Tom Brady was barely on the fantasy radar through the end of August but that quickly changed when the Patriots signed wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brady now has Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and A.B. at his disposal, which is perhaps the best trio of wide receivers across the league. Were fantasy managers disrespecting the G.O.A.T by treating him like a QB2 with an Advanced ADP of QB19 before the Antonio Brown news? Absolutely not. Brady is 42 years old and lost one of his favorite targets in Rob Gronkowski in the offseason. But adding Brown to the mix completely elevates what the Patriots can do on Offense and the best high stakes players in the world bought in, drafting him as early as QB 14 and overall pick Number 109 once the Brown signing came to fruition.
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers
With Tevin Coleman sidelined about a month with a high ankle sprain, Matt Breida quickly becomes a legitimate flex option in the PPR format. Heading into Week 1, Breida was coming off the board as RB31 but we know Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s Offense can produce quality stats for any rusher in their backfield. Breida averaged around 12 PPR points per game in 2018, which put him in the RB30 range for the year.
Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
Due to the meniscus injury suffered by second year running back Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson is suddenly thrown back into a large volume role for the Redskins. Keep in mid Head Coach Jay Gruden made Peterson a healthy scratch in Week 1, so if Guice does return sooner than later, Perterson’s value will quickly be downgraded. But since Washington has no choice but to ride Peterson while Guice is out, the aging veteran is in a great position to roster and ultimately trade away after producing for a few weeks.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
The Jets invested $28.5 million with $17 million guaranteed in wide receiver Jamison Crowder this offseason and boy are they starting to see an early return on that investment. Crowder led the entire NFL in Week 1 with 14 catches off 17 targets (Michael Thomas finished second with 10 receptions). Crowder was coming off The Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football World Championship draft board as wide receiver 47, yet finished Week 1 as wide receiver No. 12. Sure it’s a long season but it’s pretty clear Head Coach Adam Gase is going to dial up a lot of plays to keep Crowder involved. Plus it helps the former Redskins receiver that his teammate Quincy Enunwa is now out for the year with a neck injury.
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite his Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, tossing 50 touchdowns a year ago, Watkins only finished with three scores in 2018. He matched that total through one game in 2019. Watkins obliterated the Jaguars secondary to the tune of nine catches for 198 yards and three trips to the end-zone. With Tyreek Hill out for around two months, look for Mahomes and the Chiefs to lean on Watkins as their Number One receiver.
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
Drafted as merely a backup, rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson looked like a season veteran in Week 1. He connected with Quarterback Matthew Stafford on six of his nine targets and picked up 131 yards to go along with a score. Hockenson finished as the Number Two tight end in Week 1, despite coming off the FFWC draft boards as tight end Number 19.Moving Down
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
This was the easiest call to make when researching players for this article. Winston was abysmal in Week 1 against the 49ers. The match-against a soft San Francisco Defense up was there for the taking, yet Winston threw three interceptions and failed to crack the 200 yard mark. There was a lot of buzz around Winston this off-season thanks in large part to new Head Coach Bruce Arians calling the shots on Offense. Winston is not droppable yet, but he’s getting as close as one can through just four quarters of action.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Despite being on the field for 70% of snaps, fantasy managers with Todd Gurley on their roster left them frustrated and annoyed. Instead of handling touches near the goal-line, Sean McVay dialed up run plays for rusher Malcolm Brown, who scored twice.If you drafted Gurley there’s nothing to do from a trade standpoint, you’ll simply have to wait until he has one of his monster games to maximize your value.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Typically I’m going to avoid using injuries as cause to include a player in this article but when considering where Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver was being drafted (Late First, Early Second round) there’s no way I wasn’t going to talk about the explosive playmaker. In Week One, Hill suffered a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out of action for two months. The prediction is four-to-six weeks, but fantasy managers need to immediately come to terms there’s a real chance we don’t see Hill playing until November. It’s a devastating blow to anyone that invested their highly coveted, early round draft capital in a player who seemed like a lock to at the very least replicate his 87 catch, 1,479 yard, and 12 score season from a year ago.
All of the Cardinals Receivers Not Name Larry Fitzgerald
Watching rookie Quarterback Kyler Murray target his wide receivers for the first time, one thing was obvious, only Larry Fitzgerald can secure the football. According to data from FantasySp, Fitzgerald had a 62% catch rate. Meanwhile, no other receiver with double digit targets cracked the 50% mark. The veteran pass catcher was targeted 13 times, hauling in eight passes. For some perspective, second year wide out Christian Kirk had 12 targets but finished with just four receptions.
Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers
In a game where Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had 46 attempts, most people would have expected to see a solid stat line from tight end Vance McDonald. Sadly, that was not the case. Instead he was targeted just four times and was barely able to muster up a 50% catch rate against the Patriots. If Game One was a sign of things to come regarding McDonald’s utilization in the Pittsburgh passing attack, fantasy managers will be frustrated each and every week when deciding to start or sit the 6’4, 267 pound pass catcher.
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