Fantasy Takes to Get You Ready for NFL Week 2 – NFC Edition
It’s time for Week 1 Fantasy Takes! I will be handling all the fun tidbits coming out of the NFC. Week 1 in the NFC was packed with above-average intrigue including unexpected developments for Green Bay and Arizona. Also, check out my new Fantrax podcast The Fantasy Football POV available on your preferred podcast platform. Now, just like Deebo Samuel against the Lion’s defense, it’s time to expose the truth with Week 1 fantasy takes.
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Kyler Murray (21-32-4TD with 289 yards passing) will get all the attention for Arizona’s dominant win in Nashville and rightly so after he totaled 5 TDs (1 on the ground). However, Christian Kirk (5-70-2TD) deserves his own moment in the sun. While many people were pushing for Rondale Moore’s rookie rise (4-68) Kirk showed the people what he’s working for with 2 TDs of his own. Arizona has a lethal corps of wide receivers who can produce fireball after fireball faster than Mario with his sunflower.
This is art. Kyler drops it in a bucket and the ability to locate and track the football by Christian Kirk is beautiful.
— Steven Cheah (@StevenCheah) September 12, 2021
I expected Kliff Kingsbury to be fired by week 9, but after this performance, it’s possible we could be witnessing the breakout of Kyler Murray. I love this offense, but I would be wary about running out to spend a large percentage of my waiver wire money on Christian Kirk when he could very well lose out on targets next week.
My preseason predictions related to the Tennessee Titans had them taking a step backward because they lost Atlanta’s new head coach Arthur Smith. Tennessee lost on Sunday, but it did not appear that Arthur Smith would have been all that much help after witnessing the Falcons performance on Sunday.
There is nothing of note to be excited about from a fantasy perspective from the Falcons on Sunday. Matt Ryan has filled the stat sheets for over a decade, but this must be one of his worst performances in recent memory. He scored 6 fantasy points on 35 pass attempts. Kyle Pitts (4-31 on 8 targets) was nowhere to be found and even Calvin Ridley (5-51 on 8 targets) was ineffective.
Falcons HC Arthur Smith;
“I did a real poor job getting us ready and feel awful for our fans.” pic.twitter.com/NofOUugLSy
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) September 12, 2021
If you are looking for positivity, Cordarrelle Patterson was able to run for 54 yards on 7 carries. The bad news is all those carries came in the first half. He had 0 carries in the second half even though Atlanta was only down 15-6. Another silver lining is at least the Falcons didn’t play as poorly as the Packers.
I believe in the Carolina Panthers in 2021 because I respect Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. After watching Sam Darnold perform soundly today, I have to believe that Joe Brady’s sphere of influence is already being felt. Darnold threw for 234 of his 279 total passing yards in the first half!
The ex-Jets burn their former team 😤
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2021
The Panthers have one of the most underrated wide receiver duos in the NFL and the next best dual deep threat attack outside of Tampa Bay. This is great for their team in real football but might be slightly frustrating for those of us that roster D.J. Moore (6-80 on 8 targets) or Robby Anderson (57-yard TD catch on 3 targets) because Christian McCaffrey (9-89 on 9 targets) will likely garner double digits targets per game. Anderson drew the short straw this week on targets.
The Panther’s defense is also going to be an under-appreciated bunch. If you’re looking to stream defenses week to week I would recommend using the Panthers when the proper matchup opportunities are revealed to you.
The Bears have made the playoffs in two of the last three years. Coming into Sunday night’s game against the Rams I was actually excited about the Bears. However, that enthusiasm dwindled quickly, and just like everybody else on television or Twitter I am waiting for Justin Fields to take over the starting quarterback job. Andy Dalton (27-38 for 206 yards) was not terrible, but he’s just not an offensive game-breaker like Justin Fields could be.
Justin Fields watching Dalton throw pic.twitter.com/S3P9XxdVEA
— Stephen A. Smith Burner (@TheSASBurner) September 13, 2021
David Montgomery (16-108-TD) definitely deserves credit and I believe I may have been wrong about him overachieving in 2020. He was able to run between the tackles, catch the ball and punch it in from the goal line. Montgomery was the first RB to crack 100 yards rushing on the Rams resilient defense since Week 15 of 2019. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be another RB on this roster that will threaten him.
