When Derek Carr went down in the final week of the 2016, I knew the season was done for the team. But, similarly, I had a strong feeling for not just how good the team would be this season, but that in 2017 Oakland would pass the Patriots as the best team in the AFC.
Of course this was before the Raiders signed Marshawn Lynch, a move perfect for the team, but I felt the collection of young stars, led by serious MVP candidate Derek Carr, were a bunch of veterans now, and a team that had tasted some limelight, knew what to expect, and now could challenge to be the best.
I say this noting that Bill Belichick is the best and smartest coach in the NFL, also noting the greatness of Tom Brady. The thing is the team is indeed getting a little longer in the tooth, and though it was the first game of the season, Kansas City taking charge and manhandling New England for the bulk of the second half confirmed this belief. Not that I don't think the Patriots will be a playoff team. Rather, they will be like last year's Raiders in the scheme, and the Raiders--or some team--will grab the best mantle away from Brady/Belichick.
So, while we are looking at the Raiders, who in god's name is Giorgio Tavecchio? Well, he was the rookie kicker behind the now IR'd Sebastian Janikowski. Tavecchio nailed all his field goal attempts--two at 52 yards--banging the ball right down the middle of the goal posts. If you are looking for a kicker out of the FA pool, he is surely there and has the gig for eight weeks. Maybe longer as the Raiders might have a kicker controversy.
A couple of quarterbacks had interesting first weeks if you are in a two-QB or Super Flex set up, starting with the Browns' DeShone Kizer. The Notre Dame rookie banged out 20 completions in 30 tries in his first game, good for 222 yards and a score, adding one more TD with his legs. Kizer and his teammates looked a lot better than anticipated against the Steelers, and Cleveland looks to be on a good rebuild path with Kizer at the center.
Similarly, Mike Glennon and the Bears looked a lot better than I feared, completing 26 of 40 for 213 yards and a score. Glennon has some pretty fun weapons with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and while he might not be a long-term answer to much, if your league is deep when it comes to QB, or as a cheap DFS pick depending upon the matchup, Glennon is worth watching.
With the Week 1 injury to Allen Robinson, I feel good that I have a lot of Allen Hurns shares. Two years ago, Hurns bagged 1030 yards and 10 TDs playing off Robinson, and on Sunday, the three passes and 42 yards the 25-year-old garnered led the team. I like Hurns as the guy to get the most touches with Robinson out for the year.
Similarly, the Cardinals' Kerwynn Williams seems the most likely back to get the ball in the wake of the David Johnson injury. A fifth-year back, Williams ran the ball five times and scored once, but expect his time with the ball to increase over the next eight weeks.
Some quick hits, starting with the Lions' Kenny Golladay, a third-round pick this year who caught four passes on seven targets for 69 yards and a pair of scores, including a fantastic layout goal line reception for one of the TDs.
Tight End Austin Hooper was a third-round pick of the Falcons in 2016 and the Stanford alum had a great first week, catching both of his Matt Ryan passes for a score and 128 yards. Expect that relationship to improve over the course of the season, making Hooper a solid play for you and weapon for Ryan.
Another Tight End, 6'7" Jesse James was the Steelers' fifth-round pick in 2015, and he clicked with Ben Roethlisberger, catching six of eight targets for 41 yards and two scores. Big Ben has a lot of weapons and that actually means James should get a lot of looks as the team spreads the ball around accordingly.
Nelson Agholor is a Wide Receiver selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Agholor has had an increasing role with the team over the past three years and started strong this past weekend, catching six of eight targets for 86 yards and a score. He too should be getting looks as he and Carson Wentz become a unit of sorts.
Finally, Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara looks like he should play an increasing role with the team, starting with seven carries and four catches out of six targets. The third-round pick in the spring out of Tennessee merits tracking and grabbing to fill a hole in a deeper league right now.
Remember to go to the Tout Wars site for our Friday picks. And, tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET.
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