It was an unprecedented off-season due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. But, in the end, the first week of the NFL season took place as scheduled and is now in the books. The usual suspects in fantasy football performed as expected, with players such as Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and many others giving those who drafted them a multitude of points. But, as always, there are players with low ownership rates that surprise to the upside. This article series is dedicated to them. Here are the Week 1 fantasy football players who came out of nowhere and put up big numbers.
Week 1 Fantasy Football Surprise Sensations
Perhaps no quarterback has been under more scrutiny in the leadup to the 2020 season than Trubisky. That much was certain when the Chicago Bears brought in Nick Foles after his stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t live up to expectations. In the end, Trubisky beat out Foles for the starting job and proceeded to lead the Bears on an epic comeback win in Week 1. Heading into the fourth quarter, Chicago trailed 23-6. At the time, ESPN calculated the Lions win probability at 98.3 percent. Then Trubisky proceeded to throw three touchdown passes in the final stanza to lead the Bears to a 27-23 victory. His 24.28 fantasy points in Yahoo leagues was eighth-best among quarterbacks, despite his three percent ownership rate. To put that in perspective, no other quarterback who managed at least 15 fantasy points in Week 1 had an ownership rate lower than 20 percent.
No wide receivers this week as the top 10 in fantasy points all had fairly significant ownership numbers. It includes Green Bay Packers pass-catcher Davante Adams who was owned by 100 percent of players in Yahoo leagues and was the only receiver to exceed 30 fantasy points in his team’s 43-34 victory (a scorigami by the way!). So here, we shift to Hines who was quite impressive in a losing effort for the Indianapolis Colts against their divisional rival Jacksonville Jaguars. He did it all on Sunday, rushing for a touchdown as well as catching a touchdown pass. In the end, his 23.30 points in Yahoo leagues were fifth-best among running backs. Yet among the top 12 players at the position in Week 1, his 19 percent ownership rate was the lowest. With Marlon Mack done for the year due to a torn Achilles, expect him to be among the most popular waiver wire pickups this week.
If there is a virtual constant on a week-to-week basis in the NFL, it’s tight ends who put up big fantasy numbers despite low, and in some cases, a non-existent ownership rate. In Week 1, there were three tight ends who managed at least 10 fantasy points in Yahoo leagues owned by no higher than two percent of fantasy owners. Here, we feature Thomas who was the lone one which impressed in a winning effort. His 11.70 points in Washington’s comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles were seventh-best among players at his position. Now it must be said that his 50 percent catch rate on Sunday isn’t much to write home about. But he’s an intriguing streaming option with Washington playing an Arizona Cardinals squad which, despite beating the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, gave up 243 yards passing.
In their first-ever regular-season game as a team located in Las Vegas, the Raiders went on the road and got a hard-fought 34-30 victory over the Carolina Panthers. It wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Carlson who tallied two field goals including a long of 54 yards in addition to four extra points. It led to him totaling 12 fantasy points which were tied for four other kickers for the most in Week 1. But only two percent of players in Yahoo leagues had him on their roster. Expect a slight bump in his ownership rate as the Raiders are breaking in Allegiant Stadium in Week 2 with a Monday Night Football matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Perhaps the most surprising result of Week 1 was the Washington Football Team erasing a 17-0 deficit by scoring 27 unanswered en route to a resounding victory. The defense played its part, tallying two interceptions of Carson Wentz and sacking him a whopping eight times. There weren’t very many fantasy players who expected such an impressive outing as only four percent of Yahoo owners rostered the Washington defense. However, it’s unlikely that the unit will be a popular streaming option. In Week 2, Washington faces an Arizona Cardinals team coming off a statement win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners defense which includes a cavalcade of studs including Nick Bosa managed just four fantasy points on Sunday.