With Week 1 of the fantasy football season nearly in the books, it’s time to look back at how things shaped out. Which players stood out and improved their stock, and who had a week so tough that we are left questioning their value? Additionally, let’s examine whether these changes in stock mean there are actions to be taken, or could it be just a Week 1 mirage?
Fantasy football Week 1 stock report
Stock up | Cordarrelle Patterson
I was excited for Cordarrelle Patterson this season and took him at value everywhere I could. I did not buy into the lesser-role discussion that the Atlanta Falcons were pushing. However, I didn’t foresee the usage that we saw in Week 1. When Damien Williams was in the backfield for the first snap, there was a flutter of concern. However, that soon dissipated.
While Williams left the game with an injury, Patterson was superb. He finished with 120 rushing yards on 22 attempts and a touchdown. He then added 16 receiving yards on three receptions from five targets. This game was Patterson’s highest-ever usage for the Falcons and his best single-game output in terms of yards.
However, this stock-up actually turns into a sell-high opportunity. While I didn’t buy into the “less usage” narrative, I’m certainly not expecting 27 opportunities a week for a 31-year-old receiver turned running back. Therefore, if you find someone in your league willing to pay you top-12 value for Patterson based on this game, then now is the time to sell.
Stock up | Antonio Gibson, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, and Logan Thomas
There is a lot to be excited about on the Washington offense. The run game was nothing exciting, but it was clear that Antonio Gibson is the lead back, with 50% of the total rush attempts in this game. He was also targeted eight times, pulling in seven of them for 72 yards. Gibson finished with 130 yards on 21 touches from 22 opportunities. He’s a starter for the foreseeable future, based on what we saw this week.
Another stand-out was Curtis Samuel, who had 11 targets with eight receptions, 55 receiving yards, and a touchdown. He also added 17 yards on four rush attempts. Samuel’s Week 1 usage was extremely promising as it demonstrates that he is healthy and expected to be a key part of this offense. Samuel is a player to look at on the waiver wire heading into Week 2.
Jahan Dotson provided a nice fantasy return with two touchdown catches. However, his expectations should be limited after just five targets. He finished with 40 yards and those two TDs on three receptions. It was a nice performance, but it was heavily driven by the two scores, tempering Dotson’s longer-term output a little. If you can add him cheaply and have the space to do so, then it’s worthwhile. However, getting too ambitious in chasing could lead to disappointment.
Logan Thomas also deserves a mention, mostly because he was active. After a tough knee injury last year, Thomas was not assured to be back for Week 1. He managed it and was healthy enough to see six targets. Three receptions for 45 yards might not be a massive output, but the underlying signs are promising. If you’re looking for a long-term tight end option, Thomas has the potential to be a weekly starter.
Stock up | James Robinson, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones
Stock down | Travis Etienne Jr.
The final numbers in the Jacksonville backfield are intriguing. On the surface, James Robinson scored twice and had 69 yards on 12 touches from 13 opportunities. He had two goal-line scores, leaving the impression he is the goal-line back. Meanwhile, Travis Etienne Jr. had just eight opportunities with four rush attempts and four targets. But these numbers are not exactly how they appear.
Etienne was actually in the game on slightly more offensive plays than Robinson. While Robinson took the edge on early downs, Etienne dominated third down and two-minute warning situations. Additionally, the two backs split the goal-line work evenly. Etienne’s stock will be down based on the Week 1 numbers, but the usage patterns suggest you should not simply move on.
Turning to the receivers, things are looking good for both Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. With the money that the Jaguars gave Kirk, it’s no surprise that he was a big part of the offense. Kirk was targeted on 28.6% of Trevor Lawrence’s pass attempts. He may have only caught six of them, but he averaged 19.5 yards per reception and 9.75 yards per target to provide a solid return for fantasy managers. Kirk could be a solid Flex option going forward based on his Week 1 usage.
Jones’ role in the offense is the real eye-opener from Week 1. He was comfortably the second option in the offense and had eight targets in the first half alone. His role diminished in the second half, but Jones finished with a solid output of 65 yards on six receptions from nine targets. That is a nice return as a potential Flex in half and full-PPR leagues. Jones is someone to look to on waivers if you need WR help.
