The first fantasy football matchups of the 2023 NFL season are officially in the books, and while some our celebrating, some already have egg on their faces.
Some names stepped up more than anticipated, others stared at their feet for an entire game, and the injury bug infected some major names early on.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the winners and losers both from the Denver Broncos and the rest of the league.
WR Courtland Sutton
There weren’t many winners playing for Denver this past week, giving the 17-point total and failure to get in the end zone, but Courtland Sutton owners should be encouraged by the receiver’s performance.
He was targeted five times by Russell Wilson, more than any Broncos receiver and received a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to end the first half. His looks won’t be plentiful when Jerry Jeudy returns, but Wilson seemed to have his eye on him in each of the team’s red zone situations.
He may not have many 100+ yard receiving games, but he may prove to be the team’s most viable red zone threat, especially now that tight end Greg Dulcich is out several weeks.
RB Javonte Williams
Remember, this is specific to the Broncos, not the entire league, but coming off a devastating knee injury, Williams showed little sign of wear and tear, running hard and getting a team-high six targets from Wilson.
He carried 13 times for 52 yards but never saw the end zone. For a week one stat line, that likely does no one any good. However, it was encouraging enough for owners to keep the faith in him as a solid flex option for now.
TE Greg Dulcich
Tough break for the second-year player out of UCLA, who suffered his third hamstring injury in two seasons and will be sidelined for several weeks.
Dulich showed flashes of elite playmaking ability last season and immediately drew the praise of tight-lipped coach Sean Payton, leading many to believe him to be in store for a breakout year.
For those that took a chance on him as TE1 in their fantasy leagues, though, his breakout is going to be put on hold for a good while.
K Will Lutz
Lutz won the kicker job by default essentially, as the two kickers the Broncos had in the offseason were cut, and he was brought in via trade.
He struggled at times last year but has had an otherwise respectable career. He was more the former for the Broncos this past week, missing his first extra point and then a long field goal. He did make a short field goal and extra point later in the game, but it was a rough start for the new kicker in the post-McManus age.
Overall, it’s slim pickens for Broncos players who double as fantasy value, but if we’re going to put our faith in any of them in the coming few weeks, right now Sutton and Williams seem like the safest bets with Russell Wilson coming in third.
The year starting off in the same fashion as last season won’t generate a lot of optimism for the Broncos, but with Sean Payton, there’s at least reason to believe the offense will come along for the better in recent weeks, so at least with Sutton and Williams, hold steady before reaching for that drop button.
Best of the Rest - Week One Winners from Around the League
The Tua-Tyreek connection
Holy cow, tip of the hat to anyone who drafted this tandem. So much for Tyreek Hill having a drop-off post-Mahomes, and it appears Tua is back in full form following injury scares from a season ago.
Without a doubt, these two are must starts (and keeps) for the foreseeable future.
SF RB Christian McCaffrey
The guy has a knack for not staying healthy, but man when he is at 100%, he may just be the best back in the league.
C-Mac went off for 22 carries and 152 yards and a touchdown. There’s no surer number one back in the league right now.
MN WR Justin Jefferson
The top pick in most drafts debuted in a big way, reeling in nine catches for 150 yards.
There was some concern he’d take a step back this season and potentially lose targets to rookie Jordan Addison, but that does not as of now seem to be something to worry about.
The ultimate WR1 does not appear keen on slowing down any time soon.
Just the Worst - Week One Losers from Around the League
Just about every big name and/or big money QB not named Tua
Yeesh, this is supposed to be a QB league, right? What a dud to start week one.
Joe Burrow was abysmal, throwing for just 82 yards, while Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Dak Prescott all threw for sub-200 yards as well. Patrick Mahomes looked very, very human without Travis Kelce, too. Very few of the usual top signal callers looked good in week one, and let’s not forget about that whole Aaron Rodgers thing.
Tip of the hat to young guys like Anthony Richardson and Jordan Love for having strong debuts, but chances are most fantasy players reached a little early hoping for some big numbers guaranteed, but they got anything but in week one.