Fantasy Doctor: Week one whirlwind

By Joey Figueroa

After months anxiously awaiting the return of NFL football, Week One has come and gone, and it did not disappoint for most NFL fans. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same.

Believe it or not, your beloved fantasy doctor’s fantasy teams went a combined 1-2 in the opening week of festivities. We’ll try not to let that damper our spirits too much, though, because the opening weekend of football provided plenty of fantastic games and a handful of big fantasy performances.

Of course, Gronk lit it up against the Steelers, while Antonio Brown did his thing on the opposing side. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Tony Romo each posted more than 20 points this week and will be a good bet to do so all season. Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Hill all put in their respective work on the ground, but hey, they’re supposed to do that.

What makes the first few weeks of fantasy season so compelling is the search for that one waiver-wire pickup or middle-round steal that will push your team over the hump. 

A few seasons back, it was Victor Cruz. Last season, it was Justin Forsett. This season, it could be anyone. The hard part is sorting the no-name-turned-studs from the one-hit wonders. Remember when Allen Hurns had 23 fantasy points in Week One last year? Yeah, me neither.

So many factors lend to how a team and its players perform each week, so outliers will appear every week. It’s our job to find those guys who remain outliers long enough to become someone who you can throw in your lineup and rely upon to produce on a regular basis.

Here are some of the more surprising Week One outputs and my best guesses for if they’ll end up a Cruz or a Hurns, along with my defense of the week.

Carlos Hyde, RB
The 235-pound ball of violence posted the week’s highest fantasy output and made it clear why the 49ers let go Frank Gore so easily. 182 total yards and two touchdowns will be Hyde’s ceiling for most games, but if he eats up 28 touches like he did against the Vikings on Monday, the workhorse will be a no-doubt RB1 even when Reggie Bush returns from a calf injury.
Verdict: Cruz

Marcus Mariota, QB
13-for-16, 209 yards and four touchdowns. Well then.
Mariota doesn’t necessarily have the ROY locked up after one week, but he looked incredible against the Bucs on Sunday and should be able to put up similar numbers to what RG3 and Kaepernick did in their first seasons. If by some miracle he’s still on waivers, scoop him up immediately and give him some serious QB1 consideration against a poor Browns secondary in Week Two.
Verdict: Cruz

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE
Jameis Winston showed some good chemistry with second-year pass catcher Seferian-Jenkins on Sunday. The big target pulled in five catches for 110 yards and two scores, his best day as a pro. He’s still available in about 40 percent of leagues and is worth and add, but he won’t be starter material once Mike Evans returns next week.
Verdict: Hurns

Tyler Eifert, TE
So my tight end sleeper pick for the season only caught nine balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. No big deal. The one of my three teams that won its matchup featured Eifert as the TE1, and I plan on keeping him there for the rest of the year. Behind A.J. Green, Eifert will be Andy Dalton’s second option on an always underrated Bengals offense. If you nabbed Eifert in the late rounds, nicely done.
Verdict: Cruz

Danny Woodhead, RB
After missing all of last season, Woodhead reminded the league he still exists with a two-touchdown performance against the Lions on Sunday. I don’t think anyone expected the barely 200-pounder to be San Diego’s goalline back, but he just has more trust than Gordon right now. Look for the rookie to be eased into more of a feature role, while Woodhead is relegated to being only PPR relevant. But for now, definitely pick him up, he’s available in half of all leagues.
Verdict: Hurns

Titans offense
I explained Mariota’s high upside, but the Titans will not be scoring 40-plus points every week. Bishop Sankey and Kendall Wright each finished in the top six of scoring in their positions, which is great but will not keep up for the rest of the season. They’re each worth adding as FLEX options that you’ll need to consider weekly.
Verdict: Hurns

Defense of the week: The Ravens. They’re facing the Raiders, likely led by Matt McGloin (who?) under center after Derek Carr’s injury. They should eat Oakland alive.

Joey is a senior in Media.
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@joeyfigueroa3