Week 1 Around the NFL: Expect the Unexpected

With the first week of NFL action in the books, fantasy owners can now finally take in the first real statistical data of the year and get a closer look at exactly how their rosters stack up. Of course, Week 1 statistics don’t necessarily speak for whole season production; week to week, conditions change as the standings shakes out. Strength of schedule becomes a factor, injuries occur, and players new and old emerge as fantasy standouts and busts.

Week 1 taught us a little bit about how the unexpected can become the norm and even the best of the best can put in some ugly performances in each week of the schedule:

On Sunday night, Peyton Manning returned to the gridiron wearing a jersey that didn’t have a horseshoe on it for the first time in his prolific career. Despite all the questions and uncertainty about the injury troubles that kept him off the field last year, he took care of business and convincingly beat a Steelers team with a very solid defense. His fantasy point production wasn’t quite as incredible as his sparkling 129.9 QB rating, but he certainly looked like his old self. The question now becomes whether or not he will be able to sustain that kind of performance all season long against more tough opponents.

Chris Johnson turned in one of the most disappointing performances of the week, letting owners down with only 4 rushing yards on the day. The former rushing champ will undoubtedly bounce back and have some good weeks, but against some opponents with stronger run defenses, huge questions remain.

Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez surpassed their already high expectations and combined for some amazing fantasy production against the Chiefs on the road in Kansas City. In many scoring formats, Ryan was the top performer of the week as the Falcons launched their offensive assault for the 2012 season. Teams will react and start to key in on the air game, so owners will have to keep a close eye and be careful not to be overzealous.

There were 5 rookies taking the field as starting QBs for their respective clubs in Week 1. With no real regular season experience, one in particular, Robert Griffin III, had a sparkling debut, leading the Redskins to perhaps the week’s biggest upset over the Saints and putting up some of the week’s biggest fantasy point totals. First overall draft choice Andrew Luck was a slight disappointment in his debut for the Colts. Russell Wilson was up and down, making a few big plays, but averaging only 4.5 yards per attempt and getting sacked often. Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden were among the absolute worst for unfortunate owners who decided to take a chance on them. As the season progresses, some of these players may settle in and improve, others may fade out.

 Kevin Ogletree was one of the surprise best performers of the week as the Cowboys downed the reigning Super Bowl Champion Giants to kick off the season. Savvy owners would have realized, like scoutPRO, that he was stepping into a #3 receiver role left by Laurent Robinson’s departure. Robinson had 11 TD catches last year, so it is not too surprising to think that Tony Romo, who also had a great week, would find him twice in the end zone. He will be one of the most coveted free agents heading into week 2.

Week 1 is a litmus test for many players and teams, but the schedule is a long drama filled with twists and turns. Determining which players score touchdowns each week is the biggest challenge for owners, but scoutPRO does not try to predict outlying scoring. The strength of the tool is helping players understand the possible scoring each week based on the current match up and team structure. scoutPRO helps owners make sense of the matchups to optimize their roster. Keep up with the latest and most accurate predictions over at www.scoutpro.com.

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