Theo Riddick, Carson Wentz among those to shine in Week 1
When Monday morning rolls around, fantasy owners look back at their lineups, start sizing up the waiver wire and wonder what they could have done better or differently. Some fantasy owners may read about the games they weren't able to watch and try to find the biggest storylines from the box scores. That's the goal of this column: to pick three storylines from Sunday to help fantasy owners plan for the following week. So here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game that you may or may not have noticed.
San Diego Chargers
In looking simply at the box score, the Chargers lost to the Chiefs in overtime. However, San Diego was up 21-3 at halftime, at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers could hold the lead mainly because they couldn’t find the end zone in the second half. In the fourth quarter, a missed field goal turned the momentum to Kansas City, and the Chiefs never looked back. The biggest fantasy storyline to come from this game for San Diego, unfortunately, is the loss of Keenan Allen.
In the second quarter, Allen went down with a non-contact knee injury, feared to be a torn ACL. He was poised for a great season, especially in PPR leagues, after suffering a lacerated kidney halfway through the 2015 season. For fantasy owners, plan to be without Allen for the rest of the season. Look for Travis Benjamin, who had eight targets on Sunday, to be the next man up for the Chargers.
The loss of Allen does knock the fantasy value of Philip Rivers down a notch, however. Benjamin is not nearly as solid of a No. 1 receiver as Allen was. Dontrelle Inman also will see his role expand, but he is only worth adding in deeper leagues. The biggest beneficiary will likely be Danny Woodhead, who had seven targets, which he converted into five receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. He's going to be a solid RB2 in PPR leagues moving forward.
Heading into Week 1, the general consensus was that the Eagles were going to struggle offensively this season. While another week may be needed to see whether it was a result of the Cleveland Brown's defense not being very strong or the Eagles actually having a viable offense, it is promising that they were able to score 29 points on Sunday.
Carson Wentz looked good against the Browns, starting the game with a touchdown pass on the opening drive to Jordan Matthews. He actually targeted Matthews 14 times in the game, and Matthews caught half of those passes, showing that he does still have a case of the drops from time to time. A healthy (for now) Ryan Mathews had 22 carries, and ended the day with 77 yards and a touchdown. He wasn't involved in the passing game, as Darren Sproles had five targets.
In terms of fantasy, Wentz is a solid QB2 or bye-week fill-in for fantasy owners looking ahead. He's going to have good weeks and he's going to struggle, as is the plight of a rookie quarterback. Matthews is going to be an every-week WR2, and Mathews is a RB2 while healthy.
It wasn't a secret heading into this matchup that the Indianapolis Colts' defense was beat up and not a solid unit. Matthew Stafford was a solid Week 1 plug-in for DFS or for Tom Brady owners, and he didn't disappoint: 31-for-39 with 340 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Stafford also got the Lions’ offense down the field with 37 seconds left to put Matt Prater in position for a game-winning field goal.
The Lions put up 39 points (although the safety at the end of the game really doesn't count in that point total), mostly thanks to the running backs: Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington each scored a rushing touchdown; Riddick, Ameer Abdullah and Eric Ebron all scored receiving touchdowns.
Riddick is less than 70 percent owned (per ESPN.com), so if he is available, he's worth adding, however, know that the running back situation is fluid in Detroit and most games will not feature multiple touchdowns to multiple running backs. Another guy to keep in mind is Marvin Jones, who had 10 targets (three more than Golden Tate). In PPR leagues, he's shaping up to be a WR3 on a weekly basis.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo courtesy of www.detroitlions.com)