NFL football is back!
Ahead of Sunday's Week 1 action, the Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the 2017 regular season with a convincing 42-27 victory over the defending champion New England Patriots on Thursday.
Rookie Kareem Hunt and longtime KC quarterback Alex Smith made their fantasy owners proud, as they dominated New England's defense all game. Hunt finished with 246 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. Smith went 28-of-35 for 368 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Together, they set the stage for a first week packed with explosive performances (though Sunday's were mostly on the other side of the ball):
|Week 1 NFL Scores, Fantasy Stars|
|Chiefs||42-27||Patriots||Kareem Hunt||148 rush yds, 1 TD, 98 rec yds, 2 TDs|
|Jets||12-21||Bills||Tyrod Taylor||16-of-28, 224 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int, 38 rush yds|
|Falcons||23-17||Bears||Austin Hooper||2 rec, 128 yds, 1 TD|
|Ravens||20-0||Bengals||BAL D/ST||4 INTs, 1 fumble recovered, 0 points allowed|
|Steelers||21-18||Browns||Antonio Brown||11 rec, 182 yds|
|Raiders||26-16||Titans||Giorgio Tavecchio||4-of-4 FGs, 2-of-2 XPs|
|Jaguars||29-7||Texans||JAX D/ST||TD, INT, 3 fumbles recovered, 7 points allowed|
|Eagles||30-17||Redskins||PHI D/ST||TD, INT, 3 fumbles recovered, 17 points allowed|
|Cardinals||23-35||Lions||Matthew Stafford||29-of-41, 292 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT|
|Colts||9-46||Rams||LAR D/ST||2 INT, 2 TDs, fumble recovered, safety, 9 points allowed|
|Panthers||23-3||49ers||CAR D/ST||1 INT, fumble recovered, 3 points allowed|
|Seahawks||9-17||Packers||Aaron Rodgers||28-of-42, 311 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT|
|Giants||3-19||Cowboys||Dak Prescott||24-of-39, 268 yds, 1 TD|
Kareem Hunt fumbled once during his four years of college football at Toledo. And that happened during his freshman season. On his first carry as an NFL running back, he coughed it up and New England recovered. His response to the mistake was incredible.
From that moment on, and particularly in the second half, Hunt was the star of the game. He looked equal parts elusive and powerful as both a runner and receiver on the way to the history books, where he could be attached to arguably the best NFL debut ever.
According to Pro Football Reference, Hunt's 246 yards from scrimmage is the most by a rookie in a team's first game ever.
The Chiefs celebrated the debut on Twitter:
Kansas City Chiefs @Chiefs
Kareem Hunt had a record-breaking rookie debut. https://t.co/6kzQSMGzSO2017-9-10 00:40:05
It's safe to say Hunt won't put up numbers like this every week, but he also proved he's a dynamic weapon who could make a season-long fantasy impact.
Jaguars Defense/Special Teams
It's rare for a defense to show up in this space, but the Jacksonville Jaguars were so dominant on that side of the ball that they wound up being the highest-scoring "player" in fantasy through the early slate of games.
That's right. A defense racked up 28 fantasy points in Jacksonville's 29-7 drubbing of the Houston Texans. What led to all those points? Oh, just three fumble recoveries, an interception, a touchdown and seven points allowed.
Ten sacks didn't hurt either, especially this one shared by the NFL that resulted in a score:
Scoop & Score! This @Jaguars D is NOT messing around. #Jaguars #JAXvsHOU https://t.co/THNc3ufT0z2017-9-10 18:34:40
If you were smart enough to start the Jags D today, you're likely already counting this week as a win. That many points from that slot is way above expectations.
Ravens Defense/Special Teams
Again, this is rare. But defenses ruled the early portion of Sunday's Week 1 action.
The Baltimore Ravens were as dominant as anyone on that side of the ball, as they completed a 20-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Bengals and racked up five turnovers (four interceptions and one fumble recovered).
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh was understandably pleased with the performance, per the team's Twitter account:
Baltimore Ravens @Ravens
Coach Harbaugh very pleased with today's win. https://t.co/JKWPQ9Oq9R2017-9-10 20:22:29
If the Ravens are back to being the kind of dominant defense they were during their Super Bowl runs, they could push the Pittsburgh Steelers for AFC North superiority.
Rams Defense/Special Teams
Wait, what? A third defense coming through as a top fantasy performer in a single week? In the afternoon slate of games, the Los Angeles Rams' defense somehow managed to outscore even the Jags and Ravens.
The Rams recovered a fumble, scored two touchdowns off interceptions, registered a safety and allowed just nine points in a 46-9 steamrolling of the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL visualized the domination:
HAVE A DAY, @RamsNFL defense! #LARams https://t.co/XFH2m24sl02017-9-10 23:19:08
A stiffer defense, in combination with improved play from second-year quarterback Jared Goff could give LA fans reason for optimism this season.