Week 1 is over and for many fantasy players, it was actually quite disappointing. The consensus first and second overall picks were absolute busts in what were supposed to be great matchups. Le’Veon Bell only received nine carries in a game the Steelers were leading throughout, while David Johnson couldn’t overcome the Cardinals' poor offensive line play. It only gets worse for those who drafted Johnson as it was announced today that he could be out for an extended period of time with a wrist injury.
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David Johnson Injury
Throughout Monday, Johnson’s status was updated frequently. ESPN’s Adam Schefter started off the day by saying Johnson could potentially be ready for next week's game. Despite the early positivity, NFL.com’s Ian Rappaport reported Johnson could miss an ‘extended period’ of time and is a potential candidate for injured reserve. Bruce Arians later confirmed this by saying Johnsons’ prognosis is similar to that of T.J. Logan, who is already on injured reserve.
In essence, while the exact amount of time Johnson will be out is unknown, it is highly likely he will be out for at least a few weeks. For fantasy owners, it’s time to look for a replacement on the waiver wire. The problem is there probably won’t be one single player who takes on Johnson’s workload. Kerwynn Williams looks to be the favorite for early down carries with Andre Ellington taking pass-catching duties. This seems somewhat easy to predict but head coach Bruce Arians has already mentioned the possibility of signing ex-Cardinals running back Chris Johnson and there are also rumors swirling of a potential trade for Matt Forte. Both of these additions would entirely muddy the current running back committee and either player would instantly become the running back to own. For now, Williams is definitely the waiver add but don’t be overly excited about it.
MNF Recap: Bradford lights up New Orleans and the Broncos hang on in Nail biter
Former No.1 overall pick Sam Bradford absolutely dominated in the Vikings' 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints. Bradford completed 27-of-32 attempts for 346 yards and three touchdowns. After being forced to dink-and-dunk last season due to having the most-injured offensive line in the league, Bradford excelled with plenty of time. Their offense was firing on all cylinders with Adam Thielen leading the Vikings in receiving with a 9-157-0 line on 10 targets. The only incompletion the pair had was in the end zone where Bradford ran out of time and tried to force it into double coverage. In addition to Thielen, Stefon Diggs had a big game as well with a line of 7-93-2 on eight targets. Rookie Dalvin Cook got off to a slow start but as the Saints' defense tired he tore them apart, finishing the game with 127 rushing yards on 22 carries.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints didn’t look terrible, but couldn’t capitalize on multiple red-zone trips. This game could have easily been down to the wire if they had converted inside the 10. Michael Thomas played fine but produced minimally with a 5-45-0 line on eight targets. The Saints’ running back committee was an absolute mess, combining for 55 yards on 19 carries and none of them averaging more than 3 yards-per-carry. Adrian Peterson was used scarcely in what was supposed to be his “revenge game” with only six carries for 18 yards. The only player who outperformed expectations on the Saints may have been Coby Fleener, who had multiple nice catches with a 5-54-1 line on six targets.
In the second game of Monday night’s doubleheader, Denver took a commanding 24-7 lead going into the 4th quarter. The Broncos proceeded to turn the ball over twice which led to two quick Chargers’ scores. The game ended 24-21 Broncos, being decided on a blocked FG attempt with five seconds left. The Broncos were able to build their lead through sustaining long drives by converting key third-downs. Trevor Siemian was more decisive in general and less conservative on key 3rd down plays. He threw two touchdowns to Bennie Fowler while running another in himself. The Broncos' running game was very good on Monday, with their running backs rushing 30 times for 121 yards. C.J. Anderson accounted for the large majority of that with 20 carries for 81 yards. At the moment it’s tough to tell whether the Broncos’ offensive line became significantly better at run-blocking or the Chargers' run stopping unit is bad. In my opinion, it’s a mixture of both. Demaryius Thomas led the team in targets with eight, going 5-67-0. Emmanuel Sanders was quiet for the majority of the game, converting six targets into three catches and 26 yards.
Philip Rivers was stifled for the first three quarters of the game but found some life in the fourth (didn’t think this is something I would ever type after last year’s horrific fourth quarter woes). He passed for 192 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Melvin Gordon was surprisingly poor against what is supposed to be a suspect Broncos' run defense. His 18 carries for 54 yards contributed to the Chargers' lack of success on offense in this game. Gordon was very involved in the passing game though, with five receptions for 25 yards and a leaping touchdown. The Chargers' most targeted receiver was Keenan Allen with 10, but he was only able to turn that into a 5-35-1 line with multiple drops and tough catches contributing to his inefficiency.
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The Ravens’ fear Danny Woodhead will miss ‘significant time’ with a hamstring injury. Buck Allen looks to be the favorite to pick up pass-catching duties in Woodhead’s absence. ... The NFL filed an appeal of Ezekiel Elliott's preliminary injunction. This doesn’t mean a whole lot at the moment and was expected, but does further complicate Zeke’s status. ... Eagles CB Ronald Darby will miss 4-6 weeks with a dislocated ankle. Recently acquired from the Bills, the Eagles’ attempt to bolster their secondary is on hold. ... 49ers LB Reuben Foster has a high ankle sprain. He will try to play against the Seahawks this week, but high-ankle sprains are usually tricky. ... Eagles K Caleb Sturgis will miss several weeks with a quad strain. He can be dropped from your fantasy team as he is unlikely to come back for multiple weeks. ... Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt has avoided season-ending surgery on his bicep which was thought to be torn. ... Cam Newton reportedly wasn’t sore after his game against the 49ers. This is important as he only attempted two passes in the preseason. Newton looked rusty against the 49ers but should improve with more reps. ... Bears WR Kevin White has been placed on injured reserve with a fractured scapula. It could require season-ending surgery. The former first-round pick can’t seem to stay healthy. ... Broncos signed K Brandon McManus to a three-year extension through 2020. He is currently the most accurate kicker in Broncos history. ... Head coach Hue Jackson insisted Duke Johnson isn’t “strictly” a receiver now and it was because of their game plan. This is an interesting comment as Johnson lined up as a receiver on the vast majority of his snaps. ... Head coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t commit to Kenny Britt as a Week 2 starter. Britt had a bad drop but is still one of their most talented receivers. It seems hard to believe he won’t start this week. ... Bills OC Rick Dennison has no plans of reducing LeSean McCoy’s workload. McCoy racked up 27 touches on Sunday and may struggle to stay healthy with his career workload reaching historical highs. He remains an elite RB play in the short-term. ... Rams signed P Johnny Hekker to a two-year, $9.6 million extension through 2022. Hekker is a three-time All-Pro, making it logical the Rams would lock him up for the long-term. ... Andrew Luck has already been ruled out for Week 2 against the Cardinals. With Tolzien looking entirely incompetent on Sunday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts turn to recently-acquired Jacoby Brissett. ... Head coach Sean McVay is confident Aaron Donald will be ready to play for the Rams’ Week 2 game against Washington. Donald is an integral part of their defense and wreaked havoc last week without him. Washington will be a much bigger challenge this week.