Week one of the NFL season is almost in the bag, and what an exciting week it was. We got a little bit of everything this week with record-breaking performances, some all-time awful performances, and even had a tie. We are definitely headed for a wild season and it will be defined by two types of players, the Breadwinners, and the Bedshitters. Each week we’ll dive in and highlight the players who brought home the W’s and the ones who left you longing for more. Without further ado here are the Breadwinners for week one.
What a statement week for JJ as he absolutely destroyed the vaunted Packers secondary all day long. Anyone who opted to fade RBs and draft Jefferson left Sunday very happy. Jefferson had 6 catches, 158 yards, and 2 TDs. That would be a hell of a day for any WR, but for Jefferson, that was only his first half. Jefferson finished with 9 catches on 11 targets, 184 yards, and the 2 TDs. It could have been a lot more but Minnesota put this one away early. Jefferson did it all including having 5 catches over 15 yards including a 40-yarder and made Green Bay’s secondary look silly. Kirk Cousins had a perfect 158.3 passer rating on his targets and Aaron Rodgers proclaimed after the game that Jefferson is the best player in the game today. Keep an eye out for Jefferson to break Randy Moss’ record of 150-yard games before turning 24 as he is just one behind him going into week 2.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
The season kicked off on Thursday with the defending Super Bowl champs getting smacked around by the Buffalo Bills. Their attack was led by their superstars Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. Allen carved up the Rams all night long to the tune of 297 yards and 3 TDs. He also was Buffalo’s leading rusher with 10 carries, 56 yards, and a TD, all while delivering the stiff arm from hell to Nick Scott. Allen found the open man all day and it seemed like everyone on Buffalo got a turn, but the feature man was definitely Stefon Diggs.
Diggs was targetted 9 times and brought in 8 of them for 122 yards and a 40-yard TD bomb from Allen as he absolutely cooked all-world corner, Jalen Ramsey. The Bills look like they are on a mission and the Allen MVP campaign may be upon us. Allen is now third all-time in games with 3 Passing touchdowns and 1 Rushing TD behind only Drew Brees and Tom Brady. He could surpass both this season.
Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman
It was a bit of an ugly Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts as their season started with a whimper, finishing in a 20-20 tie with the lowly Houston Texans. While it certainly wasn’t the start the Colts were hoping to get off to, their stars showed up. Jonathan Taylor was the consensus top pick in fantasy drafts this year and finished as the RB1 in 2021. If yesterday was any indication, he very well may repeat. Taylor was electric and was a true bell cow on the day totaling 31 attempts for 164 yards and a TD. He was also targeted in the passing game 7 times hauling in 4 receptions. While Pittman didn’t break out to the same level as Taylor last season, he quietly finished as WR 17 in PPR formats in 2021 ahead of the likes of CeeDee Lamb, DJ Moore, and Brandin Cooks. He was one of the darlings of the fantasy football offseasons and in week one he showed why catching 9 passes for 121 yards and a TD and finishing with 27.1 points in PPR leagues on the day, trailing only Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, and Davante Adams. That’s pretty good company to keep and he also finished with more fantasy points than Stefon Diggs and AJ Brown, who had huge days. Most impressive was the fact that Pittman totaled 13 targets on the day and has firmly established himself as the WR in an offense featuring QB Matt Ryan, who has consistently produced WR1s throughout his illustrious career.
Queue the Eric Bischoff music “I’M BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER”. After two years of waiting for Michael Thomas, he reestablished himself in a huge way in week one with 5 catches, 57 yards, and 2 TDs. While this isn’t the type of stat line Thomas produced in his all-world WR seasons, he also only saw a 61% snap count. This was lower than Juwan Johnson, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave. What’s encouraging is even with the low snap count Thomas still saw the second-most targets on the team. Both trips to the end zone were vintage Thomas and as he gets more into game rhythm he could very well produce another one of those WR1 seasons we have been longing for.
Speaking of being back and better than ever, Saquone rewarded fantasy managers who took the gamble on him finishing with a league-high 33.4 fantasy points on the ground. The Giants looked rough, but Barkley single-handedly willed them to victory with 18 attempts, 164 yards, and a TD while adding 6 receptions on 7 targets for another 30 yards. The talent has always been there with Saquon. If he can stay healthy, he will likely be a league winner.
Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb
Sunday was not a good day for the Dallas Cowboys. It all started with Dak Prescott seeming to be lost all game long. A less talented and less healthy offensive line didn’t help, but Dak was still dreadful going just 14/29 for 134 yards and an INT. Dallas failed to get into the end zone the entire day and Dak also suffered a thumb injury likely to keep him out for 6-8 weeks. His number one option wasn’t any better. CeeDee Lamb was swallowed up all game by Carlton Davis and caught only 2 of his 11 targets for a paltry 29 yards. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Cowboys and with Cooper Rush at the helm, it’s fair to question if CeeDee Lamb can come anywhere close to his lofty draft capital.
Kyle Pitts and Mike Ditka are the only TEs to have 1000 yards in their rookie seasons. Naturally, the expectations were set very high. A lot of people hated the acquisition of Marcus Mariota, and rightfully so, but he did have some fantasy success with Delanie Walker back in his Titans days. With all that, Pitts came out flat and completely shit the bed in week one. Targeted 7 times, Pitts was only able to catch 2 of them for 19 yards. The receptions were fifth on the team behind juggernauts like Olamide Zaccheaus and KhaDarel Hodge. There will be better days for Pitt’s owners, but for the draft capital you invested in him, it was hard to not leave Sunday disappointed.
Big Mike Williams looked more like Tiny Mike Williams on Sunday. This had nothing to do with the Chargers or Justin Herbert’s performance either. Herbert spread the ball around effectively and got just about everyone involved, except Mike Williams. While Williams was tied for the team lead in targets (4) he only caught 2 of them for 10 total yards. Keenan Allen went down with a hamstring issue and it looked like BMW would be the beneficiary of him going down but instead, it was DeAndre that emerged with 3 receptions for 64 yards and a TD. If Allen misses any time Williams should see an increased target share and shouldn’t be on this list again, but he lands here for week one after an incredibly disappointing performance.
Allen Robinson and Cam Akers
The Rams, fresh off their Super Bowl win, were locked and loaded to take on the Bills in the season opener. They came out flat and the whole team looked bad, including Matthew Stafford. Their biggest nonperformers though had to go to Allen Robinson and Cam Akers. Allen Robinson, their biggest offensive offseason acquisition, was brought in to be a red zone target and was expected to be a high-end WR2 option. His Rams career got off to a whimper with only 1 catch for 12 yards. While that surely left people disappointed, Cam Akers managers everywhere were left in shock as not only did Henderson get the start at RB, but he also got the bulk of the carries. Akers, who was drafted as RB17 this season only got three carries and produced the same amount of yards as I did on Thursday, zero. It was a rough opening week for the Rams and they will look to get both of these guys going next week.
That's it for this week. Come back next week to see week 2's Breadwinners and Bedshitters.