FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Impact: Week 1
Ken Pomponio
September 10, 2012
 

Bears 41, Colts 21
Soldier Field (Chicago)

  • It was quite the reunion for Bears' QB Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, the former Bronco teammates who hooked up nine times for 119 yards a TD Sunday. Marshall was targeted 15 times in the game -- one more than the rest of the Chicago receivers and tight ends combined.
  • Any questions about how Bears' RBs Matt Forte and Michael Bush will co-exist were answered quite nicely for both players. Forte carried 16 times for 80 yards and a TD and added three receptions for 40 yards, while Bush had 12 rushes for 42 yards and a pair of 1-yard  scores.
  • Those banking on No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck making a seamless NFL transition had a rude awakening as the Colts' QB was picked off three times and fumbled twice, losing one. Luck only had 10 interceptions all season last year at Stanford. On the brighter side, the rookie did throw for 309 yards and a short TD to Donnie Avery.
  • Despite scoring the game's first points on a 3-yard interception return by LB Jerrell Freeman, the Colts' defense did nothing to dispel the notion that it'll be a pushover for opposing fantasy players, giving up 41 points and 428 yards and also losing one of its only standouts, DE/LB Dwight Freeney, to an ankle injury.

Eagles 17, Browns 16
Browns Stadium (Cleveland)

  • Despite being in a close contest throughout, the Eagles were out of balance Sunday, with 56 passes and 30 runs -- and that includes seven rushes by QB Michael Vick. Of Vick's 56 passing attempts, 4 were intercepted and he fumbled twice, but Philly recovered both.
  • The Eagles have two TEs worth owning, with up-and-coming Clay Harbor catching three for a 16 yards and a TD, while Brent Celek had four receptions for 65 yards.
  • Third-overall pick Trent Richardson, who had two offseason knee surgeries, was the only Browns RB with a carry, rushing 19 times for 39 yards. He added one catch for 5 yards.
  • Cleveland's other first-round pick, QB Brandon Weeden, had it even worse, completing only 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards and four picks. That was good for a 5.1 passer rating.

Patriots 34, Titans 13
LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)

  • There was a rare sighting Sunday in Nashville -- a 100-yard Patriot rusher. New England only has had four RBs eclipse the century mark in a game over the past three seasons, but Stevan Ridley turned the trick Sunday, gaining 125 yards and scoring a TD on 21 carries. With Shane Vereen out with an injury, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Bolden combined for only 31 yards on 11 carries.
  • It looked like 2011 all over again for Titans' RB Chris Johnson was limited to an ugly, career single-game low 4 yards on 11 carries. Johnson's longest run of the day was 5 yards, meaning he netted a loss of 1 on his other 10 rushes. He did finish with a team-high six catches for 47 yards.
  • Who's the top receiving target in Tennessee? That's still up in the air as no fewer than five Titans finished with 6-8 targets, led by WR Nate Washington (8) and Johnson (7). TE Jared Cook and WRs Kendall Wright and Damian Williams each were targeted six times.

Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City)

  • That preseason fantasy hype for Matt Ryan looks to be the real deal as the Atlanta QB was 23-of-31 for 299 yards and four total TDs in shredding the K.C. defense. His favorite target was second-year WR Julio Jones (6 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs), but Roddy White (6-87), Tony Gonzalez (5-53-1) and even Harry Douglas (3-32) will keep opposing defenses from zeroing in on Jones. 
  • The Falcons' passing prowess is coming at the expense of RB Michael Turner who finished with only 32 yards and no TDs on 11 rushes -- the sixth time in his past seven games he has rushed for fewer than 100 yards. Even more alarming, he only has one rushing TD in those six games.
  • Those hoping for big numbers out of K.C. RBs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis got production only from Charles (87 rushing yards, 46 on one carry), and saw QB Matt Cassel and backup RB Shaun Draughn account for the Chiefs' only rushing TDs.
  • For the record, it was converted RB Dexter McCluster leading K.C. in targets (10) and receptions (6-82) in the contest.

Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)
Metrodome (Minneapolis, Minn.)

  • Maybe Adrian Peterson does have super powers. Less than nine months after tearing an ACL and MCL on Christmas Eve, AD played and played strong, carrying 17 times for 84 yards and scoring the Vikes' only two TDs on short runs of 2 and 3 yards. Backup Toby Gerhart only had four rushes for 18 yards.
  • Do-it-all Percy Harvin did it all again Sunday, leading Minnesota with six receptions for 84 yards and finishing second behind Peterson with 20 rushing yards on five carries. Oh, and he also returned three kickoffs for 88 yards (29.3 average).
  • Rashad Jennings' second-quarter leg injury dashed the Jags' RB rotation plans as Maurice Jones-Drew, originally slated for third-down duties, ran 19 times for 77 yards and had 3 catches for 18 yards. Jennings finished with eight rushes for 31 yards and one catch for 9 yards.
  • It appears Jags' QB Blaine Gabbert spent the offseason well. The second-year starter hit career highs with 260 passing yards and two TDs while avoiding an interception. His TD strike to Cecil Shorts in the final minute of the fourth quarter should have been the game-winner, but the Jacksonville D allowed a late field goal in regulation before falling in OT.

Redskins 40, Saints 32
Superdome (New Orleans)

  • Wow, so this RGIII can play. Griffin, the draft's second-overall pick, became the first player to throw for more than 300 yards (320) with two TDs and no interceptions in his first NFL start.  And he did it while outduelling Drew Brees and upsetting the heavily-favored Saints.
  • Meanwhile, sixth-round pick Alfred Morris was the surprise starter at RB, finishing with 96 yards and a pair of TDs on 28 carries. Evan Royster and Roy Helu combined for all of 12 rushing yards on four attempts.
  • Brees put up his usual big numbers, but the New Orleans running game went nowhere with Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas combining for 32 yards on 10 carries.
  • With WR Robert Meachem having departed via free agency in the offseason, Lance Moore looks like he's ready to assume a bigger workload, leading the Saints with 6 grabs for 120 yards and a TD.

