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If you haven’t caught the other two Week 1 Divisional Fantasy Recaps just yet, be sure to read them after. Each week we will be breaking down the top fantasy players of the week from each division in pairs, and this article will cover the AFC and NFC East. One of these two divisions is a disaster, serving as the most predictable division in sports for the better part of the past twenty years. The other division hasn’t had a repeat division winner in 13 years. Let’s dive into it.
Week 1: AFC EAST
AFC QB - Tom Brady - 277YDS/3TD/1INT/0RYD - 16.9pts
As a non Patriots fan, every time Tom Brady steps on the field with that smug “I’m the GOAT & you know it” look on his face, I secretly hope he has the worst game of his life. At the same time, I find myself glued to the screen watching the wonder boy do it again. Maybe it’s the kale. Maybe it’s Gisele. The reality is that he’s just… better. I’m tired of it, and I’m looking forward to Jalen Ramsey calling him a garbage QB after the Patriots lose at Jacksonville this week.
AFC RB - Isaiah Crowell - 10ATT/102YDS/2TD - 22.2pts
Isaiah Crowell was out-touched, out-caught and out-snapped by Bilal Powell. Yet, as always happens with the Bilal Powell hype train, it’s the other guy (Crowell, this time) getting it done. People forget that Crowell was getting around 50 targets in Cleveland even with Duke Johnson around. He certainly looked like a 1st & 2nd down back on Sunday, and it’s unlikely the Jets will lose their fixation on Bilal Powell, but when it comes to big play ability and short yardage downs, Crowell is the guy. That said, he’s a RB2. This may be the highest he places (5th) all year.
AFC RB - James White - 5ATT/18YDS/3YPC/4REC/38YDS/1TD - 13.6pts
James white was someone I spoke highly of as a late round value all offseason, simply because you know his role. It’s never going to be as a featured back, nor is it going to be as a simple 3rd down back either—James White is the go-to back in close games for the Patriots. He’s not someone you can simply slap in and forget it, even as a flex—but if the matchup looks close, you should be solid.
AFC WR - Kenny Stills - 4REC/106YDS/2TD - 24.6pts
Wide Receiver #5 on the week, Kenny Stills is going to end up being a massive, massive steal for those who were drafting him at his 7th round ADP this offseason. While I do not believe that he will be a top 20 receiver this season (especially not with 5 targets a game), I’m also not holding my breath for Davante Parker to stay healthy, or do anything when healthy. Stills is a WR3 with obvious upside.
AFC WR - Phillip Dorsett - 7REC/66YDS/1TD - 16.1pts
Apparently after the game Tom Brady could be heard saying “Friendship ended with Chris Hogan. Now Phillip Dorsett is my best friend.” The first round bust from Indy did all of nothing last year for the Pats. Fresh on the scene with no Amendola or Edelman, Dorsett was one of a shocking (3!!!) non-white receivers that the patriots fielded on Sunday. Jokes aside, he should be a solid option this year, but be wary of Edelman’s return in a few weeks.
AFC TE - Rob Gronkowski - 100GRONK/69SMASH - BIGpts
I feel bad for the other four writers who had to write about Tight Ends. I mean, the 4th highest scoring tight end on the week did worse than the 23rd wide receiver. Yet, here I am, living the life on the beach with stacked broads serving me pizza and shots of grey goose. I’ve got a min-limo that only seats three. One seat for the driver, one seat for me, and one seat for Gronk. Life is good.
AFC FLEX - Quincy Enunwa - 6REC/69YDS/1TD - 15.3pts
Quincy is back, baby! A preseason breakout candidate according to many before the the 2017 season, and injury derailed that potential. Fully recovered, Enunwa looks 100%. With a team high 10 targets and the confirmation that Sam Darnold is for real, Enunwa should emerge as a reliable WR3 in PPR formats.
AFC DEF - New York Jets
Whew lad. The Jets scored on a punt return, on defense, had five interceptions, held the Lions to less than 40 rushing yards… Ok, that’s not that impressive considering the Lions history. The point is, the Jets D/ST went OFF. Jamaal Adams looks like the next Hall of Fame Safety, their D-Line is nasty and their other secondary players are just as good. What a way to kick off the season.
Honorable Mentions: None. Nada. The AFC East is a garbage dump. Let’s move on to a more respectable division…
Week 1: NFC EAST
NFC QB - Alex Smith - 255YDS/2TD/0INT/14RYD - 15.78pts
I’ve been arguing with people for years that Alex Smith is an above average QB. Last year he squashed the haters, then he got traded to the Redskins and they all came back. The fact that the Cardinals were such a dumpster fire on Sunday actually hurt Smith—he handed the ball more than he threw it (34 to 30). He’s one of my starts of the week in week two, going up against Andrew Luck and the bag of rocks he refers to as his “team.”
