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Fantasy Football Week 2: Fact or Fiction on Week 1's Top Performers

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 2: Fact or Fiction on Week 1's Top Performers

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    Every week, there will be players in the NFL who put together surprising performances on the field. The key from a fantasy perspective is figuring out which players are capable of doing it consistently.

    Last season, Kevin Ogletree was the breakout star of Week 1 and then fell back into obscurity for the remainder of the season. However, Alfred Morris came out of nowhere and then ended up being one of the top running backs on the year.

    This list does its best to separate the two in order to get you the best team for the entire season.

    Obviously, guys like Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson had huge weeks, but you do not need to be told to keep them in your lineup.

    Instead, here is a look at some of the more surprising performances from Week 1 and whether the showing will be an accurate representation of the year or just a fluke.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

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    Stats

    19-of-29, 217 passing yards, one passing touchdown, two interceptions; 13 carries, 112 rushing yards

     

    Analysis

    If you were to predict which player would lead the league in rushing yards after Week 1, LeSean McCoy would have been a safe bet. However, Terrelle Pryor sitting in second place with 112 is quite a surprise.

    While he was unable to lead the Raiders to victory over the Colts, Pryor gave his team a chance with his ability to make things happen with his legs.

    This rushing ability will keep him fantasy relevant throughout the season. The fact that his team will be trailing most of the time as well will keep his passing numbers high.

    While opponents will eventually catch on to his act, he still remains a solid play against weak defenses, like the one he will see in Week 2 in the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

    Although Pryor will not be a great fantasy option every week, he will be perfectly fine when the matchup dictates a start.

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars): Yes

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

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    Stats

    37-of-49, 412 passing yards, three passing touchdowns; seven carries, 22 rushing yards

     

    Analysis

    Colin Kaepernick burst onto the scene last year as a young quarterback who could excel with both his arms and legs. However, he was not used too often as a passer and never topped 300 yards in a game until the Super Bowl.

    In one game, the 49ers showed that they are more than willing to trust him this time around.

    Against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick attempted a career-high 49 passes and threw for over 400 yards for the first time in his career. He also had great chemistry with both Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, two people he will rely on throughout the year.

    While he might have been drafted as a backup in some leagues, the quarterback proved that he can be effective every single game, even against tough matchups like the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. Seattle Seahawks): Yes

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

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    Stats

    13 carries, 67 rushing yards; four catches, 41 receiving yards

     

    Analysis

    Just when you thought Fred Jackson was done, he comes back to lead the Buffalo Bills in rushing and receiving yards in the team's narrow loss to the New England Patriots.

    It is clear that while C.J. Spiller might be the starting running back, Jackson will still have a major role on the team all season.

    That being said, there will not be too many fantasy points to go around on this offense, and Spiller is still the guy you want in your lineup. 

    Jackson has great value if the starter gets injured and should be added in all leagues, but he is only worth a start against really bad defenses. A Carolina Panthers defense that held Marshawn Lynch to 2.5 yards per carry is not one of them.

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. Carolina Panthers): No

     

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions

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    Stats

    Six carries, 25 rushing yards, two touchdowns; five catches, 67 receiving yards

     

    Analysis

    Joique Bell was one of the top scoring running backs this week with 20 points in standard leagues. Of course, this was aided by two short touchdowns, which is usually a sign of a fluke.

    However, this role as a goal-line back will continue throughout the season. Reggie Bush has never topped six rushing touchdowns in a season and cannot be trusted to get the tough yards inside.

    Additionally, Bell has shown the ability to be a useful receiver out of the backfield, catching five passes on six targets. He will remain a factor in this offense, and he is a must-add in all fantasy leagues.

    In deeper leagues, he is even worth a start despite remaining behind Bush on the depth chart. He faces the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, who have solid cornerbacks but struggle to defend the rest of the field.

    Bell will be used often for the Lions, and he could be in line for another big day.

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. Arizona Cardinals): Yes

Da'Rel Scott, RB, New York Giants

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    Stats

    Five carries, 23 rushing yards; five catches, 51 receiving yards

     

    Analysis

    While other running backs had big days, Da'Rel Scott is the one who many owners are most curious about going forward. He took over for David Wilson when the former first-round pick fumbled twice in Week 1, and he was effective while in the game.

    Unfortunately, the truth is that the New York Giants would have put a monkey in at running back if it promised to hold onto the football.

    Tom Coughlin admitted after the game that Wilson will still have a big role going forward, although his starting job is uncertain, according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. Of course, ESPN reports that the team also spent Monday working out veteran running backs. 

