Top Week One Performances: Buy or Sell

10 Sep 2018 - 11:15am | TNJeff | Updated: 10 Sep 2018 - 11:36am | Likes: 16 Like 

No week can deceive fantasy players quite like week one can during the NFL season.

It seems like more outlier performances (games where players perform at a level well above where they will perform the rest of the season) occur in the first week than any other week.

And I have two great stat lines from each major position group (some big names, some not so big) that really need to be scrutinized. So let's break these performance down now and consider if we should expect more of the same from these players in the weeks to come or dismiss week one as an aberration.


Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints : Sell

Stats: 37 of 45, 439 yards, 3 touchdowns

The return of top 3 fantasy quarterback Drew Brees was a coup for owners who started him in week one even if it meant a return to pre-2017 form for the Saints.

No one expected the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buccanners to post 48 points on the Saints defense. And that inability to defend is why the Saints had to bail on their running game in the 2nd half and put a comeback attempt squarely on the shoulders of Brees.

So which was the aberration: the 2017 Saints relying on running and defense so the team didn't have to place the whole burden on Brees or this week one matchup with Tampa?

I'm thinking the Saints will come back around, and week one had as much to with a motivated Bucs team as it did poor play by the Saints. But keep an eye on Brees numbers, for what's bad for the Saints is great for Brees's fantasy owners.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccanners: Buy

Stats: 21 of 28, 417 yards, 4 touchdowns

I know I said to buy Fitzpatrick's performance after Sunday. But always be wary of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

This is a man with four 3,000 yard seasons as a starter. But he also has seven double-digit interception seasons.

So Sunday's strong day in New Orleans was no fluke, it's just not something anyone can guarantee you will get from Fitzpatrick consistently.

But he will be the starter for two more weeks, and I am wondering just how eager the Bucs will be to replace him when Winston returns, especially if Fitzpatrick follows up yesterday's win with strong performances against the Eagles and Steelers, two strong defensive teams.

Running Backs

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers: Buy

Stats: 31 carries, 135 yards, 1 touchdown; 5 receptions, 57 yards; 1 fumble lost

Conner followed up his strong preseason with a great performance against a strong run defense in Cleveland. And with LeVeon Bell's contract situation stretching into the season and alienating him from his teammates, there is no reason to think Conner won't keep running strong even when Bell returns.

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins: Sell

Stats: 26 carries, 96 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 receptions, 70 yards; 1 fumble lost

Having dreams of 2015 Adrian Peterson dancing in your head?

Well, go ahead and stop it now. I mean, sure, Peterson will likely have a handful of games like he had in week one this season.

But don't expect the younger, healthier version of the 33 year old to appear every week. And keep in mind, Peterson's great stat line from week one against Arizona had a yards per carry average of just 3.7 yards.

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: Sell

Stats: 16 receptions, 180 yards, 1 touchdown

Now, when I say "sell" here, that doesn't mean release or trade Michael Thomas. Thomas should be one of your top receivers every week.

Just don't expect 16 receptions (or double digit receptions, for that matter) to be the trend for Thomas this season.

In 2017, Thomas had only one game with double digit receptions (he had 10 receptions in week 14 against the Falcons). And his season high for yards last season was 117 (a number he hit twice). So expect Brees to return to evenly distributing the ball to all his weapons sooner rather than later, and expect a slight drop in Thomas's numbers from week one.

Desean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buy (for now)

Stats: 5 receptions, 146 yards, 2 touchdowns

Jackson struggled to develop chemistry with Jameis Winston, recording only 668 yards receiving last season in his first season with Tampa.

But Ryan Fitzpatrick had no issue finding the perennial deep threat behind the Saints defense yesterday as Jackson averaged 29.2 yards per catch.

So as long as Fitzpatrick is starting, expect the deep shots to Jackson to keep coming.

Tight Ends

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks: Sleeper Buy

Stats: 3 receptions, 105 yards, 1 touchdown

Now, if your tight end depth chart is set, don't throw it off by picking up Dissly, the Seahawk rookie.

But if you've got room on your roster to hold someone or need a quality backup tight end with starter potential, take a flyer on Dissly.

Now, I don't expect 105 yards to be the norm for the rookie. His numbers yesterday were inflated by a 66 yard run and catch in the first quarter.

But he's got a quality quarterback and throwing him the ball and illustrated big play ability yesterday in Denver. So Dissly is definitely worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers: Sleeper Buy

Stats: 5 receptions, 90 yards

Kittle followed up a solid debut season in 2017 with a good performance on the road against a strong Vikings defense.

No one on the 49ers offense caught more passes than Kittle yesterday. So Kittle, much like Dissly, could be a solid back-up with starter potential at Tight End this season.





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