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Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Week 1 (2021)

Sep 13, 2021

Starting, sitting, trading, waiting, and replacing are decisions that every fantasy football player must make all season. Information comes at us quickly, making it difficult to decipher when to change our lineups. This article series will be here weekly to help you make those pivotal calls. Welcome to the Panic Meter.

Each week, we will give you several players who underperformed and how panicked you should feel about that letdown. The scale (as seen below) will tell you exactly what to do with last week’s busts, whether it means running them back out there this week or sending them packing for the waiver wire.

Every player will get a Panic Meter grade between 0 and 4 — and each grade comes with a corresponding strategy to employ.

PANIC METER GRADE ACTION PLAN/STRATEGY
0 This week wasn’t great, but panic not, my friend! Start him again next week.
1 Wait and see mode activated. If you can replace him, it may be a smart move.
2 That was ugly. Something is wrong here. To the bench.
3 Hold at your own risk. This player isn’t reliable right now, consider moving on.
4 Stop. DROP. Shut ’em down. Open up shop! He gone.

Now that you understand the system, let’s bring on the panic!

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Week 1 Panic Meter

Aaron Jones (RB – GB), Ezekiel Elliot (RB – DAL), Najee Harris (RB – PIT), and Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) | PANIC METER: 0
None of these stud running backs had an awe-inspiring Week 1, but they should remain cogs in your fantasy lineup until they lose their job or get injured. You will probably get a few trade offers for them, so hit reject and move on.

James Robinson (RB – JAC) | PANIC METER: 0
Among running backs, Robinson came the closest to earning a 1 this week. Jacksonville played from behind all afternoon and never settled into their offense, leaving their top running back with just five carries for 25 yards. However, he did play 62% of snaps and was targeted by Trevor Lawrence six times in the game. There is still no need to panic, but the Jaguars’ defense is awful, so Robinson could see more games like this going forward. Treat him as an RB2 for now.

Allen Robinson (WR – CHI), Mike Evans (WR – TB), and Julio Jones (WR – TEN) | PANIC METER: 0
In Robinson’s case, he drew the toughest Week 1 matchup: Jalen Ramsey and the Rams. Going forward, the competition will get easier, so no panicking here. Mike Evans has proven he can score fantasy points in this offense, often on very few targets, too. There will be weeks where he is Tamps Bay’s leading wide receiver; Week 1 just wasn’t one of those. Stay the course. Julio Jones had three catches for 29 yards but got six targets from Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee looked disjointed all day, but their offense is too talented to be held in check all season. Jones and the rest of the Titans will be back in form sooner rather than later.

Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN) | PANIC METER: 1
Boyd played third fiddle in Week 1 for the Bengals. There was a clear pecking order in Joe Burrow’s target distribution. Boyd’s teammates, Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, combined for nine receptions, 159 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. In contrast, Boyd caught just three passes for 32 yards. His fantasy value arrives only when he eats up slot targets, but he is clearly starting the season in the shadows of Cincinnati’s receiving tree. Perhaps trying someone else out in your FLEX for Week 2 is a good strategy if you had Tyler Boyd there on Sunday.

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) | PANIC METER: 0
Pitts made his NFL debut on Sunday and tallied four catches for 31 yards. The numbers weren’t there, but the targets were. Matt Ryan looked the rookie’s way eight times against the Eagles. Pitts was part of the plan, but Atlanta’s offensive line didn’t hold up their end of the deal. I agree with Heath Cummings of CBS Sports — make an offer for Pitts today:

Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB) | PANIC METER: 0
Unless you believe Rodgers is out to make the Packers look bad (not remotely believable), you need to chalk this one up to a bad day. The reigning MVP made some poor decisions with the ball, forcing it a few times as Green Bay attempted to keep up with the Saints. Rodgers and the entire offense will regroup, and we will all soon forget Week 1’s disaster. Start Rodgers with confidence next week.

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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.

Aaron Pags is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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