Going into Week 1, nobody truly knew what to expect as everything was just speculation. Thus, after the first week of games, there is going to be tons of movement on fantasy rosters before the games this upcoming weekend. Whether you are a season-long player or a DFS player, we have you covered. Today, we are releasing our Week 1 Risers and Fallers, and Wednesday we will release our complete position-by-position rankings to get you ready for Week 2.
Without further ado, here is the Week 1 Risers and Fallers
(Note: Players such as Rashad Ross or Matt McGloin, who performed as expected will not be covered).
Risers:PJ Walker (QB) – Houston Roughnecks
Generally, Walker was not a high pick in drafts last week, due to the threat of experienced QB Connor Cook lurking behind him as his backup. However, Walker showed why June Jones entrusted him with his coveted Run-n-Shoot offense. Walker absolutely balled out, going 23/39 for 272 yards with 4 passing TD’s. He had one bad INT, but he did add 26 yards on the ground on 4 carries, resulting in a whopping 32.48 fantasy points. If this first game is any indication, Walker is going to be absolute fantasy stud in this high-powered offense. If you are a re-draft player and Walker is currently un-owned, add him right away. If you are a DFS player, Walker should be a safe bet despite his match-ups going forward.
Jordan Ta’amu (QB) – St. Louis BattleHawks
With the BattleHawks 15-9 upset win over the Dallas Renegades, they became the only team in Week 1 to win on the road. While the defense was outstanding, a lot of the credit needs to go to Ta’amu. He went 20/27 for 209 and a TD, also carrying the ball 9 times for 77 yards, adding up to 20.06 fantasy points. I, for one, was very surprised by Ta’amu’s performance, and despite his team being extremely undisciplined on the offensive side of the ball, he was able to move the chains very well. His legs look to be a real weapon, which is great for fantasy. A pleasant early surprise, Ta’amu should be in most starting lineups going forward.
Darius Victor (RB) – New York Guardians
Victor came into this season as the backup to Tim Cook, however, Victor looked like the much more complete back in the 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Vipers. Victor out-touched Cook 12-5 on the day, and out-gained him 57-11. Cook did get two goal-line carries on extra points, but throughout the game, Victor was utilized all over the field regardless of down and distance. With Matt McGloin having Mekale McKay and Joe Horn to stretch the field, it should leave lots of check down room for Victor. He is un-owned in most leagues and could be an underrated player in DFS going forward.
Matt Jones (RB) – St. Louis BattleHawks
The former Washington Redskins back was listed as #2 on the BattleHawks depth chart behind Christine Michael, however, it was clear that he was the much more game-ready player on Sunday. He got 21 carries, and racked up 85 yards for his offense. So far, the BattleHawks are really the only team to truly commit to the run, making the lead back for this offense an extremely valuable fantasy player. Despite Jones not getting into the end zone nor having a catch, he should have a ton of value for the rest of the season. This upcoming game in Houston could be a rough spot for him, as the BattleHawks could be playing from behind for a majority of the afternoon, but after this week, look for him to continue his high-volume workload.
James Butler (RB) – Houston Roughnecks
Similar to Victor, he came into the first game as the backup on the depth chart, but Butler looked to be a perfect fit for this offense. Butler looked to be a much better fit alongside PJ Walker than Andre Williams. Butler out-touched Williams 11-3, out gaining him 50-7, as well as adding two touchdowns. With June Jones’ system not utilizing tight ends, there is a ton of space across the middle for Butler to find weak spots in zones. If his workload continues, Butler will be a huge fantasy player as the season progresses.
De’Veon Smith (RB) – Tampa Bay Vipers
The Vipers were an absolute dumpster fire on Sunday, looking outmatched in almost every phase of the game. However, one bright spot was De’Veon Smith. The former Orlando Apollo had 16 carries for 79 yards, for an average of 4.9 yards per carry; despite playing from behind almost the whole game. With Quinton Flowers expected to have more time on the field next week, expect the Vipers to trend into more of a run-oriented offense. The bruising back should be an interesting unpopular play in DFS in the next few weeks.
