Week one of the NFL was chock full of fantasy surprises. Seven tight ends not named Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown, nine different defenses found the end zone and 11 different kickers scored double-digit fantasy points. While points were bountiful for some, they were also scarce for others, most notably Peyton Manning, C.J. Anderson, and Dez Bryant. Week one is certainly not the time to push the panic button, but fantasy owners should show some concern.
The Denver Broncos managed to pull out a tough win against a stout Ravens defense without scoring an offensive touchdown. Since last season, Manning has gone without a touchdown in three out of his past six games. At age 39, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Manning is finally slowing down. A short week to prepare for a stingy Chiefs’ front seven and a surprisingly good Vikings defense two weeks after may cause more problems for Peyton in the near future. Selling the QB early in the season based on the name may be a smart move. Then again, it is Peyton Manning, and week one could prove to be just a fluke.
What isn’t a fluke is the fluidity of the Broncos’ offensive line. Not only could the offensive line not protect Manning, but it struggled to get anything going on the ground as Denver running backs averaged a combined 2.8 yards per carry. C.J. Anderson suffered a toe sprain in the contest but is reported to be okay according to head coach Gary Kubiak. Unfortunately, when Anderson was sidelined, Ronnie Hillman made the most of his carries rushing 12 times for a team-high 41 yards. Hillman is firmly planted as the No. 2 back on the depth chart so if Anderson owners don’t have him on their roster, it’s time to pick that handcuff up from waivers.
Switching things over to the NFC, Dez Bryant exited the Sunday night game early after posting only five receptions for 48 yards. Bryant had surgery on the fracture in his foot on Monday but the timetable for his return is up in the air. Initial reports suggested a month out but new findings speculate Bryant can miss 6-8 weeks. That’s a huge blow to fantasy owners who dropped a first round pick on the Dallas star. However, it is the next guy up when a player goes down. Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley, and Gavin Escobar are all worth a look on the waiver wire.
There are 16 weeks to the fantasy season and week one will always bring about the most glaring concerns. Decide on solutions wisely, because a week one change can turn into a year-long problem.