Fantasy Football 2012: Impressive Performances from Week 1 Early Games
It isn’t Christmas, but it sure is a wonderful time of the year. The NFL season began in earnest on Sunday afternoon, bringing football fans and fantasy football fans alike to their computers and TV screens to get the first look at how their teams will fare in the 2012 season.
The NFL’s first five 2012 draft picks were on display in the early games. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III squared off against the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, respectively.
Running back Trent Richardson drew the Philadelphia Eagles.
Veterans and rookies alike are getting ready to state their case to make the playoffs.
Matt Kalil’s Minnesota Vikings welcomed Adrian Peterson back to the tune of 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a win against Justin Blackmon’s Jacksonville Jaguars, who also returned running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Here are some of the top fantasy performances from the early games on Sunday.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan and the Falcons went into Kansas City to wreck the Chiefs. Ryan finished with 299 yards, three passing touchdowns, 25 rushing yards and a ground score.
The Falcons host the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 2.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
RGIII came out blazing hot in his first NFL start. Visiting the Superdome, Griffin accumulated an impressive 320 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win against the New Orleans Saints. He also rushed 10 times for 42 yards.
His tour continues Week 2 against the new-look St. Louis Rams.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
You have to feel for Fred Jackson. Jackson broke his leg last season and worked his way back to the starter’s job in Buffalo, only to leave the team’s matchup against the Jets Week 1 with another leg injury.
Spiller filled in admirably during the blowout, racking up 194 total yards (169 rushing) and a touchdown.
The Bills host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions
Smith broke Rams’ fans hearts in Week 1 with a game-winning touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 91 total yards and two total touchdowns. The Lions play Sunday night at San Francisco in Week 2.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
We have an answer in regards to which running back will be the Patriots’ No. 1 ball-carrier. At least, for now. Stevan Ridley collected 125 yards on 21 carries and added a rushing score.
New England hosts Arizona in Week 2.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans
The No. 1 overall draft pick in a lot of fantasy leagues justified his selection on Sunday against the Dolphins. Foster rushed 26 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans visit Jacksonville next week.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
The primary contributing receiver to Matt Ryan’s big day was Jones, who caught six balls for 108 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson joined Foster in the Texans’ ambush of the Dolphins, gaining 119 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. He was targeted 10 times.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets
Hill parlayed his starting job into 89 receiving yards and two touchdowns on five catches this week. He should remain in the lineup when the Jets travel to Pittsburgh.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
The No. 1 fantasy tight end on a lot of people’s offseason draft boards was productive Sunday. He finished wish six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown in the shootout against the Redskins.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Gonzalez returned to Arrowhead Stadium as a road foe for the first time in Week 1. He provided his former home crowd with six receptions, 60 yards and a touchdown while the Falcons dismantled the Chiefs.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots
Tom Brady had enough love to go around for both of his star tight ends this week. When the Pats put up 34 points on the Tennessee Titans, Gronkowski and Hernandez each recorded a receiving touchdown.
Defenses/Special Teams Units
New York Jets
The New York Jets were unkind hosts to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Jeremy Kerley returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Right after halftime, Antonio Cromartie added a 40-yard pick six of his own.
The Jets play at Pittsburgh in Week 2.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams were supposed to be demolished by the Detroit Lions. They weren’t. Despite the 27-23 loss, the Rams recorded three interceptions of one Matthew Stafford, with Cortland Finnegan returning one to the end zone.
The Rams host the Redskins in Week 2.
Like the Rams, the Cleveland Browns were supposed to get walloped by the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive attack. They responded with four interceptions of Michael Vick, returning one for a touchdown as well.
Next week, the Browns will visit the Cincinnati Bengals.