By: Justin Lynch
Hunt’s scoring output led all of fantasy football this opening weekend, but it’s neither his scoring total nor his big plays that land him in this category. Week 1 confirmed Hunt as the clear number one back in Kansas City. His 22 touches far outweighed Charcandrick West’s two, and we can only expect more of the same going forward. Disregarding the opening fumble, Hunt showed it all in the opener. Against what was the best scoring defense of 2016, Hunt 148 yards on 17 carries, including a 58-yard game breaker to set up a Charcandrick West touchdown in West’s only carry of the game.
The receiving output, though good for fantasy (5-98-2), was fueled by a 78-yard TD reception. I wouldn’t expect big receiving output every game from Hunt (and certainly not two receiving scores), but he will be involved, and his big play ability keeps everything within the realm of possibility. It’s easy to get carried away with his big week one performance, but the Chiefs are committed to him and he is super talented. Hunt could easily finish the season among the top 7 backs in the league.
Cohen showed his speed and elusiveness in week 1, and Jordan Howard’s lionshare of carries may be in trouble. His 66 yards on five carries, plus 8-47-1 receiving, will surely put him in the gameplan every week. Cohen won’t become good enough to overtake Howard completely, but if he can get 15-18 touches per game, he should yield RB2/3 results. I don’t want to get too high on Cohen yet, but he seems too talented to not warrant the top priority in your waivers this week.
Agholor’s ranking here is more about Carson Wentz than it is about Agholor. Wentz looked comfortable in the pocket, elusive, and was making strong throws. Agholor was the beneficiary of six of them, gaining 86 yards and a touchdown along the way. Alshon Jeffrey was quiet, and Agholor will continue to thrive on less attention thrown his way. Add in Philly’s bad running game, and you have a recipe for continued PPR success.
His 16 targets led the week through the 4pm games, and Deshaun Watson’s entrance only improved his performance. Watson is a real quarterback, who will be able to find Hopkins and bring him closer to his 2015 success. Hopkins is still among the league’s most talented wideouts, and if he has someone who can get him the ball, or will at least try, he could be the steal of the season.
If Powell’s approximately pi yards per carry wasn’t bad enough, he managed only 17 yards on five receptions. If he can’t make things happens between the tackles or in space, it’s tough to justify giving him the ball. He received three more touches than Forte, and if he can take advantage of them, the gap will only get greater. But he didn’t take advantage of them, and defensed are stacking the box and forcing Josh McCown to throw to the league’s worst receiving core. Powell is hurt more by the fact that the Jets will be losing in every game and be forced to throw than he is by his own lack of production. Beyond that, Josh McCown isn’t doing him any favors to open up running lanes. Powell was a hot pick, but bad teams yield bad fantasy outputs, especially at running back. And the Jets are the worst.
With the news that Luck may be out until October, Hilton immediately becomes borderline unstartable for the next month. Scott Tolzien is garbage at football, though Jacoby Brissett may be a little better. If they go with Brissett, he will have a shot at double digits in a PPR league, but he’s barely worth anything in non-PPR formats. When Luck comes back, we won’t know how healthy he is, and Hilton is already inconsistent to begin with. Hilton may be okay in the long-run, but you never know what the Colts will be thinking if they start 0-4. Do they hold become even more conservative with Luck? Bad teams are tough to rely on, and Hilton will be hurt the most.
Benjamin managed just one catch on five targets (25 yards) in the opener. The Panthers beat up on San Francisco, and they did it without their number one target. McCaffrey was a huge part of the offense, despite a lackluster performance, and Cam was off his game. Still, Benjamin continued last season’s struggles. He needs to start making plays and demanding the ball if he is to become a weekly starter.
2 Things to Think About
Gillislee led the Pats with 15-45-3. The yards per carry is low because he was scarcely used outside of short yardage plays. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 16 scores last season, and it looks like Gillislee will take on that role and maybe more. Gillislee has more talent, and if they let him run a little more in open field, he could easily be throwing out 80-yard and two score games every weekend. But betting on the Pats backfield is asking for trouble. And the Pats almost exclusively ran on the goal line and in short yardage situations in week 1. Expect them to mix it up, not only with personnel, but also with play calling. Gillislee will be worth the roster spot most weeks, but there will be games he gets four carries. This may be the best time to trade him, but be weary, as he likely will finish among the top-15 backs, though his weekly output will fluctuate.
Abdullah received 15 carries, nine more than Dwayne Washington and 14 more than Theo Riddick. But he only rushed for 30 yards. Riddick has a clear advantage in the receiving game, but Abdullah still received four targets. Abdullah has yet to prove he has enough talent and durability to produce for an extended period of time. He’s too involved in the offense to bail on, but he’s not productive enough to start. Stay the course for a few weeks, but be ready to pull the trigger on a trade if the opportunity presents itself.
1 Concluding Thought
This is becoming a yearly trend. Do not give up on your studs. This week had a couple of flops, (David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, DeMarco Murray, AJ Green, Julio Jones) but stay with all of them. Johnson’s injury may be bad, but it won’t be season-ending. For everyone else, don’t panic and trade them for Kareem Hunt.