Week 1 is officially in the books. Sputtering stars, rookie sensations, and massive injuries. It had just about everything we expected, right?
Let’s look at who’s stock is rising and falling heading into week 2 and beyond.
Riser: Carson Wentz
Wentz looked to me like he is about to take the next step in his career after a 307 yard 2 touchdown performance in week 1. He’s ultra-athletic and not afraid to try and make a big play to his improved weaponry on offense in Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agohlor, and his favorite big target tight end Zack Ertz. It also helps that Philadelphia seems to want to push the pace of play. The matchup for Wentz in week 2 isn’t great at Kansas City, but a top 10 finish for the season among quarterbacks seems more than possible.
Also Rising: DeShone Kizer
Faller: Andy Dalton
This was really disappointing and I should have seen it coming. The Bengals offensive line is an absolute disaster, and Dalton just isn’t talented enough to get away from a pass rush and make a play, or get the ball out to an open receiver quick enough to mitigate this problem. From personal experience (a -4 fantasy point performance) I am dropping Dalton. Forever.
Also Falling: Carson Palmer
Riser: Leonard Fournette
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone stated emphatically in the preseason that he would run the ball every play if he could. They came as close they could to that on Sunday, and had great success against a very good Texans defense on the road. Leonard Fournette often saw 8-man fronts and plowed people over time and time again on 30 touches in his NFL debut. Jacksonville is going with an old school tactic and Fournette will be a big benefactor behind a solid offensive line.
Also Rising: Ty Montgomery
Faller: Adrian Peterson
I was never high enough to allow Peterson to technically “fall” but I hope week 1 was enough for anyone who was hoping for him to find the fountain of youth and be as productive as he once was. His skills have clearly diminished, and will end up as the odd man out more often than not in an undesirable 3-man backfield committee.
Also Falling: Joe Mixon
Riser: Stefon Diggs
Diggs was amazing on Monday night vs. New Orleans with a 93 yard two-touchdown performance against the Saints. I know it was one week, but I am buying into the Vikings offense. Quarterback Sam Bradford has talented weapons all over the place in Diggs, Adam Theilen, Dalvin Cook, and Kyle Rudolph, and finally has a stable offensive line. His receivers had time to get open and Bradford had an eternity to throw against the Saints. I am buying in on the Vikings as a legitimate NFC contender and Diggs as a top-12 fantasy receiver.
Also Rising: DeAndre Hopkins
Faller: Pierre Garcon
I admit I was very high on Garcon at draft time, but I also admit I need to dial that back a bit for now. I still like the fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but unfortunately Brian Hoyer really struggled out of the gate vs. Carolina and the production wasn’t quite there for Garcon. I still believe there is a chance it comes together in San Francisco, but it may take a few weeks for all weapons involved to get comfortable in a new system.
Also Falling: T.Y. Hilton
Riser: Coby Fleener
Fleener’s stock continues to rise after week 1 as he was one of the benefactors of Willie Snead’s absence. He’s extremely athletic and talented, so this could be his chance to get a true role in the Saints offense and keep it if he can continue to perform.
Also Rising: Austin Hooper
Faller: Tyler Eifert
Eifert was asked to block more than usual due to Cinncinati’s offensive line woes, and that isn’t something that gets fixed overnight. I’m not saying to drop him, or to even bench him, but expectations should be tempered from what we’re used to when Eifert is healthy if he’s not running his usual routes.
Also Falling: Antonio Gates