One week of football can’t answer every question we have, but Week 1 did give us some early answers to some of the questions we had last week.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz acquitted themselves well enough to at least put some of the concerns about their offenses to bed — no so much for Trevor Siemian and Dak Prescott .
Similarly, we can say pretty confidently after Week 1 that Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts ‘ passing game is back because he turned the clock back to 2014 in a dominant performance against the Detroit Lions . The jury is, of course, still out on some of our other questions, but we’re back for more in Week 2, as we try to figure out what the NFL can teach us.
Can Thomas Rawls and Devonta Freeman get their jobs back?
Rawls’ lack of playing time didn’t come as much of a surprise, given his offseason injury concerns, and you can forgive him for looking a bit rusty, too. Rawls rushed for just 32 yards on his 12 carries, while Christine Michael managed 66 yards on 15 carries, a 1.7 YPC edge. Michael isn’t going to go away, but the Seattle Seahawks seem committed to Rawls, and with Russell Wilson banged up, both should get plenty of work.
My recommendation: Start Rawls as an RB2 this week.
Freeman’s role was a lot more unexpected. We knew Tevin Coleman was going to be involved in the offense, but the thought was always that he would be the change of pace back, with Freeman still dominating the work — especially in the passing game. However, Freeman played just four more snaps than Coleman and had just two more touches, while Coleman led the team in receiving yards on five catches. Freeman was already viewed as a risky RB1 before the season, and Week 1 has to have put his owners in a full-fledged panic. I hope you were able to handcuff him with Coleman, though I do wonder how much of Coleman’s unexpected workload was an attempt to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by surprise in Week 1.
My recommendation: I would still expect Freeman to get the bulk of the work, and he should be viewed as an RB2 this week, with Coleman still more of a flex play against the Oakland Raiders .
Can Dak Prescott find Dez Bryant ?
If you were worried about Dez’s Fantasy viability without Tony Romo , that wasn’t a promising debut. Far from the confident passer he looked like in the preseason, Prescott was the check-down king on Sunday, settling for safer throws that left Bryant on the outside looking in of the offense. Even if Bryant had hit on that touchdown that was ultimately reversed on replay, two catches on five targets isn’t what anyone signed up for. It’s tough to bench Bryant given what you invested to acquire him, but I’m legitimately worried given his struggles without Romo in the past.
My recommendation: Bryant should still be in your starting lineup, but one more week like last Sunday, and it might really be time to panic.
Is Sammy Watkins healthy enough to be himself?
Watkins apparently plans to play in Week 2, but this seems like an issue that isn’t going to get better with less rest, and wouldn’t you know it, the Buffalo Bills play Thursday this week. We probably should have viewed Watkins as a bigger risk than we did coming into the season, though it isn’t clear what the actual issue is at this point: Monday’s report that indicated he may miss time didn’t point to any specific issue beyond soreness. Still, Watkins didn’t exactly look like himself in Week 1, and the entire Bills’ offense seemed to suffer as a result.
My recommendation: Even if Watkins plays, he is a risk to see a limited role on a short week, and has to be viewed as no better than a WR3 until he proves this issue is behind him.
What does Carson Wentz do for an encore?
As a rookie coming out of the FCS with just 38 preseason snaps under his belt, I’ll admit to being extremely skeptical about Wentz coming into the season. But there is no way to sugarcoat this: he proved me wrong in Week 1. He was NFL ready — albeit against what might not be quite an NFL-caliber defense in Cleveland — and sparked solid performances out of Jordan Matthews , Zach Ertz , and Nelson Agholor . If he can keep it up, all three just might be Fantasy relevant this season, and he’s got a good chance to keep it going in Week 2 against a Chicago Bears defense that just gave up two touchdowns to Brock Osweiler , and struggled often last season.
My recommendation: Wentz is a QB2 for Week 2 — but another game could push him up. Matthews is worth starting as well.
