Week 1 is over, meaning half of you are undefeated and half of you are disappointed. Luckily, championships aren’t decided in the first week. You can afford to lose a few games and remain in contention for the playoffs but it always feels good to pick up that first win of the season. With that, here are three players I think will succeed this weekend, as well as three who won’t. Good luck.
Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants
This will be almost a weekly theme in this column: start whoever is facing the Saints. I told you to start Raiders quarterback Derek Carr last week simply because of the defense he was facing. The same goes for Manning. Carr threw all over the New Orleans defense, scoring 22 fantasy points. That number would have been even higher if the Raiders didn’t score three times on the ground. Manning has better weapons than Carr and scored 38 fantasy points in a 52-49 shootout against the Saints last season. Thirty-eight points seems crazy but expect at least 25 points from the younger Manning brother this weekend.
Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings
Those who expected Peterson to put up big numbers against the Titans were let down. The star running back was stuffed throughout the game, struggling to 1.6 yards per carry on 19 attempts. This week, the Vikings host the Packers on Sunday Night Football. The Packers held T.J. Yeldon to 39 yards on 21 carries, but Peterson has scored double-digit fantasy points in eight consecutive contests against the Packers. Expect more of the same Sunday.
Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
Much like Peterson, Robinson disappointed owners with an unimpressive seven-point game Sunday. The good news: quarterback Blake Bortles targeted Robinson a whopping 15 times. Robinson hauled in six of those targets for 72 yards but could’ve easily had a monster performance if he caught a few more. This weekend, the Jaguars face the Chargers, who surrendered over 360 passing yards to Alex Smith, the second-highest total of his 11-year career. Smith, not known for racking up a lot of yards through the air, put up the second-highest total of his career Sunday. Expect Bortles and Robinson to benefit from the Chargers’ struggling secondary as well.
Jameis Winston, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston impressed in his sophomore season debut, torching the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary for 25 fantasy points. Unfortunately for Winston, the Buccaneers’ next opponent is the Arizona Cardinals. Despite losing their opening game to the Patriots, Arizona boasts one of the NFL’s best defenses. Sixteen of Winston’s points came from four passing touchdowns. Arizona allowed only one last week.
Melvin Gordon, running back, San Diego Chargers
Gordon scored the first two touchdowns of his young career Sunday. The 17-point outing was the highest total of his career but would have been much lower if he wasn’t gifted with a pair of carries from the 1 and 6-yard line. The Chargers face the Jaguars this week, who held Green Bay running backs to 68 yards on 18 carries with no touchdowns. Gordon had a promising performance, but I’d wait another week or two to see if he can sustain his success.
Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills
Watkins has a couple things going against him. First and foremost, he might not even step on the field in Thursday’s game against the Bills because of a nagging foot injury. Lining up against Watkins will likely be Darrelle Revis, who was roasted by A.J. Green last week. Revis has been under the national spotlight for the wrong reasons and will surely attempt to bounce back against a hampered Watkins.