Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season is over, and so are your aspirations for a perfect fantasy football season. While perfection may be out of reach, a league championship is not. Week 2 has many intriguing matchups for players who are primed for breakout performances after less-than stellar season debuts.
It’s important not to overreact after one bad week. Who could have known that the Chicago Bears have been hiding Tarik Cohen all this time? And who could have thought that Adrian Peterson would be a non-factor?
That’s right, a future Hall-of-Fame running back riding the bench for a team that couldn't run the ball last Sunday. Go figure.
Here, we’ll go over six players who are either “Boom or Bust” plays this week in fantasy, along with some background information for each player.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Ladies and gentlemen, Keenan Allen is back.
After suffering through some unfortunate injuries over the past couple of seasons, Los Angeles Chargers wideout Keenan Allen is finally back to his normal self as the Chargers’ No. 1 option on offense.
Even though he was blanketed by Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. for the majority of Monday night’s game, Allen was still able to grab five of his 10 targets for 35 and a score.
While those numbers aren’t very impressive, especially without the touchdown, Allen still saw 10 targets come his way despite being the focus of Denver’s defense. Allen, as long as he's healthy, should continue to see the same amount of targets or more as the weeks go on against easier matchups. And Week 2 is no exception.
Allen and the rest of the Chargers offense will face-off against the Miami Dolphins, who are playing their first game of the season after their Week 1 fixture against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was postponed. The Dolphins have a solid pass rush and an above average defensive front-seven, but only have Byron Maxwell who can pose any real threat to Allen’s day.
Even if Maxwell plays well, Allen should still bring in the fantasy points. He’s a No. 1 receiver in Los Angeles, and he should be in your starting lineup from this point on.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
Week 1 saw a few rookie running backs break out. Kareem Hunt’s performance for the Kansas City Chiefs has been well-documented, as has Alvin Kamara out-touching Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook showing the skillset he put on display during his time at Florida State.
But Tarik Cohen flew under the radar in Week 1 and, arguably, was the most surprising performance of the weekend. Cohen stepped into the Chicago Bears backfield and took over in both the running and passing game.
With five rushes for 66 yards to go along with eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, Cohen seems destined to be an every-down back for the Bears.
He showed an uncanny ability for a rookie to create space at the line of scrimmage and showed off his game-changing speed and agility to run outside of the tackles against an athletic Atlanta Falcons defense.
The Bears, as a whole, exceeded expectations in a tightly-contested game against the Super Bowl runner-ups from last season, but Cohen has been thrust into the spotlight heading into Week 2. He has a tough matchup in the Buccaneers this Sunday led by All-Pro defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, but Cohen should put up points for his touches alone in PPR leagues.
Move over, Jordan Howard. Chicago is Cohen’s city now.
Baltimore Ravens DEF
The Baltimore Ravens dominated Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 in a 20-0 shutout win. Not only was pitching a shutout impressive, but the pressure the Ravens defense was able to put on Dalton proved why they are one of the top defenses in all of fantasy heading into Week 2.
Five turnovers (4 INTs, 1 fumble), 5 sacks, 0 points allowed.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) September 10, 2017
I think the Ravens defense will begin the year atop the league.
Baltimore’s defense accumulated five sacks to go along with four interceptions and a fumble recovery. The only thing missing from its stat sheet was a defensive touchdown, which they could easily get in Week 2 in a favorable matchup against the Cleveland Browns, led by rookie DeShone Kizer.
Buckle up, Baltimore defense fantasy owners. This is going to be a fun ride.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant is an elite wide receiver, but he doesn’t get the looks he needs in the Dallas Cowboys offense to truly showcase his talent.
Bryant scored 4.30 points in standard Yahoo fantasy leagues in Week 1 with two receptions for 43 yards. While he did have nine targets, a decent figure for any wideout in the NFL, Bryant hasn’t been able to make plays downfield with Dak Prescott as his quarterback.
In 13 games last season, Bryant hauled in 796 yards and six touchdowns, not exactly No. 1 fantasy receiver material. One can make the argument that those numbers, depending on how deep your fantasy league is, aren’t worthy of a starting slot on a fantasy team.
Bryant won’t find life any easier in Week 2 against Denver, with Chris Harris Jr. following Bryant around for the majority of the game like he did to Keenan Allen in Week 1. If you feel iffy about Bryant’s potential to make an impact against the Broncos, don’t take a chance. Wait for a better matchup in the coming weeks to play him.
Adrian Peterson, RB, New Orleans Saints
Seeing Adrian Peterson healthy on the sidelines during a football game is a strange sight. It’s even more strange that Peterson is involved in a running back committee with the likes of Kamara and Ingram.
Peterson, 32, may be past his prime, but even this past Monday against his old team, Minnesota Vikings, he looked to have the same burst and hunger to fight for yards that he has shown ever since he laced up his cleats for the University of Oklahoma.
Whatever is going on between Peterson, head coach Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints offense doesn’t look like it’s going to be figured out anytime soon. Until further notice, Peterson is not playable unless he’s a FLEX-option, looking to vulcher goal-line carries.
I feel sorry for Adrian Peterson. I believed Sean Payton would give him a chance to be ADRIAN PETERSON again. I was so wrong.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 12, 2017
The sky is falling: Peterson isn’t a viable option in fantasy football (for the time being).
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
Maybe Kirk Cousins should’ve signed a long-term contract with the Washington Redskins after all.
After another hectic off-season for Washington and Cousins in terms of contract negotiations, Cousins is back on the field. That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that he has no one to throw the football to.
After letting their top-two receivers from last season in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson go to different teams during the offseason, the Redskins wide receiver depth chart is led by second-year wideout Jamison Crowder and former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who had one 1,000-yard season with the Cleveland Browns in his career.
Washington didn’t do itself any favors bringing back Cousins on the franchise tag with no elite receivers and an often-injured tight end in Jordan Reed. In Week 1, the franchise paid for their offseason sins.
Kirk Cousins isn't panicking over the timing issues with his receivers just yet— CSN Redskins (@CSNRedskins) September 13, 2017
NFC East division rival Philadelphia Eagles beat down Washington in a 30-17, one-sided affair. Cousins completed just 23-of-40 passing attempts for 240 yards, with one touchdown and an interceptions.
It was a messy day for Cousins and his offense, but things aren’t getting any better in Week 2 when the Redskins play the Los Angeles Rams, who just put on a show against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 with four sacks, a fumble, and two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Cousins, the Rams could be getting back All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald back after his holdout ended last week.
It’s more likely than not that Cousins will find himself on his back on Sunday, so you’re better off just leaving him on the bench to save yourself from any pain and suffering.
All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.
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