Week 1 came with a lot of surprises that left fantasy managers wondering what’s real and what’s a fluke. For some players, it was a horrible debut on a new team. For others, it was a surprise standout performance that left us all with our jaws on the floor. There are some players that could have new opportunities after unfortunate injuries. Then there are those players that you want to watch because you really don’t know their game. Heading into Week 2, these are just a few guys I’ll be dialed into as we move forward into the second week of play.
The Chicago Bears are back on their BS (Bears shenanigans). This offseason filled fans and fantasy managers that the emerging young QB will take the next step to greatness and excitement about a new pass catching option would bring success for the Bears. DJ Moore and Justin Fields were supposed to be a 1-2 punch from the middle rounds. Boy were we wrong.
The Chicago offense looked awful in their 2023 debut. The play calling, the blocking, the effort – it all had everyone scratching their head after every drive. Worst of all, the shiny new addition of Moore seemed to be completely forgotten. DJ Moore had just 2 targets despite being on the field for the entire game. In a game where the Bears were down for the majority of the action, their expensive new weapon barley saw any opportunity.
I want to keep watching this situation because I refuse to believe any coaching staff would allow this to happen again. To go out and get a guy with a high price tag and simply ignore him is criminal. I want to see if this offense clicks now that they have some real tape of themselves. My hope is that this team can adjust and get DJ Moore involved again.
If not, this may be Darnell Mooney’s show all over again.
One of the Week 1 surprises was the Rams’ supposed second string running back Kyren Williams. Against the Seahawks he led the rams in rushing until he took a backseat to Akers as they were closing out the game. Williams had a better YPC, he had more targets (though it was still 2 to 0), and was used around the goal line twice where he was able to punch it in both times. These are all the things you want to see in an RB1 for a team – but we saw that from the second stringer.
Watching this next game should give us clarity on the situation, and some confirmation that this is indeed real.
In the preseason in 2022, Sean McVay mentioned how much they liked Kyren and how this guy was slated to get the bulk of the work. An early injury sidelined Williams and gave way for Akers to prove himself despite some previous disagreements with the team left him benched. If a healthy Kyren Williams is the dude that McVay wanted the whole time, it would make sense that he would continue to be the number 1 guy in that backfield.
What a shocking opening weekend for a receiver people left for dead this off-season. With the addition of Juju Smith-Schuster and the re-signing of Devante Parker to a longer deal, Kendrick Bourne was relegated to more of an after thought for fantasy managers. After all, he was largely invisible last year. Bourne found himself in the dog house in the Matt Patricia led offense for whatever reason, keeping him off the field for most of 2022.
But what we all forgot from 2021 was just how much Mac Jones liked Kendrick Bourne. Against the Eagles, Bourne was hyper targeted even after a costly drop gave Philly a pick 6. Bourne was routinely open down field and served as a great first-look option for the patriots.
So just how real is this new New England offense? That’s what I want to know as they play the high powrtes Dolphins on Sunday night. If Bourne is the real deal, he will once again be peppered with targets in order for New England to stick around in this game. Jones threw 50 passes in Week 1, and I don’t see him throwing much less against the Dolphins who dropped 36 on the chargers.
The Steelers will be looking for their next go-to target with the absence of Diontae Johnson and I’m starting to think it should be George Pickens. Although he’s more of a big play kind of guy, Pickens could be in line to usurp some of those vacated targets. That is, if they decide to treat him like a possession receiver.
The other option is that Pittsburgh adjusts their play calling to aim at Pickens deeper down the field. If that happens, we will get a chance to see the true strength of George Pickens. For those who haven’t seen him actually play, Pickens excels at making highlight reel catches down the field. Sure his separation isn’t the best but he can win those 50/50 balls easily. Pittsburgh could greatly benefit from giving him those shots, while giving guys like Allen Robinson and Pat Friermuth can take those shorter targets.
I personally think Pickens is a much greater wide receiver than the Steelers make him look. Pickett needs to level up in order to make Pickens look phenomenal every week. Otherwise it’ll just be a dart throw every game from a fantasy perspective.
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