September 14, 2022

The Fantasy Coaches Network

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Big Takeaways From Week One

4 min read

After a long wait the NFL season has finally arrived and week one is in the books. It was a fantastic slate of games with tons of exciting finishes. There were numerous fantasy headlines as well this week as once again we were shown that the NFL is impossible to predict. With that being said we’re going to dive into some of the biggest storylines of this past weekend. We will discuss how these headlines affected player’s value as well as their fantasy going forward the rest of the season. 

Dak Prescott Injury (6-8 week timeline)

The season couldn’t have started out worse for the Dallas Cowboys. After dealing with numerous injuries this offseason Dak Prescott hurt his throwing hand and could miss half the season. It’s a tough blow for Cowboys fans as well as for fantasy managers who own any Dallas players in their leagues. Cooper Rush is likely to be the next man up, but no matter who is their Quarterback they will be a massive downgrade compared to Prescott. The Cowboy’s offense struggled even with him last night. No receiver outside of Lamb and Schultz showed any ability to get open, and Lamb struggled with all of the defensive attention as well. 

Additionally, the offensive line didn’t perform well and neither Ezekiel Elliot nor Tony Pollard was able to generate any success. With Prescott at the helm, improvement could have been expected but not anymore. Most of this offense will be impossible to rely upon until he returns. Lamb goes from a top-five receiver in many people’s eyes to being a fringe WR2 in season long formats. He’s still a starter but the upside is gone. Elliot remains a midtier RB2 because of volume, but they won’t be efficient opportunities. The rest of the offense should remain on benches until circumstances change.

Saquon Barkley’s Breakout Performance

The breakout performance two years in the making finally happened as Saquon Barkley went off for 194 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. He showed that big play ability he displayed during his rookie season that fantasy managers have been waiting for as well. Even though the Giants won, they struggled considerably on offense outside of Barkley. He’s one of the few Running Backs in the league that is projected for a true workhorse role. 

Like Christian McCaffrey, he is also talented enough to be successful in a bad offense. Many of the top Running Backs in fantasy drafts struggled in week one, so I try not to overreact. Regardless if he remains healthy he has the talent to push for an RB1 overall finish. He slots in as the RB4 in my rankings going forward and has on of the best ceiling/floor combos in fantasy. Injuries are still a concern but he should move conserably up in fantasy rankings, and is an easy top five Running Back option going forward. 

The Los Angelas Ram Running Back Situation

This was a disaster for Cam Akers fantasy owners as he ended up with only 3 rushing attempts compared to Darrell Henderson’s 13. It was a surprise to many despite Henderson being listed as the costarter on the depth chart. Like most analysts, I figured Henderson would be heavily involved, but not as the clear number one Running Back. This is alarming for the future fantasy prospects of Akers and his value is in free fall. 

Furthermore he will be impossible to start going forward unless circumstances change. He checks in as a low end RB3 in my rankings and is no more than a deeper league flex option. Henderson on the other hand is a mid tier RB2, but that is only because I haven’t boughten into his workhorse role yet. If this trend continues he could easily beat this ranking as the Rams offense should be improved going forward. Nonetheless, I’m waiting a couple more weeks to make any final indictments on this backfield. Henderson wasn’t overly effective, and Akers was nursing an injury in the preseason. Particularly in dynasty leagues fantasy managers should wait till we see how this backfield operates going forward. 

Trey Lance’s Poor Performance

Fantasy mangers should refrain from making any judgements on Lance as the weather conditions in Chicago were horrible. However he did have a terrible day passing this past Sunday. He finished with a sub 50% completion percentage, 164 yards, and an interception. The conditions could be to blame, nonetheless he did little to silence critics who question his passing ability. Because of Covid, Lance has only completed one full season as a starter in both his collegiate and professional career. He has a remarkable low amount of game experience given his age, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him struggle. 

What makes matters worse is the presence of Jimmy Garoppolo. The media scrutiny shouldn’t matter, but many players on that team have had a tremendous amount of success with him as their Quarterback. If Lance doesn’t improve it’s hard not to see rumblings beginning in that locker room. If your a fantasy manger you shouldn’t panic yet though. You likely drafted him to be an elite fantasy Quarterback, so there is no use bailing now. He was being ranked as an elite Quarterback according to many analysts though, and if he still holds top 10 dynasty value its certainly worth exploring in that format.