Football is back and we’ve already been privileged enough to see Patrick Mahomes throw for three touchdowns. I think I can go out on a limb and say the Chiefs are still good and they might be even better than they were last year. The Texans on the other hand, miss DeAndre Hopkins. Who would have guessed? There wasn’t a lot of intrigue in this game, but there were plenty of fantasy points and fantasy news to keep us busy. So, let’s get busy!
The Good News
Patrick Mahomes was Patrick Mahomes once again, but he didn’t get his big yardage numbers, as he completed 24-of-32 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns. It was apparent that the Texans were going to try to slow down the game and push the Chiefs into completing shorter passes and running the ball. Mahomes said, okay.
The yardage slack was picked up by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who saw a whopping 25 carries and rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. The end result is what his fantasy backers were looking for, but the how isn’t. The rookie seemed destined to be a big contributor as a receiver, but didn’t see a target until the second half. He ended with two targets and no receptions.
The biggest negative for Edwards-Helaire ended up being his inability to score at the goal-line. He had multiple chances, but no creases, and was stuffed over and over. The good news is that he got the goal-line work over Darrel Williams. He also looked great as a runner and we know he’s going to have strong receiving games sooner than later.
Sammy Watkins showed up yet again in Week 1 and this time he didn’t even need Tyreek Hill to go down with an injury. Watkins led all fantasy scorers in PPR leagues as he caught 7-of-9 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. Last season, he absolutely went off in Week 1 after Hill was hurt, going over 180 yards and scoring three touchdowns, but then didn’t score a single touchdown the rest of the season or top 70 yards. We can’t expect the same thing to happen, but there’s no reason to believe he will now outperform Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce every week either.
The Texans couldn’t get much going offensively, as their offensive line was again a weak link, but Will Fuller did show up. It took him a while, but he was the no-doubt top target for DeShaun Watson, as the QB looked his way 10 times while Brandin Cooks was second with just five targets.
Fuller ended up catching eight of those targets for 112 yards. That’s a nice day in the fantasy football mines and if he can stay healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be the team’s No. 1 receiver with a whole lot of upside.
The Comeback Kid
David Johnson was left for dead by many pundits, including myself. Thankfully for him and those who drafted him, his demise has been greatly exaggerated. Johnson didn’t have a big workload, as the team trailed for much of the game, but he did well with his touches. On 11 rushing attempts he gained 77 yards and scored a touchdown, adding three receptions on four targets for 32 more yards.
The Chiefs were one of the worst run defenses in the league last season, so we can’t really put Johnson back into the top tiers of fantasy running backs, but he was more than competent and Watson’s rushing ability will keep defenses off-balance. Add in a leg injury for Duke Johnson, and David could be set up for bigger touch counts moving forward, especially in games where they aren’t losing by double-digits.
How does he do it?
Deshaun Watson is a fantasy football machine. In a game where he was sacked four times and often running for his life, Watson still managed a 20-point fantasy game. He ended up completing 20-of-32 passes for 253 yards for one touchdown and one interception, adding six rushing attempts for 27 yards and a rushing touchdown. Yes, it’s the rushing touchdowns. That’s how he gets the points, but how he still manages to do it week in and week out is amazing.
Third-year tight end Jordan Akins came into this game having put together a strong training camp, prompting multiple beat writers to praise his ability and project a strong season. He then comes into Week 1 and catches both of his passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. These aren’t numbers that will blow you away, but both plays showed that he needs more chances. He should have been tackled short of the first down on his first reception, but a nice duck and change of direction freed him up for first-down yardage. He then snagged a Watson bullet right up the seem in the end zone for his touchdown. There are a lot of tight ends out there worth rostering, but Akins looks like someone who can break out this season.
He’d like those back
Demarcus Robinson had two touchdowns, but dropped both of them. Well, the first one was a great play by the defender, but was still a pass he’d like back. The second was an actual drop in the end zone and both came early in the game. Robinson isn’t going to be a recommended fantasy play this season, but right now he’s blocking snaps for Mecole Hardman and that’s annoying.
Where were they?
Randall Cobb was a big free agency acquisition after Houston let Hopkins go, but he didn’t even get a target until late in the fourth quarter.
Mecole Hardman is still playing behind Robinson, who had 33 snaps to Hardman’s 19 and Byron Pringle’s six. Maybe we see Hardman’s snaps go up after Robinson’s touchdown drop, but we can’t count on that happening. A full workload puts Hardman in the fantasy landscape.
Steady as she goes
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill didn’t go off in the way they can, but they still did plenty for your fantasy teams. Both scored a touchdown and caught over five passes and it feels like they had down games! It must be nice playing with Mahomes.
You win some, you lose some
Coming into this game there was chatter that Darrel Williams would split work with Edwards-Helaire. At first, Williams was a fairly big part of the offense, as he came in on third downs and caught a couple passes. But he wasn’t competition for the rookie. Williams ended up with nine touches, but only had 30 yards and two receptions. He also didn’t pass the eye test, especially in comparison to Edwards-Helaire. He’s still the backup, but Darwin Thompson likely has more juice and could start seeing increased work as the season moves forward.