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Week 1 fantasy wrap: Spencer Ware tops Mostly NFL Notes

Dalton Del Don
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Spencer Ware totaled 199 yards and a score, cementing his status as Kansas City’s feature back while Jamaal Charles continues to recover from knee surgery. Ware should remain the team’s GL back all season, and after securing all of his targets in the preseason, he hauled in 7-of-8 for 129 receiving yards Sunday, which is huge news for his fantasy value. The Chiefs’ schedule is rough over the next three games (@Hou, NYJ, @Pit) but really eases up after that, and Ware is a must-start right now regardless of matchup…The Chargers typically shut down opposing No. 1 wideouts, so Jeremy Maclin’s outing was actually impressive…The 21-point comeback was the largest in KC’s franchise history, and Alex Smith’s 34 completions were a career high…After failing to reach the end zone during his rookie campaign, Melvin Gordon scored twice in the game’s first 16 minutes, as apparently all he needed was a little microfracture knee surgery.

Spencer Ware's huge game and a look around the rest of the league in Week 1 (Getty Images)
Spencer Ware’s huge game and a look around the rest of the league in Week 1 (Getty Images)

What a brutal injury (and loss for fantasy owners) for Keenan Allen, who’s out for the season after suffering a torn ACL on a non-contact play. As was the case last year when Allen went down, the Chargers’ offense struggled with him out of the lineup, as they managed just two field goals in the second half (when Antonio Gates was somehow not targeted) after scoring 21 points in the first. Tyrell Williams is an interesting option now in deep leagues, and Danny Woodhead should see even more targets moving forward, but there’s no real alternative for Allen owners to turn to. It’s an obvious blow to Philip Rivers’ value as well.

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Only the Broncos allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Falcons last season, so it was encouraging to see Mike Evans have a nice game. He’s going to have a huge season, as is Jameis Winston…On the other hand, it was a discouraging outing for Devonta Freeman owners, as last year’s No. 1 fantasy back split snaps nearly evenly with Tevin Coleman, with the latter leading the team with 95 receiving yards. Freeman should still dominate the goal-line carries and better days are obviously ahead, but it clearly wasn’t an empty threat when Atlanta’s coaches claimed Coleman was going to be a much bigger part of the offense.

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What a game in New Orleans (and really, what a Week 1), as the Saints and Raiders combined for 69 points, capped off by Oakland going for two down one with less than a minute left…Somehow Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Clive Walford all were held without a touchdown in the shootout, while Jalen Richard and Jamize Olawale combined for two scores on four rushing attempts…Mark Ingram owners had to be frustrated seeing Travaris Cadet get seven targets, but hopefully the former remains a big part of the passing game like he was last year moving forward…Willie Snead caught all nine of his targets for 172 yards and a TD, while Coby Fleener managed one catch for six yards despite the Saints totaling more than 500 yards of offense. It’s just one game, but coming off a shaky preseason, it’s hard to treat Fleener as a TE1 right now. His owners should be highly concerned…Here’s Brandin Cooks catching the longest pass of Drew Brees’ career…The Saints are 4-10 over their last 14 home games.

Derrick Henry had a disappointing debut, but this catch and run suggests big things are to come…DeMarco Murray scored twice, but he was involved in two lost fumbles, as Minnesota won by nine points on the road despite getting just 4.9 yards per play thanks to two defensive touchdowns…Tajae Sharpe is going to be a plenty useful player in PPR leagues, while Andre Johnson picked up right where he left off last year, dropping a TD pass…Laquon Treadwell didn’t see a single target during his NFL debut.

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A.J. Green was arguably the most impressive player on the field Sunday, as he secured 12-of-13 targets for 180 yards and a long TD catch, most of which came against Darrelle Revis…So much for the speculated RBBC in New York, as Matt Forte saw 27 touches compared to just six from Bilal Powell.

