Once again taking on the task of identifying those over performers and under performers from the previous week of fantasy football is Ryan Hallam, creator of Fighting Chance Fantasy. So, join Ryan as he takes us through the Week One Studs and check back tomorrow as he takes a look at the Week One Duds. And if you have any questions for him, email email@example.com for Week Two fantasy football advice.
Note: All point projections read in this recap are from standard scoring leagues (non-PPR) and are projections made by the Bruno Boys staff
QUARTERBACK - STUDS
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)—It isn’t often that the No. 1 rated guy turns up on the “Studs” list, but Brees blew past everyone’s expectations to start the season with a mammoth game. He threw for 358 yards and six touchdowns in a big win against the Detroit Lions. Brees’ 36 points were not only the most by a quarterback, but well past the 25 he was projected for.
Hallam’s Take: Brees picks up right where he left off which shouldn’t be a surprise to many of you. Now, he obviously won’t do this again, and it was against the lowly Lions, but you can expect impressive performances nearly every week for Brees. If he isn’t the No. 1 rated QB at the end of the season, he will be in the top three.
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)—Flacco had an impressive start to his sophomore season, as the usual ground heavy Ravens took their game to the air. He had his first 300 yard game (307 to be exact), and had three passing touchdowns as well. Considering what was expected of the Ravens offense, his 12 point projection seemed reasonable, but Flacco crushed it by scoring 22 fantasy points.
Hallam’s Take: One of my favorite sleepers coming into the year, Flacco certainly looks like the real deal. Again, it was against a subpar opponent, but the fact of the matter is that this guy is cool, calm, and has the tools to be a quality NFL quarterback. He won’t throw for 300 yards often, but I think it is safe to expect him to throw 24-26 TDs this season.
Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)—Romo was under a lot of heat coming into the season, wondering if he was going to take the next step in his career. Well, he began 2009 with perhaps the best game of his career, as he threw for 353 yards, three touchdowns, and he didn’t throw an interception. It was an impressive 26 point performance for the Dallas signal caller, well better than the 18 that was expected of him.
Hallam’s Take: Romo gets disrespected because of his failures in the playoffs, but this is fantasy football, honey. Tthe playoffs don’t mean a thing.
Even with missing games last year, he still threw 26 TDs, and you shouldn’t be surprised if he gets to 30 scores in 2009. Even without Terrell Owens, Romo has enough talent at wide receiver to keep his stats among the top five QBs in all of fantasy football.
RUNNING BACK - STUDS
Thomas Jones (New York Jets)—Jones went about proving that last year was not a fluke as he ran over a Houston Texans defense that was supposed to be better coming into the year. Jones had 20 carries for 107 yards and two scores. Jones was only expected to score 10 points, but racked up an impressive 22.
Hallam’s Take: We keep saying that Jones has to slow down and that he is old, but he just keeps producing. Even though he has a great offensive line in front of him, I will continue to be a non-believer. With Leon Washington obviously going to see more and more touches, I still don’t see Jones repeating last year’s statistics. Watch for the New England Patriots to stuff him in Week Two.
Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)—Again, the top ranked player at the position shows up on the “studs” list. Peterson was the top scoring player in fantasy football this week, as he ran for 180 yards, had 18 more yards receiving, and had three touchdowns. He put up a robust 37 points this week, crushing the 20 he was projected for.
Hallam’s Take: He’s the best. He went against a pretty weak defense. He went off. OK, maybe the numbers are gaudy, but anyone who didn’t expect Peterson to have a big day just isn’t paying attention. Obviously he is a must start regardless of his opponent.
Julius Jones (Seattle Seahawks) – Thomas’ brother Julius was having a decent game, but then broke a big 62-yard run late in the third quarter to finish off the St. Louis Rams. All told, Jones racked up 117 yards on the ground with another 19 through the air and a touchdown. Like his brother, Jones was only supposed to score 10 points, but he was able to score 18.
Hallam’s Take: I had conflicting feelings on what to expect from Jones this year. On one hand, the Seahawks offense had improved with the health of Matt Hasselbeck and the addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They would not be a one dimensional team.
