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Cordarrelle Patterson – RB/WR, Falcons
The belief was the Falcons would attempt to lighten Patterson’s workload on the ground and manufacture him more targets through the receiving game. In Week 1 it was anything but as he was a true running back carrying the ball 22 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. I added three receptions for 16 yards, but those were just sprinkles. Damien Williams got the start, left the game, and returned but by then Patterson had left his mark. Tyler Allgeier was inactive and is not currently a threat to Patterson’s workload. No matter Williams’ status, Patterson showed that he’s still got that dog in him even at age 31. He should remain a strong flex play.
Darrell Henderson – RB, Rams
Henderson shocked the world when he got the start against the Bills to open the season. What was even more shocking was how many snaps he earned. Henderson played on 82% of the snaps as opposed to Cam Akers’ 18%. Furthermore, he out-touched Akers 18 to 3. While he didn’t blow us away with efficiency due to a strong Bills’ run defense, he earned 12 tough points in PPR formats. What matters here is volume and for now it looks like Henderson is getting mostly all of it. I want to give you a true congratulations if you nabbed him in double-digit rounds in fantasy drafts, today you are winning.
James Robinson – RB, Jaguars
Robinson is quickly proving that an Achilles tear is not the kiss of death for running backs as people claim. He came back and came back like a man on a mission carrying the ball 11 times for 66 yards, a touchdown, and also added another catch for a touchdown. Many wondered how Robinson would look coming back from his devastating injury so soon. Fans incorrectly compared him to other backs who have not returned to form after an Achilles injury. Robinson earned 49% of the snaps to Travis Etienne’s 51%. It looks to be a true committee where both players will have their share of opportunities. While not a true game breaker, Trevor Lawrence has improved and that will be good for Robinson and the offense going forward.
Drake London – WR, Falcons
For a guy who was hurt most of training camp and the preseason, London did nothing less than impress in his debut. The rookie tied for the team lead in targets (seven) while pacing the Falcons with five receptions for 74 yards. This type of production could have him as a mainstay WR3 in fantasy. There had been questions about whether or not Marcus Mariota could support two pass catchers in the Falcons offense. While Kyle Pitts ended the day quietly (two receptions for 19 yards), he received seven targets as well. With injuries to receivers like Tee Higgins, Keenan Allen and Chris Godwin, London may find his way into your fantasy lineups rather quickly.
Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on the NBC YouTube channel.
Cam Akers – RB, Rams
This is the most obvious of them all and we got it in the first game. Akers far and away was second fiddle to Darrell Henderson in Week 1. Akers managed a whopping zero yards on three touches. As an Akers’ believer, I threw my hips and shoulders out from punching so much air. Coach Sean McVay said Akers needed to show more urgency and accountability. He also mentioned that when it came to Akers, some things were good and there were things he could improve upon. The fall was almost immediate after at the very worst we’d expected a 50/50 split between him and Henderson. Do I still believe in Akers down the line? Yes, but we have to be real here and he really needs to be on your bench.
CeeDee Lamb – WR, Cowboys
Lamb’s situation went from bad to worse in a drastic fashion. Securing only two receptions for 29 yards on 11 targets is downright scary for a player many felt could finish top five at his position. To make matters worse, the Cowboys will now be without quarterback Dak Prescott for the next 6-to-8 weeks with a hand injury. This drops Lamb’s value as we are unsure how consistent Cooper Rush will be in targeting him. Ezekiel Elliott, who was actually running well against the Buccaneers’ stout run defense, could be relied upon even more. Still, Lamb is too talented of a player to be outright benched in your lineups. The value is down, but hopefully you can weather the storm.
George Pickens – WR, Steelers
The low-top black Air Force’s that Mike Tomlin gifted to Pickens (and the rest of the team) were not enough for him to live up to the preseason hype. Despite playing on 91% of the team’s offensive snaps, the rookie standout managed only three targets and a catch for three yards. While Mitchell Trubsiky threw the ball 38 times, he chose to dish out to the vets, mainly Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth who were targeted 10 and 12 times respectively. Chase Claypool also saw six targets so it’ll be hard to decipher who will get the most targets week in, week out. The positive for Pickens is that he’s earned the staff’s trust to be on the field as much as he was.
Dameon Pierce – RB, Texans
Remember the good times? “Preseason RB1 Dameon Pierce SZN” was a swell time. The Texans cut Marlon Mack, what could go wrong? I mean, all he has to do is beat Rex Burkhead, right? Week 1 was terrible for Pierce truthers and there are levels to it. There’s the acting like he’s Barry Sanders tier, the “eh, he’s ok it depends…” tier (me) and the “Nah I’m good” tier. The latter is laughing the bank right now as Pierce played on only 29% of the snaps while gaining 39 total yards on 12 touches. I don’t think people expected Pierce to carry the ball 30 times in Week 1, but a 50/50 split with Burkhead at worst is what people were hoping for. Rookies take some time to get it together, but it doesn’t get easier as the Texans head to Denver in Week 2 to face the Broncos.