Every Monday during the season, we will hand out fantasy “awards” for the weekend’s action (including TNF and excluding MNF). Now, being on the “Team of the Week” or being named the weekly “MVP” doesn’t necessarily mean a player needed to be the highest scorer, as this article is basically a way to highlight players that deserve it.
Team of the Week
QB: Lamar Jackson
Dak Prescott made a strong case in the late afternoon game, but depending on how the quarterbacks do tonight, Jackson lived up to our overall QB1 ranking by surprisingly beating the Dolphins with his arm—going 17-of-20 for 324 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. As the second-year quarterback joked following the 59-10 victory: “Not bad for a running back.”
RB: Christian McCaffrey
So much for limiting McCaffrey’s workload this season. The Stanford product played every snap for Carolina in the opener, turning 19 carries into 128 yards and a two touchdowns while adding ten grabs for 81 yards through the air. McCaffrey will remain the team’s offensive engine, and there’s no reason for him to ever be below 20 touches in a given week.
RB: Austin Ekeler
Fantasy owners understandably had pause about viewing Ekeler as an RB1 option because he wasn’t a standout performer when filling in for Melvin Gordon in 2018, but Sunday’s three-score game—including two as a receiver—probably makes him a must-start for as long as he’s the lead back for a high-powered offense. The 36.4 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR leagues may turn out to be Ekeler’s best showing of the year.
WR Sammy Watkins
Week 1 was a tough day for the “Sammy Watkins isn’t good” crowd. Against what was expected to be a reenergized Jacksonville secondary, Watkins completely dominated with nine receptions for 198 yards and three touchdowns to help carry fantasy owners to a likely victory. Especially now that Tyreek Hill (shoulder) may be out into October or even November, the former No. 4 overall pick should be a no-doubt WR1.
WR DeSean Jackson
Season-long expectations should be tempered considering it was against a weak Washington secondary, but Jackson stung his former team for eight receptions and 154 yards, including two touchdowns of 50+ yards. It seems like Philadelphia will want to feature DeSean this year, and Sunday was obviously an excellent start.
TE: T.J. Hockenson
Statistically, Hockenson had the best debut for a tight end in NFL history (6/131/1), so he’s already living up to the billing in the eyes of the Lions—for spending a top-ten pick on him—and fantasy owners that rolled with him early. The rookie had the benefit of running free on the second level with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones taking much of the attention away, but we’ll see if he can keep it up in Week 2 and beyond.
FLEX: Marquise Brown
“Hollywood” Brown came into the week as a third-team receiver on Baltimore’s depth chart and was a midweek addition to the injury report, so he seemed like a longshot to make a substantial impact to start his NFL career. It turns out neither thing mattered, as the rookie went for four receptions, 147 yards, two touchdowns in limited playing time. Apologies to anyone that somehow faced Brown and Lamar Jackson in a desperation stack.
The Niners and Buccaneers looked set up for a shootout on Sunday, but San Francisco’s defense made sure that didn’t happen by forcing four turnovers and sacking Jameis Winston three times in a 31-17 win. They also had two defensive touchdowns in the second half.
K: Zane Gonzalez
Harrison Butker paced all kickers with 17 fantasy points, but Gonzalez wasn’t far behind as he nailed four-of-four field goal attempts to allow Arizona to get a comeback, overtime tie in Kliff Kingsbury’s coaching debut. The pace at which the Cardinals play could allow Gonzalez to be a solid option this season.
Surprise of the Week: Malcolm Brown
Despite talking as if Todd Gurley was healthy and going to handle close to his usual workload, the Rams gave Brown more action than expected as the 1B in the backfield. The 26-year-old was able to convert both of his goal-line opportunities, finishing with 11 carries for 53 yards and the scores, so if he continues handling 12 or so touches per game, Brown will have a case for weekly FLEX value in all formats.
Disappointment of the Week: Jameis Winston
Aaron Jones and Devonta Freeman stand out as a couple of other disappointments, but Winston—who was somehow ranked as the No. 3 quarterback for Week 1 (according to FantasyPros expert consensus rankings)—clearly hasn’t changed a bit despite now playing under Bruce Arians. And not only did he hurt the fantasy owners that rolled with him by throwing for 194 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions, but he also negatively impacted his receivers. Most notably, Chris Godwin should have had a few more receptions and at least one more touchdown. We wouldn’t trust Winston in even the softest of matchups.
Rookie of the Week: Marquise Brown
The craziest part of Brown’s debut? He only need 14 snaps to put up 28.7 fantasy points.
Week 1 MVP: Sammy Watkins
Watkins’ 42.3 fantasy points currently tops the Week 1 leaderboard heading into the Monday Night Football doubleheader, and it’s just not the numbers that were impressive, but also how he looked. The first touchdown was a 68-yard score where he split two defenders and took it to the house, the second came on a 49-yarder where he found himself wide open down the sideline, and the third came on a crisp route from three yards out on Jalen Ramsey.