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Fantasy Football's Week 1 Burning Questions: Peyton Manning Struggles, James Jones Finds Pay Dirt Twice and More

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

After waiting all preseason for "real" football to start, Sunday's NFL Week 1 games did not disappoint. We had onside kicks, overtime, missed extra points and of course, players that surprised everyone across the fantasy landscape.

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As we look back on the Week 1 games, not only were there some players that surprised everyone, but also some scores. The Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts both lost (hope you didn't have either of those teams in your eliminator pools). Peyton Manning had a terrible game and in terms of fantasy points, was outscored by pretty much every other quarterback who played a full game except for Joe Flacco.

Each week we'll look at some postgame storylines along with pondering some burning questions.

Is Green Bay struggling or is Chicago really not that bad?

Throughout the game, Chicago had chances to win. While the game was in the Windy City, everyone had thought that Aaron Rodgers and his high-powered offense would blow through Jay Cutler and the leaky Chicago defense. Somehow, that didn't quite happen. The question remains: is Chicago's defense not terrible or is Green Bay struggling on offense?

Green Bay's defense wasn't going to be the top option in league, but they let Matt Forte run all over them. Forte totaled 141 rushing yards and a touchdown and added 25 receiving yards against the Packers. That wouldn't be as bad except Green Bay's offense was sputtering. Chicago's defense was a joke in 2014. In Week 1 of 2015, Rodgers only threw for 189 yards. He did throw for three touchdowns, but Eddie Lacy only rushed for 85 yards (and a touchdown). Not a bad day overall, but not the offensive beating that was expected.

Part of the problem for both teams is their wide receiver corps are banged up. All three Chicago receivers entered the game with a Questionable tag. Eddie Royal was in and out of the game, Alshon Jeffery played, but didn't look 100 percent, and Marquess Wilson was only targeted twice.

On Green Bay's side, James Jones stole the show, catching all four of his targets which included two touchdowns. Randall Cobb is playing with a shoulder injury, and he has admitted that he is not at 100 percent. He caught all five of his targets, but with Jordy Nelson out, it wasn't the type of game fantasy owners expected from him. Davante Adams was the leading receiver with 59 yards.

Fantasy owners shouldn't panic about any of these guys... yet. Wait and see how Week 2 plays out. The Packers play the Seahawks in Green Bay; the Bears host Arizona.

Can you find fantasy value in St. Louis?

On draft day, most people avoided most Rams. Nick Foles was not drafted in most leagues (currently 13 percent owned). Tre Mason and Todd Gurley were drafted, but neither played in Week 1. Benny Cunningham, the Week 1 starting running back for the Rams, is owned in 16 percent of leagues. He rushed for 45 yards and added four receptions for 77 yards. In terms of the wide receivers, well, Cunningham had the most targets, followed by tight end Jared Cook. Next was Tavon Austin, although he only caught two of his five targets. Stedman Bailey had the most receiving yards out of all wide receivers with 58.

For fantasy purposes, Cunningham is worth an add if Mason will miss more time. Just know that he's not the long-term answer (but he will suffice for desperate Andre Ellington owners, for example). Brian Quick was supposed to be the No. 1 wideout for the Rams, but he was a healthy scratch in Week 1. It's too hard to trust any of the Rams' wide receivers at this point, but keep Austin on your radar, especially if you get points for return yards.

Should we be worried about Peyton Manning?

Going into the game against the Broncos, the word out of Baltimore was the Ravens wanted to make Manning throw the ball. Denver wanted to focus on a run-based attack to protect its quarterback, and after Week 1, we can see why both teams thought the way they did. When Manning was forced to throw, it was painful to watch.

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Manning is 39, and at the end of the 2014 season, questions were raised regarding his ability to maintain his status as one of the league's top quarterbacks. He was struggling, but it was blamed on his quad injuries. In Week 1, Manning attempted 40 passes, but he only completed 24 of them for 175 yards and no touchdowns. He had one interception, and he just didn't seem to be on the same page as his receivers.

Perhaps the problem was just Denver's offense was in trouble. C.J. Anderson totaled 29 rushing yards on 12 carries. He added four receptions for 19 yards and was out-played by Ronnie Hillman. It appeared he may have a toe injury, but the Broncos have said he is fine.

The Broncos face Kansas City on Thursday night, and at this point, fantasy owners are stuck. Manning is still a starting quarterback and as long as he's active, you're starting Anderson as a RB1. Demaryius Thomas is a WR1 and Emmanuel Sanders is a WR2. However, the rest of the offense should be avoided for fantasy purposes in Week 2.

More Burning Questions

How long will it take for Kansas City to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver?

What's wrong with Andre Johnson?

Will Sammy Watkins help fantasy owners in Week 2?

Will Tyrod Taylor have fantasy value moving forward? What about Marcus Mariota?

Will Jameis Winston be that bad even when he has Mike Evans back?

What happened to all of the receptions that were supposed to go to Greg Olsen now once Kelvin Benjamin was injured?

Should we buy in to Tyler Eifert as a TE1 or should we just start tight ends against the Raiders?

Will Jarvis Landry, Keenan Allen and Julian Edelman continue to be PPR machines?

Is Chris Ivory going to be a RB1 for fantasy purposes?

What will Week 2 reveal?

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.