As happens every season in Week One we see a lot of upset victories, and a lot of surprise performances, and of course some loathsome fantasy numbers from guys we picked to carry our teams to victory on their shoulder pads. The NFC West games on Sunday we're pretty indicative of all of the above.
The Seattle Seahawks, as expected trounced the St. Louis Rams, but it was not all good for the Seasquabs in week one. St. Louis goes squarely in the ugly column. Down in Phoenix (Glendale to be precise) things were pretty much just bad and ugly, with a few good spots sprinkled in. As I speculated, San Francisco has always found a away to get the Cardinals turned inside out, and then pull off a last minute win. This game was no different, as the 49ers walked off with a win on the heels of a Shaun Hill TD pass to running back Frank Gore at the 7:26 mark of the 4th quarter.
Let's take a look at the fantasy impact of both games.
-Seattle Seahawks - Week 1 Fantasy Implications-
The Good ~ QB Matt Hasselbeck came out wound up and ready to make up his lost 2008 season in one game. He threw two interceptions in the first quarter before he settled down and threw for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns the rest of the way. Two of those TDs went to tight end John Carlson who caught six passes for 95 yards on the day. WR2 Nate Burleson also hauled in seven balls for 79 yards and a score. I've been saying all preseason I think Burleson will be the team's number one receiver and not that other guy with the long name. Where was he Sunday? T.J. Houshmandzadeh did catch six balls for 49 yards, but he didn't get in on the scoring. Don't panic after one game. He'll get his.
Running Back Julius Jones started off ugly (2.5 YPC on his first 10 attempts), then went to bad, before one long 62 yard run and a TD saved his day. he ended with 136 total yards. I predicted he'd have a great day against the Rams. I also predicted you're not likely to see 100 yards from him again this season. Sell high!
The Seattle Seahawks Defense was the only team this weekend to shut anyone out, but it was only the Rams. Still, they looked good in limiting the Rams to about 265 yards total offense. No one really stood out in the IDP area, but rookie Aaron Curry looked good after a slow start. He will be the next Patrick Willis, mark my words.
The Bad ~ Edgerrin James got about a third of the touches as announced, though he did little with it. He had 11 carries for 30 yards, which is 2.7 YPC.
The Ugly ~ The team's offensive line was just plain offensive. Too many injuries and too many holes. Although on the plus side, they kept Hasselbeck out of the sack column, after giving up 36 sacks in 2008.
-St. Louis Rams - Week 1 Fantasy Implications-
The Good ~ Wide receivers Donnie Avery and Laurent Robinson, and my sleeper tight end pick, Randy McMichael all looked solid, catching 15 of QB Marc Bulgers 17 completions. My pick for defensive rookie-of-the-year, James Laurinaitis racked up 14 tackles and a fumble recovery. He was IDP money this week.
The Bad ~ Kicker Josh Brown muffed his only field goal opportunity in his return to Seattle. Running back Steven Jackson had a bad day with only 16 rushing attempts for 67 yards and no receptions. Take away his 22 yard run near the end of the game and ye had 3.1 YPC. Not the Jackson we drafted for in round one. He should have had a solid day in Seattle.
The Ugly ~ Marc Bulger needs to retire. Granted his offensive line has more holes than Obama's vetting process, but still 17/36 in pass attempts and 191 yards? This team needs someone who can make use of it's weapons, and coach Steve Spagnaulo has to be worried about Bulgers capabilities to get the job done. It seems to me there are some guys floating around out there who can make some things happen. Daunte Culpepper is a gunslinger who can at least make some moves.
-Arizona Cardinals - Week 1 Fantasy Implications-
The Good ~ The team's top receiver was? Running back Tim Hightower who caught 12 passes for 121 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did catch 6 balls for 71 yards and a touchdown. But that was all the good the team saw Sunday.
The Bad ~ QB Kurt Warner had a bad day, with one injury after another, and the San Francisco defense just kept him off his game plan all day. I wouldn't panic after one game, as he always struggles against the 49ers, but I did peg him as a bust this season.
The Ugly ~ The Arizona running game. Running back Beanie Wells ran for 29 yards which was all but 11 of their total rushing offense. Anquan Boldon played and did nothing. Why?
-San Francisco 49ers - Week 1 Fantasy Implications-
The Good ~ Linebacker Patrick Willis was his usual dominant self with 13 tackles and an interception. The rest of the San Francisco 49ers Defense did a solid job of keeping Kurt Warner out of the endzone and limiting the success of the passing game and completely stifling the running game. RB Frank Gore only had 48 total yards on the day, but he found the endzone on a run and on a pass.
The Bad ~ It's hard to call QB Shaun Hill bad. he did win the game, but he was fairly unimpressive in the win. Likewise WR Josh Morgan, who received so much hype this week was limited to three catches.
The Ugly ~ Nothing in week one, which is good since San Francisco who created the first "Ugly Law" statute in 1897, has never repealed said law which reads; "It's illegal to walk down the street if you are ugly, deformed or repulsive in any way." Play well, boys. San Francisco don't like ugly.