Sep 11, 2012
Week 1 of the NFL season saw brought some excitement to the lives of fantasy football fanatics around the globe. It gave us unexpected performances from unlikely sources, leaving many stunned as they sit in front of their computer while scratching their heads and in some cases, screaming at the Red Zone Network.
It even made the Matthew Berry’s of the world look like fantasy ass-clowns—and yours truly is no exception. How does that joke go again? What has two thumbs and blah, blah, blah, blah…??? The answer we’re looking for is, “this guy.”
But jokes aside, it’s now time to break down some of these unexpected performances and get to the root of the situation, and find out if what we saw were trends or flukes.
So, before any of decide to cast off our entire rosters, let’s take a deep breath, quit screaming at the flat-screen and chop up Week 1’s Duds. You can take a look at our Studs here: 5 Fantasy Football Studs: Week 1
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Michael Turner had a pedestrian afternoon, managing only 32 yards on 11 carries—certainly not what we’ve come to expect from the Burner in the past. The 30-year old may have lost half a step, but he still has more tread on his tires than most 30-year old backs.
This week the Atlanta Falcons play host to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos were stout against the run this past week, holding the Pittsburgh Steelers to 2.9 YPC on 26 attempts. Turner and that offense could see another rough afternoon on the ground, especially if this game turns into a shootout—a very real possibility.
This shouldn’t be anything that worries fantasy owners right now, however. The Atlanta Falcons new high-powered air attack should benefit Turner in the long run. Less carries just means he stays fresher longer. There are also favorable matchups right around the corner, as well as later on in the season.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
Chump. It’s the only word that needs to be written about Chris Johnson, but for the sake of being professional and giving the fans what they deserve, 110 percent will be put into this article no matter what—you hear that, Chris?
Anyway, CJ2K managed to hammer out his worst outing as a pro. His Week 1 performance of four yards rushing is good for last in the league among RB’s who have at least 10 carries. On a positive note, he was more productive as a receiving threat with 47 yards on 6 catches.
What everyone’s wondering is whether or not this past week was just a fluke. The answer to that question is yes. His production can’t go anywhere but up, however, this could be the continuation of what we saw from him last season.
We know he managed to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier with how bad of a season he had in 2011, so some feel that it wasn’t all that bad. What’s alarming about last season is that he had two more games of less than 35 rushing yards (6) than he had 100-yard games (4). Add in last week’s game, and he’s posted six games of less than 25 yards rushing since the start of the 2011 season. That’s a trend that’s not going away.
If you’re CJ2K owner, you have to play him next week against San Diego because of where you selected him. What you’re hoping for here is that he has a great game and his stock rises, so you can deal him and upgrade another position, even the running back spot.
Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
It was a rough opening day for Wes Welker. The Tennessee Titans doubled him up most of the day; it forced Tom Brady to look for the many other weapons at his disposal. Welker ended up with a paltry 14 yards on three receptions.
The expectation here is that he’ll will bounce back and be just fine in Week 2, especially against a subpar Arizona Cardinals defense. He was only held to three or less catches once last season (2), so these disappointing performances are unusual are far and few between for him. He’s still a Top-5 wideout, so start him with without any concerns.
One does, however, have to wonder if his lack of a long-term contract extension is coming into play here. I say no, but it is worth noting.
Greg Jennings / Jordy Nelson, RB, Green Bay Packers
The San Francisco 49ers went into Lambeau Field and executed a perfect game plan—a plan that included taking out the Green Bay Packers’ top offensive weapons and forcing Aaron Rodgers to look for his fourth and fifth options.
Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson combined for 98 yards on 10 catches and no touchdowns. In comparison, James Jones and Randall Cobb combined for 13 grabs, 158 yards and one touchdown. There weren’t any shortage of targets, however, as Jennings/Nelson duo were targeted nine and seven times respectively—that’s just great defense. This game can be chalked up as to having faced the best defense in the entire NFL. These are elite players at the receiver position and simply cannot be held down every game like that—and Aaron Rodgers is the best QB on the planet, so look for the Chicago Bears defense to be in serious trouble this Thursday night.
Continue to start both guys with confidence, knowing it’s only a matter of time before they both break out. However, keep in mind that Jennings is banged up and there is no guarantee he plays on Thursday.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
If you watched any of the Eagles/Browns game, you had to love what you saw when it came to Trent Richardson. It’s not the 39 yards on the ground and 2.9 YPC avg., rather the amount of times his number was called.
T-Rich toted the rock 19 times on a day that none of us knew if he was going to even play; he was questionable to play after having arthroscopic knee surgery on August 8th.
The kid is rusty and just getting his legs under him after missing an entire preseason. Once he gets caught up to the speed of the game, he should have no issues whatsoever.
Next up for the Cleveland Browns is a trip to down to “The Nasty” to take on the Cincinnati Bengals, and it would come as no surprise if he got his first taste of pay dirt.
Richardson is only going to get better as he adjusts to the NFL game, so if you’re patient with him he will pay you dividends in the coming weeks.