Breakdowns

Week 1 Fantasy Overreactions

Welcome to chaos! It’s a Monday during NFL season, meaning that you can take any occurrence from Sunday and make a completely wild narrative with it. You can also believe it’s a sign of what’s to come and be ahead of the pack!

Every Monday, we’re going to identify five of these potential overreactions from the week’s NFL action. While these are just our opinions, feel free to use your own thoughts on each narrative. The storylines have been played out, it’s now our job to decide if we feel the story is fact or fiction.

The stories were aplenty this week: The Kansas City Chiefs flexed their muscles in a nailbiter vs. the dangerous Cleveland Browns. The Houston Texans lead the AFC South after a blowout win over the Jaguars and the first career start of No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. Jameis Winston and the new-look Saints DOMINATED the Packers. There were so many new faces, new team identities and so much overall excitement in Week 1 that there were reactions to be had left and right.

All of this has led to some great overreactions on Monday morning. So as we will do each week, it’s now time to react to the potential overreactions! 

1) The Cowboys will have TWO Top 12 Fantasy wide receivers

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

Dak Prescott looks good, doesn’t he? He was 42 of 58 for 403 yards and 3 TDs, going toe-to-toe with the Super Bowl champs. When Prescott looks like this, the beneficiaries are the alpha WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. The two combined for 31 targets in this game! They turned that into 20 catches for 243 yards and 3 TDs.

The calf injury to No. 3 WR Michael Gallup only further strengthens this argument. He’s expected to be out 3-5 weeks with that calf strain. This means both receivers will need to play even more snaps. In Week 1, Cooper played 74 and Lamb played 61. At the time of this writing, both Cowboy receivers will be going into Week 2 already ranked in the Top 12 in PPR leagues.

This defense is bad and the Cowboys will need to continue to operate in shootouts. With these two receivers at the center of one of the top 5 passing attacks in the league, this offense should be able to support both being WR1s in your lineup and you can continue feeling comfortable with them in that spot each and every week.

2) Mike Evans is FIRMLY the Buccaneers WR3

Verdict: OVERREACTION

Look, 6 targets in Week 1 against a poor Dallas secondary isn’t ideal. Neither is only 3 catches for 24 and being fifth on the team in targets. Evans received only 12% of Brady’s targets and many have to be worried this is the forgotten man in the TB passing game with the emergence of Antonio Brown.

Let’s not forget; this is the same player that has an NFL-record seven straight 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career. Let’s put those numbers into more perspective. In Evans’ career, he’s only been targeted 6 or fewer times in a game 25 times. He’s also led the Buccaneers in target share in every season since 2015. Does everyone remember when he had one catch for 2 yards in last season’s opener? He saved fantasy managers with a TD that game, but the concerns were similar. He only went on to record double-digit PPR points in 9 of the final 12 games he would play in, three of those being 20-plus.

While I’m not expecting the Mike Evans of five years ago, this receiver is still very talented. Evans can use his size and has ball skills that make him an incredible threat in the red zone. It’s going to be a week-by-week thing with these Tampa Bay wide receivers but in no way should this type of production from Week 1 continue.

3) Russell Wilson WILL be the QB1 in Fantasy Football

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

One of my bold predictions this season was that Russell Wilson would be Fantasy’s QB1, and boy did he not disappoint in Week 1. He went 18 of 23 for 254 yards and 4 TDs. Now that’s pretty, but why are we excited? Well, it has to do with new OC Shane Waldron. He likes to implement what he used with the Los Angeles Rams: get the ball out in 2.5 seconds or less and create a much quicker passing game.

The results seemed to show. Wilson used the new offensive philosophy and beat Indy with whatever they threw at him. Wilson went 5 of 9 for 68 yards and 3 TDs when under pressure. He went 13 of 14 for 186 yards and a TD without pressure. Indy tried to generate presser in the first half by bringing extra rushers, and it didn’t matter as Wilson delivered beauties to Tyler Lockett, which included a 69-yard TD. When the Colts’ D switched in the second half to two-high safeties (like many teams did the second half of 2020) to eliminate the big play, Wilson picked them apart with short and quick throws underneath to D.K. Metcalf.

You won’t be able to stop Russell Wilson this season. You can only hope to contain him.

4) You should PANIC and TRADE Ezekiel Elliott

Verdict: OVERREACTION

Let me start out by saying this: If you play in a league with someone panicking about Ezekiel Elliott after Week 1, make a trade RIGHT NOW. This was the perfect recipe for a bad Zeke game. The Bucs run defense is legit. They gave up the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs last year and did not give up 1,000 rushing yards across all 16 games. You combine that with no G Zack Martin and that’s a problem for any running back.

The Cowboys had a game plan that they were going to attack the Buccaneers outside in the passing game and limit running the ball in between the tackles. This was evident by Dak’s career-high 58 pass attempts. When you dig deeper in the numbers, there’s a lot to be encouraged about Zeke. For those worried about Pollard stepping in the fold, don’t. Pollard will be mixed in, but this is by no means is a 50-50 backfield. Zeke outsnapped Pollard 70-20. Hardly a committee.

The Cowboys play the Chargers, Eagles and Panthers over their next three games and I expect better results for Zeke. Buy him now before it’s too late.

5) Joe Mixon WILL be a Top 10 RB

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

Joe Mixon went from being the AFC rushing champion in 2018 to 32nd among last year’s team rushing leaders. Of course, that was more due to his health problems and the poor offensive line. The name of the game in fantasy is volume. Volume and opportunity are kings in Fantasy Football, more so than talent.

Volume was aplenty in Mixon’s first game. Mixon recorded 29 carries for 127 yards and seemed to be back to his spry self. Those 29 carries led all running backs in Week 1. He also caught all four of his targets for 23 yards for 33 total touches! What’s even better? In data gathered from J.J. Zachariason of NumberFire, “Joe Mixon, now without Giovani Bernard, saw 15.4% of Cincinnati’s targets. This was the eighth-highest single-game target share of his career.”

Health permitting, Mixon is going to have 25-30 touches every single week. That type of volume is only equal to a handful of other backs and almost guarantees that Mixon has a Top 10 RB floor. It may not always be pretty, but he’s someone you want on your fantasy team this year.

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