The first game of NFL action is officially in the books, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire owners couldn’t be happier. The first-round rookie had a fantastic game, but there were some concerning numbers buried beneath the impressive stat line. Additionally, we learned that Will Fuller is the guy without DeAndre Hopkins, David Johnson might be good again, and plenty more. Let’s break down all the relevant fantasy football information we learned from tonight’s bout.
TNF Fantasy Football Takeaways: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Will Fuller, Sammy Watkins, More
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – A Star is Rising?
After one game, Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks like the clear king of this backfield. Overall, the rookie recorded 25 carries for 138 yards and one touchdown. By comparison, Darrel Williams had just seven carries for 23 yards. The Chiefs will have one of the best scoring offenses in the league, and Edwards-Helaire should receive the vast majority of the carries. Barring health, he’s basically a lock to finish as an RB1. However, there are a few worrisome signs that could limit his ceiling.
For one, he didn’t record a single catch. Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass 32 times and only looked to Clyde Edwards-Helaire on two occasions. Both passes resulted in incompletions. Williams, meanwhile, caught both of his targets for a combined seven yards. Edwards-Helaire came out of college with a pass-catching skill set, so he should see more targets in time. However, it seems like he might need a few weeks before becoming fully incorporated into the passing game.
Secondly, Edwards-Helaire had a tough time getting into the endzone. The Chiefs had six goal-line attempts, and Edwards-Helaire couldn’t convert a single one into a touchdown. In fairness, the blocking wasn’t great and Edwards-Helaire was always hit behind the line of scrimmage. However, part of being an NFL running back is picking up these hard-to-gain yards near the goal line. If Edwards-Helaire and his undersized frame isn’t up for the job, Andy Reid could look to Williams and his 5’-11”, 224-pound body to get it done.
Ultimately, Edwards-Helaire will receive the majority of the workload in this high-scoring offense. However, he could lose some goal line touches and will probably need some time before becoming a major part of the passing game. You’re definitely going to start him every week, but don’t expect anything more than a low-end RB1 on a weekly basis.
David Johnson is Good?
Trading DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson is never going to be a smart football move. However, the former Arizona Cardinals running back looked good during his Houston debut. Johnson made plays as both a runner and a receiver, recording a combined 14 touches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
While he obviously won’t average seven yards-per-carry over a full season, he should be a reliable starter as long as he’s on the field. Despite the unfavorable game script, Bill O’Brien continued to call his number even when no coach in his right mind would run the ball. The volume is going to be there, and Johnson appears to have enough in his tank to make the most of his opportunities. For the time being, he’s a “set and forget” start at running back.
Will Fuller >>> Brandin Cooks
One of the biggest offseason questions for the fantasy football community was figuring out who would be the top option in Houston’s passing attack. After one week, that answer is clearly Will Fuller. Brandin Cooks might have a better track record, but Fuller’s experience with Deshaun Watson always gave him the best odds at winning the job.
Watson has a habit of targeting his top receiver at a high rate, and that hasn’t changed with DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona. Even in a game where Houston’s offense struggled to move the ball, Fuller still managed to record eight receptions for 112 yards on 10 targets. Cooks, meanwhile, recorded just two receptions for 20 yards on five targets. It’s hard to picture a worse game script than this one, yet Fuller still managed to put up a great performance. As long as he’s healthy, he’s a “set and forget” start in your WR2 or flex spot. Cooks, meanwhile, needs to go to your bench.
Don’t Fall For Sammy Watkins
In what’s becoming something of an annual tradition, Sammy Watkins dominated in Week 1 for the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year, he torched the Jacksonville Jaguars for nine receptions, 198 yards, and three touchdowns. This year, he abused Houston’s secondary to the tune of seven receptions, 82 yards, and one touchdown on nine targets.
Watkins is a talented receiver in a great offense, but we’ve seen enough of him to know this isn’t sustainable. As far as fantasy football is concerned, Watkins is always good for two or three big games a season, and nothing else. After his big Week 1 last year, Watkins averaged just 3.3 receptions for 36.5 yards on a per-game basis. Keep in mind that Tyreek Hill missed time to injury, and Watkins still wasn’t able to capitalize.
If you own Watkins, now is the time to trade him. Someone in your league is going to believe that this is a breakout, and you should be able to receive a sizable return for him. If he’s on waivers, put in a claim so you can trade him later in the week.
Cut Randall Cobb, Hold Mecole Hardman
One of the hardest parts of in-season fantasy management is figuring out how to handle the waiver wire. Adding a new player means getting rid of someone currently on your team, and it’s difficult to give up on someone you drafted. However, these tough decisions need to be made, which means it’s time to say goodbye to Randall Cobb.
Selected late in most fantasy drafts, most owners believed Cobb to be worthy of a late-round dart throw. After all, this is a guy that had 83 targets with Dallas last year and received a massive contract to work the slot. However, it’s safe to say that he’s not worth keeping on your roster. Overall, Cobb ran 27 routes and just three targets, all of which came late in the contest. He offers basically no upside and isn’t worth keeping on your bench.
Mecole Hardman didn’t do much in Week 1, but you should hold on to him for a little while longer. Hardman is a big play waiting to happen, and his explosive speed means he doesn’t need a massive workload for fantasy relevance. Additionally, he’ll probably eat into Demarcus Robinson’s snap share as the season progresses. This offense is good enough to support a Hardman breakout, so give it a few more weeks before cutting him.
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