Welcome to the first edition of Buzz or Bogus, where we will look at the most significant fantasy football storylines and takeaways from each week and determine the fantasy impact. Each week, dozens of headlines circle around the media, but it can be tough to determine if it’s legitimate buzz that will impact your fantasy team or just a bogus, clickbait headline. Thankfully, I’ll look at them each week and tell you how to react.
NFL Week 1 is always exciting. We see how teams actually look, see players’ roles within an offense, and get the first look at our rosters. Week 1 also creates plenty of news in the fantasy space, so let’s dive right in and prep for Week 2.
FALCONS’ PASS CATCHERS ARE IN REAL TROUBLE
Drake London and Kyle Pitts did not have ideal Week 1 performances. Combining for just four targets, Pitts finished with 44 yards on two grabs while London got completely blanked. To keep it short and sweet, it’s already time to panic. Although it’s just “coach speak,” this isn’t what you want to be hearing:
When it comes to Pitts, there’s not much you can do. The tight end position is in shambles, so you don’t have much of an option. With Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews sidelined in Week 1, no TE cracked 60 yards. Pitts’ fantasy performance wasn’t ideal due to the lack of a touchdown, but he was still one of the yardage leaders in his position. Pitts is in a concerning situation, but the state of the TE position makes him a starter for now.
On the other hand, Drake London managers should be in full-blown panic mode. London ran a team-leading 20 routes, resulting in just one target and zero receptions. The man was just out there running sprints all afternoon. Desmond Ridder attempted just 18 passes on Sunday, which will not result in meaningful fantasy performances from pass catchers.
There should be more opportunity for London down the line. The Week 1 matchup with Carolina remained low-scoring and competitive until Atlanta pulled away in the fourth quarter. This game script was not ideal for London, and he should be put in better situations as the season progresses. However, Arthur Smith is content with running the ball up and down the field, with Tyler Allgeier nonetheless. Drake London owners should consider how this Atlanta offense looks, and he could reasonably be benched this week.
JOE BURROW AND THE BENGALS HAVE TAKEN A STEP BACK
Week 1 resulted in something that almost nobody expected: Joe Burrow and the Bengals getting shut down by the Cleveland defense. Don’t get me wrong, the Cleveland defense is one of the league’s best. However, it was quite shocking that they could hold Burrow to 82 yards and no touchdowns. This was arguably the worst game of Burrow’s career, especially from a fantasy perspective.
The Bengals’ offense has some high-cost fantasy pieces this season. Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon were all selected in the first handful of rounds. Their high prices would make it especially disappointing if the offense struggles.
Although the Week 1 struggles are frustrating, I think this storyline is bogus and the Bengals will return to form in the coming weeks. First, Joe Burrow is coming off of a calf strain, which certainly impacted his ability to prepare for the season. This injury could still be lingering and impacting him physically on the field. On top of preseason setbacks, Week 1 also featured terrible weather, making it difficult to throw the ball.
Burrow and the Bengals have shown us time after time that their offense is a tremendous fantasy asset. While the Week 1 performance was certainly concerning, expect the Bengals to get back on track. Burrow will continue to get reps, and the weather will ideally improve. It will take another poor performance (or two) before it’s time to panic.
THE RAMS WILL FEATURE A TWO-HEADED MONSTER AT RUNNING BACK
Week 1 saw the emergence of Kyren Williams in Los Angeles. In the initial game of his sophomore season, Williams saw 15 carries and two targets after having just 44 touches all of last season. Not only was Williams regularly getting the rock, but he was on the field more often than fellow RB Cam Akers.
Notably, eight of Akers’ carries came in the fourth quarter while Los Angeles tried to put the game away.
After watching the game and seeing the final usage report, it appears that the Rams will feature a two-headed attack out of the backfield. Since Williams was on the field more often, saw the receiving work, and was used at the goal line, Williams may be the top fantasy option in this backfield.
Week 2 will be a true test of how this backfield will look. However, after last week’s performance, Williams is a premier Week 2 waiver wire target.
JAHMYR GIBBS WILL NOT HAVE THE ROLE WE EXPECTED
Although it was on Thursday night, Jahmyr Gibbs was a highly anticipated fantasy asset, and his performance warrants discussion. Gibbs was used in a limited capacity, to say the least. In his NFL debut, Gibbs played 27 percent of snaps, picking up two targets and seven carries. Although he had some flashes, his is less than ideal for a third-round pick.
While his usage is less than ideal, Gibbs’ owners should not panic. In fact, Gibbs is a great buy-low target if you don’t own Gibbs. We all know what we could get from Gibbs. He can have explosive rushes, is a talented pass catcher, and is on a high-powered offense. This is a recipe for fantasy success, and I believe Gibbs will capitalize in the coming weeks.
Head coach Dan Campbell has indicated that Gibbs will see increased usage, which is “just the beginning.” Gibbs was clearly eased into things in Week 1, with the Lions using him sparingly. It is not entirely uncommon for rookies to be limited in their first few games, which was the case with Gibbs. Expect Gibbs to see an expanded role as the year goes on and become a legitimate fantasy asset soon.