Fantasy football season is here! And with the opening week came an onslaught of wildly impressive or disappointing performances. It can be hard to sift through what's real or what's not, to project what's to come. I definitely cannot do any of that at a high level, but I can try! Anything for you, reader.
As I did last year, I will be going through each week breaking down the most difficult start 'em, sit 'em options in fantasy football (as well as the top waiver wire pickups). So let's get right to it. (All stats via ESPN PPR leagues)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Arguably the biggest fantasy football surprise of Week 1, Aiyuk was a starter in only 24.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Yet he put up more points than any receiver other than Tyreek Hill, catching eight passes for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It is clear that Aiyuk is a favorite target of Brock Purdy's and has become trusted by Kyle Shanahan. The question is if he can keep up steady output while competing for targets with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey against the Rams next week.
Our bet is that he cannot. While Los Angeles does not boast a particularly intimidating stable of corners they did keep DK Metcalf under wraps last week. More than anything, Aiyuk is a prime candidate to regress hard. SIT 'EM
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks
One of last year's fantasy studs, Walker had a bummer of an outing to open the season against the Rams. He recorded only 10 points in total, gaining 64 yards on 12 carries and adding four receptions for three yards. This could be a matter of concern to his fantasy supporters given his groin injury and Pete Carroll's love of splitting carries between the good running back and the bad backups.
Worry not, though. He got the lion's share of the carries and will definitely put up better numbers in the passing game going forward. Plus the Seahawks should be in a closer game against the Lions next week so Walker will have more chances to break out for big gains. Keep the faith. START 'EM
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 1 was a massive bummer for Goedert and everyone who bought into his fantasy hype this season. He didn't catch one pass against the Patriots and only received one target from Jalen Hurts all game. New England's defense is fierce, to be sure, and filled with exactly the type of athlete designed to shut down a guy like Goedert. But it was, nevertheless, a very concerning fantasy day.
Nick Sirianni agrees and told reporters after the game that the Eagles can't have Goedert that uninvolved in a gameplan. So we'll buy what he's selling and believe Goedert is in for a bounceback performance against the Vikings on Thursday. Sometimes it really is as simple as the talented guy is going to put up numbers, what happened last week be damned. START 'EM
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
Just like last season Tua is kicking off his season with a bang. Posting the highest numbers of any QB in Week 1, Tagovailoa had 27 fantasy points after throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers. Mike McDaniel appears willing and able to adjust to how defenses countered his offense late last season and South Beach will be a fantasy factory once more. Yet he was only started in 28.8 percent of all ESPN leagues in Week 1. Can he prove everyone wrong again in Week 2?
Frankly, it's hard to like Tagovailoa's chances against a very good Patriots defense, though. He had a pick and a fumble against LA. Turnovers are the thing that can really hamper a fantasy QB's point output and New England forced a fumble while heavily limiting a very good Eagles offense last week. Tua could be fine but no one should bank on another four-hundred yard passing day from the Alabama product and thus he should stay on the bench until a more favorable matchup comes along. SIT 'EM
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
What a nightmare start for everybody in Cincy. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase had terrible days but Higgins put up a total goose egg-- zero catches despite eight targets. Everyone is at fault here, though. It wasn't like Higgins dropped easy passes or wasn't running the right routes. Burrow was trying to force the ball in the rare instances where he had a second to breathe and the Browns' cornerbacks made life difficult when the ball was in the air. And next week's matchup is no cupcake, either, as the Ravens come to town with a Mike Macdonald defense that has made life very difficult for Burrow in the past.
However, Baltimore lost one starter in their secondary to injury in Week 1 and their best corner, Marlon Humphrey, still hasn't practiced after surgery in August. The Bengals are going to be playing very mad and the Ravens will be adjusting to their personnel losses. While they may not put up huge numbers, we're willing to bank on a return to normalcy for Cincinnati and Higgins. START 'EM