NFL football is back and that means fantasy football is back! On September 7th, 2017 the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots kicked off the 2017 season. The Patriots presented their Super Bowl 51 banner, but the Chiefs ended the night as the winners with a 42-27 victory.
Chiefs’ rookie running back Kareem Hunt had a game to remember with over 240 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns; while Patriots’ Mike Gillislee had three goal-line rushing touchdowns, scoring the only offensive points for the Patriots in the game. While Hunt and Gillislee were the fantasy highlights from the game, there are several players whos fantasy value has changed based on the opening night game.
Below I break down eight players who you should buy, sell or hold. Players listed as “buy” should be traded for while others view their value as low. Players listed as “sell” should be traded away while others view their value as high. Players listed as “hold” should be held on to, barring an incredible trade offer.
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) September 8, 2017
James White: In the game, White had more yards than Mike Gillislee did; White had 13 touches for 68 total yard while Gillislee had 15 touches for just 45 yards. White was on the field for 53% of the snaps while Gillislee had just 29%. White’s role as the pass catching back is clearly cemented; White had three catches for 30 yards, while Burkhead was the only other running back to get a catch; one for eight yards. In PPR leagues, White is a weekly option at the FLEX spot or even a low-end RB2. If a league mate is unhappy that Gillislee got all the touchdowns for the Patriots and is willing to move White, trade for him now because next week, White might have a 20 point game.
Tom Brady: All the talk that Brady is over the hill and can’t play at age 40 is just nonsense. Brady finished the game with just 267 yards, zero touchdowns and just 10.68 fantasy points. In the past we have seen Brady have bad games, then the following week bounce back with a great performance. With the Patriots facing the Saints and their horrible defense in week two, look for Brady to have at least three passing touchdowns next week and return to the Brady of old. Try selling Brady’s current owner on the idea that Brady is old and the Patriots want to run the ball in order to get him cheap. If you can flip Brady for another quarterback like Cam Newton or Russell Wilson; do it!
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2017
Mike Gillislee: While the three goal-line touchdowns are awesome, Gillislee averaged just 3.0 yard per carry in the game. If Gillislee doesn’t get those three goal line touchdowns, he finishes the game with just four fantasy points verse the 22.5 he actually got. On the field for just 29% of the snaps, Gillislee didn’t have an impact in the passing game and barely outrushed James White. If you remove the three goal-line touchdowns and the two failed fourth-and-one runs, Gillislee had the same number of rushing attempts as White did with ten. The Patriots change running back touches weekly based on the gameplan. Gillislee isn’t going to get the 48 rushing touchdowns he is on pace for this season, nor is he going to get the 18 LeGarrette Blount got last season. Trade Gillislee if you can now, because next week he is more likely to get three carries than score three touchdowns again.
Alex Smith: What a night for Smith; throwing for 368 yards, four touchdowns and scoring 31 fantasy points. However, Smith is still the same mid-QB2 or bye week filler he was two weeks ago. Two of Smith’s touchdowns came from within seven yards of the endzone. The other two came on blown coverages by the Patriots defense; one to Tyreek Hill for 75 yards and the other to Kareem Hunt for 78 yards. Remove those two scoring plays from Smith’s stat-line and he finishes with just 16.6 fantasy points; still a good game for a quarterback, but only half his 31 point performance. If there is an owner who buys Smith as a QB1 now, flip Smith and go pick up Carson Wentz, who is owned in just 42% of ESPN leagues. Smith had a great game but he won’t put up 31 points again this season.
Rob Gronkowski: Many Gronkowski owners might be worried he was targeted just six times in the game while newcomer Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola were targeted seven times each; don’t be concerned. The Chiefs went into the game determined to neutralize Gronkowski as much as possible. Early in the game, Gronkowski had a touchdown catch overturned after review and that would have seriously helped his fantasy night instead of him finishing with just 5.3 fantasy points. Bottom line is Gronkowski is still the best weapon the Patriots have and he will get his points. Look for a bounce back game from Gronkowski next week verse the Saints.
Travis Kelce: Much like Rob Gronkowski, many fantasy owners weren’t happy seeing Kelce get just seven targets while Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt got 12 between the two of them. Much like the Chiefs with Gronkowski, the Patriots were determined to take Kelce out of the game, finishing with 9.4 fantasy points. Kelce is still the centerpiece of the Chiefs’ passing game and now that defenses will focus a little more on Hill and Hunt, Kelce should have a nice game next week.
Tyreek Hill – 6 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD in debut game as no. 1 WR. Just a gadget player though.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) September 8, 2017
Tyreek Hill: This one is a little tough for me. Hill finished the game with seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown thanks to the blown Patriots’ coverage. While I am a believer in Hill, his 75 yard touchdown had a major impact in his fantasy production. Hill finished the game with 26.8 fantasy points, but gained 14.5 of them on that one play. While Hill is capable of getting long touchdowns on an almost weekly basis, he only got that one because of a blown coverage; something that isn’t likely to happen weekly. Hill should be kept, but if another owner offers you a good package for Hill, you should seriously consider it.
— Scott Hanson (@ScottHanson) September 8, 2017
Kareem Hunt: The man of the hour, week and season thus far. Hunt had an excellent game, finishing with 148 rushing yard, five catches for 98 receiving yard and three total touchdowns. Now while Hunt won’t put up those kind of numbers on a weekly basis, he is still likely to finish as a top ten running back almost every week. I wouldn’t trade Hunt for almost anything. However, in one of my leagues, the Hunt owner was offered Le’Veon Bell for him. If you receive an offer like that for Hunt, don’t over think it and accept it. Otherwise, enjoy watching Hunt kill it this season for the Chiefs and your fantasy team.