Fantasy football Risers, Sliders: Pryor, Smith worth stashing
It was an auspicious opening to the NFL season when three games on Sunday opened with a safety, but plenty of action followed. As expected, Adrian Peterson put up ridiculous fantasy numbers, but some guys outperformed or underperformed what was generally expected. Here's a look at Week 1's risers and sliders -- Try not to overreact to one week's results, please.
• Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders -- Pryor put up decent numbers against a weak Colts secondary in the opener -- 217 passing yards, 112 rushing yards, one touchdown and and two interceptions -- but the rushing yards are key. Quarterbacks that earn rushing yards can be valuable even if they're not successful though the air. He's someone you should consider stashing if your quarterback situation is shaky.
• Geno Smith, New York Jets -- Against an improved Buccaneers secondary, the rookie quarterback passed for 256 yards, and had one touchdown and a pick in the 18-17 come-from-behind win. Similarly to Pryor, he also picked up 47 yards on the ground. Stash him before Geno-mania kicks in -- The Jets' matchups the next two weeks (Patriots and Bills) are juicy.
• Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Early in the Steelers 16-9 loss to the Titans, Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey tore his ACL and MCL, knocking him out for the season. The Steelers were ineffective without him and Roethlisberger picked up most of his 191 yards in garbage time. His TD pass came with just 1:23 left. Beware the Steelers offense.
• Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions -- Bush had a promising start to the season, despite Joique Bell vulturing two goal-line touchdowns from him. Bush received a huge chunk of the carries, and had 21 runs for 90 yards and four catches for 101 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown. The touchdowns will come soon.
• Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots -- Yes, it looks odd to call Ridley a riser. Yes, Bill Belichick benched him for fumbling. Yes, his replacement Shane Vereen had a huge game, rushing for 101 yards on 14 carries and catching seven passes for 58 yards on 10 targets. Unfortunately, Vereen broke his wrist and will be out for a few weeks. Now, Ridley has a chance to prove he can be the feature back in Vereen's absence.
• David Wilson, New York Giants -- Wilson, who rushed for just 19 yards on seven carries, was benched after two fumbles against the Cowboys, causing the media to spend the rest of the night speculating on who the Giants might sign off the street. To add fuel to the fire, Coughlin wouldn't commit to him as the starter in the postgame press conference. Uh-oh. Da'Rel Scott came in for the Giants and was slightly more effective in limited action, with five carries for 23 yards.
• Miami Dolphins' running backs -- Miami rushed for just 20 yards on 23 carries Sunday. Daniel Thomas was the leading rusher with eight carries for 14 yards and a score, while Lamar Miller had 10 carries for three yards, marking one of the worst rushing days in Dolphins history. Things should pick up against the Colts next week, but it wasn't a good opening to the year.
• Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers -- Boldin is already owned in every league, but his performance this weekend makes owners think he was a huge steal. On average, Boldin was drafted in the seventh round, and in the opening game he had 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers 34-28 win over the Packers. He may make a lot of fantasy owners upset that they passed on him a few times in their drafts.
• Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins -- With Mike Wallace barely involved at all (see below), Hartline caught 9 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets against the Browns. Hartline's only touchdown last season came in his monster 253-yard game; he wasn't so useful in fantasy otherwise. Wallace will continue to draw most of the defense's attention. It remains to be seen if Hartline can keep it up.
• Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Despite Pittsburgh's struggles, Sanders caught seven passes on 12 targets for 57 yards. Heath Miller will return eventually, but Sanders was solid in preseason and could have an expanded role this year.
• Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins -- The bad news: Wallace caught one pass for 15 yards, on just five targets. Then after the game, when asked by reporters why he only had one catch, he said to "ask coach." The good news: He was matched up with Browns star cornerback Joe Haden. He won't always have that tough of a matchup.
• Carolina receivers not named Steve Smith -- Brandon LaFell: 0 catches, 0 targets. Ted Ginn Jr.: 1 catch, 10 yards, 1 target. It was all Smith and Greg Olsen in Week 1. It was the fifth time since 2011 where LaFell didn't catch a pass all game; owners who took him hoping for a breakout year may need to look elsewhere.
• Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos -- The Broncos 2011 draft pick caught five passes for 110 yards, and caught his first two career touchdowns against the Ravens on Thursday. If Denver's going to continue to throw as much as it did in the opener, there will be plenty of balls to go around. Manning seems comfortable with Thomas, targeting him seven times.
• Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams -- The perennial fantasy football breakout prediction had a stellar first week with the Rams. The Ex-Titan caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He could have had a third, but Tyrann Mathieu forced a fumble near the goal line.
• Zach Sudfeld, New England Patriots -- The Patriots' rookie tight end was a hot pickup this week with Rob Gronkowski out, but he was targeted just once. Sudfeld actually didn't even start, with Michael Hoomanawanui getting most of the action. With Gronk expected to come back soon, it looks like Sudfeld could be on the way out.
• Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins -- The Dolphins kicker went 3-for-3 on field goals, including 45- and 49-yard kicks. Miami's clearly willing to trust its rookie kicker on longer field goals, which is a good sign.
• Matt Prater, Denver Broncos -- No fault of his own, but the Broncos were so good they only scored touchdowns on Thursday night. Of course, if Prater scores seven PATs every week, he still could be worth owning.
• Kansas City Chiefs -- The Chiefs completely dominated the Jaguars. The only points the Chiefs gave up on Sunday were on a blocked punt that rolled out of the end zone for a safety; Tamba Hali contributed with a pick six. As bad as the Chiefs were last year, they had some talent. Probably best to avoid starting the Chiefs defense when it plays Denver, though.
• Baltimore Ravens -- Peyton Manning is a unique talent, but the Ravens defense could be even worse this season. Good defenses don't usually give up 510 yards of offense. On the plus side, the Ravens did force two fumbles.
MORE WEEK 2 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
BELLER: Fantasy football Week 2 player projections
STAFF: Week 2 Composite Player Rankings
GONOS: Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
BELLER: Best NFL survivor pool picks for Week 2
FLOOD: Waiver wire -- Julius Thomas, Julian Edelman worth a pickup
McQUADE: Risers and Sliders -- Terrelle Pryor, Geno Smith worth stashing
BELLER, FLOOD: Roundtable -- Are David Wilson's owners in trouble?
BELLER: Fantasy football Fast Forward -- The NFL is back with a wacky Week 1