    The problem is that neither of these scenarios bode well for Scott, who will likely return to his backup role in this offense.

     

    Verdict

    Add: No

    Start Week 2 (vs. Denver Broncos): No

Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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    Stats

    13 catches, 208 receiving yards, one touchdown

     

    Analysis

    Anquan Boldin has been around for a long time, but few could have expected the type of performance he put together against the Green Bay Packers.

    The veteran proved that he is clearly the top receiving target for Colin Kaepernick in what has become a top passing offense.

    Obviously, it is unlikely he will be able to keep this pace up all year, but he should still remain in your starting lineup for most weeks.

    Then again, one of the bigger questions of the season comes in Week 2 against Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. The elite cornerback has the ability to take out top receivers, and his physicality could prevent a big game from Boldin.

    Over the course of the season, the receiver is a great fantasy start. However, this might be a time to take the week off if you have better options. 

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. Seattle Seahawks): No

Leonard Hankerson, WR, Washington Redskins

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    Stats

    Five catches, 80 receiving yards, two touchdowns

     

    Analysis

    The third-year player out of Miami has always shown potential, but he never really turned that into production.

    However, Leonard Hankerson was a huge part of the Washington Redskins' comeback attempt against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The team lost, but not before the receiver finished with one of the best fantasy showings of the week.

    The problem is that the Redskins were forced to pass much more than they would have liked after falling behind 33-7. Ordinarily, Alfred Morris will get the heavy workload on the ground as the team controls the pace of the game.

    To make matters worse, Hankerson is at best the third option for Robert Griffin III, behind Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss. Each player had more targets than Hankerson in the game, and even Joshua Morgan will remain a big part of the offense going forward.

    As a bit player on a run-first offense, it is unlikely Hankerson will be able to repeat this type of showing again.

     

    Verdict

    Add: No

    Start Week 2 (vs. Green Bay Packers): No

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

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    Stats

    Seven catches, 79 receiving yards, two touchdowns

     

    Analysis

    While Julian Edelman might not get two touchdowns every game, he is clearly set to be a big part of the offense for the New England Patriots.

    The idea was that Danny Amendola would be the replacement for Wes Welker. However, it is clear that both receivers will fill in as the go-to guy on short passes. 

    Edelman was targeted nine times in the win, but he might get even more opportunities with Shane Vereen going down with a broken wrist. Neither Stevan Ridley nor LeGarrette Blount are proven receivers out of the backfield, so Edelman will have to be available for more short passes.

    Kenbrell Thompkins also failed to separate himself as the No. 2 receiver by only grabbing four of his 14 targets.

    Although Edelman might only be worth a start right now in PPR leagues, he is certainly worth a spot on your roster right away. 

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. New York Jets): Yes in PPR, No in standard

     

     

     

Jerome Simpson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    Stats

    Seven catches, 140 receiving yards

     

    Analysis

    Although Jerome Simpson did not get into the end zone, he still had one of the bigger receiving days of the week. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine this type of effort continuing over the course of the season.

    Simpson only had 26 catches for 274 receiving yards and no touchdowns all last season in the same offense he is in now. Since then, the team added Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson while still having Adrian Peterson in the backfield.

    He led the team in targets in Week 1, but he will likely end up being the No. 3 target in the offense by the end of the season.

    Additionally, this is a run-first team with a quarterback you should not trust to help you at all. Christian Ponder had three interceptions in Week 1 while putting together a quarterback rating of 63.1.

    The only players in this offense you can trust to get points consistently are Adrian Peterson and maybe Kyle Rudolph. 

    Simpson was able to catch a couple of 40-yard passes, but this does not make him a viable fantasy option.

     

    Verdict

    Add: No

    Start Week 2 (vs. Chicago Bears): No

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos

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    Stats

    Five catches, 110 receiving yards, two touchdowns

     

    Analysis

    Week 1 was a chance for many tight ends to break out. There were 16 players who scored touchdowns, five of which scored two, and young players like Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron showed they were ready to take over the league.

    However, no one had a more surprising game than Julius Thomas, who scored 23 fantasy points on opening night against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Like many other players on this list, it is unlikely this level of production continues. However, he is a legitimate star in the making who will have many more big weeks this season.

    The former basketball player has loads of talent and is in a great passing situation in Denver. While he will have to share targets with three other elite receivers, Peyton Manning still completed 93 passes and 10 touchdowns to tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme last season. 

    If Thomas can take over this type of production, he will be a valuable fantasy starter all season.

     

    Verdict

    Add: Yes

    Start Week 2 (vs. New York Giants): Yes

     

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