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Fantasy football is back in full force and Sunday seemingly presented an entire season worth of breakouts, disappointments, and injuries. In short, the rush is back and stronger than ever for fantasy owners who have been waiting for this day since the second Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson in February.
Hopefully your fantasy team(s) saw overwhelming success on Sunday thanks to the fine advice from the crew at Rotoworld and if not, the next few days will be jam packed full of strategies to dig you out of an 0-1 hole. But before we dig into waiver wire options and Week 2 rankings, let’s take a quick look at the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between from a busy Sunday.
Wide Receiver Injury Issues
The big news from Sunday night concerned Dez Bryant and a devastating blow to fantasy owners, as Tony Romo's top weapon will be out 4-6 weeks after surgery, according to Dallas owner Jerry Jones. Dez caught five passes for 48 yards and will now likely be out until after Dallas' Week 6 bye. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley will now attempt to pickup the slack at receiver for the Cowboys, with Jason Witten in line for a healthy workload in Dez's absence as well. This one is a tough pill to swallow with the 2015 season just a few days old.
Demaryius Thomas also is facing an upcoming X-ray on his injured hand. Thomas didn't miss significant time on Sunday and caught seven passes for 60 yards, so the hope is that the X-ray is precautionary and Peyton Manning will have his best wide receiver available in Week 2.
T.Y.Hilton suffered a bruised knee on Sunday and could be out a few weeks after Sunday's Indianapolis Colts loss at Buffalo. The detials surrounding this situation haven't been crystal clear up to this point, but an upcoming MRI should shed light on the timetable for Hilton's return.
Breakout Tight Ends
The fantasy tight end position got off to a blazing start on Thursday when the one and only Gronk erupted for 94 yards and a hat trick in the touchdown department. Sunday saw more of the same, as the NFL’s new class of tight ends did serious damage to opposing defenses. Chiefs stud Travis Kelce go things rolling early, as he hauled in six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns as Kansas City topped Houston. The later games saw two young tight ends get into the action with Tyler Eifert going nuts for nine catches, 104 yards, and two scores of his own. Lastly, second-year player Austin Seferian-Jenkins stacked up 110 yards and two scores on five grabs in some serious garbage time action. So, what does this all mean? Well, the tight end position is historically a bit shallow for 12 and 14 team league owners, but that may not be the case this year as waiver wires are flooded with quality tight end options following the NLF’s opening weekend. ASJ and Eifert will command top FAAB dollar and waiver wire claims this week.
A number of NFL backfields were as clear as mud puddles this summer with fantasy owners waiting for Week 1 to gather more concrete information. Here is how a few of the most notable running back committee situations played out in Week 1:
Dallas: Joseph Randle led the way in Dallas on Sunday night with 16 carries, giving nervous Randle fantasy owners a nice sigh of relief after a summer of swirling questions about the Cowboys backfield. Darren McFadden got six carries behind Randle with Lance Dunbar turning in a solid receiving game with eight catches for 70 yards. Moving forward, Randle seems like a safe bet for the early-down work with Dunbar creeping into flex territory in PPR leagues.
Cleveland: The Browns backfield was a mess on Sunday, but more in terms of production that workload split. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson combined for 19 carries for 42 yards and a brutal 2.2 yards per carry average. Johnson was expected to gather the receiving work in this committee, but was not targeted while Crowell caught two passes for 13 yards. The entire Cleveland offense was out of sync with Josh McCown knocked out of the game and Johnny Manziel taking over at quarterback. Neither running back option here is comforting as fantasy owners look to set Week 2 lineups, so mid-week practice reports will likely dictate the workload split between Crowell and Johnson as it did with Crowell and Terrance West last season. As of now, this is a situation to avoid.
Detroit: Joique Bell received eight touches on Sunday, with rookie Ameer Abdullah gathering 11 touches as the Lions took on the Chargers. Abdullah was far more productive with this opportunities on Sunday and looked every bit as quick and athletic as practice reports stated all summer long. Abdullah is the back to own here, although Bell will remain in the mix for now.
Tennessee: Bishop Sankey and Terrance West received almost identical workloads on Sunday, but Sankey was more productive as he found the end zone once in the air and one on the ground. Sankey could be in line to benefit from an improved Titans offense and is the best bet in this committee at the moment.
Injury Quick Slants
C.J. Anderson may have a sprained toe and will be checked out on Monday but his Week 2 outlook is murky with Denver playing on Thursday. … Derek Carr had an X-ray on his injured hand on Sunday, which came back negative. We will wait to see what his Week 2 status looks like in coming days. … Andre Ellington has a PCL injury, and no timetable has been discussed for a potential return. Chris Johnson and David Johnson will carry the load wile Ellington is out. … DeSean Jackson left Washington’s game on Sunday with a hamstring injury and did not return. The injury is worrisome for the speedy receiver but more information should be released this week on his status. … Josh McCown suffered a concussion on Sunday and did not return, giving Johnny Manziel a shot under center. ... Delanie Walker was sporting a cast on his hand on Sunday, but no official information has been released regarding his status or potential timetable for return.