Austin Proehl (WR) – Seattle Dragons
There may not have been a bigger riser this weekend than Dragons receiver Austin Proehl. He was clearly the top receiver for Brandon Silvers and despite the slip that allowed the game sealing pick-six, he still had a great game. Proehl was targeted 10 times, catching 5 balls for 88 yards and two touchdowns. With Silvers looking like a gunslinger, unafraid to throw into some tight coverage, Proehl could be an integral part of the offense from the slot. Going forward, Proehl should be a very popular DFS play, as well as a very popular waiver add.
Nelson Spruce (WR) – LA Wildcats
Charles Kanoff was a real mixed bag in this game, but the one constant was Nelson Spruce. He was constantly schemed open by Norm Chow, constantly finding soft spots in zones. The other Wildcats receivers weren’t much to write home about, so I expect Spruce to continue to be featured in this offense. After having 11 catches for 103 yards, it might be hard to top that, but with Starting QB Josh Johnson coming back in either Week 2 or Week 3, Spruce should continue to be a huge part of the Wildcats game-plan.
Like De’Veon Smith, Daniel Williams was a bright spot in an otherwise lowly Vipers offense. Williams is a big, strong receiver that fits Trestman’s scheme perfectly. Despite very inconsistent quarterback play, Williams was able to get open consistently and was targeted frequently. For DFS, a lot of Vipers will not be popular plays after this last weekend, so in order to trend away from the general public, Williams could be an interesting play.
Jake Powell (TE) – New York Guardians
Powell did not have a lot draft buzz in the past few weeks, but he looked like a good option at a thin tight end position on Sunday. Powell had 6 targets with 4 catches for 28 yards, and with no tight ends really showing out in Week 1, Powell could be a great add in season long leagues. The Guardians offense is very similar to common NFL schemes, so the tight end could be a lot more prominent for them than a lot of others.
Aaron Murray (QB) – Tampa Bay Vipers
Aaron Murray had a lot of buzz coming into the season, with Vegas putting the Vipers win total at 7.5, and having their championship odds at 3/1. But, Sunday proved to be a huge letdown from Tampa Bay, and Murray. The former Georgia QB really struggled in this one, only going 16/34 for 231 yards, as well as 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. He was slowly phased out of the offense, as Quinton Flowers was utilized more and more as the game went on. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Murray should be dropped, but he should be benched for at least Week 2, and if Flowers sees anymore time than he did on Sunday, Murray’s fantasy owners could be in serious trouble.
Christine Michael (RB) – St. Louis BattleHawks
Michael was a consensus first-round fantasy pick, as he was supposed to be the lead back in the run-heavy St. Louis offense. However, as previously stated, Matt Jones was clearly the better back in their matchup with the Renegades. Michael had 7 carries for 0 yards, as well as having a bad fumble. He still has plenty of time to bounce back with 9 games left, but I would expect Jones and 3rd stringer Keith Ford to continue to shoulder the load for this offense going forward. If you are a Michael owner in season-long leagues, I would take a very cautious approach until Michael can prove that you can trust him.
Andre Williams (RB) – Houston Roughnecks
As stated in James Butler’s analysis, Williams was supposed to be the lead back for Houston, but it was clear that the bruising runner was not as good of a schematical fit as the other back. Williams was a big disappointment on Saturday, only rushing 2 times for 0 yards. If you spent a first-round pick on Williams, it might be time to make some shrewd moves to try to acquire another running back. As for DFS, Williams shouldn’t even be a thought until he proves to have a larger role in the offense.
Cameron Artis – Payne (RB) Dallas Renegades
The former Carolina Panther, and Christian McCaffrey backup, was far from stellar in his XFL debut, with Lance Dunbar looking like the much more polished option. Artis-Payne had 6 total touches for 19 yards, as well as throwing a pass for 10 yards. Nobody really looked great in this offense with Philip Nelson running the show. However, if you are a CAP owner, there may be some hope with Landry Jones coming back next weekend, which could make the Renegades look very different offensively.