Can Antonio Brown and A.J. Green keep the one-man shows going?
Brown and Green dominated in Week 1. Defenses can try to shade over their way, but both have good quarterbacks delivering them the ball and can line up anywhere on the field, making it tough for defenses to totally shut them down. This one isn’t much of a question.
My recommendation: Both are top-five receivers this week and beyond.
Can Kirk Cousins find his 2015 form?
Washington figured out how to get the most out of Cousins last season, and he cut down on the killer turnovers that kept him from reaching his potential earlier in his career. Much of his work was done in the short-to-intermediate game, but the return of DeSean Jackson midway through the season really sparked him, as Cousins was able to add the deep pass to his arsenal. Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers , however, all of his bad habits came back to bite him. Cousins took no real shots down the field until the game was over, and even on the shorter passes his decision-making was questionable. Cousins was a dynamic passer last year, especially in the second half of the season, but he was also an obvious regression candidate, so Week 1 wasn’t a good sign.
My recommendation: Cousins is still a borderline starter for Week 2, but another poor performance might make him droppable given his brief track record of success.
Is Odell Beckham still the focal point?
Beckham was still Eli Manning ‘s No. 1 option in Week 1, picking up eight of his 28 targets, but it was rookie Sterling Shepard and returning veteran Victor Cruz who came down with two of Manning’s three touchdown passes. Beckham has been an overwhelmingly dominant force all over the field, but with 25 touchdowns in 27 games his first two seasons, he really owned in the red zone. If Manning doesn’t have to lean on Beckham quite so much, it could lower him in the Fantasy rankings just a bit.
My recommendation: Still, with a matchup against the New Orleans Saints on the way, Beckham might be the No. 1 wide receiver across the board this week.
Can the Los Angeles Rams give Todd Gurley any help?
The Rams’ offense looked woefully incompetent Monday night, and it took a herculean effort by Gurley just to end up with 47 yards — he had 52 after contact, with seven broken tackles. It might not have showed up in the box score, but Gurley was tremendous and he will need to be so yet again just to get to the line of scrimmage against Seattle in Week 2. Case Keenum couldn’t do anything with the passing game and the team’s lack of weapons made it easy for the 49ers to focus on Gurley. With an even tougher matchup on the way, Gurley needs all the help he can get.
My recommendation: You aren’t benching him, but don’t be shocked if you end up with another underwhelming performance from the second-year back.
Can Philip Rivers succeed without Keenan Allen ?
Rivers averaged 90 fewer yards per game and saw his passer rating drop more than 15 points in the eight games he played without Allen last season, so this is a real concern. You probably felt pretty good about Rivers after snagging him later in your draft, but the absence of Allen makes him a risk moving forward. You probably need to play the matchups with him while storing another quarterback on the bench, but Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars should be a pretty good opportunity for him to put up good enough numbers to remain your starter.
My recommendation: Moving forward, it’s a much bigger question, especially if he struggles Sunday.
Can the Minnesota Vikings get Adrian Peterson help?
Just like Gurley, Peterson had a tough job in Week 1 against a defense that just wasn’t concerned about anything else his offense was doing, but unlike Gurley, Peterson didn’t do much about it. While Peterson was often hit in the backfield, he also finished just 47th out of 52 running backs in yards per carry after contact, at 1.3. Peterson didn’t have much help, but he didn’t do much to help himself either. That wasn’t as much of a concern for him last season when Peterson averaged 2.3 yards per touch after contact, a middling number, but still better than he managed in Week 1. The good news is Peterson got off to a similarly slow start last season, but it didn’t take him long to get going — he rushed for 134 yards and added 58 receiving in Week 2.
My recommendation: He has a tough matchup against Green Bay this week, but Peterson is still too good to consider benching this week, even if that tiny voice in the back of your head is worried.
Source: CBS Sports / Fantasy Football Week 2 Wishlist: Devonta Freeman, Thomas Rawls get their jobs back