We hand out medals to this week's studs, and loss of rank for those who failed to meet expectations.
Welcome to the fantasy football after-action report, where we're going to break down the winners and losers of fantasy football each and every week, as well as provide you with some intel about your waiver wire (not to mention, show you the most badass hit of the week). So, without further ado—the first after-action report of the 2019-2020 NFL season.
Blue chip medal
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens: We buy the hype. Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to a team record 59 points with 384 yards passing, five touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Jackson did all of this without posting his typically absurd rushing numbers. Is he the 2019-2020 Mahomes? Time will tell, but, like Jackson joked in the post-game press conference, "Not bad for a running back."
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: Anybody who followed the NFL last year would be able to recognize how eerily similar this situation is to the James Conner/Le'veon Bell saga in Pittsburgh last year. Ekeler, playing the role of Conner, stepped into a vacant starting position, and absolutely shined. McCaffery put up an insane 42 fantasy points this week, but Ekeler came out of the woodwork to give his fantasy owners 39 points. Now that's a blue-chip.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs: There's no telling if Watkins productivity can last, but as of week 1, he is the #1 blue chip fantasy receiver. He posted nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, this was all with Tyreek Hill out of the game, so let's see how he fares battling for touches against Oakland's banged-up secondary next week.
Harrison Butker, K, Chiefs: Let's give the kicker some love, eh?! Butker was four for four on field goals, and a perfect four for four on PATs, giving him 17 fantasy points. That's more than all of our Loss of Rank players combined.
Loss of rank
These players did not perform up to expectations. We know it's only Week 1, we don't wanna induce panic, but proceed with caution if you have any of these guys on your roster.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: After posting a top 10 rushing season last year, Mixon turned in a lackluster performance (10 yards on a meager six carries) before getting injured and leaving in the 3rd quarter. Cincinnati has been quiet about the extent of Mixon's injury which is concerning. If you drafted him high, it may be worth it to try and unload him while you can.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans: Davis was only targeted three times. Meanwhile, rookie AJ Brown stole the show with a 100-yard performance, and Delanie Walker looks like he has returned to prime form. The Titans are nothing special this year, there are better receivers out there.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pats (for now): Antonio Brown may be the only man to get frostbite in a California summer. Then he had the helmet debacle. He followed that with the infamous fight with GM Mike Mayock. Finally, he posted a private Gruden conversation on Instagram and forced his way out of Oakland. After signing with New England, Brown enjoyed 2-3 days without controversy, and is back in the headlines with some very serious rape and false imprisonment allegations that may see him miss a lot of time. Steer clear of him.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers: This loss of rank is iffy. Deebo led WRs with 60 snaps in week 1, which would typically be used in an argument defending a player's upside. However, here's the thing—Deebo produced diddly squat even with his crazy high usage. He's competing for touches alongside better weapons like Kittle or Pettis and, perhaps most importantly of all, Jimmy G looks like he spent more time with Brazzers stars in the offseason than he did throwing balls.
Here are some of the top dudes on promotion watch for your waiver wire:
Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, WR, Ravens: Sure he's a rookie. Sure he had a good game against a (really really) terrible Miami Dolphins team. Sure he only had 12 snaps. But he was targeted in half of the snaps he was on the field, and he took two of those six catches to the house on plays of 45 yards or more. He could be the boom or bust pickup you need.
Malcom Brown, RB, Rams: With Todd Gurley's health in question, everyone seemed to rally around Darrell Henderson, the 3rd round pick out of Memphis, to be the handcuff to the former fantasy stalwart. However, Malcolm Brown carried the rock five times in the red zone, and out-snapped Henderson by a wide margin. Huge upside here.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders: This guy could easily be a repeat of 2019 Jared Cook, a top five tight end. However, his ceiling is even higher than that. He racked up seven catches for 70 yards from a white-hot Derek Carr. Oakland even lined him outside at WR for a couple snaps and threw him a back-shoulder fade route. Waller is a receiver converted to tight end and is a must-add in all leagues.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: As it stands right now, Andy Dalton is the NFL's leading passer with 418 yards. He put up that stellar performance against a brutal Seahawks defense, and without his favorite target A.J. Green. He's only rostered in 4.2% of ESPN leagues. If you need a reliable QB2, or even a mid to late level QB1, Dalton could be your answer.
Badass hit of the week medal
Finally, the "Badass Hit of the Week" medal goes to Colts guard Quenton Nelson. When you think "badass hit," visions of safeties taking the heads off a receiver over the middle come to mind. Well, the fellas down in the trenches are knockin' skulls every play—so when one stands out you know it's good. And plus, linemen need love, too.
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