Houston Texans - WR - Will Fuller
With the 21st pick in last April's NFL Draft the Texans selected Notre Dame speedster Will Fuller. The pick was criticized by some since higher regards prospects like Josh Doctson and LaQuon Treadwell were still on the board but it's clear that Bill O'Brien's Texans viewed Fuller's game changing 4.32 speed as a perfect compliment across from All-Pro WR, DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller originally committed to Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions before flipping to Notre Dame, so maybe we should have seen this coming.
Fuller has lived up to his lofty draft status as he locked down a starting role opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller had a tremendous preseason and has already become a favorite target of QB Brock Osweiler. In 82 preseason snaps, Fuller was targeted 13 times, hauling in 8 receptions for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns.
That same chemistry carried over into Week 1 as Fuller was targeted a team high 11 times, hauling in 5 receptions for 107 yards and a TD that showed off his blazing speed as he weaved through the Bears defense.
Will Fuller's NFL debut was a perfect summation of his skill set. The good and the bad. Fuller's speed is breathtaking and it's what his game is built on. A nightmare after the catch, Fuller is a threat to take it the house from anywhere on the field. Fuller is constantly challenging defenses vertically with his blinding speed as he does most of his work on vertical route concepts such as curls, comebacks, outs and go routes. What makes Fuller so difficult to cover on these routes is his ability to hit a second gear to separate deep or suddenly throttle down into a break.
Now to the downside of Fuller's game, drops. For all of his big play ability (30 TD's in 29 starts at Notre Dame) he can be maddening at times because of all the big plays he leaves on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Fuller dropped 10 of 72 catchable passes last year. That 13.9% drop rate ranked 88th out of 96 qualifiers. Fuller needs to work on his hand technique and to rid himself of being a body catcher. Correcting these issues is easier said than done.
Fuller has special traits that translate to fantasy success. He's quickly built great rapport with Osweiler and should be targeted fairly heavily throughout the year.
Fuller is sure to struggle against more physical DB's and he definitely has boom/bust elements to his game. For fantasy purposes though it only takes one blown coverage to turn in a quality day.
During the draft process I compared Fuller to Ted Ginn, enigmatic playmakers who will constantly have you on an emotional roller-coaster. I still believe that sentiment to be true but from a fantasy perspective I think we'll see Fuller produce results closer to a player like DeSean Jackson due to his starting role in the Texans offense.
Fuller should be owned in all formats and is flex worthy already depending on the opponent.
Week 1 Thoughts: Well RGIII lasted one week before hitting the IR. Josh McCown was a viable fantasy starter in 2015....The loss of Keenan Allen also severely hurts Philip Rivers. In 2015, Rivers was QB2 through the first 8 weeks before Allen went down with a lacerated kidney. He's probably more of a high end streaming option now...Since Week 9 BYE last season Matthew Stafford has thrown 22 TD's to only 2 INT. If he wasn't already, Stafford should be considered a starter from here on out....Carson Wentz had an impressive NFL debut. I'm interested to see how he does this coming week when he faces a real NFL defense. I don't think Chicago counts this coming week...If you drafted Tyrod Taylor as your starting QB I can't blame you for living the stream already.
Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
With streaming QB's being a popular method in fantasy football these days I'll try to highlight a QB with favorable matchups on the horizon. While Flacco's supporting cast isn't flashy these days they should be able to feast on the upcoming schedule of @CLE, @JAX, OAK and WAS. Flacco should be able to reach low-end QB1 numbers against these opponents.
Week 1 Thoughts: Last seasons overall RB1 and league winner, Devonta Freeman, appears to be in a 50/50 timeshare with second year burner, Tevin Coleman. Freeman still received more snaps and touches than Coleman but it seems like he might be more of a low end RB2 now. Needless to say Coleman should be owned in all formats. While we're on that topic, if Spencer Ware and Christine Michael are still out there go and get them...Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah looked great against the woeful Colts defense.
Terrance West - Baltimore Ravens
West had 14 touches for an underwhelming 38 total yards in his Week 1 matchup vs Buffalo. Thankfully he has a revenge game vs his former team, the Cleveland Browns, this week. It appears West will continue to split duties with Justin Forsett with West doing the short yardage work. The Ravens have a nice stretch of upcoming games so West might be worth a roster spot but I think it'll just be a matter of time before rookie Kenneth Dixon takes over this backfield. Dixon still won't return for another couple weeks.
SLEEPER RUNNING BACK
Travaris Cadet - New Orleans Saints
Raise your hand if you thought Travaris Cadet was going to play only 3 less snaps than a healthy Mark Ingram last week. Ingram barely out snapped Cadet, 29 to 26, on Sunday. Cadet took a big chunk of the passing down work. He was targeted 7 times, hauling in 3 receptions for just 17 yards. He drew a pass interference penalty and hit pay dirt on a simple two yards route out in the flat. I'm not exactly sure what to think of this situation. Cadet has three years experience in this offense and the Saints felt comfortable enough to cut CJ Spiller, but Mark Ingram looked so good as a receiver last year. This is definitely a situation that we'll want to monitor in the coming weeks because we've seen this role produce results with Darren Sproles and at times Pierre Thomas.
Week 1 Thoughts: Kenny Stills was on this last week and he's still worth an end of the roster spot. Stills caught only one pass this weekend but it's worth nothing he was targeted 5 times and even dropped an easy 71-yard TD...In deeper leagues San Diego's Dontrelle Inman might be worth picking up. Down the stretch last year Inman had over 50 yards or a TD in 4 of his last 6 games. John Brown, Tyler Lockett, Devin Funchess all had disappointing first weeks. Hold strong with those guys as better weeks are sure to come...Titans WR Tajae Sharpe had a great NFL debut. If he's still out there scoop him up.
