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Browns Sputter, Rookies Shine in Week 1

Updated On: September 10, 2019, 1:03 am ET

If anyone in the industry tells you they could have predicted the fantasy leaders of Week 1, feel free to call "BS." The opening week is an opportunity for fans and analysts alike to gather player usage data. We can use information from defensive matchups to predict the performances of our fantasy assets in the coming weeks. Week 1 was a mess. If I'm honest, I think we're going to need another week of data before being able to draw fantasy conclusions.

Three rookie wide receivers and one rookie tight end managed to top 100 yards receiving, while Mike Evans, Julio Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster were let downs on your fantasy rosters. Although we should see these young stars come back down to earth in the coming weeks, once defenses have tape to analyze, it's worth discussing whose debut performance is worth chasing.

Editor's Note: Here are some of the top guys to target for trades, but who should you give up? Plug your trade props into our Season Pass Trade Analyzer to make sure you're coming out on top of every deal!


Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Chubb had a relatively quiet Sunday -- 75 rushing yards and no touchdowns. The Browns came out of Week 1 looking sloppy and undisciplined, racking up penalties to either kill their drives or elongate Tennessee's. It's hard to imagine that new head coach Freddie Kitchens wouldn't return to what worked so well for them (and fantasy owners) in 2018. A big part of that success was funneling plenty of the offense through Chubb.

Owners may be a bit stunned to see his usage, especially after thinking we'd seen an uptick in receptions after the Browns traded Duke Johnson to the Texans for a third-round pick. He didn't see the uptick in usage and had the only rushing touchdown on the day sniped by Dontrell Hilliard. The Browns Offense certainly has some kinks to work out, but perhaps they can do it by taking some pressure off of Baker Mayfield with the run game. I'll be doing a temperature check on Chubb owners to see if I can grab him at a discount heading into Week 2.

Devin Singletary, RB, Bills

Despite the Bills' struggles on offense, things seemed to start rolling when Devin Singletary saw his first carries in the game. Before the second half of the game, Singletary had yet to take a carry, bringing in one of three targets for just four yards. Encouraging for PPR leagues, but a pretty massive disappointment if you started him with hopes that he'd be a workhorse in Week 1. The coaching staff woke up in the second half and put him to work.

He was hyperefficient in his regular-season debut, totaling 70 yards on just four carries, but his usage in the passing game is what counts. He pulled in five of six targets for 28 yards and looked to be a safety blanket for a struggling Josh Allen. While he may not have carried the load of a workhorse, his snap share for should be encouraging to fantasy owners - 71.2%. Singletary's burst was noticeable compared to veteran Frank Gore, and it's going to be hard for the Buffalo coaching staff to keep him off the field for much longer. This is probably your last "buy-relatively-low" opportunity.


Robby Anderson, WR, Jets

If Anderson's calf injury wasn't enough of a reason to fade him Sunday, the matchup versus Buffalo sure was. Buffalo allowed the fourth-fewest points to wide receivers per game in 2018 and showed no signs of slowing down with CB Tre'Davious White leading the pack. Neither barrier worked in Anderson's favor to get off to a strong start, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for fantasy owners moving forward

Second-year QB Sam Darnold has looked clean through the preseason and showed a real leap in the second half of 2018 returning from injury. He managed just three receptions for 23 yards this week, but he and Darnold missed on a couple of passes that might have put them in position to score. Anderson is in a contract year and has a lot to prove to fantasy owners but is worth trading for, given his boom potential and likely low-acquisition cost at this point in time.

Between the calf injury that kept him out of practice heading into the season opener and the matchup, we should hope for more potential moving forward. The Jets see the Browns, Patriots, and Eagles in the coming weeks that should provide him a little bit more breathing room.


D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle

I don't often recommend acquiring rookie wide receivers, but Metcalf may be the exception at this point. Comparatively, with other rookies, Metcalf had a "disappointing" showing with just four receptions for 89 yards. While I like the stat line he managed to produce in his first-ever regular-season NFL game, only two weeks out from a knee scope procedure, it's his usage that has me intrigued.

Seattle's offense is one that has been built on the premise of efficiency and big-play ability from their receivers - all it takes is one splash to make your fantasy day. D.K. Metcalf showed us that splash, the ability to make the contested catch, and he has the trust of his quarterback, Russell Wilson. He saw six total targets in Sunday's outing, one coming off of a Wilson scramble where the two connected for a 25-yard gain that wasn't scripted. Wilson has spoken highly of Metcalf's football IQ, and it's encouraging to see his involvement in Week 1 in a run-heavy scheme. Out of all the rookies who performed yesterday, Metcalf comes at the most significant discount. The Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh next week, then get the Saints and a Patrick Peterson-less Cardinals. 


John Brown, WR, Bills

I certainly didn't expect to be discussing two Bills players in a trade targets column for Week 1, but alas, here we are. In the first half Sunday, QB Josh Allen gave up four turnovers, including one pick-six to C.J. Mosley that had all of us shaking our heads. Despite the fact that Buffalo couldn't seem to keep possession of the ball, Brown seemed to be Allen's safety blanket of sorts. He was involved throughout the game and totaled seven receptions for 123 yards and a score for the day. 

Brown eclipsed the 100-yard mark more quietly than some of his wide receiver counterparts for the week, and perhaps it's due to the shaky passing offense he's a part of. Brown is known for his big-play ability down the field while healthy. Paired up with Josh "Rocket Arm" Allen, he should continue to eat as the Bills face the Giants and the Bengals in the next two weeks. 


Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

On a day of anomalies, we saw one thing hold: Delanie Walker is a big part of the Titans Offense. His presence back on the field was a reminder that if they intend to use Derrick Henry as the engine of the offense, Walker will indeed be the oil that makes it run. 

After returning from a broken ankle that ended his 2018 campaign, Walker didn't miss a beat. He finished the day with five receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Walker was drafted below value this season and was outshined (somehow) by performances by younger guys or on flashier offenses. He's a reliable tight end in an inconsistent landscape and should be relatively cheap to acquire.

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