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Saquon Barkley stock up, Cam Akers down


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The NFL’s opening week is almost complete and, as usual, there were plenty of pleasant surprises and a handful of major disappointments. Well, maybe a few more disappointments than we would have liked

But now the task is to take what we learned in the openers and make some sense of things

WINNERS, LOSERS: Herbert, Mahomes set up enticing Week 2 showdown

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These players saw their fantasy football values increase or decrease most based on their performances in Week 1:

Sizzlers
RB Saquon Barkley, Giants

Not only did Barkley rack up 164 rushing yards against a stout Tennessee Titans defensive front, but he also tacked on 30 receiving yards, a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Fully healthy, he looks to be back among the fantasy elite.

RB D’Andre Swift, Lions

Swift was expected to be a fantasy factor this year but he opened up with a bigger bang than many anticipated with an astonishing 175 total yards and a rushing touchdown in a high-scoring loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

RB James Robinson, Jaguars

After suffering a torn Achilles last December, Robinson bounced back to lead the Jacksonville backfield, outproducing fantasy darling Travis Etienne by a wide margin and scoring twice. 

WR Michael Thomas, Saints

Seeing his first regular-season action since the 2020 season, Thomas reminded everyone just how dominant he once was by catching a pair of touchdown passes from Jameis Winston among his five receptions for 57 yards.

QB Carson Wentz, Commanders

Four passing touchdowns with 313 yards passing in a hard fought win will get Wentz noticed, especially in leagues where he went undrafted. Fire up those waiver wires for one of this week’s hot pickups.

Fizzlers
RB Cam Akers, Rams

The Rams minimizing Akers’ role in their opener was the fantasy shock of the week. Coach Sean McVay said he wants to see Akers run with more urgency, which is not what you want to hear when you spent a high draft pick on him.

WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys

This is more a reflection of QB Dak Prescott likely missing the next 6-8 weeks, but Lamb was quiet against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even when Prescott was on the field, catching just two passes for 29 yards. We saw how production dropped across the board when Prescott was out last season.

WR Amari Cooper, Browns

It’s probably not that surprising that Cooper flopped with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, but just three receptions for 17 yards is even worse than expected. Look for Cleveland to focus heavily on the running game until Deshaun Watson returns to the field.

WR Mike Williams, Chargers

Quarterback Justin Herbert had himself a day, throwing for 279 yards and three passing touchdowns. But even with Keenan Allen leaving early, Williams was almost a no-show in the box score with just two receptions for 10 yards.

TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons

He was supposed to be the primary piece in the Atlanta offense and a top-five fantasy choice at tight end. Instead, Pitts caught just two passes for 19 yards despite tying for the team lead with seven targets.

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