NFL Week 1: What We Learned Today

Week 1 of the NFL season is always full of surprises and busts. Nobody leave Week 1 without a lot to talk about. Who was the White Boy of the week? I have a feeling that a player on Denver could be taking hope the award this week. Check out what we learned in week one, and I’m sorry, there is no mention of Kanye West or his performance at the MTV VMAs…maybe later.

We learned a lot this week, including who are pretenders, contenders, fantasy studs, and my favorite, fantasy goats. I think a few of my sleepers came through this year, which makes me happy.

White Boy Of The Week – This week the nod goes to Brandon Stokley. That amazing tip catch that he made in the Dever game against Cincinnati earns him the award. I loved him when he was with the Colts and wish he was still in that uniform.

– The Seattle Seahawks look like they are back, but they played the Rams, which may not mean much. Hasselbeck threw two picks, but rebounded nicely. Look for Nate Burleson to have a big year. By the way, you can go ahead and drop Deion Branch.

– Marc Bulger looked bad, but at least he didn’t throw any interceptions. Torry Holt is no longer in St. Louis, so the best receiver he has is Donnie Avery, which would be a #3 receiver on any contender.

– The Cardinals have a case of the Super Bowl hangover. It didn’t help that Anquan Boldin is banged up and they switched it up by throwing to Tim Hightower out of the backfield more. The running game is still non-existent, so drop Beanie Wells and add Tim Hightower. If Kurt Warner has a few more weeks like this, he could end up on the bench by Week 8.

– Mike Singletary has the 49ers looking pretty good. I know that they always play Arizona tough, but Shaun Hill looked great. Frank Gore was horrible, but he usually gets better as the year progresses. Also, Patrick Willis is going to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year at some point his his career, what a great player.

– The Albert Haynesworth acquisition by the Redskins looks to have paid off a little. They didn’t beat the Giants, but holding the Giants to around 4.0 yards per carry was huge. Jason Campbell was accurate and that was a good sign for the season, since the Giants defense is one of the best.

– The Giants didn’t look great, but thanks to Osi Umenyiora’s fumble return for a touchdown, they beat the Redskins. Brandon Jacobs was bad and averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry. Also, Steve Smith is the go-to-receiver for the Giants, add him in every fantasy league.

– Adrian Peterson was a beast and ran for 180 yards and scored three touchdowns. Brett Favre didn’t have to do much, since it’s Peterson’s show. Once teams start putting 8 or 9 guys in the box, Favre won’t be a good fantasy option.

– Cleveland did better than expected this week. They faced a good Vikings defense and still put up a few scores. Brady Quinn was the smart decision as the starter and Robert Royal could turn into a nice fantasy pick-up, since he’s probably on the waiver wire right now. James Davis was hurt in a car accident earlier in the week and wasn’t 100%, don’t count him out as a possible sleeper this year.

– The Bengals was expected to put up some points against the weak Broncos defense, but that didn’t happen. Carson Palmer looked okay, but threw a couple of picks. Rey Maualuga looked great for Cincinnati, a nice addition to their defense.

– Kyle Orton didn’t throw any interceptions and he was helped out by a tipped pass to Stokely. Brandon Marshall looks like he’s still a few weeks away from learning the offense, but he’ll be a monster by Week 4. Brian Dawkins did the job for the Broncos, he’ll make that defense much better.

– Adding Tony Gonzalez to the team is making Matt Ryan look even better than last year. The Atlanta Falcons may not need to rely on Michael Turner and he was a non-factor. Michael Jenkins and Roddy White could see less looks because of Gonzalez.

– The Miami Dolphins are going to regress this season. They had a few lucky breaks last season and Chad Pennington can only do so much without any elite receivers. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are going to split time and neither should be started if you have a back that isn’t in a time-share.

– The Packers looked good against the Bears and their defense looks to be back. Aaron Rodgers is going to have a big year and Ryan Grant even looked the part. They could end up winning the division if they play like they did this week.

– Jay Cutler was bad, bad, bad. I know a lot of Bears fans are going to change their tune if Cutler keeps up this play. He threw too many interceptions and Matt Forte never got going. He will not see many receptions this year and may have a bit of a sophomore slump.

