Week 1 Sunday Studs & Duds

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Coming into the season the hardest to admit to ourselves after months of research, mock drafts, and finally getting our rosters set is that much like John Snow, we know nothing. We all had ideas and expectations, but this is the NFL. Every year you hear someone say that “this is the craziest season yet”, but the truth is that every year is crazy. Expectations are destroyed. Players owned in zero percent of leagues go off and guys fully owned either get hurt or bust.

Thursday night was a kick off that encompassed what happens every year. Nobody saw the Chiefs coming out and giving it to the Patriots the way that they did. Kareem Hunt, a back up rookie only two weeks ago, dropped one of the best NFL debuts in history. Tom Brady, the widely regarded GOAT with talks of going 19-0, came out inaccurate and didn’t even throw a TD in his home debut. The NFL is unpredictable, but that’s also why this game is so fun. That’s why fantasy football is a big as it is.

Week one this year was no different. It was interesting in that this is the first time in a long time that the NFL offenses seem to be behind the NFL defenses in terms of quality. So as the lists of busts and injuries stacked up, it was hard to find the few bright spots for this weeks article, but even harder to determine which guys were the biggest disappointments because there were so many. Then again, it is only one week so there’s no reason to over react, but this stuff can be telling. Here are my biggest Studs and Duds for the first week of the year…

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Sunday Week 1 Studs of the Week:

Matthew Stafford, QB – DET – 316 pass yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 14 rush yards…
Last season Stafford had eight 4th quarter come backs and he started off this year on a very similar note. Carson Palmer was kind enough to help Detroit get set up with great field position through out the game, so this offense was set up to roll. Golden Tate dominated in the slot and the TD magnet rookie Kenny GOATladay kept his preseason hype alive with a couple of incredible TDs. Being in come back mode once again, he rallied the Lions in the 4th quarter and defied expectations to be the top scoring QB yesterday. Starting off the season hot, Money Bags Matt is this weeks QB Stud.

Antonio Brown, WR – PIT – 11 receptions, 182 rec. yards…
The man who every single expert missed on this summer. It’s true. After this week, I’m convinced he should’ve been the number one pick. In a weekend where we saw a number of high draft picks under perform by a large margin, AB did what he has always done. He dominated the opposing defense. I’m sorry we questioned your greatness and had you as the number 3 pick. I’m first to admit I was wrong. I kneel to you sir. He is the stud of studs and even the Martavis Bryant back on the other side that isn’t going to change. Business is boomin’ you friggin’ stud you!

Tarik Cohen, RB – CHI – 110 total yards, 8 receptions, 1 TD…
Darren Sproles 2.0, at only 5’ 6” and 179 lbs. the fourth round rookie out of North Carolina A&T (yes that’s a real school with a football team) had himself one of the best debuts a guy can have. He looked quick, he looked fast, and he looked hungry. He helped the Bears come within one or two dropped passes of upsetting the Falcons in a game where nobody gave them a chance. This team lacks play makers on the outside and after his performance I expect them to keep getting him the ball in space. He’ll be a hot pick up this week, but to me it’s not a fluke. You sir are the RB Stud of the Week.

Austin Hooper, TE – ATL – 2 receptions, 128 yards, 1 TD
He only touched the ball twice, but he put on some huge plays when he did it. That stiff arm he had on his 88 yard TD would have gotten him on this list alone, not to mention he had another 40 yard reception afterwards. He’s going to continue to produce for them. His volume might be low, but he’s a weapon and this week he’s no doubt one monster STUD.

Jags Defense – 10 sacks, 1 INT, 3 Fumbles, 1 TD
There were too many defenses to pick from this week between the Rams and the Steelers, but if your squad gets 10 sacks you deserve this slot. They only scored one TD but with the couple that were called back these guys should’ve had way more. Tom Savage was destroyed in the first half and Desean Watson had himself a number of turnovers as well. This team is going to try to ground and pound it all season, especially with the torn ACL of Allen Robinson, and with this defense they can do that. It’s is going to be nasty and they showed you in week 1 exactly what they’re capable of doing. Welcome to the league of Studs Jaguars D!

