Peyton Manning, Broncos
The Broncos’ talent at the skill positions is just ridiculous, and with Manning orchestrating it, Denver has a good shot to have the most potent offense in the league in 2013. With tight end Julius Thomas emerging as a weapon, Manning threw for 462 yards and a career-high seven touchdown passes in Week 1. This isn’t a sell-high option. It’s a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-show scenario.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Kaepernick shed any concerns that he would struggle without his top wide receiver in Michael Crabtree, topping 400 yards for the first time in his career (he topped 300 yards only once previously, in last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Ravens) while throwing for three touchdowns. This cat is ready to join the elite fantasy QBs in the league.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders & Geno Smith, Jets
Giving you a heads up that these guys weren’t as bad as advertised and they have some hope of emerging as decent QB2s in 2013. That’s more than we thought a week ago.
Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
Can somebody please put this man out of his misery? And end the misery of the Jaguars fans who have to watch him. Totaling just 121 yards on 35 pass attempts (3.5 yards per attempt) is pathetic.
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Weeden showed some promise in the preseason but he reverted to form in Week 1, holding on to the ball too long (six sacks) and making poor decisions (three picks). The truth is that Weeden absolutely has to be surrounded by solid talent, and he is guaranteed to struggle until Josh Gordon returns in Week 3.
Reggie Bush, Lions
I was all in on Bush even as his ADP grew during the preseason, and he didn’t disappoint in Week 1 with 191 total yards and a touchdown. He also had another score overturned. With the Vikings defense focused on shutting down Calvin Johnson, Bush had space to do his thing and he seems a perfect fit in Detroit. If only we could guarantee full health for 16 games.
Joique Bell, Lions
Meet Reggie Bush’s real handcuff and a guy who totaled 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 1. Mikel Leshoure owners can now safely move on.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles
After McCoy’s 32-touch, 189-yard, one-touchdown performance, we can put to rest any concerns about Chip Kelly’s offense being a success in the NFL and the impact Bryce Brown would have on Shady’s touches.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
Stevan Ridley was benched for bumbling (er, fumbling) and Shane Vereen is apparently out with a broken wrist. Blount looked very ordinary against the Bills this week (seven carries, 15 yards) but he just might be in the starting lineup in Week 2. I’m not calling it, but there is a chance.
David Wilson, Giants
The worst nightmare for Wilson owners came to fruition on Sunday night as he managed to lose two fumbles on his first seven carries, finding himself nailed to the bench. The Giants haven’t given up on him but that’s because they don’t have any other viable options. That is, until they sign one, which seems likely.
Lamar Miller, Dolphins
Another preseason breakout candidate flopped big time in Week 1 with Miller being limited to just three yards on 10 carries. No, that’s not a typo.
Montee Ball, Broncos
Dude’s going to get his turn at some point in his rookie season, but it looks like it’s going to be later than most of us expected. Even with Knowshon Moreno looking clearly average in a blowout win, Ball had only eight carries.
Shane Vereen, Patriots
Yet another blow to the Pats offense as Vereen (wrist surgery) has been placed on the IR / designated for return list which means he’s going to miss eight weeks. Given the Patriots have a bye in Week 10, he’s not likely to see the field until Week 11. It’s a shame as Vereen was one of two running backs (LeSean McCoy) to top the 100-yard rushing mark in Week 1.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers
Boldin led all receivers this week in targets (17), receptions (13) and yards (208). We all knew he was going to have a major role in the 49ers offense this season, but his output in Week 1 was ridiculous. Apparently he has something to prove to the Ravens, who shed his $6-million salary in exchange for a sixth-round pick. An angry Boldin is not a man to be messed with. Ask the Packers’ defensive backs.
Julian Edelman, Patriots
Turns out Edelman, not one of their prized (joking!) rookies, is the Patriots second best fantasy WR. He hauled in seven of his nine targets for 79 yards and a pair of scores. And with Danny Amendola nicked up after Week 1, Edelman has a shot to emerge as their leading receiver, at least until Rob Gronkowski returns.
Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
Could the light finally stay on for the Redskins’ 2011 third-round pick? Hankerson has plenty of talent but has been a tease during his first two years in the league. With the Redskins playing from behind this week, he managed five receptions for 80 yards and a pair of scores. Washington values Josh Morgan for his blocking but there is a decent chance Hankerson supplants him as a starter early in 2013.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins
I was ready to write him off as a fantasy backup, but Mike Wallace’s pout job and Hartline’s nine-reception (15 targets), 114-yard, one-touchdown performance puts him back on the map as a viable WR3 in 12-team leagues.
Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Seven receptions on eight targets for 140 yards. Just saying.
Marlon Brown, Ravens
Jacoby Jones is going to miss some times, the Ravens tight ends were awful and Torrey Smith just isn’t a target hog. Meet Marlon Brown, a 6’5”, 216-pound undrafted rookie free agent who had four receptions for 65 yards and a score this week against the Broncos. Sleeper? Or, sleeper no more?
Mike Wallace, Dolphins
Losah!!!!!!!!!!!! Whining and needing to be escorted off the field by the general manager that signed you to a five-year, $60-million contract after your new team won its first game of the year. Clueless.
Roddy White, Falcons
There were whispers late in the preseason that White’s ankle injury was worse than the Falcons were revealing, and his use as a decoy in Week 1 (two receptions, 19 yards) confirmed it. And then he totally let the cat of the bag by confirming that he has a high ankle sprain.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots
The Patriots’ undrafted rookie free agent had the fourth most targets among wide receivers this week, but he hauled in just four receptions for 42 yards, blew a couple of routes and eased up on a throw to the end zone. Some guys need shades when the lights come on.
Jared Cook, Rams
The Rams signed Cook to a massive contract this offseason and they had no intention of underutilizing him the way the Titans did during his first four years in the league. With Patrick Peterson taking away Chris Givens and with Yeremiah Bell ill-equipped to handle him, Cook caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was stripped just before hitting the end zone on another play or he would have had another score. Cook is clearly poised to have a breakout season in St. Louis.
Julius Thomas, Broncos
Another athletic tight end arrived on the scene in Denver, where Thomas, a barely used 2011 fourth-round pick, had a career day with five receptions for 110 yards and a pair of scores. His performance reminded me of Dante Rosario’s three-touchdown opening day a number of years back, but Thomas looks like he will have more staying power. With all of the options in Denver, defenses will have to pick their poison, and Thomas isn’t a player than many linebackers and safeties will be able to handle.
Jordan Cameron, Browns; Kellen Winslow, Jets; Brandon Myers, Giants
Does it seem like it was the week of the tight end? All of these players had plenty of catches and plenty of targets, plus they found the end zone.
Ed Dickson, Ravens
It seems like I pile on Dickson early every year, so I might as well get it out of my system in 2013. With Dennis Pitta out long term, Dickson has an opportunity to earn a big role this season, but things started out poorly in Week 1 as he hauled in just one of his five targets for 13 yards. The four targets he failed to bring in were all catchable balls. Meanwhile, recently signed backup Dallas Clark caught seven of his 12 targets for 87 yards, although he failed to haul in an easy touchdown catch.
Zach Sudfeld, Patriots
Preseason starlet. Week 1 dud.