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Week 1 fantasy winners and losers

What players came through for your fantasy teams and which laid an egg?

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

Fantasy football is a wild game and taking a look at some of the best and worst fantasy performances is always going to be fun, unless you were on the sharp end of a whole bunch of awful games by your usual fantasy studs. We’ll take you through some of those performances below, starting with the early games, then the late games and, well, you know how time works.

We’ve already seen monster games from Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski. Who will compete with them for the top fantasy plays in Week 1? Who will compete with Ronald Jones and Michael Evans as some of the most disappointing plays of Week 1? We’ll keep an eye on it right here as the day progresses.

Early games

The good news

Kyler Murray, Cardinals, QB: 21/32, 289 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT — 5 attempts, 20 yards, 1 TD

Murray went off in the early games, connecting in the end zone with DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk twice each as they Cardinals routed the Tennessee Titans in the desert. The up tempo offense, Murray’s ability to run and having one of the best receivers in the league to throw to will keep him in the fantasy elite moving forward.

Deebo Samuel, 49ers, WR: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 189 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble

With Brandon Aiyuk not getting one target as he fell down the depth chart of late, Samuel was far and above the rest of the team in targets with 12. George Kittle came in second on the team with five. Samuel’s great ability after the catch showed up this week as usual and it could get him dinged up again, but right now Samuel is the man.

Corey Davis, Jets, WR: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 97 yards, 2 touchdowns

Davis is already paying dividends to for the Jets after they picked him up in free agency. It was ugly for Zach Wilson and company in the first half, but two touchdown passes in the second half to Davis gave them a chance to make it a game late. Davis tied with Braxton Berrios for the lead in targets with seven and should

The not so good news

Brandon Aiyuk, Broncos, WR: 0 targets, 0 receptions

Aiyuk wasn’t injured, he was demoted. It was a big surprise, much like rookie running back Trey Sermon being a healthy scratch. Aiyuk played, and was actually in on 26 snaps, to Trent Sherfield’s 27 and Deebo Samuel’s 46. So not all is lost for Aiyuk, as he’s still getting a decent amount of work, but it is getting diluted and he ended up seeing no targets. He’s likely a drop in most leagues, but I would hold onto him one more week to see what happens.

Derrick Henry, Titans, RB: 17 carries, 58 yards — 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

The Cardinals defensive front came to play in this one and the Titans offensive line was overpowered, especially by Chandler Jones, who tallied five sacks. Henry still had 20 touches despite his team getting beaten badly. It’s tough to take that kind of game from a first round pick, but he’ll be fine.

Najee Harris, Steelers, QB: 16 carries, 45 yards — 3 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards

Harris was on the field for 100 percent of the snaps and was the only Steelers running back to touch the ball. It didn’t work out for fantasy this week in a low scoring, defensive affair against the Buffalo Bills, but Harris is going to have enough opportunity to put up fantasy numbers in the weeks to come.

Late Games

The good news

Jameis Winston, Saints, QB: 14/21, 148 yards, 5 TDs — 6 carries, 37 yards

Wow, the New Orleans Saints new quarterback came up big in his first start. He only threw the ball 21 times in a route, but also connected for five touchdowns and was an effective rusher. The Saints defense helped out with turnovers, but Winston was efficient and showed that he can thrive in Sean Payton’s offense.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, WR: 15 targets, 11 receptions, 197 yards, 1 TD

Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce could also be in “the good news” section, as they all put up huge numbers, but Hill ended up as the second highest fantasy contributor through the Sunday late games. A fourth quarter 75-yard touchdown put him into fantasy explosion status, a place Hill has been more often than most. This Chiefs offense is impossible to keep down.

The not so good news

Aaron Rodgers, Packers, QB: 15/28, 133 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs

Last year’s MVP wasn’t himself as he threw two interceptions and completed just 53.5 percent of his passes. The Saints got up so big that Rodgers was taken out with 10 minutes left in the game. The Saints defense is good and I think we can take wipe this game from our memories and continue believing in Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams moving forward.

Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB: 10 carries, 26 yards — 3 targets, 1 receptions, 1 yard

Barkley wasn’t the full time starting back, but did lead the backfield with 29 snaps to Devontae Booker’s 27. The good news is that he didn’t appear to have any setbacks and he will likely see a bigger workload moving forward. The Bronco’s defense is for real and Barkley was eased in. Better things are on the horizon for the Giants RB1.