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Sunday Week 1 Duds of the Week:

Russell Wilson, QB – SEA – 158 pass yards, 40 rush yards, 1 lost fumble…
Honestly, the stats that he put up in this game were impressive considering his offensive line. They got straight up destroyed by the Green Bay Packers front 7. Russell was running for his life most of the game and with no run game to speak of he had to do it all himself. Honestly, I feel bad for the guy. He’ll have good weeks this year no doubt, but with that leaky front I expect more weeks like this. Sorry Russell, but you just 1-2 stepped your way onto the Dud list.

Brandon Marshall, WR – NYG – 9 yards, 1 reception
On a night when he could’ve been the focal point of the offense the Giants major off season acquisition in his debut was a complete dud. This whole offense looked out of whack honestly, but he was just the guy we all though would benefit from Odell’s absence. I’m not sure how this team will be this year. They have no run game to speak of and their offensive line (seems like a theme with these duds) gives Eli no time to throw it to the outside. Maybe he is washed up. I’m not dropping him, but if you can deal him try to get something in return. Sorry BMarsh, but you sir are this weeks WR dud.

Le’Veon Bell, RB – PIT – 47 total yards, 3 receptions
Maybe sitting on your couch all summer and not attending training camp does have an effect on someones ability. Despite his holding out and doing no football activities, he was either the first or second pick in most fantasy drafts this year. His reason for holding out was he thinks he deserves to be paid like an RB1 and WR2 combined? The tape of this game might’ve just given the Steelers the leverage they need to say ‘Naw, naw, naw’. As much as I don’t like the way Bell came out in this game, I expect him to rebound. He’s too talented and the offense will find a way to run through him again. This week though, I’m sorry, but this bell ain’t ringing. It was as silent as they come. Dud, dud, dud.

Jimmy Graham, TE – SEA – 8 yards, 3 receptions
So many of the so called “elite” TEs busted this week, but I’m putting another Seahawk on the list. Jimmy looked lost on the field. He had a bunch of opportunities versus the Packers defense, but he kept dropping passes. It was really a bad game overall for this squad. They have their home debut next week versus the 49ers so I expect him to turn it around, but this one was just bad. Sorry Slim Jim, but you sir are a Dud.

The Bengals Offense – 0 points, 144 pass yards, 77 rush yards, and 5 TOs…
This team got straight up destroyed offensively. I could’ve put a number of teams here like the Colts or the Texans, but we actually expected the Bengals to have a good offense. They added a bunch of high profile rookies in the off season with Joe Mixon and John Ross (although he didn’t play), but with Marvin Lewis insistence on a three headed RB committee, Andy Dalton throwing 4 INTs like it’s already the playoffs (burn) and their putrid offensive line (THEME!) this team could be in trouble.

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Monday Night Stud & Dud Predictions:

Stud Prediction: Ted Ginn Jr., WR – NO – 5 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD…
With Willie Snead suspended and Michael Thomas being locked down on the other side of the field by Xavier Rhodes, I expect Ted Ginn to have a big game tonight. Even though he’s more famous for the balls he’s dropped over the years than the ones he’s actually caught, he’s been productive for the last few years for the Panthers. Now in a Saints offense with Drew Brees, I expect them to find creative ways to get him the ball and make the most of his speed. He should have a very nice night here. Definitely a flex start for me or someone I’d look to in DFS ($4200 on Draft Kings) as well.

Dud Prediction: Demaryius Thomas, WR – DEN – 4 receptions, 38 yards…
An end of the 3rd round pick for most people in drafts and one of the most consistently high floored guys at the position, I expect him to have a bad first week. He’ll be covered by Jason Verrett who is under the radar one of the best cover corners in the league. I expect him to have a good year overall, but this first week you should temper expectations. If you’re an owner don’t panic after his performance tonight, but if you don’t have him and he does start out slow, make a trade offer for him. You might be able to grab him at a discount.

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Frank grew up in the swamps of Florida, but moved to the ice dungeon known as Chicago back in 2013. He’s become a huge fan of the Bears, polish sausages and giardiniera. He hosts of the ‘Calling It Now’ Fantasy Football Podcast which you can find on both iTunes and Soundcloud. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheFrankCalhoun to yell at him about why he’s wrong about all his takes on fantasy football.