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  • Looking back at what went right, what went wrong and what fantasy owners learned in Week 1.
By Frankie Taddeo
September 09, 2019

The first Sunday of the NFL season is in the books and fantasy owners were treated to some memorable performances. We witnessed a day that was highlighted by a record-setting accomplishment by a rookie tight end and several career quarterback outings. Unfortunately, as we have become accustomed to learning, the injury bug is the biggest detriment to any fantasy team. It once again reared its ugly head in Week 1 with several star players going down early and preventing many owners from attaining their first league victory. 

Let's take a look back at the first Sunday that was...

Biggest Touchdown Vulture

Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Browns

Hilliard vultured the only touchdown opportunity from Nick Chubb owners on a day the Browns struggled nearly the entire afternoon. The undrafted rookie out of Tulane, scored his first career NFL touchdown to the chagrin of Chubb owners, taking it in from four yards out on Cleveland’s opening drive of the game. 

Surprise of the Week

Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens

The rookie speedster from Oklahoma made a huge statement in his first game in the NFL. Brown went for 147 yards on four receptions while adding his first two touchdowns of his career. Brown rewarded any fantasy owner in the Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football World Championships who used him in either of the two flex spots with 30.7 points in PPR. Brown seems to have instant chemistry with Lamar Jackson and will be in the WR3/Flex discussion next week against a Cardinals secondary that will be devoid of star CB Patrick Peterson. 

Kicker of the Week

Harrison Butker, K, Chiefs

Who says kickers don't matter in fantasy? Butker connected on all four of his field goal attempts and was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points. In rewarding his owners with a league-high 17 fantasy points in Week 1, he outscored RBs Joe Mixon (3.7), Sony Michel (1.4), WRs Mike Evans (4.8), Tyreek Hill (4.1), Dante Pettis (1.7) and Corey Davis (0) combined!

Biggest Bust

Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

So many in the fantasy world expected big things from the Tampa Bay offense in a game the experts in Vegas envisioned as the highest-scoring of the day. Evans, who was drafted in the first round of every draft this summer, disappointed his owners immensely with only two receptions for 28 yards (4.8 pts in PPR). Evans owners will be hoping that his QB Jameis Winston can get back on track on a short week when Tampa Bay travels to Carolina on Thursday night. 

Top Quarterback

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

Prescott earns top QB honors, narrowly edging out Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Prescott posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in arguably the best game of his career. The Cowboys signal-caller completed 25-of-32 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Prescott was not among the first 10 QBs off the board this summer in drafts but rewarded those owners who played him in his match-up with the Giants with 37.45 fantasy points in the Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football World Championships. Those here at SI Fantasy know Prescott was a major sleeper and our top streaming option last week at the quarterback position.

Top Running Back

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers

I know Panthers RB Christian McCaffery finished with a league-high 42.9 fantasy points in PPR formats, but those kinds of performances are expected from a player who was drafted among the top three players off every fantasy board this summer. Instead, the honor in Week 1 goes to our top streaming running back option Austin Ekeler. We advised that Ekeler should have been used as no worse than a flex start and boy did he not disappoint. Ekeler went for 154 total yards and three touchdowns en route to 39.4 points in PPR formats. While Melvin Gordon continues to hold out, Ekeler now enters the WR2 discussion every week.

Top Wide Receivers

Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs

I have to admit I was down on Watkins coming into 2019. He sure shut up his critics in a big way in Week 1. Watkins became Patrick Mahomes’s top target once Tyreek Hill left the game, and beasted to the tune of 9/198 and three touchdowns. Watkins immediately enters the WR1 discussion off his 46.8 point performance in PPR and has another juicy match-up versus a Raiders team still dealing with the Antonio Brown fallout.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

Jackson, who went off the board in the middle-to-late rounds of drafts this summer, showed out massively in his return to Philly. D-Jax went for 8/154 and two scores in route to the second-most fantasy points of any WR in fantasy in PPR formats with 35.4 points. Jackson led all Eagles wideouts in targets and looks poised to become Carson Wentz's favorite deep target in 2019. Those who invested in a Jackson revival look destined to be rewarded handsomely. 

The New Sheriff In Town

Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins

The rookie wide receiver from Ohio State let the fantasy world know he is the guy to own among all skill players in Washington. McLaurin went for 5/125 and a touchdown and was an overthrow away from going for 200-plus and a second score. The 23.5 fantasy points in PPR formats will easily have McLaurin among the hottest players on waivers heading into Week 2. 

Best D/ST Performance

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers most likely did not help any fantasy owner in Week 1, as they were likely on every waiver wire for their game against Tampa Bay. However, the 49ers earn the top spot after recording three sacks, forcing one fumble and making three interceptions of Jameis Winston, returning two of them for touchdowns. 

Burned By Injury 

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

Hill (4.1 points in PPR) was a top WR pick in all fantasy drafts, and after making only his second reception, he was forced to leave the game due to a collarbone injury. It appears he will avoid needing surgery, but this a considerable blow to his owners as early reports are he will miss at least several weeks. 

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

Mixon (3.7 points in PPR) was forced from the game in Seattle early in the contest after suffering an ankle injury. Many expected the Bengals offense to funnel through the talented Mixon while star WR AJ Green is out with injury. His poor performance likely doomed teams who invested high draft capital. 

Stop and Take Notice 

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions

The Lions rookie set the NFL record for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his first career game. Hockenson's monster emergence in Week 1 with a stat line of 6/131 and a score (25.1 points/PPR) quickly elevates him into TE1 going forward at arguably the weakest position in fantasy.

Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens 

Andrews could easily lead the Ravens in receptions in 2019, as Lamar Jackson leans more on his trusted tight end in big spots as opposed to his talented rookie wideouts. Andrews posted an impressive line of 8/108 and a touchdown (24.8 points/PPR) torching the Dolphins secondary. We saw what the above mentioned Hockenson just did against the Arizona defense; now we get to see what Andrews can do versus them in Week 2. Giddy up.

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