We’re officially in the heat of the 2018 season as week one is in the books. As always, there were a few surprises after the dust settled. Below are the Dr’s favorite highlights and stat lines from the games this past week and weekend.
Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
With Mark Ingram out for the first few games and a backfield featuring depth players and castoffs, it’s little wonder that last years rookie sensation turned in one of the weekends best performances. While the numbers on the ground were certainly underwhelming, with 29 yards coming on his eight attempts, he was again a massive factor in the passing game as this one turned into a shootout early on. In ESPN PPR leagues, Kamara’s 43.1 points paced the entire league.
Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
With all the off season focus on the swap at QB from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes, there were concerns with Hills volume as his fantasy production comes from his big play ability. That ability was the marquee attraction as his 2 long TD receptions and kick off return TD were proof that he’ll continue to dominate opposing DB’s regardless of who’s throwing the football. Further proof of his monster ability was his outrageous 24.1 yards per catch that helped him pace all wide receivers with 42.3 PPR points.
Michael Thomas, WR – NO
With how well Kamara produced in the passing game, it’s a wonder that Thomas was able to post a career high (and franchise record) 16 receptions on 17 targets for 180 yards. Thomas consistently found ways to get open down field and Brees rewarded him for it. Going forward, Thomas is one of the safest set and forget receivers as he’ll likely garner one of the leagues highest target percentage numbers wire to wire.
Odell Beckham Jr, WR – NYG
Despite drawing arguably the most difficult match up he’ll see all year with Jalen Ramsey opposing him, Beckham returned to dominate the target share, receiving 15 of Eli Mannings 37 attempts (40%). His stat line of 11 catches for 110 yards was encouraging, and it appears as though Odell Beckham has returned as one of the leagues top fantasy options at the wide receiver position.
Adrian Peterson, RB – WAS
When Adrian Peterson was signed following Derrius Guices season ending injury, many speculated as to how much “All Day” had left in the tank. His performance on Sunday should dispel any worries as to how effective he can be even at 33 years old. The 3.6 yards per carry mark wasn’t earth shattering, but it’s clear that after 166 total yards on 28 total touches (and a touch down) that AP will be featured heavily in an offense that looks committed to the run.
Randall Cobb, WR – GB
We could have selected Rodgers himself for this spot on the list, but concerns around any lingering effects of the seemingly-serious knee injury suffered Sunday has us unconvinced of his availability going forward. The same cannot be said for Cobb who dominated from start to finish in a wild game that saw Green Bay recover from a 20-0 deficit at half time. While we should temper expectations regarding the 15+ yards per reception mark, it’s important to note that despite Jimmy Graham and Davante Adams presence, Cobb led the team with 9 receptions (4 more than Adams and Allison who both had 5) and posted 142 yards and 1 TD in week one. Of course, Cobb’s continued success may rely on the health of Rodgers, but he should feature heavily in game plans going forward for the Packers.
Week 1 Duds
Amari Cooper, WR – OAK
While the Denver D may not be lauded as one of the leagues finest anymore (ignoring the pass rush of course) they certainly put a beating on Cooper who managed only 1 catch on 3 targets in a week one loss. While I wasn’t willing to put any stock in the player this year myself, I didn’t completely distance myself from Cooper as a bounce back candidate. With the type of talent he has and a lack of play makers around him that aren’t 33 (Nelson) or tight ends (Cook) it may not be long before Cooper is back in the green, but Week one was one of the leagues worst duds.
Josh Doctson, WR – WAS
Lining up opposite of Patrick Peterson will lead to some frustration, but to secure only a single 11 yard reception despite playing nearly 90% of the offensive snaps is beyond disappointing. While I was more interested in owning shares of Crowder, I understood that Doctson stood to gain the most if Smith continued to throw the deep ball. Hopefully the dud from week one can be put in the rear view mirror, but there’s a chance that Doctson never really performs like the high end receiving talent many expected him to be in the Redskins offense.
LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
Maybe I’m being too harsh on the lead back in Buffalo, but despite the team taking a beating, McCoy was never really featured in the passing game despite his history as a pass catcher. His 22 total yards on 7 carries and 1 catch was a dismal stat line, and may be the first signs that age and situation are conjoining to destroy any value McCoy has as a premier fantasy running back. While he’ll figure to be used a bit more judiciously going forward, he’s a difficult start at this point unless you’re strapped for options.
As futile as the exercise may seem this early, identifying sleeper candidates is one of the most important pieces of research you can embark upon. Below we’ll identify three leading candidates for you to keep an eye on before the preaseaon starts.
Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings | ADP 106 – WR41 | Despite the efforts of the Vikings to bulk up the backfield after AP left for New Orleans, Sam Bradford was still bought and paid for in order to create some kind of passing game. Diggs is the obvious #1 but Thielen posted borderline WR2 numbers last year despite the turmoil on the field. Expect similar, if not better, for the third year receiver. Prediction: 1000 Receiving Yards, 4 TDs
Travis Benjamin – Los Angeles Chargers |ADP 170+ – WR96 | While Benjamin is likely only being drafted in the deepest formats, his WR96 ranking is criminal considering how likely it is that Keenan Allen misses time. Benjamin is progressing ahead of schedule on his own recovery and by all accounts Mike Williams is well behind the rest of the offense and may take time to mature in the NFL. Prediction: 800 Receiving Yards, 3 TDs
Cole Beasley – Dallas Cowboys | ADP 131 – WR57 | I’ve been on the Cole Beasley train as early as 2014, arguing his value and suggesting he was a better option than Terrence Williams. Still, even after his success, Beasely is being drafted as late as the 14th round as a 5th or 6th WR. In PPR formats he’s rises as his 75-80 receptions is in the top 25 of all WRs, but he’s incredibly underrated so late in drafts. Prediction: 80 Receptions, 925 Receiving Yards, 5 TDs
Honorable Mentions: Robert Woods, LAR (ADP 155), Josh Doctson, Was (ADP 140), Kamar Aiken, Ind (ADP 260)