Fantasy Football: Biggest Week 1 Overreactions

The first week of the regular season is in the books, and many fantasy owners find themselves scrambling to figure out what happened to their team already. The first game of the year always seems to be a head-scratcher in the world of fantasy football. This year was certainly no exception. To open the season, we all saw three different quarterbacks throw for over 400 yards while only three players in the league rushed for over 100 yards, one of which was quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It was by no means a “normal” week of football in the NFL and because of that, people should not overreact to a poor game here or there from a projected fantasy superstar. With that being said, here are five of the biggest overreactions to avoid believing after week one of the regular season.

5. Marshawn Lynch is not an elite fantasy running back: After having a forgettable performance week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, Lynch owners may feel uneasy. If you own him, you likely drafted him with your first pick and 43 rushing yards on 17 carries is not going to inspire a lot of confidence. However, Lynch is a true feature back in Seattle and will undoubtedly remain the centerpiece of the offense. Having to travel to the east coast and play a morning game always effects west coast teams and Seattle seems no different. Even with a tough week 2 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers’, expect Lynch to regain his Beast Mode form and have the fantasy year we all expected.

 

4. Colin Kaepernick is the best quarterback in fantasy football: The San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback put on a clinic during the opening week of the season against the Green Bay packers.
Colin Kaepernick went 27-39 for 412 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He also rushed seven times for 22 yards on his way to a six point win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Kaepernick’s 129.4 passer rating was second best in the NFL this week as he proved that he belonged in the discussion of young quarterbacks on their way to elite status. However, fantasy owners should temper expectations as this was still only the 11th start of his young career. Plus, the 49ers’ still have serious question marks at the receiver position and Anquan Boldin won’t be able to go for 208 yards every week. While Kaepernick is a solid fantasy starter, he still has some work to do before being anointed the best in the league or even a truly elite option.

 

3. Calvin Johnson is not the best receiver in fantasy football: The receiver people call “Megatron” has been considered the best in the game for the last couple of seasons now. His unbelievable blend of size and speed makes him a matchup nightmare. In fact, many teams choose to double and triple team him on every single play. Even with that kind of respect, teams have been mostly unable to contain the All-Pro. Last season, he fell just short of 2,000 receiving yards. With that kind of production, Johnson was drafted higher than any other receiver in fantasy football this season in many cases even being a first round draft pick.

After all of the hype, Johnson managed only 37 receiving yards on 4 receptions against the Minnesota Vikings this week. Hardly the numbers fantasy owners were expecting after his historical 2012 season. However, even with the ridiculous production, Johnson remains the best receiver option in the league. He is absolutely dominant and at times unstoppable. Johnson is one of the few receivers in the league that you never have to check the matchup with. Start him every week and expect him to get on the same page as Matthew Stafford sooner than later.
2. Eric Decker has been replaced by Wes Welker and Julius ThomasWhen Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos last offseason, he was expected to bring a high-powered offense and consistent production to the quarterback position. Obviously, the Sherriff has delivered. Though he struggled with his arm strength early in 2012 coming off neck surgery, he progressively got stronger over the course of the season. Manning quickly developed a rapport with the young and talented receivers in Denver as they posted phenomenal statistics throughout the year.

Broncos’ receiver Eric Decker quickly became one of the go-to receivers for Manning in third down situations showing toughness across the middle and a willingness to block for the run game. However, when wide receiver Wes Welker became a free agent this past offseason, Denver jumped at the opportunity to acquire the game’s most prolific slot receiver. In week 1 versus the Ravens, Welker exploded with nine receptions for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Decker slumped with only two receptions for 32 yards.

Regardless of the stats though, owners should not jump to the conclusion that Decker has been replaced. With outstanding performances from Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker this week, there simply was not enough targets to go around. This will probably not be the case every week as Decker is far too talented to remain without involvement in Denver.
1. Geno Smith is the next dual-threat fantasy football stud at quarterback: The NY Jets took a great deal of scrutiny for drafting quarterback Geno Smith in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft. The position was already in turmoil last season as they acquired Tim Tebow and added him to the quarterback mix with Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy. Ultimately, none of them proved to be the answer regardless of head coach Rex Ryan’s blind faith in Sanchez as a franchise quarterback. It is currently unknown exactly who in the organization was behind drafting Geno Smith, but he now appears to have his chance at the starting job moving forward in New York.

After starting week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Smith managed to come away with a decent performance and a come-from-behind victory for the Jets. Smith finished 24-38 for 256 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His 80.6 passer rating was actually better than Robert Griffin III’s on opening day, not that anyone should read too far into that. Smith also ran the ball six times for 47 yards on Sunday.

Statistically, this was not an awful week for rookie Geno Smith. He leaned heavily on veteran tight end Kellen Winslow and he did a decent job of minimizing turnovers against an up-and-coming defense in Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, even with all of these positives to take away from the game, Smith is not the next Colin Kaepernick or RGIII. He has little in the way of playmakers surrounding him and he just happens to play in the most media-scrutinized area of the country as far as sports are concerned. Geno is going to have to work on his maturity off the field if he hopes to have a chance to maintain any level of success for the Jets.