Dak Prescott (42-58-3 for 403 yards passing) was healthy and has the most 400 yard passing games (4) over the last year as anybody else in the NFL despite missing most of 2020. Amari Cooper (13-139-2 on 16 targets) and Ceedee Lamb (7-104-1 on 15 targets) were both able to feast on Tampa’s secondary which means there is enough targets to make both top-15 WR in 2021. Michael Gallup is out 3-5 games with a calf injury which means Cedrick Wilson is now someone to pick up on the waiver wire.
RT if you always believed in Dak Prescott
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) September 10, 2021
Many people on Twitter, including myself, wanted to create panic about the disappointing game that Ezekiel Elliott had. He had one run of 13 yards and if you take that away he had 10 carries for 20 yards. There is a movement brewing among analysts to define Tony Pollard (3-14) as the more productive back.
If I were rostering Elliott (I am) I would hold firm. In leagues where I do not roster Elliott, I would be making offers to take advantage of them. Just avoid taking an offer like I got the other day: Elliott for Trey Sermon and Zack Moss. Nope!
I live in the metro Detroit area and for most of my life I have watched the Detroit Lions be an absolute fraud. For a good chunk of Sunday’s game they still were. However, the Lions deserve credit for making it a competitive game again after being down 38-10 to the 49ers.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 12, 2021
There is fantasy football hope for 2021 because D’Andre Swift (11-39 rushing and 8-65-TD receiving) can catch and run the ball with the same acumen. And that acumen is elite. Jamaal Williams (9-54-TD rushing and 8-56 receiving) started the game and scared off a lot of people from starting Swift. D’Andre was able to make the most of his chances though and reward those who stuck with him. Especially in PPR leagues.
D’Andre Swift’s first touchdown of the new season 🔥#OnePride
— Tony Dombrowski (@tonydombrowski) September 12, 2021
Jared Goff (38-57-3TD for 338 passing yards) has become one of the easiest targets for blame in the NFL. If the Lions are going to stink anyway, it looks like Goff might be a valuable fantasy quarterback who’s going to throw the ball 40 or more times a game quite often.
Receiver Quintez Cephus (3-12-TD on 7 targets) is somebody that should be rostered in 14-teamers. I watched him create big plays at Wisconsin. He does not get a lot of media or fantasy attention for that matter, but he will be a reliable fantasy wide receiver going forward. Pick him up if he’s available in your league this week for nothing else other than Cephus is a cool name to say.
Green Bay Packers
There are legitimate chemistry issues with the Green Bay Packers. That’s all there is to say because nothing of note from a fantasy perspective happened in their blowout loss against the Saints. They will bounce back, but even before this game I did not expect Aaron Rodgers to have another MVP season in 2021. It may appear easier to say that now, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3-17) led the team with 8 targets on the day.
My Super Bowl pick is off to a great start after Matthew Stafford (20-26-3TD with 321 yards passing) did everything I expected him to do. He threw for three touchdowns, plus he extended the ball down the field with two scores over 50 yards.
MATTHEW STAFFORD WELCOME TO LA
— PFF (@PFF) September 13, 2021
Everybody knows about the Rams’ top wide receivers, but my man that you should focus on is Van Jefferson (2-80-TD on 3 targets). He had a big touchdown in the victory over the Bears and with the expectation for the Rams to throw the ball all over the field, Van Jefferson is going to be a viable fantasy option even in 12 team leagues. Hear me now and believe me later: go get Van Jefferson if he’s still available in your league.
Kirk Cousins (36-49-2TD for 351 yards passing) could have easily packed it in after the Bengals got out to a 21-7 lead against the Vikings. I will give Cousins credit though as he never packs it in. He ended up having a rock-solid game with Adam Thielen (9-92) having another 2TD game. That has become commonplace for Thielen as it was his fifth such game since the start of 2020.
