What a week we had in the NFL. I lost track of the broken records, career highs, and unbelievable scoring and each performance that I highly doubt will be a consistent sight for the remainder of the season. As is the Packers-Saints game didn’t give enough quarterback highlights, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees didn’t land in the top 3 of the week for quarterbacks, and 3 huge surprises made it into the top 5, whom you likely had on your bench or in free agency.
The running back situation was also a shock, as Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and Arian Foster were nowhere near the top 10. Instead you saw the likes of Ben Tate, Chris Beanie Wells, and Mike Tolbert. The wide receiver core looked somewhat normal, although big time Andre Johnson barely made the top 10, and you’ll never see Terrell Owens or Randy Moss again.
Who made the top 5 list? The list goes as….
- Tom Brady – always a safe pick up, except when a knee is blown out. A career high 517 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception for an exhilarating 34 fantasy points. those poor Miami Dolphins, except that…
- Chad Henne – another career high and likely never to be repeated, this free agency bait QB threw for 416 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception and 1 fumble, landing him 33 fantasy points. Take away one of those turnovers and he becomes your week 1 champion. Scary though, really.
- Cam Newton – Even I didn’t see this coming, despite the fact I knew it was a possibility. View those highlights! 422 yards, 2 touchdowns, one interception, plus that one-yard leap over a pile of bodies to go toward his 29 fantasy points, land this #1 overall draft pick a spot among this year’s elite.
- Drew Brees – my man! Despite losing, he turned that 4th quarter on Thursday into an amazing spectacle. 419 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, no turnovers, that’s the kind of 28 point day we love. We will see more of this for sure, who cares that Marques Colston and Lance Moore are down.
- Aaron Rodgers & Ryan Fitzpatrick – of all people, the crappy Bills put up a top-5 QB for week 1. I’m shocked, especially since they ditched Lee Evans, their top speedster, this preseason. Aaron Rodgers was strong with 312 yards, 3 touchdowns and 24 points, going into a tie with Fitz, who landed 208 yards and, count ’em, four touchdowns plus a fumble. Just remember that each touchdown is equivalent to 100 passing yards, or 40 rushing yards.
- Ray Rice & Mike Tolbert – Not a complete surprise, except that he performed his season opener against the rival Steelers. Generally a touch defense to crack, the Ravens did it all game long. And I loved every moment of it. See Ben Roethlisberger struggle? Oh yeah, awesome. Rice ran for 107 yards with a touchdown on 19 carries by land, and added another 42 yards with a score by air. With Willis McGahee out of Baltimore, Ray Rice may be the year’s top performer. With Ryan Matthews starting his second year, it was instead the fullback-convert Mike Tolbert to make the huge plays. Only 21 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown, he caught 9 passes for another 58 yards for even more scoring, racking up 26 fantasy points to tie with Ray Rice.
- LeSean McCoy – With Michael Vick receiving star attention, McCoy ran all over the helpless St Louis Rams 15 times, bringing home with him 122 yards and a touchdown, while also stealing 15 yards and a touchdown receiving. He will be your must-start player every week, reminiscing about the days of Brian Westbrook.
- Matt Forte – Da Bears! But are they back to true playoff form? Well, 68 carries and no touchdowns on 16 rushes doesn’t help the case, although Forte’s true value came via the pass, and Jay Cutler needs him in the arsenal. Five receptions for 90 yards and a score makes a wide receiver look good. Matt Forte is a guy to want to trade for.
- Cedric Benson – Speaking about coming back, is he the guy we remember from a few seasons ago? He had an astounding 25 rushes against the Browns in Cleveland, and the 125 yards + a score make a statement.
- Steve Smith – I guess when Cam Newton is hot, so are the receivers. Like I said before, there’s only one guy to pass to in Carolina, who isn’t already rushing with the ball. Steve Smith is that guy. I keep wanting to say that getting rid of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a horrible idea, but you get the picture. Eight catches for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns says it all, and his 29 fantasy points was the best.
- Wes Welker – When Tom Brady has a great week and becomes the #1 overall QB, his top & tiny receiver reaps the rewards. The same amount of catches as Steve Smith, Welker made 160 yards with 2 touchdowns seem like a fantastic adventure.
- Kenny Britt – If he can stay out of prison, Britt will give the Titans a huge break. Only 5 catches, but his turbo play ability made that into 136 yards with 2 touchdowns. That seems to be the norm out of week 1’s top receivers.
- Calvin Johnson – Megatron is never to be forgotten, and his 2 touchdowns on 88 yards makes a top-5 statement in the league.
- Reggie Wayne & Devery Henderson & DeSean Jackson & Early Doucet- I can’t help but think that Wayne would have had more than 7 receptions for 106 yards and a score, if Peyton Manning were still around. Even Dallas Clark is suffering! A huge 4-way tie for 5th best of the week, leaves Brees’ top target with 6 catches for 100 yards and a score, Michael Vick’s speeds receiver with 6 catches for 102 yards and a score, and the newly implemented Kevin Kolb’s second receiver (Larry Fitzgerald, where are you?) with 3 catches for 105 yards and a score.