Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Week 1 Buy, Sell, or Holdby Mike Fanelli September 15, 2021 1 comment
Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is in the books. Of course, everyone is overreacting after one week of football. Some players had horrible performances this past weekend, while others had excellent ones. However, which players should you buy low, which should you sell high, and which should you hold onto for another week? Here are six names that could potentially be on the trading block in your fantasy league.
All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
On Sunday, Rodgers had arguably the worst game of his career, scoring only 1.3 fantasy points. Rodgers threw two interceptions after throwing five all of last season. Furthermore, Rodgers looked awful at times, throwing into clear double coverage. However, Rodgers didn’t play in the preseason, and it showed. Some fantasy owners will be quick to pull the plug on the reigning MVP after some on social media have suggested Rodgers is trying to ruin the Packers’ season. However, the Packers have one of these ugly performances every season. Last year, the Packers got destroyed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The following week, Rodgers scored 27.3 fantasy points. Rodgers faces four horrible secondaries in his next five games. Buy low on the MVP before this weekend’s matchup against the Detroit Lions.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
In his first NFL game, Harris let his fantasy owners down, scoring only 5.9 fantasy points. However, the Steelers used their first-round pick on Harris with the plan to make him their featured back, and they did last week. Harris played 100 percent of the offensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills and had 16 rushing attempts. Furthermore, he either carried the ball or was targeted on 33 percent of the Steelers’ plays in Week 1. While he averaged only 2.8 yards per attempt last week, the Bills have one of the better defenses in the NFL. Harris just had a tough Week 1 matchup and should turn into a top-12 running back starting this week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Amari Cooper and Tyreek Hill. Those were the only two wide receivers to score more fantasy points than Samuel in Week 1. Last season, Samuel scored a total of 80.7 fantasy points in seven games. By comparison, Samuel scored 31.9 last week. Meanwhile, Brandon Aiyuk, the favorite as the WR1 in San Francisco entering the season, played on only 47 percent of the snaps. For Deebo to finish with such a great performance, it took a 46.2 percent target share and an excellent matchup against a terrible Detroit secondary. Once he is healthy and out of Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse, Aiyuk will take back his WR1 role in San Francisco. After the Philadelphia Eagles held Calvin Ridley to only 10.1 fantasy points last week, sell Deebo high while you can.
Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints
Throughout the entire preseason, fantasy players were obsessed with the Saints’ tight end. Against the Packers, Johnson scored 17.1 fantasy points, finishing as the TE5 for the week. However, everything in his performance screams outlier. First, it took a historic performance from Jameis Winston for Johnson to score 17.1 fantasy points. Second, Adam Trautman outperformed Johnson in almost every category other than touchdowns. Trautman played 82 percent of the snaps compared to 19 percent for Johnson. Trautman also had twice as many targets (six to three) as Johnson. The only reason Johnson had the performance he did was the horrific Green Bay defense. Johnson will never have a better performance than what he did last week. Trade him away to a league mate who still believes the hype.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Entering the season, everyone in Philadelphia knew it was a make-or-break season for Hurts. However, he started the season strong, scoring 28.8 fantasy points, finishing as the QB5 for the week. Hurts completed 77.1 percent of his pass attempts, throwing three touchdowns while adding 62 rushing yards. However, the question is: was his performance a sign of things to come, or did he just take advantage of a terrific matchup? Unfortunately, fantasy owners might not get the answer to that question until Week 4 as the Eagles face poor secondaries in their next two games. If Hurts plays well, was it because of him or the great matchup? However, at this time, it appears that Hurts will be a weekly top-12 quarterback for his fantasy owners.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
With Larry Fitzgerald enjoying life after football, Kirk is the new slot receiver in Arizona and had one of the best games of his career on Sunday. Kirk’s 24 points on Sunday were the second-highest in his career. While Kirk finished behind A.J. Green in targets (five to six), he caught all of his targets and matched DeAndre Hopkins with two touchdowns. However, Green played 80 percent of the snaps while Kirk played 57 percent of the snaps. Green was targeted once every 9.2 snaps he was on the field, while Kirk was targeted once every 6.5 snaps. Should Kirk continues his hot play this week, he will take snaps and targets from Green. If that happens, Kirk could turn into a weekly flex option or better.
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