Possible touchdown after a big play by Justin Jefferson. Play is being challenged pic.twitter.com/qcQY6AwUZi
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) September 12, 2021
Dalvin Cook was able to score a touchdown even though it looked like Justin Jefferson scored on a play that was ruled down inside the 1-yard line. The Vikings offense is going to have fantasy relevance all season long so even if they end up being a .500 team all of their skill position players can be championship makers on your way to a fantasy football title in 2021.
New Orleans Saints
On my podcast The Fantasy Football POV which is a part of the Fantrax Podcast Network I talked to Kev Mahserejian (@rotosurgeon) about my excitement for Jameis Winston (14-20-5TD with 148 yards passing) to take over the Saints offense in 2021. For Week 1 Winston could likely not have played any better than he did with five passing TDs to his credit.
Jameis Winston today: 14/20, 148 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTspic.twitter.com/bHhxQ6EBgN
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 12, 2021
Two of those touchdowns went to Juwan Johnson (3-21-2TD), a tight end who got a lot of hype in training camp for being a possible breakout candidate. One of his touchdown catches was a ball thrown way too high, but he went up to get it while falling on his back cradling it in, and securing the touchdown. Mr. Johnson has a lot of athleticism and I am going to be looking to him to fill some voids at the tight end position on some of my teams.
Welcome to the Juwan Johnson show 💥👀 pic.twitter.com/6H0SUbAKc3
— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 12, 2021
Alvin Kamara (20-83 rushing and 3-8-TD receiving) looked as fresh and as fast as he has ever looked. I tweeted on Sunday that I will regret drafting Ezekiel Elliott over Kamara with my 4th overall pick in my home league. Any fears of Kamara losing out on receptions in 2021 (he had 4 targets Sunday) now that Jameis is the quarterback are unfounded in my view. One of the key changes for Winston in 2021 is focusing on check-downs more frequently as opposed to trying to force the ball downfield like he did in Bruce Arians offense in Tampa Bay.
The dumbest thing I did in any draft was take Elliott over Kamara at pick 4. What a moron I am! I should've watched more football from 2020. It's clear as day Kamara has more burst than Elliott. In fact, it's not all that close. #NFL #FantasyFootball
— Michael Govier (@mjgovier) September 12, 2021
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (22-37-TD with 267 yards passing) started off promising in the first half against the Broncos, but by the third quarter the Broncos seemed to be in control and the second half offered little in the way of inspiration or hope for the Giant’s offense to mount a comeback.
Sterling Shepard (7-113-TD) took advantage of the many injuries at the wide receiver position in training camp and came away with a touchdown on over 100 yards receiving. Saquon Barkley (10-26) was given a few rushing attempts but was not able to do much with it at all. New York has the next Thursday night game coming up against Washington and it makes sense that they would try to limit Barkley with such a short turnaround against a very important divisional opponent.
— Seth Woolcock (@Between_SethFF) September 12, 2021
There’s been a fair amount of buzz around Joe Judge being a unique coach, but in this game, he made a major gaffe by challenging a scoring play that was reminiscent of one of our former local coaches here in the Detroit area named Jim Schwartz. That’s not the type of company you want to keep if you’re going to be a breakthrough head coach.
I respect Jason La Canfora of CBS a great deal and in his football picks column for Week 1 he picked the Eagles and the points on the road against the Falcons. His explanation was that the Falcons are in transition and the Eagles had the advantage on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
It turns out that Jason was wise because the Eagles defensive line controlled the game and their offensive line created plenty of opportunities for Miles Sanders (15-74) to have a passable outing. Kenneth Gainwell (9-37-TD) was also able to score a rushing touchdown.
The future at least for this week looks bright for Philadelphia as their top draft pick Devonta Smith (6-71-TD) scored a touchdown while building a solid rapport with QB Jalen Hurts. I certainly don’t think the Eagles are as good as they played on Sunday, but my big takeaway was Miles Sanders (4-39 on 5 targets) showing everybody that he is a legit running back who can also catch the ball. Kenneth Gainwell will always be a nuisance though and will continue to snipe some scoring opportunities from Sanders.
