As I watched week one of NFL action unfold on Sunday, I realized that this will be a season of the few elite offenses and the many average offenses. Only a handful of teams will put up 30 points a game and be able to regularly put up 350+ passing yards a game. These few teams will be able to sustain multiple fantasy stars, while other teams will find it difficult to have even one or two meaningful fantasy players.
For example, Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper showed Thursday night that, despite being on the same team, they will each put up more fantasy production this year than most team’s No.1 WR. The Chiefs, Bucs, Cowboys, Bengals, Seahawks and potentially a few other teams will account for a large amount of the fantasy stars this year at the wide receiver position.
These teams will be able to sustain the receiving volume and scoring to make all their weapons lethal. Instead of Tee Higgins and Jamar Chase canceling each other out, both of them will dominate due to the nature of their offense.
Other takeaways from week one:
HVT is the most important statistic for predicting the success of RBs. HVT stands for High-Value Touches. High-Value touches are how many times a running back either touches the ball inside the 10 yard line or has a reception. These two touches produce the most points for fantasy football. For example, if a RB has 2 runs inside the 10 yard line and 3 receptions, he has 5 HVT.
Talent trumps volume. The narrative that certain players will be good or bad based on volume alone should be put to bed once and for all. Najee Harris received all the volume but didn’t have a good offensive line or a run-centered offense. Meanwhile, D’Andre Swift was so talented that being on the Lions didn’t stop him from putting up an incredible performance in week one.
Use recency bias to your advantage. Fantasy managers saw Deebo Samuel’s injuries last year and Jamar Chase’s preseason drops, and both players fell in drafts. This resulted in sixth or seventh round steals for those who could see past the recency bias. Remember to not let recency bias get in the way of making informed decisions in fantasy football.
Redrafting the first round. If I were to redraft the first round today after week one, here is what my rankings look like (rankings are for half-PPR):
- Christian McCaffrey - 11 HVT in week one. No. 1 RB week one with no touchdowns. He is flawless as a fantasy player in every way.
- Alvin Kamara - 5 HVT in week one. Arguably the most talented RB with the most receptions and is the entire offense.
- Dalvin Cook - 7 HVT touches in week one. A little concerning because he is kind of touchdown dependent, but RBs are so valuable and he is a tier above the rest.
- Tyreek Hill - My projection for this year’s top WR. The offense runs through him and Kelce. Hill can turn any catch into a TD.
- Travis Kelce - Having an elite TE is so valuable. The advantage you get is enormous.
- Stefon Diggs - Diggs will bounce back from a tough week one versus the Steelers. Despite getting double teamed and focused on by the Steelers’ secondary throughout the game, Diggs had 14 targets, 9 receptions and 150 air yards. He will be a fantasy superstar this year.
- Davonte Adams - I think Adams will do a lot better this week versus the Lions. Like Diggs, he was the focal point of the defense’s scheme and still had an OK game despite that. He will do better.
- Deandre Hopkins - With another year under his belt working with Kyler, they have developed an incredible connection. Hopkins is a stud and has an amazing playoff schedule with dome games. He could be a league winner down that stretch.
- Darren Waller - Same as Kelce, Waller is one of the top two guys this year and he and Kelce will win people leagues.
- D'Andre Swift - 9 HVT in week one. He will be the RB steal of the third to fourth round. This offense wants to feed the ball to their RBs and TE, and Swift will be the biggest beneficiary.
- Ceedee Lamb - Been targeting Lamb in drafts this offseason, he has now moved up to my No.5 WR. 10.6 aDOT (Average Depth of Target) in week one, compared to Amari Cooper’s 7.9. Also recorded 32% TPRR (Targets Per Route Run), compared to Cooper’s 29%.
- Jonathan Taylor - 9 HVT in week onw. Will bounce back and be dominant in some big games.
An exciting week two is ahead! I’ll close with my starts of the week. Last week I was just 3/6 (I missed Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Laviska Shenault).
QB: Justin Herbert vs. Cowboys - He will have a monster performance against one of the worst defenses in the league. Start every relevant fantasy player in this game, it will be a shootout.
RB: D’Andre Swift vs. Packers - As mentioned before, I now have him as a first round value. I think he will continue to grow his role in the Lions offense against the Packers. He is so talented he can take any carry to the house.
WR: Mike Williams vs. Cowboys - Williams is being used in a different role than before. He had a 9.8 aDOT (Average Depth of Target) and is now being used for more mid-range or even shorter routes. I think he will be a breakout this year in his new role.
TE: Cole Kmet vs. Bengals - Kmet ran routes on over 70% of passing plays, compared to just 20% for Jimmy Graham. He is entering his second year and has a huge upside. Pick him up if he is available in any league where you do not have Kelce, Waller, Kittle or Hockenson.
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals vs. Vikings
K: Robbie Gould vs. Eagles
Daniel Scrugham is a junior at the Haslam College of Business majoring in business analytics. Shoot him your fantasy questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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