Fantasy Football Column: Week One Standouts and Stinkers

Kyle Elderkin 
Contributing Writer

Every kickoff to the NFL season brings questions for fantasy football team owners. Week one of the NFL season has come and gone, so let’s take a look at the fantasy standouts, stinkers and top rookies from this season’s NFL openers.

Standouts

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson started 2019 on a mission to change the stigma about him being a run-only quarterback. After running almost twice as much as he threw in his rookie campaign, the 2016 Heisman set out to prove his arm had power too. Behind a 17-20, 324-yard, five touchdown game where he only had three rushing attempts, the second-year quarterback established himself as a QB who should be feared for his arm as well as his legs. The Ravens destroyed the Dolphins on their way to a 59-10 win and a 33.6 fantasy points performance for the young quarterback.

 Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs

Watkins had three touchdowns in the entire 2018 season. He had the same in just over three quarters of gameplay in 2019. With 46.8 fantasy points on nine receptions, 198 yards, and three touchdowns, Watkins lead all fantasy scoring through the first week of the season. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s usual top wide out option was carted off the field early in the game with a shoulder injury. If Hill remains out of the lineup, expect Watkins to remain as the top receiver on the team.

Christian McCaffery – Carolina Panthers 

Christian McCaffery is Carolina’s offense. He carried the team’s offense to the tune of 128 yards rushing, 81 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. What’s more, he had 40% of all the team’s receptions, meaning he had his hands on over 60% of all plays from scrimmage that were not incomplete passes. McCaffery looks to repeat his production from last season and has certainly started 2019 on the right foot with 42.9 PPR fantasy points. 

Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon who? The 24-year-old Ekeler took advantage of Gordon’s holdout by leading the way for the Chargers in dominating fashion. Ekeler did it by land and through the air against the Colts, touching the ball 18 times for a total of 154 yards and three touchdowns. The second-year pro blitzed the Colts defense on his way to 34.9 fantasy points. Only once in his career has Gordon eclipsed that total. Don’t expect the Chargers to rush to pay Gordon any time soon if Ekeler keeps up this fantasy production.

Stinkers

Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans could not get into a groove Sunday against San Francisco. Some of the blame goes to his QB, who had 3 interceptions on the day, but Evans only saw five targets, hauling in just two catches for 28 yards. A bad start to the season for the pro-bowler. (4.8 fantasy points)

Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts

Losing Andrew Luck hurt no one more than Eric Ebron, who saw himself go from a top tier tight-end last season to just one catch and eight yards in the season opener. (1.8 Fantasy points)

Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis Colts

The NFL’s all-time leading scorer turns 47-years-old this season and looked like it on Sunday. Vinatieri missed two out of three field goal attempts and an extra point in a close game against the Chargers. (3 Fantasy points). 

Rookies to keep an eye on

Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals

Murray’s long-awaited first game had its ups and downs for the quarterback. Through three quarters it looked like Murray’s debut was going to be a complete bust, but in the fourth quarter, he led a comeback with 18 unanswered points taking the Lions into overtime where the game ended in a tie. The top pick in the draft had 308 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to start off the year with a 21.6 fantasy performance. Not a bad start for the young man.

T.J. Hockenson – Detroit Lions

In the same game as Murray, Hockenson of the Detroit Lions, the number eight pick in last year’s NFL draft, surprised many with six receptions, 131 yards, and a touchdown. A key player in the Lions offense, Hockenson posted an impressive 25.1 fantasy points to finish as a top scoring tight-end in his first career game. 

Marquise Brown – Baltimore Ravens

A late first-round pick, Brown took advantage of Lamar Jackson’s strong outing, scoring touchdowns on his first two career receptions and gaining 147 yards on just four receptions. With few other dominant offensive players on Baltimore, expect Brown to establish himself as a key part of Baltimore’s offense this season.

Notable Injuries

Quarterback Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars (Collarbone)

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (Collarbone)

Running Back Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (Ankle)

Running back Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49er’s (Ankle)

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia