The 2022 NFL season has started. One game in, the Bills quickly established themselves as the Super Bowl favorite, and the Rams offered the ultimate representation of “Super Bowl hangover.” A lot happened in Buffalo’s 31-10 win at SoFi Stadium, and we certainly saw enough to make some gritty fantasy reactions:
Josh Allen is ridiculous
So in my fantasy competition with old college friends, there’s a guy who isn’t exactly a big football fan and certainly isn’t a “fantasy guy.” He has the fourth overall pick in our draft, and after the first three picks were the usual suspects of tier-one running backs and receivers, this man drafted Josh Allen. So yeah, he’s “that guy” reaching for a QB on round 1. Well, he’s also that guy who has an early 33.48 point lead in his week 1 game. Can Allen produce a total of 353 yards and four touchdowns each week? Thursday night he looked like he could do it. (Still, this is why you don’t draft a QB in the first round: My friend with Allen plays a team with Justin Herbert at QB. While Allen was the fourth player to be drafted, Herbert went midway through round 3. That’s still pretty high, but the fantasy manager with Herbert also has Austin Ekeler and Deebo Samuel. The top men of Allen’s fantasy team are Javonte Williams and Tyreek Hill. Which threesome would you rather have?)
Diggin’ on Diggs
While much of the preseason fantasy chatter was devoted to figuring out whether Gabriel Davis or Isaiah McKenzie would appear as Buffalo’s WR2, we may have slept Stefan Diggs. The Bills WR1 had the seventh most fantasy points among receivers last season, but two years ago it was WR3. With eight catches for 122 yards and one TD Thursday night, he looked like he should have been a first round pick in your fantasy draft. Davis and McKenzie both had TD grabs as well. Davis has more targets than McKenzie or Jamison Crowder, but it’s clear that Allen will a) spread the ball; and b) give Diggs the lion’s share of the goals.
Where is Akers?
From a non-fantasy perspective, Rams coach Sean McVay made a big mistake by trying so hard to establish the point. Perhaps he knew his offensive line was unwilling to give? Matthew Stafford some protection, but the wasted first-down running plays were a gift to Buffalo. Now, from a fantasy perspective, it’s a blast that Darrell Henderson Jr. got so much from the action. Henderson had 13 carries (for 47 yards) while Cam Akers only had three carrying bags (for zero yards). As Matt De Lima noted earlier this week, the Rams may be slowly bringing Akers to the start of the season. At the very least, Henderson did nothing to earn a 13-3 lead in carries. Akers should take more action in the future.
So much for Allen Robinson to finally be in a place where he can use his talent. One catch for 12 meters? And while Cooper Kupp was targeted 15 times, Robinson was targeted twice. Again, perhaps this was simply a result of Von Miller and the Bills’ pass rush wreaking havoc on Stafford. Then again, maybe if some of those ridiculous first-down runs were play-action passes, maybe Robinson could have been more involved. We will see.
Meanwhile, the player with the second most targets after Kupp was tight end Tyler Higbee. He finished with five catches for 39 yards on 11 goals. Not a great catch, but Higbee is available in 25% of NFL.com leagues, so he could be a popular target for week 2 of exemption.
It’s always foolish to play the game “pace ahead” after a whole game, but Cooper Kupp makes it impossible not to. Kupp won the receiving triple crown last year with 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. Well, with 13 holds for 128 yards and a score on Thursday, Kupp is on track for 221 receptions, 2,176 yards and 17 scores. Just sayin’.
Please note that Rams WR Ben Skowronek only played a part in this match because Van Jefferson was out. Still, he got three times as many goals as Robinson. The 6-3, 224-pound Skowronek is more of a tight end masquerading as a receiver. He won’t be worth your time in traditional fantasy leagues, but any week that Jefferson is out, Skowronek can be a smart cheap fill option in DFS.
Bill’s rookie James Cook whistled the first time he got to touch football on his NFL debut. Some coaches (see: Bill Belichick) would have sat Cook the following month, but Cook was on the field a few more times on Thursday. Still, the story to watch was how Buffalo mixed it up with starter Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. It was Allen leading the Bills with 10 hasty attempts, so it’s more striking to look at total touches. Moss had 12 touches – six carries, six receptions; Singletary had 10 – eight tote bags, two receptions. Singletary is currently the RB28 at National Fantasy Football Championship and Moss is RB153. So is Singletary way too overvalued, or is Moss too undervalued? Or can Cook pay for his fumble and go stealing action from both? Given Buffalo’s offensive capability, it’s a situation worth keeping a close eye on.
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