Stock up | A.J. Brown
For every player whose stock goes up, it usually comes at the expense of someone else. That is very much the case in Philadelphia after Week 1. It was unclear how the Philadelphia Eagles would split their targets among their receivers after A.J. Brown’s arrival, but they gave us a very clear indication this week.
Brown was targeted 13 times out of 32 pass attempts by Jalen Hurts, giving him a 40% target share. He caught 10 for 155 yards and paid the Eagles back for his faith. A 40% target share is hard to sustain, but it was clear that Philadelphia intends to make the most of the receiver they acquired on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Any doubts about Brown’s value on a weekly basis in this run-first offense appear to have been squashed.
Stock down | DeVonta Smith
In contrast, DeVonta Smith had a tough week, with just four targets on 72 offensive snaps. He compounded that with zero receptions. Smith saw just a 12.5% target share this week and did nothing to suggest he deserves more. It appears Smith is a clear afterthought behind Brown in the Eagles’ receiving game. Any slim value as a potential Flex has seemingly evaporated after this.
Yet, Smith is not to the point where you can drop him. There could be a game-script reason for his lack of usage. Still, if Smith continues to look like an afterthought, then he’ll quickly reach the point where he can be considered droppable in 10 and 12-team leagues.
Stock down | Najee Harris
It was not a pretty week for Najee Harris, and it was compounded by him leaving with a foot injury late in the game. Even when he was playing, the results were not promising. Harris’ Week 1 fantasy football output was saved by a short touchdown reception. Otherwise, he managed just 23 rushing yards on 10 attempts and added three yards on two targets.
The Steelers’ offensive line appeared to be an issue, and the offense was stagnant for large periods of time. Without multiple mistakes by Joe Burrow, this game would have looked very different. Harris is not a player I’m jumping off of, mainly because the injury has cratered his value. However, this is a sign of the potential struggles we may see at times this season from Harris.
Stock up | Devin Duvernay
The two touchdowns made for a really nice Week 1 for Devin Duvernay. He was tied for third in terms of targets with four, behind only Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman. Duvernay caught all four of those targets and added 54 yards to the two touchdowns.
Beware of over-investing because this offense was very much spread around, with five players getting four or more targets. If you’re looking for a speculative, high-upside addition this week, then Duvernay could be exactly that.
Stock down | Patriots running backs
The New England Patriots’ offense had a very bad day in Miami, which we somewhat expected. However, the fantasy football takeaways from Week 1 do not make pretty reading. The backs split opportunities, with Damien Harris having 12 to Rhamondre Stevenson’s 10. Ty Montgomery also had six opportunities and found the end zone on a pass from Mac Jones.
When you look at the snap share, the picture is no clearer. Harris had 22 snaps, Montgomery 20, and Stevenson 14. Montgomery played the majority of his snaps on long down-and-distance situations and had just two rushing attempts. His primary role appears to be the third-down back in long-distance situations. However, the Patriots were frequently in those situations.
Reports of a back injury to Mac Jones only compound the misery for New England’s offense. The only real actionable advice here is that neither Harris nor Stevenson may be a weekly starting option when both are healthy.
Stock up | O.J. Howard
O.J. Howard is another player who makes this list after scoring two touchdowns. At the tight end position, anyone who scores fantasy points will get looks on the waiver wire.
However, there should be caution over the fact that Howard’s two touchdowns were his only two targets. That doesn’t mean fantasy managers shouldn’t look to make him a speculative add this week, but it does mean investing heavily is not wise, given the uncertainty of his role within the offense.
Stock down | Joe Burrow
This was an ugly outing for Joe Burrow in so many ways. He was constantly under pressure as the Pittsburgh Steelers racked up seven sacks. Under pressure, Burrow threw four interceptions and had another called back, as well as fumbling twice, losing one of them.
The fact the Cincinnati Bengals were chasing the game late somewhat salvaged the Week 1 fantasy output, but it doesn’t hide everything. Burrow managed to finish with 17.22 fantasy points, but it was a tough road to get there. The pressure and the subsequent mistakes have red flags raised and alarm bells ringing.
The positive is that the offense opened up and allowed Burrow to throw the ball 50 times. However, that also opened him up to more hits. The hope will be that this new offensive line in Cincinnati can gel and improve. If it doesn’t, Burrow could have a lot of ugly-looking weeks in his future.