Top 10 fantasy performances from Week 1

By Rachel Wold

Week 1 in the NFL delivered many amazing fantasy football performances across the league.

Many superstars rewarded as expected and posted some jaw-dropping stats. One of the oldest quarterbacks in the league was spectacular. Meanwhile, another quarterback returning from an injury proved his doubters wrong.

Week 1 also saw the rebound of some second-year players who might have been snubbed in fantasy drafts.

With that, here is a list of the 10 best fantasy performances that took place in Week 1.

C.J. Anderson, running back, Denver Broncos

top 10 fantasy, C.J. Anderson

As many would have expected, Anderson was the focal point of the Broncos’ offense in Thursday’s NFL season opener. Fantasy owners of Anderson could not have been more thrilled with the outcome after watching him shred the Carolina Panthers’ vaunted defense.

Quarterback Trevor Siemian leaned on Anderson more than any other Broncos player when the team defeated the Panthers (21-20).

Anderson had 24 total touches for the night. He racked up 92 yards on 20 rushing plays and 47 receiving yards on four catches. Anderson also scored once on the ground and again through the air.

In PPR formats, the running back was pure gold.

Those who may have benched Anderson knowing he was up against the Panthers defense are surely regretting that move.

Melvin Gordon, running back, San Diego Chargers

Gordon finally shed his rookie season funk and rewarded owners with a strong two-touchdown performance in Week 1.

The first of Gordon’s touchdowns broke last year’s non-scoring streak. Those who took their chances on Gordon in later draft rounds were beyond elated.

The Kansas City Chiefs had no answers for stopping Gordon from waltzing into the end zone. This was accomplished twice early in the first half. In addition to Gordon’s double scores, he racked up 57 rushing yards on 14 rushing attempts.

Unfortunately, the Chargers began to fall behind and had to rely on the passing game to survive. At this time, it would appear Gordon provides the best value in standard scoring leagues. This is due to the presence of his pass-catching teammate, Danny Woodhead.

Alex Smith, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith

Smith is a talented NFL quarterback. Although, he isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea as far as dream fantasy quarterbacks go.

Though, in Week 1, Smith surprised with a huge 363-yard, three touchdown performance. The highlight of his many fabulous plays came in the form of a game-winning rushing score to cap off a thrilling overtime possession against the San Diego Chargers (watch here).

Smith’s two passing touchdowns were caught by rookie receiver Tyreek Hill and veteran Jeremy Maclin.

Whether or not Smith will continue with this level of fantasy excellence remains to be seen. Ultimately, he did what he had to do through the air to make up for the team falling behind early to San Diego.

We shall Smith next in action when he takes on the Houston Texans next week.

A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

Those who thought Green would reap the benefits of Cincinnati’s depleted receiving corps guessed correctly. No Marvin Jones? no Mohammed Sanu? no Tyler Eifert?

No problem.

In a nearly flawless performance, Green caught 12-of-13 of his targets for a massive total of 180 receiving yards. He also had one touchdown while he vacationed on Revis Island (watch here).

The New York Jets’ cornerback proved challenging to escape at times, but Green was the clear winner in this heated battle. Surely after Sunday’s star performance, Green will be a popular trade target in regular fantasy leagues.

For those riding the Green train in daily fantasy sports, he will be pitted against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ suspect secondary in Week 2.

Drew Brees, quarterback New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees

Brees proved naysayers who took potshots at his age and arm strength completely wrong in Week 1.

Maybe it was the new contract or the air in the SuperDome. Whatever it was, Brees looked absolutely stunning on the field. After an early fumble, Brees rebounded to record 423 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.

All the while, he took care of the ball with no picks. The only sad thing about Brees’ stellar performance is that the Saints lost by one point to the Oakland Raiders (35-34).

Brees is hands-down one of the best fantasy football quarterbacks to own in regular leagues.

He should continue to find tremendous success against the New York Giants’ defense in Week 2.

Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, wide receivers, New Orleans Saints

Brees’ smashing performance naturally led to fantasy spoils for two lucky receivers, Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead.

Brandin CooksCooks hauled in 143 passing yards and two touchdowns. He was also efficient, catching six-of-nine of his targets, including a ridiculous 98-yard touchdown (watch here).

Fellow receiver Snead must be lauded as well. He hauled in a perfect nine-of-nine catches for an amazing 172 yards and one touchdown. If he was riding any benches, fantasy owners were likely tossing out some unsavory language while the fantasy points piled up.

Obviously, those who played Snead in daily fantasy lineups were happy. He was hands-down the best value for the buck.

Both receivers should remain productive as long as Brees keeps up with his rock star productivity.

Spencer Ware, running back, Kansas City Chiefs

Due to Ware’s successful day, the Chiefs might not be in much of a hurry to get Jamaal Charles back to the field.

Ware performed beyond expectations when he rushed for 70 yards and tallied 129 through the air. He made the Chargers defense look completely helpless in the process. Ware also added one rushing touchdown and maintained a spectacular average of 6.36 yards per attempt.

Those who trusted Ware in their lineups made the right move. That said, we are pretty sure Ware rode plenty of benches after the Chiefs hinted of a timeshare between he and Charcandrick West.

It’s hard to say what Week 2 holds for Ware, just because nobody knows when Charles will be ready to play. But perhaps at this point Ware has done enough to earn some significant playing time, even when Charles does come back.

Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions

Stafford was a highly recommended must-start quarterback against a lousy Colts defense. Fortunately, he lived up to the hype, passing for 340 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s victory on the road.

Stafford also did not throw for any interceptions. This is something he has improved upon dramatically working with his new offensive coordinator in mid-2015.

Interestingly, Stafford failed to connect with any of his wide receivers when he scored. Instead, he hit up both running backs, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick for scores. Tight end Eric Ebron also found the red zone.

If this is a sign of things to come, fantasy owners of Golden Tate should take note. Regardless of who is catching his touchdowns, plugging Stafford into fantasy lineups is a no-brainer right now.

Minnesota Vikings, defense

Danielle Hunter

What happens when you play one of the better NFL defenses against last year’s worst team? Fantasy fireworks explode.

That’s what went down when the Vikings’ defense wreaked havoc on the Tennessee Titans’ offense.

Pass rushers Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter sacked quarterback Marcus Mariota twice. The end result was a loss of 19 yards. Linebacker Eric Kendricks also enjoyed a beautiful 77-yard pick-six in the third quarter.

Furthermore, Hunter and safety Andrew Sendejo snagged up a couple of fumbles by Mariota and DeMarco Murray. Hunter wound up turning his fumble recovery into a 24-yard touchdown.

While we are tooting the horn of a clear Captain Obvious situation here, the game was what it was. The Vikings defense will make for a fabulous start when it faces other weak opponents down the road.

Andrew Luck, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Last, but absolutely not least, is Luck. This guy perhaps made the biggest comeback in fantasy history in Week 1.

Luck barely scored any fantasy points until about midway through the second quarter. When he was finished, he was the top dog after passing for 385 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed a two-point conversion and did not throw a single pick.

Andrew LuckLuck did a fabulous job of spreading the wealth. He connected with wide receiver Donte Moncrief, along with tight ends Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle for scores. Luck’s first touchdown notably did not come until just seconds before halftime.

Anyone who was afraid to take the training wheels off of Luck and start him this Sunday must have been kicking themselves afterwards.

It would appear that Luck has rebounded to QB1 status moving forth. The only down here is the Colts lost to the Detroit Lions in the final seconds of the game.