It's only been one game, but there are key things we can take away from Week 1 to help improve fantasy football teams. This is a good week to trade, as many people panic and make rash decisions. Here are five players on the rise and five trending down and what you should do with them.
WR Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs: Watkins has burned many people over the years. The talent is obvious, but he's been plagued by injuries. With Tyreek Hill sidelined for several weeks with a shoulder injury, Watkins will be the top receiver option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Watkins had 11 targets, catching nine for 198 yards and three touchdowns. He picked up a lot of the yards after the catch and looked extremely quick against one of the better cornerback groups in the NFL. In one of the best offenses in the NFL, Watkins is going to be a WR1 while Hill is out.
QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: Many knocked Jackson last year for his ineptness as a passer. Much of his value for fantasy last season derived from his rushing prowess. After taking over as the starter in Week 11, Jackson never topped 25 pass attempts and his top passing yard game was 204. He had one game of multiple touchdown passes. In those games he started, he had 158 pass attempts and 119 rushing attempts. While it did come against a putrid Dolphins defense, Jackson showed excellent accuracy in hitting receivers. Jackson went 17 of 20 for 324 yards with five touchdowns with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He only had three rushing attempts after averaging 17 as a starter last season.
WR Jamison Crowder, New York Jets: The slot receiver in an Adam Gase offense tends to do well and Crowder was targeted heavily in Week 1 against the Bills. Sam Darnold targeted Crowder 17 times for a 43% target share and Crowder caught 14 for 99 yards. The Jets played from ahead and the game script didn't call for a lot of passing, so it's encouraging for Crowder even though his average depth of target was only three yards. Robby Anderson, who draws the tougher matchups and was shadowed by Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White, helps open the middle for Crowder and Anderson was second on the Jets with seven targets.
RB Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts: In a game script that seemed unfavorable for Mack, the Colts kept feeding him the football. The Colts trailed most of the game and usually that would favor Nyheim Hines, but it didn't. Mack had 25 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns and didn't have a reception. Mack averaged 6.96 yards per carry and Hines had four carries and four receptions for a total of 17 yards. Many of the Colts were downgraded following the retirement of Andrew Luck, but Jacoby Brissett isn't a bad quarterback and the offense won't take a huge hit. The offensive line is good and the Colts showed they will rely on Mack a little more this season.
TE Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders: There was a lot of buzz about Waller being one of the biggest surprises in Raiders camp. The offense featured the tight end often last season with Jared Cook getting 101 targets. The release of wide receiver Antonio Brown opened more targets for Waller and he delivered against the Broncos on Monday night. Waller received eight targets and caught seven passes for 70 yards and played every snap. He was used in a variety of ways, lining up on 33 snaps as an in-line tight end, 15 times out wide and seven snaps in the slot. Waller was a wide receiver at Georgia Tech, making him a valuable weapon, and he's athletic at 6'6” and 258 pounds.
QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Winston had a bad game? As if we never said that before. It's part of the Winston experience, as it will be a roller coaster ride. In what was supposed to be a great matchup at home against the 49ers, Winston disappointed, going 20 of 36 for 194 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Cameron Brate had two touchdowns called back on the same drive. Coach Bruce Arians said two of the three interceptions weren't Winston's fault. He said Peyton Barber ran a bad route leading to a pick-six by cornerback Richard Sherman and O.J. Howard had a pass bounce off his hands for an interception. The Buccaneers defense played surprisingly well, but the team projects to pass often and take shots.
TE Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: It was clear that Ertz benefited from a huge uptick in targets last season and that volume was unlikely to repeat. After 112, 106 and 110 targets in three consecutive seasons, the Eagles tight end had 156 targets leading to 116 receptions, 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018. He had at least eight targets in 12 games last season and had seven in Week 1 against the Redskins, finishing with five receptions for 54 yards. Ertz was second on the team in targets behind DeSean Jackson, who had 10. Carson Wentz passed the ball 39 times as the Eagles trailed most of the way. Eight different players had at least two targets and with more weapons, Ertz won't come close to last season. Ertz will be good, but if you drafted him in the first three rounds expecting stats close to last season, you'll be disappointed.
WR Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers: Pettis was drafted as the top 49ers wide receiver in almost every league and he was listed at the top of the 49ers depth chart. In Week 1 he played just two snaps, catching one pass for seven yards. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan has said there's no pecking order for the receivers and they're still trying to figure it out. Pettis had a groin injury in August and Shanahan said Pettis had a setback with it causing him to miss practice time. Shanahan said Pettis should have played more than two snaps and he will play more going forward. Pettis shouldn't be started in any leagues yet, but hold on in deeper formats.
WR Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers: In a game where Packers wide receiver Davante Adams received a lot of attention from the Bears defense, it was not a good sign to see Allison play 50% of the snaps and fail to record a reception. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was clearly the preferred option outside of Adams. The Packers offense looked abysmal against a good Bears defense and only completed 18 passes. It's one game, but there has to be concern that Allison didn't even get a target in Week 1.
RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles: There was some hope Sanders could emerge as the main back in the backfield and it didn't happen in Week 1. Sanders played 48% of the snaps, while Darren Sproles was at 31% and Jordan Howard played 23%. Sanders had 11 carries for 23 yards and a two-yard reception, Sproles had 12 touches for 63 yards and Howard had eight touches for 55 yards. Sanders had two rushing attempts from the three-yard line and had a 21-yard touchdown run called back due to a penalty. While the stats don't show it, Sanders looked good and will eventually lead the backfield. He's a buy-low.
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