Each week in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” we will review a few highlights, disappointments, and injuries from the week prior. This article will not cover every single bit of information, but rather some things which stood out. I recommend allowing this piece to serve as closure for the losses suffered the previous week and a benchmark to get started on the current week’s path to greatness.
Kamara was a hot topic all off season due to his astronomical efficiency in 2017, and his apparently inevitable regression. Kamara did technically regress in yards per attempt with 3.63 YPC on 8 carries. He also scored 3 touchdowns and over 40 fantasy points in a remarkable performance.
Saints v. Buccaneers
The Saints v. Bucs game may end up being the shootout of the year, in week one. Ryan Fitzpatrick had what may be the best game of his career in his 13th season. He threw 4 touchdowns with 417 yards passing, and a rushing touchdown. Both Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson had huge games. The biggest take away from this game is how angry I am at Jameis Winston for completely robbing us of an entire season of “good” DeSean Jackson.
Shootouts and excellent defensive displays never come as a pair. Both defenses were proverbial “wet paper towels” on Sunday. More surprising were the Saints, who ranked top 3 for many in projected fantasy points scored in Week 1. Drew Brees was already a stud for 2018, but if Sunday’s defensive trends continue, look forward to many more games where Michael Thomas catches 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.
When Hill starts the season with a kickoff return for a touchdown, viewers think "surprise, surprise." When Hill posts a line of 7 receptions for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, viewers' jaws drop. Gone are the days of Hill being a fun boom or bust best ball play. Pat Mahomes looks real and Hill is real. Being the top point producer at wide receiver may be far more realistic than we’d imagined for Hill.
Le’Veon Bell decided to forfeit his game check for week one in favor of saving his body for his future franchise. The door was opened for Conner and he came through swinging. Conner carried the ball 31 times for 135 yards, and two touchdowns in addition to 5 receptions for 57 yards receiving. The Steelers have more wins and more points scored in games without Bell on the field, so it comes as no surprise the team isn’t budging on his contract.
When I went to sleep Sunday night I already had Rodgers penciled into the “Ugly” section reserved for injuries. When I woke up to an article referring to the Packers fourth quarter comeback I was shocked – for a moment. Rodgers may or may not have injured his MCL, yet he forced his way back on the field for another one of many otherworldly performances. He finished the game with 286 yards passing and 3 touchdowns.
I firmly believe Nathan Peterman “won” the starting job to protect Bill's prized rookie Josh Allen from the pack of wolves known as the Baltimore Ravens defense. Protection was apparently not important enough, as Peterman was yanked from the game in favor of Allen after throwing for just 24 yards and 2 interceptions. The ground game was perhaps even worse with LeSean McCoy rushing for only 22 yards before receiving a mercy benching.
When Dak Prescott deflected Dez Bryant questions by stating “I don’t believe teams need a true wide receiver 1” I think he still would’ve liked to have maybe a WR2, WR3, or WR4. Prescott had a poor performance even with his safety net, Ezekiel Elliot, in the lineup. With only Cole Beasley to trust at receiver, I’m not sure what else to expect.
Mariota could end up in the “Ugly” column as he did injure his elbow; however, his game was ugly far before the injury occurred. The Titans vs. Dolphins game was delayed twice for over 3 hours total, but there was no excuse for Mariota’s inaccuracy. He threw for 103 yards and 2 interceptions on 16 attempts. Blaine Gabbert entered the game to throw for 117 yards on 22 attempts with 1 interception.
Josh Rosen’s opportunity to start was always linked to Sam Bradford’s health, but Bradford’s performance may do him in first. In a matchup against a projected subpar Washington defense, Bradford threw for 153 yards and 1 interception. His 58% completion rate showed no resemblance of the former record holder for all time best completion percentage in a season.
The worst of the sections. I will quickly list some of the key fantasy relevant injuries, and who may see an increased role because of them.
Delanie Walker (Right leg) – TE Jonnu Smith, WR Corey Davis
Doug Baldwin (Right knee) – WR Tyler Lockett, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Will Dissly
Desean Jackson (Concussion) – WR Chris Godwin, WR Adam Humphries
Greg Olsen (Right foot) – TE Ian Thomas, WR Devin Funchess, WR D.J. Moore
Leonard Fournette (Hamstring) – RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Corey Grant