On the other hand, the Seattle offensive line was in shambles with the injury to Walter Jones and two other members of the group. Jones did have impressive numbers, but don’t forget that more than half his yards came on one run. Don’t put your expectations too high after this performance against a trainwreck of a team in St. Louis.
WIDE RECEIVER - STUDS
Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers)—After catching the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, Holmes picked up right where he left off as he torched the Tennessee Titans defense in every way. Holmes had nine catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. It seemed like a 12 point projection was right in line with what you should have expected, but Holmes blew by that with a 19-point game.
Hallam’s Take: My concern with Holmes coming into the season was the fact that the Steelers offense really revolves around the run game. But Pittsburgh threw more than they normally do and Holmes was the major beneficiary. Was this just a case of a game where they passed because it was working or will Pittsburgh start to throw the ball more? I can’t say for sure, but the Steelers have been the same way for nearly 40 years, I don’t see a change in philosophy all of a sudden. Holmes looks to have surpassed Hines Ward as the most fantasy friendly receiver in Pittsburgh, but I don’t think you should expect his Week One performance to be duplicated too many times.
Percy Harvin (Minnesota Vikings)—Harvin had a great all-around first game, but even if you don’t get return yards he still had a much better game than expected. To go with his 99 return yards, Harvin brought in three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t spectacular, but his 9 fantasy points were far better than the three he was projected for. Look for even more opportunity from the rookie in the future.
Hallam’s Take: Harvin is a star in the making, and his stock rose with the signing of Brett Favre. He has blazing speed and also helps you in leagues where you get points for return yards. He should become more involved in the passing game for Minnesota week by week, and will no doubt be the best rookie receiver of this class.
Justin Gage (Tennessee Titans)—Despite being on a team that doesn’t tend to throw very much, Tennessee found itself moving the ball through the air, and Gage was the main man. He had seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t blast past his projection of eight points, but his 13 fantasy point outing was a surprise to me.
Hallam’s Take: Although it appeared that Gage was the one receiver that Kerry Collins felt comfortable with, I wouldn’t expect him to be among the “studs” on too many other weeks. The Titans are just not a high powered passing offense, and while he will likely be the best of the bunch, I wouldn’t expect more than 65 catches and maybe five or six touchdowns.
TIGHT END - STUDS
John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks)—It might not been against the best defense, but Carlson had a opener to remember as he caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Ten fantasy points is a healthy projection for a tight end, and Carlson more than doubled it, scoring 21.
Hallam’s Take: Carlson broke out last year when the Seahawks were destroyed by injuries to their wide receivers. Now that Matt Hasselbeck is healthy, he will prove not only was last year not a fluke, but he still can be a better overall player. He obviously won’t score two touchdowns every week, but I could certainly see Carlson break into the top five tight ends as long as his QB stays on the field.
KICKER - STUDS
Lawrence Tynes (New York Giants)—Tynes is likely looking at a quality season and he got it off to a good start. To go with his two PATs, he hit field goals from 28 yards out twice, and one from 45 yards. Tynes was pegged for eight points, but was able to score with 12 fantasy points.
Hallam’s Take: Things might get hairy in the Northeast in the winter time, but Tynes is a solid kicker. The Giants are going to score, so he should be among the top ten fantasy football kickers, likely towards the back end of that. You can feel confident with him as your starting kicker.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS - STUDS
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST (3 Stars)—Perhaps they were inspired by the memory of their Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson, but for whatever the reason, the Eagles defense came to play. They allowed just ten points, recovered two fumbles, picked off Carolina Panther quarterbacks five times, and also had five sacks. To top off the impressive effort, one of the fumbles was recovered and brought back for a touchdown. A true five star effort on Sunday.
Hallam’s Take: This was probably the best that they will do all season long, but I feel that Philly gets overlooked as one of the elite team defenses in fantasy football. Not that they are ignored, but they are just as good as the powerhouses such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. As an added bonus, for those of you whose league counts special teams in your defense numbers, DeSean Jackson also returned a punt for a touchdown. What a monumental week for the Eagles.