Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
While I’m certainly not sold, Hasselbeck and his cast of questionable wide receivers came through in Week 1 against a 49ers defense that came out inexplicably flat. Hasselbeck went 18 of 23 for 170 yards and two touchdowns and chipped in a rushing touchdown to boot (note that it’s a sad commentary on your running backs when you call a quarterback sneak with a 34-year old, injury-prone QB with a history of back problems).
Jay Cutler, Bears
The whispers that Cutler could be a decent fantasy starter will grow into a chorus after his Week 1 performance against the leaky Lions defense. Cutler started shaky but finished with 372 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception. Cutler made some questionable decisions and the offensive line needs to improve however, if Cutler gets protection, the Bears passing game should be dynamic.
Trent Edwards, Bills
Edwards looked good in the preseason, shedding his propensity to check down while opening up the Bills offense with solid production in the passing game. The question was whether he would continue to do so once the regular season began. Well, the lights came on and he was in full Captain Checkdown mode, going 18 for 34 for a paltry 139 yards and a touchdown. With the game winding down and the Bills needing big chunks of yardage, he checked down on four consecutive passes to end the game, proving that some people never change.
Matt Schaub, Texans
You generally shouldn’t read too much into the opening week of the season but the way Arian Foster ran against the Colts, it seems abundantly clear that the Texans will throw far less frequently than they did in 2009, when Schaub finished with a league-leading, 4,770 passing yards. He’s clearly not a player that should be unloaded but the odds of him finishing as a top five fantasy quarterback look a lot less likely after watching Foster’s performance.
Arian Foster, Texans
What is there to say? The top fantasy performer of the week and if you had him in your lineup, you almost certainly would have won with a 41 point outing courtesy of a Texans’ record 231 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Foster looked like the real deal, repeatedly shredding the Colts suspect run defense. Move him up to RB1 status and try to grab him if his owner isn’t a believer.
Matt Forte, Bears
Anybody who gambled that Forte would get the lions share of the touches over Chester Taylor was rewarded in Week 1. Forte shredded the Lions defense, catching seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 50 rushing yards on 17 carries. Granted, it was the Lions but Forte looks like a solid play against everything except the league’s top defenses.
Darren McFadden, Raiders
With Michael Bush and the Raiders fell behind early, McFadden had his most productive day since his second game as a pro, finishing with 95 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Titans. Although he isn’t likely to get the 24 touches he had in Week 1 when Bush returns, he did enough to solidify his status as a decent flex option and RB3 with upside in leagues that don’t utilize the flex spot.
Peyton Hillis, Browns
Hillis moved up to the top backup spot after second round pick Montario Hardesty’s season ending injury. However, the expectation was that he would spell Jerome Harrison and likely get the short yardage work. Instead, he split time with Harrison and finished with more touches (13 to 10). He finished with 41 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and four receptions for 24 yards.
Brandon Jackson, Packers
It’s tough to say that Jackson will excel as the lead running back in the Packers explosive offense but we’re about to find out as Ryan Grant is out for the year with an ankle injury. Jackson played reasonably well against the Eagles in Week 1, finishing with 63 yards on 18 carries and 12 receiving yards. The Packers added Falcons’ practice squader Dimitri Nance to the fold on Tuesday, although they will hope to get rookie James Starks back off the PUP list sometime after Week 6.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Spiller couldn’t get anything going Sunday and finished with 14 total yards. The Bills offensive line couldn’t block the Dolphins front seven – a group that can hardly be considered one of the top run defending units in the league. Trent Edwards looked horrible and the Bills finished with 166 total yards of offense. Spiller is good but he can’t carry an entire offense this devoid of talent.
Justin Forsett, Seahawks
So much for Forsett winning the starting job. If Week 1 was any indication, it’s a full on running back by committee in Seattle with Forsett getting seven carries to eight for Julius Jones and six for Leon Washington. Provided that remains the status quo, none of the Seahawks running backs has any fantasy value. Move Forsett to your bench until the situation changes.
Donald Brown, Colts
No carries, one reception and apparently no fantasy value unless Joseph Addai gets hurt.
Kareem Huggins, Buccaneers
No carries, no receptions and apparently no fantasy value unless Cadillac Williams gets hurt.
Mark Clayton, Rams
Clayton was rookie quarterback Sam Bradford’s top target in week 1 against the Cardinals and appears to be the team’s number one wide receiver moving forward. While, Laurent Robinson was ignored because the Rams were avoiding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Clayton was targeted 16 times, catching ten passes for 119 yards. He also dropped a pass where he could have split the safeties and scored a touchdown.
Steve Breaston, Cardinals
While Larry Fitzgerald and Derek Anderson looked completely out of sync, Breaston looked like he had played with Anderson for years. Breaston caught all seven of the passes thrown his way, finishing with 132 yards. Much of it came against inexperienced cornerback Bradley Fletcher but Breaston looked dynamic and may end up duplicating Anquan Boldin’s production by the end of the season.
Legedu Naanee, Chargers
Nice game against the Chiefs in Week 1 with five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. He clearly outplayed Malcom Floyd so let the debate begin on exactly who is the Chargers top fantasy wide receiver…?
Devin Aromashodu, Bears
Aromashodu was listed as a backup entering the season but he emerged as Jay Cutler’s go-to-guy in Week 1. He was targeted 10 times, catching five passes for 71 yards and dropping a pass in the end zone. While Devin Hester and Johny Knox were tabbed as the Bears wide receivers most likely to breakout under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense, after Week 1, it looks like Aromasho is the player to own of the Bears receivers.
Eddie Royal, Broncos
With head coach Josh McDaniels stating that he likes to spread the receiving workload around, the Broncos may rely on a different receiver in any given week. However, Royal started out the season on fire, catching eight passes for 98 yards. Chalk him up as the Broncos top wide receiver to own… at least for now.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Fitzgerald says he’s at 70% and he had absolutely no chemistry with starting quarterback Derek Anderson in Week 1 against the Rams. Despite being targeted 15 times, Fitzgerald caught three passes for 43 yards. He scored a touchdown but that came on a play where the Rams got no pressure on Anderson, allowing Fitzgerald to get completely open in the corner of the end zone.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
I guess preseason does matter. Crabtree and quarterback Alex Smith weren’t on the same page with Crabtree causing one interception and seemingly not running the proper pattern on more than one occasion. Add it all up and the end result is two catches for 12 yards despite a healthy 8 targets. Not exactly a good start to the breakout season that most were predicting. He also drew the ire of head coach Mike Singletary after a lacklustre effort to make a tackle after an interception. Vernon Davis had a breakout campaign after getting lit up by Singletary…unfortunately that breakout occurred the following year.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
Lewis has always had decent talent but his fantasy value heading into the season was low based on his lack of touchdowns (never more than two in any season) and the emergence of Zach Miller as a receiving threat. However, he scored touchdowns on both of his receptions in Week 1 against the Broncos. Has he used up his touchdown allotment for this year or is he on his way to a decent fantasy season? Might be worth a look if you’re in the market for a backup on your roster.
Owen Daniels, Texans
No shocker here since head coach Gary Kubiak said Daniels would be limited to 20-25 plays in Week 1 against the Colts. That number seemed about right and the Texans only passed it 17 times with running back Arian Foster dominating the Colts on the ground. While that trend won’t repeat itself every week, the Texans clearly are a much-improved team running the ball with Foster. Couple that with Daniels questionable health, and you’ve got a risky fantasy starter for the early part of 2010.