I woke up at 8:45 this morning. Usually, barring any disturbances, I will awaken around 10:30. Of course, it is blatantly obvious as to why I had trouble sleeping.
The first Sunday of the 2013 NFL season, that’s why.
Both real life and fantasy fans had a ton of exciting action during Week one’s day games, and many times, I often found myself overwhelmed. Between checking the Twitter, taking notes, sweating over my beloved Buffalo Bills, it was an eventful afternoon. However, I did manage to highlight some of the more significant headlines from a fantasy perspective. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Adrian Peterson is still… well, Adrian Peterson
For those of you who were questioning Peterson’s spot as the number one player in fantasy, I deliver a message that the great Mike Ditka would approve off… “Stop It!” After rushing for over 2,000 yards last year, Peterson wasted no time in his attempts for 2,500. On his first carry of the 2013 campaign, Peterson broke a 78-yard touchdown run. He made a hard cut and just used his breakaway speed to do the rest. He did, however, struggle a bit on the ground after that monster run, but still finished the day with a more than acceptable 18 carries for 93 yards and two scores, as well as a receiving touchdown. It didn’t matter how many defenders were stacking the box, Peterson continued to show that he is the most dominant rusher we have seen in years. Keep in mind that he continues to produce with the likes of Christian Ponder (236 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT) under center. Sure, there are a lot of exciting young running backs in this league, but none compare to the Purple Jesus.
Stevan Ridley heading for the doghouse?
Man, heading into Week 1, fantasy owners of Ridley must have been salivating at that matchup against a Buffalo defense that allowed over 80 fantasy points in their two meetings a season ago. However, two early fumbles (one returned for a score) resulted in Ridley riding the pine pony for the entire second half. In his place, a guy that everyone has been high on, Shane Vereen looked phenomenal. Vereen was a big time piece of this New England offense, catching seven passes for 58 yards, and also posted his first-career 100-yard rushing performance on 14 carries. Whether Ridley regains his starting job is still unclear, but one thing is for certain. Vereen is going to be used a ton in this offense, and could emerge into a strong candidate for a RB2 this season, regardless of scoring format. Vereen gets the Jets awful run defense next week.
Reggie Bush is going to be awesome, folks
Peanut butter and jelly. Baseball and hot dogs. Bill Belichick and hoodies. These are just things that simply mesh well together, and Reggie Bush and the Lions offense is very much another one. In his debut with Detroit, Bush was absolutely stellar, carrying the ball 21 times (a bit more than people may have expected) for 90 yards, but in the receiving game, Bush was just as good, catching four balls for 101 yards and a touchdown. It could have been an even bigger day for Bush if two other rushing touchdowns weren’t called back. Joique Bell is definitely in the mix as well, but if today’s contest is any indication, Bush will not only be fantasy relevant in PPR formats, but in standard as well. Despite having the greatest receiver in football in Calvin Johnson, the Lions are a short-passing offense, an area where Bush will be targeted a bunch. Top-15 fantasy running back? No doubt.
Impressive quarterback debuts
I made a bit of a bold call this week when I said rookie quarterback EJ Manuel would be a top-15 fantasy signal caller for Week 1. It remains to be seen if he will finish in that range, but he was definitely very sound in his debut against the Patriots. Manuel completed 18-of-27 passes for 150 yards and two scores, while also running three times for 33 yards. He looked extremely poised for a rookie against a team ran by Belichick, and so far, has proved to not be a reach at 16th overall in April’s draft. Keep in mind that Manuel played extremely well, despite C.J. Spiller and the running game being suspect. Manuel will be fantasy relevant this year, and based off of last year’s defensive numbers, has the 9th-most favorable fantasy schedule among quarterbacks.
Fellow rookie Geno Smith wasn’t too shabby either. In a bizarre victory on Sunday, Smith tossed for 256 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball six times for 47 yards. He shouldn’t be trusted for fantasy purposes, but is giving Jets fans something to look forward to, which can’t be said about Mark Sanchez.
Finally, there has been a ton of hype surrounding Terrelle Pryor this week. The dude can run like the best of them, but has some accuracy issues. Sounds a lot like Tim Tebow, no? Anyway, Pryor wasn’t the greatest real life quarterback in Week 1, but fantasy wise, he was very fun to watch. I mean, in his first career start, Pryor broke the Raiders franchise record in rushing yards by a quarterback with 112. That leads all players in rushing after the early games. Heck, he even threw the football too! While he did toss two interceptions, Pryor threw for 217 yards and a score. That combination of stats resulted in a strong fantasy outing, totaling around 20 fantasy points. His rushing looked dominant all day long, and it’s those legs that will present fantasy owners with a very high-floor QB2. Oh yeah, Pryor gets the Jaguars next week.
Jordan Cameron… The hype is real
One of the biggest sleepers in fantasy early on in the offseason was the Browns tight end. Of course, after he continued to impress during camp and preseason, many people ruined his sleeper appeal by finding out about the super athletic tight end. And despite quarterback Brandon Weeden’s very poor play, Cameron still backed up that hype, catching nine balls for 108 yards and a terrific touchdown grab. With tight end friendly Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner calling the shots, Cameron could be in a for a breakout 2013 campaign.
It’s only Week 1
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to not overreact. Don’t go out and trade guys like C.J. Spiller, Marshawn Lynch or Trent Richardson just because they struggled in their opening contests. Studs will be studs, and too many times have I seen fantasy owners panic after one week and make drastic changes to their roster. If you want to make a move, do it through the waiver wire, not via trade.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.