In my weekly column, we will look at some rookie performances and attempt to decide their impact on your dynasty team and as well as their respective NFL team. This will not be an all-inclusive list, instead it will be a slice of the NFL pie.
RB-David Wilson, New York Giants- Wilson got two carries before he fumbled on NFL's opening night. Head Coach Tom Coughlin is not known for his patience with rookies or players who turnover the ball. This is a setback for Wilson, but not a death knell. I would only trot him out next week if you are in a return yardage league.
QB-Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts- Luck had a long first day at the office. He managed to throw for over 300 yards, but had some costly turnovers with CB Tim Jennings in his head. Luck showed toughness in the pocket and got the most out of his two safety blankets, Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener. In the grand scheme of things, Luck showed growing pains against an attacking defense. I would hold off using him in your league for the next month, at least until the game slows down for him.
TE-Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts- Fleener had a quiet start of the game, but stepped up late in the 2nd quarter and was used more often in the second half. He caught six passes out of his ten targets and got the lion's share of the tight end targets as Dwayne Allen was almost invisible working mostly at fullback. Fleener appeared to be Luck's second read after Reggie Wayne, so I would expect him to be targeted 8-10 times a game throughout the season.
WR-Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears- At the start of the game, Jeffery looked a bit lost out there. He settled in and made a huge catch between two defensive backs for a first down. I liked the way Jeffery used the sidelines to help get separation and he was the recipient of a "sky hook" 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Jeffery won't put up these numbers every week, but it was great to see the big play potential become reality in week one.
QB-Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns- First, let me get my nickname for Weeden out-of-the-way aka "Wooden". He simply decides where he is going to throw before the snap, stares the receiver down, and lets it rip. Weeden has a good arm, but he does not disguise where the ball is going. One of his four interceptions was his receiver's fault as Greg Little batted the ball in the air, but the others were 90% on "Wooden." If you can, don't use Weeden unless you have NO other option.
RB-Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns- He seemed to run as hard as he possibly could. His offensive line did an adequate job run blocking for him, but Richardson was clearly not in football shape against the Eagles. I am optimistic for improvement as he showed some fire when he sent Kurt Coleman's helmet rolling down the field after a nice run and then again when Richardson fought for extra yardage after a poorly designed screen pass. Don't give up on him, but it will be a long season for him and the Browns even when he is fully healthy.
QB-Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks- He did what the Seattle coaches asked him to do. Wilson stepped up under pressure, got the ball out of his hands, and placed the ball where only his receivers could get to it. Yes, he had an overthrown pass intercepted and fumbled as well. Both, Braylon Edwards and Doug Baldwin, dropped game-winning touchdown passes with little time left. Honestly, I'm not sure if the Seahawks have enough talented receiving weapons to make Wilson fantasy relevant this year. Stay tuned with him.
WR-Stephen Hill, New York Jets- Hill just showed the fantasy world that he is by all means, not a "one trick pony." He did a great job getting off the line of scrimmage, gaining separation, and fighting double teams to make a play on the ball. His first touchdown reception was a beautiful 33-yard rainbow, while his second touchdown catch was even more impressive as he broke a tackle and used the sidelines to squeeze into the end zone. It will be a great battle next week between Hill against the smaller Steelers corners, that were burned by another former Yellow Jacket, Demaryius Thomas. He is worth starting weekly as a flex or as a third receiver unless proven otherwise.
RB-Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- He was an impressive player in his début combining for well over 100 yards. Martin showed quick footwork and kept on moving forward by ducking and weaving in the open and through the piles of bodies. His goal line work was troublesome as Martin could not power forward; however he was very effective in the passing game both as a willing blocker and as a receiver. Blount getting injured also kept Martin on the field more than most were expecting. Keep using Martin as a #2 fantasy running back.
QB-Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins- He had a rough day to start his career with three interceptions. Batted balls accounted for two of his picks and his third one was a poorly thrown ball behind his receiver. Tannehill kept on fighting back and remained poised in the pocket. The majority of his passes were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and he just missed Brian Hartline with a 60 yard touchdown due to a defensive hold. I am less concerned with Tannehill and more concerned with his lack of weapons minus Hartline and Reggie Bush. He is just an emergency #2 quarterback in dynasty this year.
QB-Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins- He looked the part as a #1 dynasty quarterback in his first game. He made quick, decisive decisions and was accurate with the ball. The designed rollouts worked well as Griffin got clear lanes to either throw the ball or make plays with his feet. Pierre Garcon's 88-yard touchdown reception was more of the result of Garcon's speed and strength than Griffin's arm, but who is complaining? RG3 hasn't graduated to an every week starter yet, but should be considered every week.