NFC RB - Chris Thompson - 128YDS/6REC/TD - 24.8pts
It should come as no shock here in a division that has Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Adrian Peterson, and Jay Ajayi that Chris Thompson finished as the number one running back this week. Wait What? Chris Thompson...The second option in Washington, an afterthought. Surprisingly, Thompson Finished with more rushing yards than he did receiving yards with a 65/63 split. He was heavily targeted in the passing game, leading the team with 7 total. It’s no surprise that Alex Smith targeted Thompson as he excels with the quick throw to his running back out of the backfield or his TE, much like he did last year in Kansas City. I don’t anticipate Thompson being as big of a factor as he was in the running game going forward, but in any league that values receptions Thompson will be a great option going forward.
NFC RB - Adrian Peterson - 166YDS/2REC/1TD/1FUM - 22.6pts
AP is back, baby, and boy does he look good. The big surprise here with AP is that he had 70 yards through the air on 2 receptions. The issue currently with AP is age. If the Skins use him sparingly and do their best to keep his legs fresh, which should be easier to do with a back like Thompson behind him, AP has great potential to be a 1,000yd back this season. With a thunder and lightning approach between the two backs, the loss of Derrius Guice seems like a less of an issue than at the start of the season. If AP is able to maintain even 75% of what he did a Sunday, AP will end the season with over 1,100 yards. Look for AP to climb up the all time list, forever enshrining his place at the top.
NFC WR - Odell Beckham Jr. - 11REC/111YDS/0TD - 17.4pts
No surprise here has OBJ finds himself atop the list of NFC East WR. OBJ had himself a day. Primarily matched up against Jalen Ramsey, Beckham made sure he stayed productive. Ramsey and the Jags were able to keep him out of the end zone and were able to secure the win, so kudos to them. However, Beckham was still able to exploit arguably the best CB in the game today for some monster yards. The presence of rookie phenom Saquon Barkley made the Giants not so one dimensional, giving Beckham every opportunity to succeed. With matchups against the Cowboys, Texans, and Saints coming up over the next three weeks, look for Eli to hone in early and exploit the matchups and make OBJ a top 5 WR in the coming weeks.
NFC WR - Cole Beasley - 7REC/73YDS/0TD
Allen Hurns signed a 2 year $12,000,000 deal this offseason to come to Dallas. Michael Gallup was drafted in the third round. Gone are Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. And who is Dak Prescott’s primary target? Mr. Reliable, Cole Beasley. Beasley had a decent game, hauling in 7of his 8 targets, on a not-so-great Prescott day. Beasley received the most targets out of anyone on the Cowboys, surpassing the next closest by 3 targets. If Prescott continues to look his way frequently, Beasley can hold immense value in all half- or full-point PPR leagues. If the Cowboys fall behind early in many games this season, which I can see, Prescott will look his way early and often. With matchups against the Giants, Seahawks, and Lions on the schedule, Beasley has great potential to be a PPR monster the next few weeks.
NFC TE - Jordan Reed - 4REC/48YDS/1TD
The numbers aren’t that impressive at first glance, but they were good enough for Tight End #4 on the week. If Jordan Reed can stay healthy, he will undoubtedly be the biggest value of the draft. With how parse the TE landscape is, snagging Reed near the end of your drafts only to get a locked and loaded top 3-5 TE is not only a draft steal but one of the best positional values in fantasy football. Say a prayer to the injury gods, this could be a special season for him. I’m expecting top 5 performance again this week against the Colts.
NFC FLEX - Jay Ajayi - 15ATT/61YDS/4.1YPC/2TD - 20.2pts
If you’d been listening to the Dynasty ER Podcast the past three months, you would have have expected this. Ajayi is an incredible talent, and despite playing less than half of the offensive snaps was able to outproduce the rest of the entire RB corps in their entirety (from a fantasy perspective). Additionally, Doug Peterson has stated that Ajayi will be the “workhorse” moving forward, after he curiously only gave just 3 carries in the first half. All aboard the Jay Train, we’re leaving the station...
NFC D/ST - Washington
Washington not only dominated their opponents this week, but dominated the NFC East, respectively. In an obliteration of the Arizona Cardinals, the Skins allowed just 221 yards of total offense including a meager 153 passing yards. Tack on the two sacks and the interception, you could say we’re either looking at an Arizona offense that is very bad, or a Washington defense that is very good. My question is this: Why not both?
Honorable Mentions: Saquon Barkley (19.8pts), Ezekiel Elliot (16.1pts), Cole Beasley (10.8pts)