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The opening week of the NFL season started with the Green Bay Packers getting thrashed by the Seattle Seahawks, and ended with Ray Rice being banned indefinitely. Some observations on the fantasy relevance of those book-end events, and a few other things that happened in between:
* In the opener, Aaron Rodgers turned in one of the worst fantasy stat lines of any QB in Week 1: 189 yards passing, one TD and one INT. Not exactly terrible, but certainly not Rodgers-like. But don't worry too much if you own Rodgers - Seattle's defense looked like it picked up where it left off last year.
* Devin Hester is ridiculous again, but for a team other than the Bears, who, of course, let him walk in the off-season. We already knew he was going to run back kicks and punts for Atlanta, but the Falcons also seemed to figure out how to use him on offense to a degree Chicago never did. Hester's eight catches for 99 yards was one of the more surprising lines of the week. He could be worth picking up, or at least keeping an eye on. Atlanta has a lot of possible targets, so it's not clear Hester will do this every week, but QB Matt Ryan threw for 448 yards in Week 1, and if he stays on fire, Hester will surely benefit.
* And just like that, Ryan, who we suspected could have a big comeback season, has put himself in the Tier 1 QB conversation. I like his chances to maintain fantasy MVP-like stats all season, considering that, including Hester, he has four quality WRs, and even two of his RBs caught TD passes in Week 1.
* Jay Cutler looked more like the Cutler of old than a guy with talent at every possible pass-catching position. Yet, fantasy-wise, he wasn't all that bad, thanks to 349 yards passing to go with his two TDs and two INTs. Only three QBs had more passing yards last week. Still, it looks like Cutler's fantasy value has its limits until further notice, and it's doubtful he'll start on many fantasy rosters in the weeks ahead with tough defenses in his face.
* As long as we're talking about current and former Bears, how about another? Carolina tight end Greg Olsen managed one of his better fantasy weeks in recent memory with first-string QB Cam Newton on the sidelines with an injury. Eight receptions for 83 yards and a TD sounds could be an indication that the Panthers will target Olsen more this season with lack of depth at the WR position. Still, I'd like to see him have a similar week with Newton in the lead before I bet too much on that.
* Finally, it turns out that even waiting several rounds into the draft to pick Ray Rice - longer than anyone logically should for a guy who was suspended for just two games - then suffering through the snide comments of your league-mates for drafting a wife-beater, still won't bring you any fantasy value whatsoever. Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after video of the incident in which he beat his wife was made public. If you own him, pick up Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce immediately, though you probably know that already, along with everyone else in your league. Forsett had a great Week 1, though it wouldn't be surprising to see the long-hyped Pierce get more action in the weeks ahead.
* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week likes Forsett and a few others.
* ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto sees Vikings RB Adrian Peterson atop his Week 2 rankings despite a pedestrian Week 1 performance.
* Bleacher Report has 12 takeaways from Week 1.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Jun 9, 2021