Fantasy Football Week 2: Matt Camp's Week 1 BS Meter
With Week 1 complete, the smallest of sample sizes in the NFL season is now available to properly analyze, which will result in plenty of overreaction.
The goal is to sift through strong and poor performances to determine what was a sign of things to come and what was more of an outlier. Of course, not everything can be categorized so easily, so the BS Meter will break down 10 situations to determine whether statements are completely true (1) or total BS (10).
Nelson Agholor had one of his best games against the Redskins, but is he really a better waiver wire option than Kenny Golladay? The Chiefs beat up the Patriots thanks to huge performances from Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith. Can they both keep it up or will Week 1 be the high point?
Rushing to judgment can be dangerous but also easy to do if you were pleasantly surprised or completely let down by your fantasy team after just one game. You should always be trying to improve your roster regardless of your record, but making sweeping changes based on a single performance is never wise.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats and snap counts are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
Kareem Hunt Is a Fantasy RB1
Congratulations to Kareem Hunt for killing the notion that a fumble should land a young RB on the bench. In one of the best fantasy debuts ever, Hunt fumbled on his first carry and proceed to bounce back in a huge way.
In the Week 1 win at New England, he finished with 148 rushing yards and a TD on 17 carries and five receptions for 98 yards and two TDs on five targets. Hunt played 58 percent of the snaps compared to 35 percent for Charcandrick West, and West only touched the ball two times (21-yard TD run, four-yard catch).
Hunt doesn’t need to post 200-plus yards with multiple TDs to stay in the RB1 category. There’s a good chance he’ll never top his performance in Week 1, and that would be totally acceptable. Hunt’s talents were on full display in his debut, so as long as he remains the lead back with a healthy role in the passing attack, he’s a threat top 100 total yards in any week.
The Chiefs have other playmakers like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and Hunt should be in that same conversation when it comes to the most reliable fantasy players in Kansas City’s offense. You’ll learn more about Alex Smith later on, but he’ll have a tougher time replicating his high-end success on a weekly basis, so the Chiefs need Hunt to play a big role in the offense going forward.
BS Meter on Hunt remaining a fantasy RB1: 1/10
Eddie Lacy Doesn't Belong on Fantasy Rosters
A lot of people wanted to put Eddie Lacy in their Week 1 lineups, especially when Thomas Rawls (ankle) was on the inactives list. None of those people were happy at the end of Sunday’s game. None of those people should be surprised because Lacy hasn’t been a useful fantasy player in three years.
Even without Rawls, Lacy played just 14 percent of the snaps and finished with five carries for three yards and no targets. C.J. Prosise (33 percent, four carries, 11 yards) and, more importantly, Chris Carson (53 percent, six carries, 39 yards, one reception, 10 yards) were on the field more and produced more than Lacy. Obviously, no one in the Seahawks’ backfield had a good fantasy performance, so this is still a work-in-progress, especially when Rawls is able to return to action.
Carson has been more impressive than Lacy since the start of training camp, and that carried over into Week 1. While Carson hasn’t taken over the starting job, the difference in his role and Lacy’s in Sunday’s loss to the Packers is telling. The Seahawks trusted a seventh-round rookie over an experienced veteran.
Week 1 didn’t give us a clear answer as to who is the best fantasy back in Seattle, but it did tell us who the worst is, and that’s Lacy.
BS Meter on Lacy remaining on fantasy rosters: 2/10
The Bears Will Continue to Feature Tarik Cohen
Last year at this time, no one was talking about Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi or Ty Montgomery as key pieces to a championship fantasy roster. With varying levels of success, they were some of the biggest additions off the waiver wire. For as much research that goes into fantasy football during draft season, players will emerge seemingly out of nowhere either because of injury or concerns about performance.
Tarik Cohen could be the first example of that in 2017. He was busy in the Bears’ opening-weekend loss to the Falcons on the ground and in the passing game. Cohen led the Bears with 12 targets, eight receptions, 47 receiving yards and a 19-yard receiving TD, in addition to 66 rushing yards on five carries. He played 42 percent of the snaps and was the team's top fantasy option.
