The long, arduous offseason is finally over as the 2017 NFL regular season got underway on Thursday night, pumping sweet, sweet fantasy football action directly into our living rooms. The march toward Week 16 championship matchups begins now, and you’re in the right place as your Rotoworld pals will be breaking down every inch of the fantasy football landscape each week. Buckle up your chin strap as we recap the season opener and other news from around the NFL in Friday’s Daily Dose.
The New England Patriots celebrated their Super Bowl LI win during a pregame ceremony on Thursday night, but unlike that memorable game last February, the Patriots found themselves on the receiving end of a second-half beat down as the Kansas City Chiefs stormed into Foxborough to top New England 42-27.
After piles of pregame questions swirled around how the New England backfield would shape up as the 2017 season began, the star running back in Thursday night’s game came from the opposite sideline. Rookie Kareem Hunt erupted for 246 total yards on 22 touches and found the end zone three times, putting together an incredible effort for fantasy owners who snagged the rookie in drafts this summer after Spencer Ware was lost for the season. Hunt’s night got off to a brutal start as the rookie fumbled on his first career carry, giving the fantasy world vivid flashbacks of the David Wilson debacle of 2012. Luckily that nervous energy didn’t last long, as Hunt sliced up the New England defense on the ground and through the air on his way to the monstrous stat line. Hunt owners can enjoy a well-deserved pat on the back after this outing. Go ahead, crack a cold one. You earned it.
After wild speculation about how the wily Bill Belichick would utilize his backfield in the post-LeGarrette Blount era, it was Mike Gillislee leading the way with three touchdowns of his own on Thursday night. Gillislee pounded-in three short-yardage scores but also saw usage between the 20’s and led the team with 15 carries in the loss. While Gillislee was most productive, James White led all Patriots backs in snaps (43 to Gillislee’s 24) and in the passing game with three grabs on five targets. Although the Patriots were forced into heavy passing situations late in the game, White appears to have the most predictable role moving forward while Gillislee is fitted for the “LeGarrette Blount” role of smashing in touchdowns from the one-yard line after defenses are flagged for pass interference on Rob Gronkowski. Not the sexiest role, but it should be good for RB2 status each week. Rex Burkhead (10 snaps) and Dion Lewis (six snaps) were afterthoughts in this backfield on Thursday night, but should be monitored moving forward given Belichick’s penchant for tomfoolery in the New England backfield.
Editor’s Note: Looking for a weekly edge in your fantasy leagues? Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99.
The quarterback play in this game was far from evenly matched, and things didn’t fall in hunky Tom’s favor in the season opener. Tom Brady looked rusty throughout this contest as he failed to throw a touchdown pass and completed just 16 of 36 attempts. Like a major league pitcher losing his gas, Brady missed high throughout the night with multiple overthrows preventing the Patriots from ripping off chunk plays like usual. A trip to New Orleans should get the New England offense back on track next week, so Brady owners can breathe easy despite the disappointing opener. The quarterback performance of the night belonged to none other than Alex Smith, yes that Alex Smith, who chucked four touchdown passes and completed 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards. The Kansas City offense looked fantastic throughout the game, utilizing misdirection in the running and short passing game while Smith uncharacteristically pushed the ball downfield to his receivers. Kareem Hunt teamed with a freakishly fast wide receiver in Tyreek Hill and an ultra-athletic tight end in Travis Kelce, the Chiefs should give Andy Reid a far superior offense to the version that lost to a team that failed to score a single touchdown in last season’s Divisional Round.
Chiefs at Patriots Quick Slants
Both tight ends were ghosts in this game, with Travis Kelce hauling in five passes for 40 yards and Rob Gronkowski totaling just 33 yards on two grabs. Gronk came dangerously close to yet another thunderous “Gronk Spike” after a catch that was initially ruled a touchdown was overturned early in the game. Better days are ahead for both of these top-tier tight ends. … Danny Amendola, not Chris Hogan, was very busy with six catches on seven targets for 100 yards before leaving with a concussion. Hogan caught just one of five targets but did see three rushing attempts. A potential absence for Amendola may spring Hogan into more production, but I wouldn’t judge this group of receivers without Julian Edelman until we see a game where Tom Brady looks more like Tom Brady. … Tyreek Hill showed his blazing speed and rolled up 133 yards and a score on seven catches. Hill can drop 14 PPR points in a single play with ease and will be an exciting fantasy option this season if Smith stays aggressive. … Brandin Cooks showed exactly why the Patriots acquired him over the offseason, flashing his wheels while catching three of seven targets for 88 yards and drawing three penalties.
In Other News…
Odell Beckham’s (ankle) Week 1 status failed to improve on Thursday, as the studly wide receiver missed practice yet again. When asked about playing on Sunday, Beckham told the New York Post, “I wouldn’t count it out,” as fantasy folks are left scrounging for potential replacements. This has the makings of a classic “game-time decision” scenario that plagues fantasy owners throughout each season and unfortunately matters are made worse with the Giants occupying the Sunday Night time slot in Week 1. Luckily this conundrum is occurring early in the season, with just two teams on bye and most fantasy benches flush with healthy lineup alternatives. More information regarding Beckham’s status will surface in coming days, but if you have a wide receiver in WR3-ish territory, go ahead and give him a start in Sunday’s early games and remove the guesswork from this sticky situation. If not, keep a wide receiver handy who plays on Monday night in case Beckham is scratched shortly before kickoff on Sunday evening.
Editor’s Note: Get our 2017 NFL Draft Guide + Season Pass for FREE with your first deposit on FanDuel and dominate your leagues! Claim now.
Injury News and Notes
LeSean McCoy did minimal work at practice on Thursday as he deals with an illness. No major concerns regarding his Sunday status as of this point. … Jamison Crowder was a late addition to the Washington injury report on Thursday, as the receiver is now dealing with a hip issue. Crowder owners should tune their attention to the player news page at Rotoworld for more updates heading into Sunday. … Rookie Corey Davis declared himself “90 percent” recovered from the hamstring injury that held him out for most of the month of August. Davis will likely grow into a large role in Tennessee as the season progresses. … John Brown (quad) feels he will be ready for Week 1 but will be a dicey bet even in a nice matchup against Detroit as he works his way back from a quad issue. … Chargers rookie Mike Williams (back) is doing some light pass catching work, but has yet to run routes at full speed. Williams may be an intriguing waiver wire target later in the season at full health. … New England’s Malcolm Mitchell (knee) was placed on injured reserve prior to the game on Thursday night. Mitchell is now fading into the background behind numerous New England receiving options.
Source Article from http://rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/74238/77/dose-chiefs-cruise-by-pats