Phillip Dorsett - Indianapolis Colts
Dorsett is a speedster (4.33) in the mold of fellow teammate TY Hilton. Even though he is firmly the WR3 in this offense there should still be worthwhile production on the horizon for Dorsett. If you're questioning whether an offense can support three relevant fantasy wide receivers it happened just a couple years ago with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker in Denver. In Week 1, Dorsett was in on 51 of 70 snaps and hauled in 4 of his 6 targets for a team leading 94 yards. Dorsett is likely just a WR4 right now but if either Hilton or Moncrief were to go down Dorsett would bump up into WR2 territory.
Mike Wallace - Baltimore Ravens
It appears good ol Mike Wallace might have showed up this year. Wallace is still a one trick pony but he still has the jets to do that one trick well as he hauled in a 66-yard TD last week. At this point in time it appears that Wallace is the top receiving threat in the Ravens offense. As the season progresses I wouldn't be surprised if the keys are handed over to Breshad Perriman a bit but for now Wallace is the guy to own. Wallace did sign a 2-year $11.5 million deal this offseason.
Eli Rogers - Pittsburgh Steelers
The Louisville product built some buzz during the offseason and didn't disappoint in his debut. Rogers registered 6 receptions on 7 targets for 59 yards and a TD. The touchdown came on a pass that actually richoted off Sammie Coates chest into Rogers arms. With Martavis Bryant out of the season, Markus Wheaton banged up and Sammie Coates being Sammie Coates the Steelers desperately needed someone to step up and Rogers filled that void. Rogers looks like a high floor PPR play.
Jeremy Kerley - San Francisco 49ers
This preseason I was high on Bruce Ellington's role in Chip Kelly's up tempo offense. With Ellington hitting the IR the 49ers went out and acquired Jeremy Kerley from the Lions to fill their slot WR void. Basically read this article and substitute Kerley's name for Ellington. Kerley recorded 7 receptions for 61 yards on 11 targets in Week 1. Gabbert missed a wide open Kerley on what could have been an easy 50-yard TD. Much like Eli Rogers, the touchdown might not be there but receptions could come in bunches.
Brandon LaFell - Cincinnati Bengals
Despite having a quiet preseason due to a hand injury LaFell stepped in right away as the Bengals WR2, ahead of rookie Tyler Boyd. LaFell caught all 4 of his targets for 91 yards, including a 49-yard reception to spark the Bengals offense in the second half. I wouldn't get too carried away with his Week 1 showing but if you're in need of a WR he could provide solid depth.
SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER
Tyrell Williams - San Diego Chargers
Williams is a big, raw second year WR from Western Oregon University who is now thrust into a great opportunity due to Malcolm Floyd's retirement and season ending injuries to Stevie Johnson and Keenan Allen. Williams stands in at 6'3", 204 lbs and is an athletic freak, posting a 4.43 40-yard dash and 39.5" vertical at his Pro Day. As you would assume Williams has the size and speed to be a dynamic playmaker and he's done just that is his limited NFL action. In Week 17 of last season Williams had an 80-yard TD against the Broncos. This past weekend he was took two shallow crossing routes for over 30 yards a piece. The Chargers stuck with 3 WR sets even after Allen's injury. In those 39 snaps Williams was in on 33 of them. Inman might be the safer play but I'm willing to take a shot at Williams instead. There is some Demaryius Thomas in Willliams' game.
Week 1 Thoughts: Coby Fleener (4 Targets, 1 Rec, 6 Yards) and Gary Barnidge (2 Targets, 0 Rec, 0 Yards) both were duds in Week 1. If anyone drops them be sure to scoop them up. Josh McCown replacing RGIII is music to Barnidge's ears, who averaged 5.8 Rec, 80 Yards, 0.75 TD's in games started by McCown last year...Jared Cook out snapped Richard Rodgers 33 to 25...Eric Ebron looks to be an integral piece of the short and red zone passing game. Looked good coming off his ankle injury...Shout out to Dennis Pitta for coming back from two hip surgeries. He'll be on this list in the coming weeks if he maintains his role...Jesse James lived up to expectations in my opinion. I think he's a fine low end TE1 this week. Last season Heath Miller caught 10 passes in each regular season game versus Cincinnati.
Dwayne Allen - Indianapolis Colts
Allen is such a valuable piece to the Colts offense. He's a heck of a blocker and one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets in the red zone. Allen has TE1 ability, especially with Coby Fleener out of the picture, he just needs to avoid the injury bug. If you're trying to wash the Jared Cook taste out of your mouth look at Allen as an option. He does face a tough Denver D this week.
SLEEPER TIGHT END
Stephen Anderson - Houston Texans
Stephen Anderson is an undrafted "Move TE" out of California. He was my #4 TE in the 2016 draft class, receiving a third round grade. Anderson consistently caught my attention whenever I watched Jared Goff and Kenny Lawler this spring and it's no surprise to me that he made an NFL roster right away. Anderson is in the mold of a Jordan Reed in that he'll be primarily relied upon for his receiving ability and can line up all over formations. Anderson tested out similarly to Reed in the pre-draft process. They both stand at roughly 6'2", 230. Anderson was clocked at a 4.64 40-yard dash at his pro day to go along a 38" vertical at the combine. Reed ran a 4.72 40 at the combine. Anderson has a long way to go to be in Reed's company and I'm not even really suggesting that you should even pick up Anderson but he's a player you should be familiar with going forward. He played in 24 snaps Week 1 and hauled in all 3 of his targets for 25 yards.