was still in Seattle. While he didn’t find the end zone, he still ran for 76 yards. Lynch is going to be eased back into things, and wont be a 30 carry workhorse back just yet. However, I believe that we can still look forward to watching the Beast Mode that we used to know in Seattle. That is if the above picture doesn’t get him suspended a few games.
While the Steelers-Browns game was a little closer than anyone could have expected, the Steelers still had a few shining fantasy stars. Antonio Brown played in typical Antonio Brown fashion. While he did not score a touchdown, and introduce us to a new TD dance, Brown still recorded 11 receptions for 182 yards. While Brown may not have found the end zone, the Steelers D/ST did. The Steelers D/ST had a monster day, sacking Deshone Kizer 7 times, intercepting him twice, and blocking a punt for TD. While this was against the Browns, it is still impressive nonetheless.
Kickers never seem to get a lot of love from fantasy owners, but they can make or break your week. One kicker in particular, more than likely broke some weeks last season. That kicker being Blair Walsh. The Blair Walsh Project did not pan out in Minnesota last season and was eventually cut. He signed with the Seahawks this offseason, and is now their starting kicker. I am a firm believer in the new and improved Seattle Blair Walsh Project, as he was their only offensive production for the day, accounting for all of their points while going 3/3 on FG Attempts. Another surprising kicker from the day was Oakland’s Italian Stallion. Giorgio Tavecchio was a late sign on Saturday, after longtime Oakland kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, was put on injured reserve. Tavecchio was 4/4 on FG Attempts, including two 52-yard field goals, and a 43-yard dagger to seal the Raider victory in Nashville. If you are needing a kicker, pick Tavecchio up NOW.
It doesn’t get much worse than a potentially major injury to your first round draft pick. That is exactly what happened to David Johnson owner’s today. While an x-ray today came back negative, it is expected that Johnson could miss up to half of the season. Yikes. With Carson Palmer being Carson Palmer, a smart pickup would be Johnson’s backup, Kerwynn Williams, who already found the endzone once on Sunday and will surely pick up his large workload.
While not as terrible as a David Johnson injury. If you have Andy Dalton as your staring QB, you have some serious problems, my friend. Dalton had one of the worst fantasy games that I have ever witnessed at the QB position. He threw for a measly 170 yards, with a whopping 4 INTs, and 1 fumble. Wowzers. If you are hurting for a QB, consider Cleveland’s Deshone Kizer who is only owned in 6.9% of ESPN leagues or the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who had an impressive game Thursday at New England, and is only owned in 27.9% of ESPN leagues.
If you were on the Brandon Marshall train in New York, you’d better hop off now. Marshall was primed to shine on Sunday Night Football with Odell Beckham, Jr. ruled out with an ankle injury, but instead did nothing but disappoint. Marshall did not record a single reception in his highly anticipated Giants debut. While things may change with OBJ taking some of the heat off of Marshall when he returns, I find it highly unlikely that Marshall should find his way into anyone’s starting lineup.