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On To The Next One — Week 1

We take a look at a pair of players that did well in Week 1 of this NFL season, as well as a pair that didn’t. What happens next week?

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Welcome to the first edition of On To The Next One! There will be two categories here: “The Rebounders” and “The Fumblers.” “The Rebounders” highlights two players that had a disappointing fantasy performance last week, but will rebound this upcoming week to produce better numbers. “The Fumblers” will stunt two players that had fantastic performances last week, BUT, they will not put up nearly the same amount of points on the board this upcoming week, and will fumble away the fantasy glory they once had.

If you have any of these players – PAY ATTENTION.

The Rebounders

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaners
7.2 points (PPR) / 6.2 points (Non-PPR) per ESPN
If it weren’t for a two-yard touchdown grab that came within the closing three minutes of the game, Mike Evans would have had a zero point outing last week. In an absolute abysmal performance, Evans put up only that one catch, on only four targets. Four.

This near-egg comes against, no surprise here, Marshon Lattimore and the New Orleans Saints secondary. You might be asking yourself, when was the last time Evans had such a terrible game? Try Week 5 of the 2019 season where he didn’t grab a single ball on three targets where he was lined up against, you guessed it, Lattimore in New Orleans. Evans hasn’t had a game where he posted less than ten receiving yards since 2015, with the only two since coming against Lattimore.

While Lattimore haunts Evans at night (Evans may want to talk to Sam Darnold), the cornerback is not solely to blame for Evans’ poor showing. He came into the game battling a hamstring injury, having sat out all of Thursday’s practice, with limited participation on Friday. It was announced Evans would play just before the game started on Sunday. It’s highly unlikely he was really 100 percent ready to go.

Evans also has a new quarterback under center in Tom Brady, after five seasons with Jameis Winston. No matter how talented you are, it will take time to adjust and build chemistry with a new quarterback; even if that quarterback is the winningest player in league history.

He will face the Carolina Panthers next week, and will get proper time to heal his injury, as well as form a stronger bond with Brady. Theoretically, and likely. Because of these reasons, expect Mike Evans to rebound.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
12.6 points (PPR) / 6.6 points (Non-PPR)
Let’s get this out of the way: the Giants offensive line is terrible. But honestly, what else would you expect from them? However, to be fair, the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line is by no means a slouched squad; in fact, the defense as a whole is one of the best in all of football.

On paper, just by pure volume numbers, Barkley cannot possibly have a worse rushing performance than six rushing yards on fifteen attempts. He is far and away the best player on the team, and possibly the greatest skill player they’ve had all decade with 2011-12 Victor Cruz and 2014-16 Odell Beckham Jr. being in the mix.

It Is worth noting that the team had coaching changes, with Joe Judge being named the new head coach, as well as a new offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett. In other words, the offense has changed from what Barkley was accustomed to. It didn’t help that the Steelers blitzed 62 percent of the time, a league high for any opening week defense per ESPN, constantly having defenders in the box.

While next week’s opponent in the Chicago Bears features formidable dangers in Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, the unit was inconsistent and looked vulnerable against the Detroit Lions last week. With some coaching adjustments and an unsteady defensive unit to play against, expect Saquon Barkley to rebound.

The Fumblers

Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams
26 points (PPR) / 23 points (Non-PPR)
I know what you’re saying: “But Holden! Everybody’s telling me to pick up Brown! Why is he a Fumbler?”

It’s simple … okay admittedly, it’s not, but follow me. Yes, Brown had the most carries of all three main running backs for the Rams (Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson being the other two). Yes, he had a better game than Akers who was the starter. But, don’t expect Akers to fall out of the rotation; franchises don’t give up on second-rounders that easily.

Akers will pose a threat to Brown’s playing time, even if just 30 percent. However, in total, it’s highly unlikely Brown will play 70 percent of the snaps again. The aforementioned Henderson has been dealing with a hamstring injury, which is why we saw him in such limited spurts against the Dallas Cowboys. Henderson, being the stronger receiving target of the three, will get burn after he fully recovers from injury.

Perhaps the biggest red flag for Brown’s performance is the notable injuries Dallas had to deal with. They lost former Pro Bowl linebacker Leighton Vander Esch mid-game to a collarbone injury, and Former All Pro linebacker Sean Lee was on Injured Reserve going into the contest. To put in perspective just how vital they are, Lee had the most tackles for the squad every season since 2015 minus the 2019 season when he was second, and 2018 where Vander Esch had the third most tackles in the league, and Lee was limited due to injury.

To put it shortly, Brown went up against a limping defense that gave up seven rushing touchdowns in its previous three games coming up to this contest. Because of all the aforementioned aspects, as the season progresses, expect Malcolm Brown to fumble.

Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
25.5 points (PPR) / 19.5 points (Non-PPR)
Any previous Anderson managers know the danger of relying on the newly-acquired Panther. Last season, Anderson was the epitome of inconsistency. Here’s his yards per game from 2019:

| 23 | 81 | 11 | 16 | 125 | 10 | 43 | 33 | 11 | 6 | 86 | 101 | 117 | 66 | 32 | 18 |

If you do the math, the three 100+ games he had accounted for 44 percent of his total yardage last season. I’ll say that again. Three games determined 44 percent of his total yardage last season. This was on a terrible New York Jets team with lackluster receiving options and a questionable slinger under center in Sam Darnold. Now, Anderson has to share targets with rising star D.J. Moore and the formidable Curtis Samuel. That’s not even mentioning the monster in the backfield in All Pro Christian McCaffrey who had 1,005 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns last season; 226 more yards and only one touchdown less than Anderson’s 2019 campaign— as a running back.

As for the actual performance against the Las Vegas Raiders, Anderson hauled in six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. However, if we eliminate the 75-yard touchdown where the defender slipped, Anderson would only have 40 yards on the game which would amount to 5.8 yards a target instead of a monstrous 14.4. It wouldn’t be far -etched to call this game a fluke.

Given his previous —struggles— and the talent in the Carolina skills position core, expect Robby Anderson to fumble.

Holden is a young writer with an avid passion for sports. He is currently a sophomore at CUNY Queens College. Holden has worked on multiple publications including Hardwood and Hollywood, The Knight News, and the Long Island Herald. He would prefer if you don’t mention Super Bowl 52.

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