The National Football League has officially started with the conclusion of the first week, and it looks like it could be one of the most competitive seasons in recent history with several teams improving substantially and others failing to make substantial progress in the off-season. Despite what happens going forward for the teams, fantasy football owners will be working diligently to make sure their line-ups are set-up going into week 2. As with every season, some big name players failed to show up in their first games of the season while rookies and no-name players have made huge performances which could shuffle up fantasy rosters across the country. Every week from now on I will be going to go over the best and the worst players of the past week and giving my opinion on who you should consider picking up off the waiver wire or dropping from your team.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals RB
After David Johnson showed he would be the big first round pick of the season to get injured and shatter fantasy owner’s hopes, Kerwynn Williams stepped up to become the teams lead running back. Although he only managed to rack up 10 yards on five attempts, Williams was able to run in a short touchdown in the Cardinals loss against the Lions. With Johnson expected to miss 2-3 months with a dislocated left wrist, Williams will likely take 10-15 touches a game making him a valuable pickup before the Cardinals face the Colts week 2. Although the Colts were absolutely dismantled by the Rams through the air in their 46-9 loss, they only allowed 63 rushing yards; despite this making Williams a risky decision for week 2 I would suggest picking him up before others as he offers significant upside as the season moves forward.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears RB
Cohen came into his first NFL game ready to show off his powerful dynamic running that he became known for in college, leading the MEAC in all-time rushing. The rookie displayed versatility that could lead to him being a key component of the offense with 8 receptions for 47 yard and a touchdown in addition to his hard running that earned him 66 rushing yards on five attempts. While he will still be splitting carries with Jordan Howard, his first game showed that even he does not earn the majority of carries he will still have a significant role in the offense and could prove to be a valuable asset in PPR leagues.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks RB
Pete Carroll showed in the Seahawks week 1 matchup against Green Bay that despite the departure of Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch, the team would continue to play smash mouth, run-first football. Even with the Packers completely shutting down the Hawks run game, holding them to 90 yards rushing (40 of which came from Russell Wilson scrambles), Carroll continued to run the ball. Although many believed former Packer Eddie Lacy would return to his previous form and run over his old team, Lacy only managed to rush for 3 yards on 5 carries. The lack of effectiveness from Lacy led to Chris Carson getting a chance to show what he was capable of, running for 39 yards on 6 attempts for 6.5 yards per attempt as well as catching a 10 yard pass. The performance may not have been enough to steal the starting spot from injured teammate Thomas Rawls upon his return, but it did enough to give fantasy owners a capable choice to pick up on a Seattle team that is desperately searching for a solid replacement for Lynch that could return the team to greatness after a disappointing season last year. If he continues to make use of his opportunities and manages to put up big yards or a touchdown next week against the 49ers he has a good chance of becoming a key component of the Seahawks running game and a solid flex / second running back option.
The Ravens were not a huge target for many fantasy owners going into the season, but after a huge shutout week 1 against Andy Dalton and the Bengals they may find themselves being picked up in tons of leagues. The Ravens held the entire Bengals offense to only 221 total yards, with 4 interceptions and only 170 yards from Dalton showing they are able to completely shut down the passing game. If they are not taken in your league I would suggest picking them up before their week 2 matchup with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and the Browns.
DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans RB
Many fans had hope that the running back had a chance to improve on his performance last year where he managed to rush for 1,287 yards and 9 touchdowns in his first year with the Titans, but he showed none of that week 1 against Oakland. Murray only managed to gain 44 rushing yards on 12 attempts in the matchup, showing that the 29 year old could be slowing down as he hits an age where most running backs begin to lose their edge. Although he was not the same running back we saw when he was in Dallas, he only rushed for less than 50 yards four times last season; if he does not get back on track during the Titan’s next game against the Jaguars he will be a safe drop for the remainder of the season.
Matt Forte, New York Jets RB
Forte was a player many people had trouble deciding on during drafts, struggling to decide if his history as a versatile back and PPR league leader was enough to dispel the worries about the Jets lack of offense and his growing age. He showed that many of those worries had weight to them, with him only rushing for 16 yards on six carries and receiving three passes for 20 yards. After the weak performance it is safe to say the former sure-pick running back has been passed on the depth chart by Bilal Powell. Powell only managed 22 yards on 7 carries in week 1, but still showed enough power to make it a risky choice to believe in Forte going into week 2.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals QB
Dalton suffered at the hands of the Ravens defense during the Bengals 29-0 loss in week 1. The loss rests solely on Dalton’s shoulders after he threw four interceptions (three of which were in the red zone) and managed only 170 yards passing. Although it may seem too soon to drop the quarterback, he has proven time and again that he does not have what it takes to be consistent throughout a season and should be dropped in favor of quarterbacks who may be on the rise such as Tyrod Taylor or DeShone Kizer.