Week 1 always surprises and often ends up sending a wrong message. Week 1 is often very different than the rest. Let’s consider some happenings then and what they mean ongoing.
- Jacksonville Jaguars wideouts – Allen Robinson was lost for the season and the depth chart all moves up one. Who benefits? The Jaguars hope to pass less this year but no doubt will need their wideouts. Allen Hurns replaces Robinson and he caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and ten scores in 2015. He had a down year in 2016 but suffered a concussion and a hamstring strain. He led the team with 42 yards on three catches last week. Marqise Lee failed to catch any of his four targets. Lee had a stat line of 63-851-3 last season when he supplanted the injured Hurns.There were reports that Hurns was shopped around with no takers in late August. The Jaguars aren’t going to pass any more than they must, but Hurns is undeniably positioned to exceed low expectations. I’m buying and stashing to see what happens.
- Tarik Cohen was another hot rookie this week. Deservedly so since he ran for 66 yards on five carries and added eight catches for 47 yards and one score. That was in a home game versus a team that ranked no better than No. 20 against any fantasy position last year. But that aside – Cohen just followed up on an impressive preseason. Most impressive was that Mike Glennon is just starting out and relied on Cohen for 12 targets – twice any other player. He slid in drafts largely from his small school (North Carolina A&T) and his 5-6, 181-pound size. In a PPR league, this guy is already a must start as a flex.
- Buck Allen received 21 runs last week and was scraped off every waiver since he was rarely drafted. The loss of Danny Woodhead saw Allen fill in. But he only had five runs at half-time while Terrance West rushed eight times and scored once. Allen was given the final seven rushes in the game to get his totals of 70 yards and no scores. Those were the final seven plays for the Ravens. Allen went for an astounding $701 of a $1000 season limit in one of my leagues. He gained 3.4 yards per carry in the shutout win. This is his third season. I don’t expect a magical breakout.
- David Johnson – what to do with him? He is “hoped to be back by Christmas”. Uh, that would be Week 16. If that happens. So in fantasy terms, you may get one game from him since that is the most common championship game. Johnson is not eligible to come off injured reserve until Week 10 at the earliest. And it is telling when HC Bruce Arians would only commit to “hope” that Johnson is back by then. If you have a dead spot on your roster, it is very hard to throw away your treasured 1.01 pick when there is any chance he might play. But reality says he’s likely done. The Cardinals do not have the look of a team on a playoff run so what why bring him back for a final couple of games?
- Chris Carson – he’s all the rage when speaking in hushed tones about your vaunted sleeper. And it could certainly happen – strangers things do all the time. It is hard to accept that the 29th back selected (second to last) was just overlooked. In his two years at Oklahoma State, he never totaled more than 131 carries or gained more than 559 rushing yards. And now he plays behind the worst offensive line in the NFL in a committee backfield.This week versus the 49ers and Week 4 hosting the Colts could be spots where he could shine. But remember too that the Seahawks have C.J. Prosise and the returning Thomas Rawls this week. And they shared the 15 carries by the group of backs last week in the three-point loss to the Packers. He ran for 30 yards then but also had five carries for four yards otherwise. He’d be a major surprise if he developed into much more than a lower-end RB3 level back who needs a soft matchup to matter. Take away his one run and is he any different than the rest of the backs there?Let’s see what happens with Rawls thrown into the mix.
- Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs you will ever see. You could argue The best. But his career is ending with a whimper and that sort of look that naval recruits get when they sign up to see the world only to discover that their world is limited to an unpopulated part of Iceland. The best that Peterson got was six carries against his old team. Alvin Kamara had seven. If they cannot allow Peterson to have one or two more runs in his return to Minnesota, it’s going to require at least an injury to Kamara or Mark Ingram to make him even slightly relevant. Get those cameras off him. It makes me uncomfortable.
And an extra point – The Jets look bad. Like the sort of bad that needs a handful of losses before opponents start to mail in their wins and allow the Jets fantasy players to look better than they actually are. It is a favorite time of year for those scraping the waiver wire for help. Robby Anderson looked just as mediocre as expected. But Jermain Kearse already led the Jets with nine targets for seven catches and 59 yards. There are a few soft spots in the schedule down the road that may make him worthy of at least a bye-week cover.
I’d also keep a very casual eye on Austin Sefarian-Jenkins when he returns in Week 3 from his suspension. Yes, chances are he’ll remain a bust. But this is a very needy team. And likely the final chance that ASJ gets to have a career.