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NFL Barometer: Cam's the Man

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Cam Newton, QB, CAR - Newton threw for 422 yards Sunday, the most ever for a quarterback making his NFL debut. He also totaled three touchdowns (two passing, one running) and ran the ball eight times, which gives him real fantasy appeal. The performance came against a weak Arizona secondary, and it will almost certainly go down as Newton's best game of the season, but it was impressive nonetheless. He's probably going to be inconsistent - the Week 2 matchup with the Packers will be a much stiffer test - but clearly Newton is more NFL-ready than most anticipated, and he's firmly on the fantasy radar.

James Starks, RB, GB - Despite not receiving a carry until deep into the second quarter, Starks led the Packers with 12 rushing attempts in Week 1. Ryan Grant looked sluggish, and Starks ended up with a significant advantage in snaps played. Expect more of the same moving forward; and if Starks can stay healthy, he'll quickly turn what appears to be a committee situation into a one-man show. That would certainly be a favorable situation in one of the best offenses in football.

Chad Henne, QB, MIA - Henne threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns Monday night, and he also added 59 yards and another score on the ground. The big numbers came in part because Miami was in catch-up mode for most of the second half, but Henne looked extremely sharp. Coming off an encouraging preseason, it is possible Henne is ready to make the leap, which would also be a big boon to Brandon Marshall's fantasy value.

Darren Sproles, RB, NO - Sproles was a beast in his first game in a Saints uniform, and it's safe to say he'll successfully replace the departed Reggie Bush. Sproles' 72-yard punt return for a touchdown was impressive, as was his 57-yard kick return, but the real news was how active he was as a receiver. Sproles racked up seven catches for 75 yards, so it looks like he's going to have real value in PPR formats despite the fact he won't run the ball much. Moreover, with Marques Colston (shoulder) now sidelined, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson both get a boost in value.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN - Gresham led the Bengals with six catches, 58 receiving yards and a touchdown Sunday. Coming off a major knee injury, he averaged just 9.1 YPC as a rookie last season, but he should be more explosive in his second year. It appears Gresham is going to be heavily involved in Cincinnati's offense, and as part of an extremely young receiving corps, it wouldn't be farfetched to see him lead the team in targets this season.

Ben Tate, RB, HOU - Tate clearly outplayed Derrick Ward in Week 1 and even showed improvement in pass protection. Ward left with an ankle sprain, but even if he plays in Week 2 and remains the starter, Tate is the Houston back to go with as long as Arian Foster (hamstring) remains sidelined. In fact, Tate has looked so good that those who own Foster should be modestly concerned about him ceding some carries when he returns.

Jacoby Jones, WR, HOU - While Kevin Walter's shoulder injury may not be as serious as originally thought, he's going to be out a while. Jones becomes the team's new second receiver, and while he has shown flashes at times, Jones has mostly disappointed during his NFL career. Still, the Texans' offense is explosive, and Jones is going to be given the biggest opportunity of his career with Walter out. He is worth a look in most formats.


Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ - There's typically no need to panic over one game, but Greene didn't look good Sunday night, totaling just 26 yards on 10 carries. LaDainian Tomlinson didn't fare much better on the ground, but he led the team with six catches and 73 receiving yards and remained a major factor in the Jets' offense. Greene is already 26 years old, so it's possible he's just not that good. He's not someone to bench at home against the Jaguars on Sunday, but if he puts up another dud in Week 2, it's time to be seriously concerned.

Austin Collie, WR, IND - The Colts' offense was a train wreck in Week 1 without Peyton Manning, and while the unit should improve as Kerry Collins gets more comfortable, it's going to be a major step down from years past. Not only does Collie continue to battle injuries (he was questionable Week 1 with a foot injury), he also failed to record a single catch against a Texans secondary that allowed 8.2 YPA last season. Moreover, while Pierre Garcon played 55 of the team's 57 snaps on offense, Collie was on the field for just 33 of them. Collie appears to have taken a back seat in an offense that sorely misses Manning, so his value has taken a major hit.

Steven Jackson, RB, STL - While Jackson looked spry on his 47-yard touchdown run, he also suffered a thigh injury on the play. Coach Steve Spagnuolo has spoken pessimistically about the injury this week, making Jackson very iffy for Monday night's game against the Giants. Carnell Williams was used as a true workhorse after Jackson left, so he's well worth using in fantasy leagues until Jackson proves he is 100 percent.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG - Nicks' inability to stay healthy has become a real concern. He is currently battling a knee injury, putting his status for Week 2 in doubt. It's an especially tough situation for fantasy owners considering the Giants play Monday night, so those who are planning to wait for his official status would be wise to add Domenik Hixon just in case.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR - Williams received just 12 carries in Week 1 and was outplayed by fellow backfield mate Jonathan Stewart in the process. Carolina's improved passing attack is good news for Williams long-term, but it looks like the Panthers will continue to implement a committee despite the big contract they handed Williams in the offseason.

Danny Amendola, WR, STL - Amendola suffered a dislocated elbow Sunday and is out indefinitely. The good news is he's not going to be placed on IR like initially believed, and it's possible he will return to action after the team's Week 6 bye. However, the injury could cost him 8-to-10 weeks, and he's probably safe to drop in most fantasy leagues. Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson should see a bump in value as a result.