– Mark Sanchez had a pretty good rookie debut for the New York Jets. He threw for 272 yards and did his job against the Texans. Dustin Keller will be a great option for him and will finish the year as a top-3 tight end this year. Don’t count out Thomas Jones as a fantasy stud this year, Leon Washington is not an every-down back.

– The Texans’ offense didn’t live up to the hype and the Jets defense cramped their style. Steve Slaton looked like a boy against them and Matt Schaub never got them going and only averaged 5.0 yards per attempt. The Texans could turn it around, but this wasn’t the way they wanted to start the season.

– Joe Flacco is for real and he will throw it more this year. He threw for over 300 yards and the offense looked great. Ray Rice is for real and should be owned in all leagues, although Willis McGahee should be owned in deep leagues, since he could see some work.

– The Chiefs made it a game against Baltimore and it wasn’t expected. Matt Cassel was out and Brodie Croyle started the game and did a good job. He didn’t turn the ball over and he targeted Mark Bradley and Dwayne Bowe. Larry Johnson had a bad game, but they played the Ravens, you weren’t expecting much from him.

– Jake Delhomme is bad, he hasn’t been the same since his surgery and this could be the end of the road. Carolina signed him to an extenstion, but man did he look back against Philadelphia. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart didn’t do much, but the offense never had a chance today. Steve Smith was a non-factor and Asante Samuel held him to the minimal contribution.

– Donovan McNabb broke a rib today and looks doubtful for next week, but Kevin Kolb stepped in and went 7/11, but only threw 23 yards. The offense didn’t have many yards, but when Jake Delhomme is giving you the ball in good field position, you dont need many yards. Also, DeSean Jackson looked great and could be a nice option in any league at receiver or if you pick the Eagles special teams/defense for your fantasy football team.

– Who needs Terrell Owens? Tony Romo looked great against Tampa Bay, but many quarterbacks will this season. Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams racked up a bunch of yards and made it look easy. Marion Barber was dependable and Felix Jones wasn’t needed in this one. Jason Witten will always be Romo’s #1 target, so he will get his turn in this high-octane offense.

– Carnell “Cadillac” Williams is back and looks like a re-built version. He ran all over and Derrick Ward spelled him when he needed a breather. Tampa Bay’s rushing offense will be good and Byron Leftwich did his job and didn’t even get sacked today. He will get sacked a lot this season, but his offensive line did a great job against the Cowboys and their pass rushers.

– Matthew Stafford didn’t fair as well as Mark Sanchez in his rookie debut. He threw 3 picks and ran for a touchdown and the Lions lost. The Lions offense didn’t look that great and their defense looked much worse. Their corners did a horrible job and teams will be passing all over the Lions every week. Calvin Johnson didn’t score any touchdowns, but he had a good week, considering all of the factors.

– Six passing touchdowns, I’d say that is a pretty good start of the year by Drew Brees. He could challenge Tom Brady for his passing touchdown record by year-end. Mike Bell looked great and really ran it down the Lions defense. He could end up being a nice fantasy running back, if the Saints could play the Lions every week. Marques Colston didn’t see much love this week, but did catch a touchdown. The Saints receiving corps will be hit or miss, since Brees spreads the ball around, so if you have any of them, start’em.

– The Jaguars did a decent job against the Colts, but couldn’t get into the end zone, but once. Maurice Jones-Drew ran the ball effectively, but he has had a history of doing really well against the Colts. Torry Holt will be the only receiver on Jacksonville worth owning in Jacksonville and when he was open, he caught the ball, but that was rare. I’m not high on David Garrard this year, trust me, he’s going to have troubles this year.

– Reggie Wayne wasn’t missing Marvin Harrison at all. He caught 10 passes for 162 yards and scored a touchdown. Peyton Manning went over 300 yards passing, but Anthony Gonzalez went down with an injury, and that could hamper their offense for the next month or so. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown looks to be splitting time at running back, it’s a formula that worked in the past and could work this year.

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