So does Cohen’s presence hurt Jordan Howard? It didn’t in Week 1. Howard still played 57 percent of the snaps and caught three of five targets for 14 yards with 52 rushing yards and a TD on 13 carries. No other Bear RB/WR/TE had double-digit fantasy points beside Howard and Cohen.
It’s fair to assume that Cohen’s uptick in touches was somewhat related to the shoulder injury suffered by Kevin White. According to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, head coach John Fox said White fractured his shoulder blade and will be sent to the injured reserve. He joins Cameron Meredith (knee) as another top WR on the IR.
The Bears are woefully short on talent, which means they need to manufacture offense from what they have left, and if that means featuring Cohen in a variety of roles, like taking direct snaps, he will get his chances. You don’t want to invest too much in a bad team, so while Howard is still the top fantasy player in Chicago, Cohen is the only other option worth considering. That makes him a top waiver wire add this week.
BS Meter on Bears featuring Cohen: 3/10
The Jaguars Have No Fantasy Options Besides Leonard Fournette
The major concern for Leonard Fournette had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the ugly QB situation in Jacksonville. Sure, the idea of featuring Fournette and limiting Blake Bortles seemed simple, but would it work? After one week, the answer is yes, although complications may arise in the future.
The Jaguars had no problem handling the Texans in Houston for an encouraging Week 1 victory. Fournette rushed for 100 yards and a TD and caught all three of his targets for 24 yards. Bortles completed 11 of 21 attempts for 125 yards and a one-yard TD. Meanwhile, the Jaguars forced four turnovers, including a 53-yard fumble return for a TD. You couldn’t script a more perfect way for the Jaguars to win.
Unfortunately, they lost star WR Allen Robinson for the season after just three snaps to what the team would later announce as a torn ACL, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. That leaves the team with Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns as the best WR options, but do they have value in fantasy?
Lee played 83 percent of the snaps and Hurns played 80 percent, but with Bortles attempting just 21 passes, there wasn’t much production to go around. Hurns led the team with three receptions for 42 yards on four targets. Lee didn’t catch any of his four targets.
While the Jaguars may not be lucky enough to limit Bortles to less than 30 pass attempts in every game, they will likely make every effort to do so as long as they can make Fournette the focal point of their offense and keep games close with their strong defense. If you’re thinking about grabbing Lee and Hurns, don’t expect to use them with confidence.
BS Meter on Jaguars having no fantasy options besides Fournette: 4/10
Todd Gurley Is the Only Ram You Can Trust
Sometimes you need a little luck when it comes to the schedule. In Week 1, the Rams got lucky because the Colts didn’t have Andrew Luck. Actually, the Colts didn’t really have much of anything in their favor, which allowed the Rams to open the season with a dominant 46-9 victory at home.
The Rams made a clear effort to get Todd Gurley going after a disappointing 2016 campaign. He struggled on the ground, rushing for just 40 yards on 19 carries, but he found the end zone on a five-yard TD run in the second quarter. And Gurley was a bright spot in the passing attack with five receptions for 56 yards on six targets.
The Colts defense, which wasn’t strong to begin with, also had to go without top CB Vontae Davis. That allowed Jared Goff and the Rams’ passing attack to start the season on a high note. Goff went 21-of-29 for 306 yards with a TD and no turnovers. Sammy Watkins caught all five of his targets for 58 yards, and rookie Cooper Kupp came through with four receptions for 76 yards and an 18-yard TD on six targets.
There’s no denying the major talent of Watkins or what Kupp brings to the table, but how much of the success that they and Goff had was a result of taking on one of the worst defenses in the league without one of their top players? It definitely factored in, yet you can’t deny that Goff looked far better than at any point in his forgettable rookie season.
So while Gurley needs to improve his rushing production, he’s a strong play for fantasy because he’ll always get volume. Goff needs to build on his Week 1 performance when the Rams host the Redskins in Week 2. Washington’s defense will be a step up for Goff and Watkins, especially with Josh Norman likely on Watkins.