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It was an impressive debut by Carson Wentz, who immediately looks like a viable QB2. The move to him also looks like a boost to Jordan Matthews’ fantasy value as well…This one-handed catch by Zach Ertz was nice…It was an ugly day for Robert Griffin, who completed just 46.2 percent of his passes with zero scores against a Philadelphia defense that yielded the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs last season. Gary Barnidge didn’t catch a single pass, and RG3 is headed for an MRI after taking a big hit late in the game, as he once again refused to slide. It’s going to be a long year in Cleveland.

Aaron Rodgers got just 5.9 YPA, but he mostly played well, totaling three touchdowns, including this highlight worthy play…Is Jared Cook really going to do it again to those who bought into the hype? It certainly appears so…Props to Jacksonville for being aggressive and going for it on 4th-and-5 from midfield early in the second quarter…Despite the mediocre performance, fantasy owners have to love Allen Robinson’s 15 targets. He could soon be a nice buy-low candidate if he has another modest game in Week 2 in a tough matchup in San Diego.

News broke Sunday morning that Sammy Watkins was still hampered by his surgically-repaired foot, and he then proceeded to be mostly shut down against a secondary that allowed the second-most TD passes to opposing wide receivers last season. It’s a little worrisome…Where’s Wallace? Apparently behind Buffalo’s secondarySteve Smith somehow managed just 2.1 yards-per-target, but he appears to be much higher in the passing game pecking order than Kamar Aiken.

If there remained even a sliver of doubt about Lamar Miller becoming a true workhorse in Houston, it was put to bed after he was given a career high 32 touches during his first game with the Texans…It may come with an ugly YPC mark, but Jeremy Langford should be a fine RB2 all year thanks to volume…Will Fuller saw a team-high 11 targets and eclipsed 100 yards with a score, and his day could’ve been much bigger if not for dropping a would-be 80+ yard touchdown.

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I thought I was playing it safe going with Seattle in Survivor, but it turns out I’m lucky to see Week 2, as it took a late fourth down conversion for the 10.5-point favorites to pull out a win…The Seahawks’ offensive line was overwhelmed by an imposing Miami front four, especially with Russell Wilson hobbled by an ankle sprain…Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls managed just 98 yards on 27 carries against a Dolphins defense that ceded the most fantasy points to opposing backs last season. It looks like a dreaded timeshare in Seattle, although Rawls saw more work during the second half and even caught three balls after recording just nine receptions last year. Rawls should emerge as the leader of Seattle’s backfield soon enough…Kenny Stills had one of the worst drops you’ll ever see.

It was a disappointing first game from Ezekiel Elliott, but at least he was given 20 carries and hit paydirt. Expect defenses to center their attention on stopping Dallas’ running game until Dak Prescott proves he can beat them downfield…Prescott certainly didn’t fall flat on his face, but he also revealed some limitations. He’s a work in progress, although I’d expect him to run more in the future…Especially with Calvin Johnson now retired, Dez Bryant is the undisputed king of having touchdown catches overturned…That was a lot more Cole Beasley than I expected…Nice to see Victor Cruz back on the field…What was Terrance Williams thinking not going out of bounds? Dallas is now 1-14 over its last 15 games without Tony Romo.

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Matthew Stafford now sports a 22:2 TD:INT ratio over his last nine games…There were seven touchdown passes in this game, yet T.Y. Hilton, Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin combined for none. Jack Doyle had two…Theo Riddick had two scores and nearly a third. It was his first rushing touchdown since 2013 (and second of his career). He’s a rock solid flex option in PPR leagues…Ameer Abdullah looked good, but Riddick is the team’s main passing down back, and Abdullah ceded a GL touchdown to Dwayne Washington.

Longread of the Week: FRAMED

The line jumped from 6.5 to 9.5 leading up to Sunday night football, but it proved foolish to bet against the Patriots even if they were missing Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and their left tackle. Bill Belichick is unreal…And so was this run by David Johnson…The Cardinals lost at home as near double-digit favorites despite DJ getting 5.6 YPC and Carson Palmer not committing any turnovers…I didn’t expect Larry Fitzgerald to grab twice as many receptions with more yards than Michael Floyd and John Brown combined…Chris Hogan looks like a legit WR3…New England is going to go 4-0 without Tom Brady.

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