Fantasy Football: Best performances and storylines from Week 1 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fantasy Football: Best performances and storylines from Week 1

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The NFL season came out of the gate blazing, a wide array of blowouts, upsets and clutch comebacks.

Your fantasy football league likely played out the same way.

Week 1 is always a testing ground for fantasy owners. Who on your bench can you rely on in case of injuries? What trendy draft pick didn't come close to his preseason expectations?

And whether you reaped the benefits of drafting the arguable deflator Tom Brady, or are left wondering how effective supposed breakout candidate C.J. Anderson can really be in Denver’s offense, this weekend offered some answers.

Here are the five best fantasy performances from Week 1 in the NFL:

- Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Last week I liked Brady’s chances in the season’s opening game on Thursday night. He had a chip on his shoulder, and it showed big-time in a seven-point win over Pittsburgh. Brady completed 78 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns for 27 fantasy points, the most among quarterbacks in Week 1.

- Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

After an impressive rookie year, Allen flattened out a bit last year. If this week was any indication, he’s ready to take a leap his year three. In a five-point win over Detroit, Allen hauled in 15 passes for 166 yards, finishing with 16 fantasy points. The catches were the most in the league in Week 1, as were his 17 targets from quarterback Phillip Rivers. If he can receive that kind of attention in the offense on a consistent basis, Allen could be a top-5 fantasy wide receiver this year.

- Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

I must admit I didn’t like Kelce’s road matchup with the Texans this week. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Chief’s tight end caught all six passes thrown to him for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Kelce’s greatest asset is his yards-after-catch ability, and his nearly 18 yards-per-catch in Week 1 was about as good as it gets for a tight end. He finished with 22 points.

- Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

If Kelce surprised some fantasy owners this week, Gronkowski did exactly what those who used a first or second round pick on him expected. “Gronk” reaped the benefits of Brady’s great night, catching three touchdown passes in the red zone. The five catches and 94 yards are slightly fewer than Kelce’s, but it’s all about touchdowns in fantasy football. Gronkowski totaled 27 fantasy points this week, the second-most in the league.

- Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers lost a lot of pieces from last season, most notably its starting running back, Frank Gore. That paved the way for Hyde, who showed Monday night he's more than ready to take the reins. Hyde was the star of the night (and maybe the week) rushing for 168 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. His 29 fantasy points were the most in the league in Week 1, and his owners should love him going forward, especially in an RB2 or FLEX role.

Clutch Performance

Here’s a fun fact you may not know: Since 2006, Tony Romo has more fourth-quarter comebacks than any other NFL quarterback. He did it again Sunday night, when he drove the Dallas Cowboys 72 yards in 1:27 with no timeouts left. An 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left gave Dallas a one-point win over the New York Giants. Romo completed 36 of 45 passes on the night for 356 yards and three touchdowns. That clutch drive gave him 22 fantasy points for the week.

Fading Star?

His career isn’t over, and the intangibles are still there, but Peyton Manning has lost something. The arm strength has slowly deteriorated, and some would argue his accuracy has suffered as a result. On Sunday, Manning threw for just 175 yards and no touchdowns. The Broncos’ did squeak out a 19-13 victory, but Manning isn’t the fantasy quarterback that owners once coveted. He still has value, but it just may no longer be top-5 quarterback value.

Veteran Resurgence

The second torn ACL of Carson Palmer's career could have easily been his final play on an NFL roster. But, as he did once before in Cincinnati, the Arizona Cardinals' 35-year-old quarterback fought his way back for one last run. Given the circumstances, Palmer had one of the most impressive quarterback performances of Week 1, throwing for 307 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cardinals' 31-19 win over New Orleans. His 25 points were among the best of all quarterbacks in Week 1, and he's now firmly established as a viable starter on any fantasy roster in 2015.

Fast Start in Cincinnati

Tyler Eifert was a popular sleeper pick at tight end in a lot of leagues this year, and those who got him in the late rounds were very happy about what they saw Sunday. Eifert caught nine passes (most in his career) for 104 yards and two touchdowns (the previous total for his career), totaling 22 fantasy points. He has great mobility for a 6-foot-6-inch tight end, and that creates matchup problems all over the field. Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton loves throwing to his tight end down the seam, and I think he'll do so often. Eifert should be starting in every fantasy league.

Two Is Better Than One

For the first time in history Sunday, the reigning Top-2 picks in the NFL Draft faced each other in Week 1. And in the most lopsided result of the week, No. 2 dominated. That would be Tennessee's Marcus Mariota, who had a perfect passer rating in the Titans' 42-14 win over Tampa Bay. He threw a touchdown on his first possession. No. 1 pick Jameis Winston did the same ... but his went to the other team. Mariota's 209 yards and four touchdowns gave him 24 points. If he can come close to that efficiency over the course of his rookie year, he'll have much more fantasy impact than some thought.

Local Roundup

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings

The bright lights of Monday Night Football at San Francisco were a tall task for Bridgewater, making his first career season-opening start. Many thought he could make a big second-year leap this year, but Monday showed little proof of that. The former Louisville star looked tentative all night as his Vikings lost to the 49ers, 20-3. Bridgewater amassed just eight fantasy points on 231 passing yards and an interception. Teddy may very well become a reliable quarterback this season, but he isn't worth grabbing off the waiver wire unless he makes major improvements on his Week 1 showing.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

The story all offseason in Atlanta was that Coleman and Devonta Freeman would be sharing snaps. But just a few days before kickoff, Coleman was named the starter. And making his pro debut on Monday Night Football, he showed why that was the right decision. He ran for 80 yards on 20 carries for a team that has been known to run very little in recent years. His four yards per carry were much better than Freeman's 1.8 on 10 carries. The rookie from Indiana did just about all he could to prove he's the Falcons' feature back, and his fantasy owners should find a place for him in the starting lineup.

Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

Parker did not get a target in the Dolphins’ win Sunday, but that was largely expected. Coming off foot surgery, the Louisville product spent very little time on the practice field this offseason. He is still viewed as one of Miami’s two best wide receiver talents, but it will take time for the rookie to establish himself in the rotation. And he should be left on your fantasy bench until that happens.

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