For now, Gurley is the only lock for fantasy lineups, but following the Week 1 performance of Goff and the passing attack, there’s optimism for the future.
BS Meter on Gurley being the only Ram to trust: 5/10
Kenny Golladay Will Have No Effect on Eric Ebron
You don’t often see sleeper hype pay off so quickly, but in the case of Kenny Golladay, that’s exactly what happened in the Lions’ victory over the Cardinals.
The Lions trailed 17-9 with 5:37 to go in the third quarter on a day when it seemed like they couldn’t get anything going on offense. Just two-and-a-half minutes later, Matthew Stafford found Theo Riddick for a seven-yard TD pass but was unable to connect with Golladay on the two-point conversion attempt. Golladay made his presence known in a big way with a 10-yard TD to give the Lions the lead followed by a spectacular diving catch on a 45-yard TD.
Detroit would go on to win the game 35-23 with Golladay’s debut producing four receptions for 69 yards and two TDs on seven targets on 62 percent of the snaps. By comparison, Golden Tate had 10 receptions for 107 yards (12 targets) on 89 percent of the snaps, and Marvin Jones had two receptions for 37 yards and a TD (two targets) on 96 percent of the snaps, so they were both productive.
The presence of Golladay, specifically in the red zone, could spell trouble for anyone hoping for a breakout season from Eric Ebron. Ebron played 72 percent of the snaps yet managed just two receptions for nine yards on three targets. Golladay’s first TD was a red-zone target, and he had a target on a failed two-point conversion. None of Ebron’s targets came inside the 20-yard line.
Last year, Anquan Boldin scored six of his eight TDs in the red zone and was third among all NFL receivers with 22 red-zone targets. Boldin’s departure leaves a void that seemed perfect for Ebron to fill, but at 6’4’’, 213 pounds, Golladay could easily usurp that role. Golladay might have a better chance to break out as a rookie than Ebron does in his fourth season.
BS Meter on Golladay not affecting Ebron: 6/10
Carson Wentz Has a New Favorite Receiver in Nelson Agholor
A spectacular play can erase any bad feelings you may have about a player. Hopefully, those who saw Nelson Agholor catch a 58-yard TD from Carson Wentz know there’s more to a good waiver wire pick than just one big play.
On the Eagles’ first drive in Week 1, Wentz somehow escaped the grasp of multiple Redskins to heave a pass downfield to Agholor, who found a small void in the defense on his way into the end zone. While it was exciting to watch, it wasn’t what you would draw up and execute. Wentz made the play happen with his athleticism and ability to make a long, accurate throw despite being off balance.
Agholor wound up with six receptions for 86 yards and a TD on eight targets. That means he had five receptions for 28 yards outside of the long TD. His performance came on a day when Alshon Jeffery was tied up with Josh Norman and was limited to three receptions for 38 yards on seven targets. The true standout was Zach Ertz, who caught all eight of his targets for 93 yards.
After the trade of Jordan Matthews, Agholor was expected to slide into his role, which he has done, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be a consistent contributor. Jeffery won’t be slowed like he was in Week 1, Ertz is Wentz’s most reliable target dating back to last season, and Darren Sproles (five receptions, 43 yards, eight targets) is arguably the team’s best RB with a regular role in the passing game.
Week 1 was a step in the right direction for Agholor after a terrible 2016 season. If you need some WR help for your fantasy roster, he’s worth taking a look at, but don’t jump to the conclusion that he’s a big addition. He’s just part of a talented Eagles’ passing attack and definitely not the biggest part.
BS Meter on Agholor being Wentz’s new favorite receiver: 7/10
You Can Use Multiple Patriot RBs with Confidence
If you went into the season with confidence on how the Patriots would use all their RBs on a weekly basis, you are a liar. If you have a better grasp after Week 1, don’t get too cocky because you must always remember that Bill Belichick doesn’t care about your fantasy team.