Jets 48, Bills 28
New Meadowlands Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • We're only a little more than a week removed from the Jets' preseason offensive struggles but they seemed light years ago Sunday as Mark Sanchez and Co. put up the most points so far in Week 1. Sanchez tossed a trio of TD passes -- two of them to second-round pick Stephen Hill -- after failing to lead New York into the end zone in four exhibition contests.
  • Tim Tebow? Very quiet. He didn't attempt a pass and only rushed for 11 yards on five carries.
  • Fred Jackson's return didn't even last one half as the Bills' RB left in the second quarter with what is being called a left LCL sprain. Jackson, who finished with 15 yards on six rushes, missed Buffalo's final six games of 2011 with a broken leg.
  • If Jackson misses any length of time, C.J. Spiller's fantasy value takes a huge jump. Spiller racked up 194 total yards, highlighted by a 56-yard TD run.

Lions 27, Rams 23
Ford Field (Detroit)

  • Who says the Detroit RBs have no fantasy worth? On a day where QB Matthew Stafford struggled with three interceptions before the late game-winning TD pass, RB Kevin Smith rushed for 62 yards and a TD and added four receptions for 29 more yards. And, yeah, he was on the receiving end of that Stafford TD toss.
  • Teammates Brandon Pettigrew (10), Nate Burleson (8) and Tony Scheffler (8) all wound up with more targets than consensus fantasy No. 1 wideout Calvin Johnson (7) but Megatron made catches on six of those seven targets and finished with a team-high 111 yards.
  • As for the Rams, we didn't find out much more than we didn't already know. The offensive line remains a huge concern and is dragging down the fantasy value of the skill players. RB Steven Jackson finished with only 53 yards on 21 carries while Sam Bradford was sacked three times and was harassed much of the game.

Texans 30, Dolphins 10
Reliant Stadium (Houston)

  • Ho hum -- it was the usual fantasy suspects starring for Houston on Sunday with RB Arian Foster rushing for pair of TDs and a healthy-looking Andre Johnson hauling in eight passes for 119 yards a score. Foster's TDs salvaged an otherwise sub-par day as he gained only 79 yards on 26 carries and had just a single reception for a minus-4 yards.
  • Journeyman PK Shayne Graham might elicit fantasy yawns, but those looking for a kicker who will get plenty of chances in a high-scoring offense can do a lot worse than the Texan who had a trio of field goals and three extra points Sunday. 
  • Daniel Thomas might one day take over as the Dolphins' No. 1 RB, but that day wasn't Sunday as the second-year player finished with only 11 yards on three carries and lost a fumble before leaving with a concussion in the first half. Reggie Bush, meanwhile, had 115 total yards from scrimmage, including 69 rushing on 14 carries.

49ers 30, Packers 22
Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)

  • Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers on the scoreboard -- and playing him to a draw in fantasy? That just happened Sunday afternoon at Lambeau as Smith threw for 211 yards, two TDs and no interceptions while Rodgers had 303 passing yards, two scores and a costly interception.
  • The San Fran WR situation played out about as expected. Michael Crabtree (7 catches, 76 yards) is the wideout you want in PPR leagues, while the ageless Randy Moss (4-47-TD) still knows his way into the end zone.
  • The Green Bay running game was no match for the Niners' rugged D. Rodgers led the Pack with 27 rushing yards, while new acquisition Cedric Benson was the only other Packer to carry the ball, rushing nine times for all of 18 yards.

Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16
University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)

  • The Cardinals' QB pendulum has swung back in Kevin Kolb's favor. Starter John Skelton struggled before going down with what's being called a high-ankle sprain in the fourth quarter. Enter Kolb, who proceeded to march the Cards 80 yards in 11 plays and capping it with the game-winning 6-yard TD toss to Andre Roberts.
  • Despite being bothered by back spasms much of last week, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch started and had a decent game with 97 total yards, but failed to find the end zone.
  • Both defenses are starter worthy as the two offenses in this game combined for only 507 total yards and four turnovers. Both units also are dangerous on kick and punt returns.

Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)

  • The Tampa Bay RB split didn't go as LeGarrette Blount owners would've hoped, as their back finished with only four touches for 10 yards, while rookie Doug Martin had 24 rushes for 95 yards and four receptions for 23 more.
  • The Bucs' defense, a fantasy and reality sieve last season, held Cam Newton and Co. to 10 points, 301 total yards and notched three sacks and two interceptions.
  • With backfield mate Jonathan Stewart inactive with an ankle injury, DeAngelo Williams had the opportunity but laid a big-time fantasy egg, finishing with six rushes for a negative yard and catching only one pass for 5 yards.

Broncos 31, Steelers 19
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver)

  • Was Peyton Manning ever gone? It sure didn't look that way on Football Night in America with the 36-year-old directing the no-huddle and dissecting the Steelers to the tune of 253 yards and two TDs.
  • As for his targets, Denver wideouts Eric Decker and DeMaryius Thomas both finished with five catches, but Thomas' better big-play ability was evident in his 110-54 yardage advantage, thanks to his 71-yard scoring reception in the third quarter.
  • The short-handed Steelers were in the game much of the night, but the offensive line is a major concern going forward. After losing No. 1 pick David DeCastro to injury in the preseason, two more starters, RT Marcus Gilbert and RG Ramon Foster were forced out the game with injuries Sunday night. Pittsburgh wound up allowing five sacks and averaged only 2.9 yards per rush.

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