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Fantasy football: Week 1 performances that were legit, or just a blip

Bears RB Tarik Cohen could be one of

Bears RB Tarik Cohen could be one of Chicago's most prolific receiving threats this season. Photo Credit: TNS / Nuccio DiNuzzo

Most of the pre-Week 2 fantasy football chatter traditionally revolves around the must-add players who emerged from the season opener. But, since this piece won’t reach amNewYork’s print readers until after most waiver claims are processed, that’s not very helpful, is it?

Instead, this column will take a look back at Week 1 and identify players whose performances were surprising, for better or worse. Are they legit or mere blips? Read on for amNY’s take.

Cam Newton (QB, Panthers)

He posted a pedestrian 14-for-25 for 171 yards, two scores and a pick against the rebuilding 49ers. He’ll have better days on the ground than six carries for three yards, but this is a legit problem.

Alex Smith (QB, Chiefs)

He threw for 368 yards and four TDs against the Patriots for the most points at his position. Given his track record, this seems more like a blip than the start of something special.

Mike Gillislee (RB, Patriots)

On the other side of the Kansas City game, the Pats’ top backfield option punched in three scores, but his 45 yards rushing on 15 carries — and zero targets as a receiver — point to a blip.

Tarik Cohen (RB, Bears)

His NFL debut produced eight catches for 47 yards and a score, plus five carries for 66 yards. With 12 targets — and a wideout corps that’s more like a corpse — latch on to this legit rookie.

Dez Bryant (WR, Cowboys)

Dallas’ best receiver caught just two passes for 43 yards against the Giants. While Bryant may not be an elite fantasy WR anymore, his nine targets rank in the top 20 for the week. This is a blip.

Golden Tate (WR, Lions)

With 10 catches on 12 targets for 107 yards, Tate was a PPR monster even without a touchdown. He’ll score his fair share in a pass-centric Detroit offense, so this is a legit high-level fantasy receiver.

Jesse James (TE, Steelers)

On eight targets, James racked up six catches for 41 yards and two TDs despite the presence of newly-acquired TE Vance McDonald. Expect more balance and fewer TDs as this blip fades away.

Charles Clay (TE, Bills)

Yes, it was against the Jets. But Buffalo lacks a strong receiving threat at WR, so don’t be surprised when Clay’s four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown on nine targets prove to be legit.


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