DEVONTA SMITH HAS ARRIVED pic.twitter.com/0EqKWupCYP
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 12, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers took on the Detroit Lions in my hometown on Sunday. If you take away the late defensive lapses, the 49ers did very little wrong. Other than a muffed snap early on recovered by the Lions and a scary fumble late by Debo Samuel (9-189-TD), the 49ers were nearly dominant on offense.
Trey Lance was able to throw his first career touchdown pass on a short rollout to the weak side near the goal line, but Jimmy Garoppolo (17-25-TD with 314 passing yards) made all the other plays at quarterback. Even though Samuel had the fumble he had a huge game with 189 yards receiving and a touchdown. Brandon Aiyuk was nowhere to be found in this game as he had to sit out the first quarter in what was termed as Kyle Shanahan coaching Aiyuk up.
After a hot start to training camp, Brandon Aiyuk tailed off dramatically. He is still learning how to be a pro. Kyle Shanahan, clearly, favors some of the other WRs right now. Message sent. https://t.co/EobXOVruN5
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) September 12, 2021
This is a slight cause for concern because I believe that Aiyuk could be a top 25 wide receiver in 2021. When you consider how well the 49ers run the ball, which was displayed best in this game by the rookie out of Memphis Elijah Mitchell (19-104-TD), there might not be as many targets to go around for Kittle, Samuel and Aiyuk. Raheem Mostert left this game with a knee injury so be prepared to spend to roster Elijah Mitchell for your waiver wire pickups this week.
Russell Wilson (18-23-4TD with 254 yards passing) and the Seahawks’ new offensive philosophy did their job in this one with Tyler Lockett’s (4-100-2TD) catch of a rocket launch from Wilson standing out among all others. Yet, I may have been most impressed by the Seattle defense. They made Carson Wentz uncomfortable all afternoon. They stuffed 4th and shorts, they hurried Wentz repeatedly and they limited Jonathan Taylor in the rushing game. Seattle definitely impressed us at Week 1 Fantasy Takes with a stellar road win.
Tampa Bay Bucs
Tom Brady (32-50-4TD with 379 passing yards). HOW!? It’s easy to blow it off as Brady being Brady, but his exploits on Thursday night deserve a lot of respect. As Cris Collinsworth argued on the NBC broadcast, he might be better now than he was with the Pats at 24 years old. He threw a perfect deep strike to Antonio Brown (5-121-TD) that was as special as any deep ball he’s ever thrown and he would’ve had another one that Chris Godwin (9-105-TD) dropped.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 10, 2021
Brady’s days in the Bay will only continue to bring supreme fantasy value all season long. And even more so if Rob Gronkowski’s (8-90-2TD) body is feeling better than it has in years. Mike Evans (3-24) was the odd man out in the receiving game, but he will get his chances this season too. Expect a constant rotation of strong efforts from the cast of receiving characters. Even Scottie Miller! Now, what about their rushing attack? Who cares!
Ryan Fitzpatrick injured his hip and will be out indefinitely. I don’t think this is much of a loss as Taylor Heinecke (11-15-TD with 122 passing yards in relief) overachieved last year and certainly shows the disposition to carry this offense through the 2021 season. Terry McLaurin (4-62) will likely see an increase in targets now because he was one of Heinecke’s favorite targets in 2020.
TERRY MCLAURIN ARE YOU SERIOUS 😱
— ESPN (@espn) September 12, 2021
Antonio Gibson (20-90) had a disappointing fumble but proved he has 3-down RB status while catching 3 balls on 5 targets compared to J.D. McKissic’s 0 catches on 1 target. Logan Thomas (3-30-TD) caught a touchdown pass and looks to be a rock-solid reliable tight end. If you were able to draft him around his ADP it looks like you’re going to get a solid return on your expectations.
That’s the lowdown for Week 1 Fantasy Football Takes in the NFC. Don’t forget we will have a new article every Monday.
For more help in getting your lineups set this week check out the rest of our rankings and analysis for NFL Week 2!
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