INDIANAPOLIS --- The first week of every fantasy season there are players that were drafted in the mid to late rounds that put up big numbers. There are also guys that were not drafted at all that become attractive waiver wire/free agent targets.
This week we comb through some of those week 1 surprises to tell you whether or not it was just fool's gold or the real deal. Do you keep expecting big things from these players or call their week 1 performances statistical outliers?
COLTS WEEK 1 FANTASY SURPRISE
Reggie Wayne (9 catches, 98 yards on 13 targets) - Are we surprised Reggie had a big week? No, because he's one of the best receivers in Colts history. However, in the context of many fantasy owners not knowing quite what to expect coming off a torn ACL last season, Wayne's week 1 performance was wonderful. He also played 93% of the snaps, more than any other Colts pass-catcher. Reggie is back, and considering most of us got him as a WR3 at most in fantasy, he is shaping up to be a huge value. (Recommendation: KEEP)
Carson Palmer (304 yards, 2 TD) - The majority of leagues did not draft Carson Palmer, but week 1 he finished as the 5th ranked fantasy quarterback. NFL.com's media personnel guru Gil Brandt said preseason he expects Palmer to throw for 5,000 yards. If you have Palmer, he's likely your back-up QB, but with six games left against defenses that were top-10 last year against fantasy quarterbacks, improve your flex spot if you can trade Palmer to a QB needy team. (Recommendation: SELL HIGH)
Jay Cutler (349 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) - Now, I hate Cutler's match-up week 2 at San Francisco, especially with his Marshall and Jeffrey banged up at receiver. However, don't use sight of the fact that Bears quarterbacks last year combined would have been the 3rd best fantasy QB. He might throw some picks, but the yards and touchdowns should continue to be there. (Recommendation: KEEP)
Knowshon Moreno (134 yards, TD) - Moreno picked up right where he left off with Denver last year in his first game with Miami. He may have missed most of the preseason, but it appears he has passed Lamar Miller for primary ball carrier responsibilities with the Dolphins. You don't just trade away good RBs, unless you have 3 others that you believe are consistent and reliable. (Recommendation: KEEP)
Mark Ingram (60 yards, 2 TD) - At face value, we're talking about the Saints running back who converted two goal line carries. Prolific offense, and Ingram played well in the preseason. He's a must keep, right? Not so fast, my friends (Corso voice). Ingram may have had 13 carries compared to the 7 of Pierre Thomas and 6 of Khiry Robinson, but he only played 20 of 75 snaps. It's hard to keep up the level of production Ingram had week 1 with that low percentage of snaps. (Recommendation: SELL HIGH)
Allen Hurns (110 yards, 2 TD) - The undrafted free agent rookie in Jacksonville had one heck of a first quarter of professional football...then didn't do much more. But who cares?! This is fantasy football. We don't care if you score on the first drive or the last drive when your team is down 30. Just score, baby. Hurns did that twice against the Eagles. And with Cecil Shorts dealing with a nagging injury, Hurns is only competing with a bunch of other rookie WRs for snaps. Hurns played more snaps than any other Jags receiver week 1; albeit just one more than Marqise Lee. This might be the peak of Hurns value, but the opportunity is there. I have a feeling he might do it again this week against Washington. (Recommendation: KEEP...for now)
Steve Smith Sr. (118 yds, TD) - Another wide receiver in his mid 30s turning back the clock. Smith went from the Panthers to the Ravens and was huge week 1. He followed that up with 6 more catches for 71 yards against the Steelers Thursday night. This is the real deal. Flacco is looking for Smith and targeting him heavily as his reliable pass catcher. Trade Torrey Smith, but keep Steve Smith. It appears he's going to be a pretty consistent option in fantasy. (Recommendation: KEEP)