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Cordarrelle Patterson – RB/WR, Falcons
The belief was that the Falcons would look to lighten Patterson’s workload on the ground and manufacture more targets for him through the receiving game. In Week 1 he was anything but after being a true running back who carried the ball 22 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. He added three receptions for 16 yards, but those were just sprinkles. Damien Williams started, left the game and returned, but by then Patterson had made his mark. Tyler Allgeier has been inactive and is currently not a threat to Patterson’s workload. Regardless of Williams status, Patterson showed he still has that dog in him even at 31. Should remain a strong flex game.
Darrell Henderson – RB, Rams
Henderson shocked the world when he started against the Bills to open the season. What was even more shocking was how many snaps it earned. Henderson played on 82% of the snaps compared to Cam Akers’ 18%. Additionally, he outscored Akers 18 to 3. Even though he didn’t give us the efficiency due to the Bills’ stout defense, he put up 12 tough points in PPR formats. What matters here is volume, and for now it looks like Henderson is getting almost all of it. I want to give you a real congratulations, if you got him in double digit rounds in fantasy drafts, today you win.
James Robinson – RB, Jaguars
Robinson quickly proves that an Achilles tear is not the kiss of death for running backs as people claim. He came back and turned like a man on a mission carrying the ball 11 times for 66 yards, a touchdown, and also added another catch for a touchdown. Many wondered what Robinson would look like returning from his devastating injury so soon. Fans have wrongly compared him to other full-backs who have not returned to form after an Achilles injury. Robinson won 49% of the snaps to Travis Etienne’s 51%. It looks to be a real committee where both players will have their fair share of opportunities. Trevor Lawrence, while not a true player, has improved and that will bode well for Robinson and the offense going forward.
Drake London – WR, Falcons
For a guy who was hurt most of training camp and the preseason, London was nothing short of impressive in his debut. The rookie tied for the team lead in targets (seven) while pacing the Falcons with five receptions for 74 yards. That type of production could have him as a WR3 mainstay in fantasy. There were questions about whether or not Marcus Mariota could support two passers in the Falcons offense. While Kyle Pitts finished the day quietly (two receptions for 19 yards), he also received seven targets. With injuries to receivers like Tee Higgins, Keenan Allen and Chris Godwin, London can find its way into your fantasy pretty quickly.
Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered throughout the season. Spend weekday afternoons with Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11 a.m. we are getting ready to start with Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both broadcasts live on the Peacock and catch reruns of the daily NFL broadcast on the NBC YouTube channel.
Cam Akers – RB, Rams
This is the most obvious of all, and we figured it out in the first game. Akers was far and away second fiddle to Darrell Henderson in Week 1. Akers managed an impressive zero yards on three carries. As an Akers devotee, I threw my hips and shoulders out from punching so much air. Coach Sean McVay said Akers needed to show more urgency and accountability. He also mentioned that when Akers came in, some things were good and there were things he could improve on. The drop was almost immediate as at worst we were expecting a 50/50 split between him and Henderson. Do I still believe in Akers down the line? Yes, but we have to be real here and it really has to be on your counter.
CeeDee Lamb – WR, Cowboys
Lamb’s condition went from bad to worse in drastic fashion. Getting just two receptions for 29 yards on 11 targets is downright scary for a player many believe could finish in the top five at his position. To make matters worse, the Cowboys will now be without quarterback Dak Prescott for the next 6-8 weeks with a hand injury. This lowers Lamb’s value as we’re not sure how consistent Cooper Rush will be in his targeting. Ezekiel Elliott, who actually ran well against the Buccaneers’ stout defense, could be relied on even more. Still, Lamb is too talented a player to bench in your lineups. The price is discounted, but we hope you can weather the storm.
George Pickens – WR, Steelers
The Air Force One blacks that Mike Tomlin gifted Pickens (and the rest of the team) weren’t enough to live up to the preseason hype. Despite playing in 91% of the team’s offensive snaps, the rookie standout managed just three targets and one catch for three yards. While Mitchell Trumbicki threw the ball 38 times, he chose to dine on the vets, most notably Deonda Johnson and Pat Fryermuth who were targeted 10 and 12 times respectively. Chase Claypool also saw six targets, so it will be hard to decipher who will have the most targets each week. The upside for Pickens is that he earned the staff’s trust to be on the field as long as he was.
Dameon Pierce – RB, Texans
Do you remember the good times? “Preseason RB1 Dameon Pierce SZN” was a blowout. Texans cut Marlon Mack, what could go wrong? I mean, all he has to do is beat Rex Burkhead, right? Week 1 was terrible for the Pierce faithful, and there are layers to it. There’s the acting like Barry Sanders, the “eh, it’s okay depends…” (me) tier, and the “But I’m good” tier. The last laugh to the bank right now as Pierce only played on 29% of the snaps while gaining 39 total yards on 12 carries. I don’t think people expected Pierce to carry the ball 30 times in Week 1, but a 50/50 split with Burkhead at worst is what people were hoping for. It takes the rookies a while to get going, but it doesn’t get any easier as the Texans head to Denver in Week 2 to face the Broncos.