The fairest assumption was that Mike Gillislee would at minimum be the team’s goal-line back, and in Week 1, he served that role well. Gillislee had TD runs of two, two and one yard in the Patriots’ Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. He led the team with 15 carries for 45 yards, including nine red-zone carries, four of which came inside the 5-yard line. He was second among Patriots’ RBs with 30 percent of the snaps.
James White led the backfield with 53 percent of the snaps. He had 10 carries for 38 yards and three receptions for 30 yards on five targets. Rex Burkhead carried just three times for 15 yards and added one reception for eight yards on three targets on just 12 percent of the snaps. Dion Lewis barely saw the field with 7 percent of the snaps and two carries for nine yards.
The Patriots offense should afford Gillislee plenty of chances to score, so his value will be linked to converting those short scoring opportunities. White, Burkhead and Lewis will be tougher to predict on a weekly basis, unless the Patriots decide to move one of them via a trade.
The Belitricks remain a problem for fantasy owners trying to get a feel for how to handle this backfield.
BS Meter on using multiple Patriot RBs with confidence: 8/10
Alex Smith Will Finish the Season as a Top-10 QB
Statistically, Alex Smith played one of the best games of his career in the Chiefs’ Week 1 win over the Patriots. He racked up 368 passing yards and four TDs in completing 28 of 35 pass attempts without a turnover. Don’t get used to Smith looking like a fantasy superstar.
Last season, Smith threw for 363 yards and two TDs and added a rushing TD in a Week 1 win over the Chargers. He threw for two TDs in only three other games, and the only other time he accounted for three TDs was in Week 17 when he threw for two and ran one in.
Not only did Smith fail to throw for 300 yards in any other game, but he also only hit the 270-yard mark just twice in the rest of the 2016 season. He finished 22nd among fantasy QBs last year and hasn’t been higher than 13th (2013) in the last five seasons.
Smith completed 80 percent of his 35 attempts in Week 1. He’s never averaged 35 attempts in his entire career, including 32.6 attempts per game and a 67.1 percent completion rate in 2016. He has a small margin for error when it comes to top-10 fantasy production due to the lack of pass attempts.
If you’re banking on Smith to have his best fantasy finish in his 13th season, it’s nothing more than blind faith.
BS Meter on Smith being a top-10 QB: 9/10
The Cardinals Can Replace David Johnson with One Player
If you’re scrambling to replace David Johnson after Week 1, first of all, I’m sorry, and second of all, good luck.
The fantasy industry waited on every report that trickled out about the wrist injury Johnson suffered in the Cardinals’ Week 1 loss to the Lions. Eventually, head coach Bruce Arians said the injury is the same prognosis as the injury teammate T.J. Logan is dealing with, which landed him on the injured reserve, according to Darren Urban of AZcardinals.com.
While Arians also said Johnson would seek a second opinion, he acknowledged that the team could look into re-signing Chris Johnson. He would join a backfield that already includes Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams. Both players were active in Week 1, although it’s tough to get a clear read on how the Cardinals would use the two based on their snaps in the opener since Johnson went down in the third quarter.
Johnson led the group with 61 percent of the snaps. He had six catches for 68 yards on nine targets and 11 carries for 23 yards. Ellington played 27 percent of the snaps with two receptions for 35 yards on three targets, but no carries. Williams had 10 yards on five carries and one reception for two yards (one target) on just 12 percent of the snaps.
So how do the Cardinals replace Johnson? They don’t, but they’ll have to do it with a committee. Johnson’s massive fantasy value was tied to active roles as a runner and a receiver. Neither Williams nor Ellington is fit to take on that role alone, which is why Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com said the team would use a committee that could also include Elijhaa Penny. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team will also sign RB D.J. Foster from the Patriots’ practice squad.
If you’re hitting the waiver wire trying to figure out the best fantasy option in this backfield, immediately lower your expectations. This is a bad offense that wasn’t very dangerous to begin with outside of Johnson. Plus, they are expected to be without left tackle D.J. Humphries for one or two games because of a sprained MCL, according to Urban. None of the Cardinals’ backs should be a top priority to add.
BS Meter on replacing Johnson with one player: 10/10