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Running Diary: Week 1 (2021 Fantasy Football)

Sep 13, 2021

(The Fantasy Football Running Diary is an ongoing series by Tim Metzler, in which Tim shares watches and records what is happening in the NFL every Sunday. It may also include updates on his personal life.)

Welcome to my Running Diary for Week 1. Specifically, we’re looking at just the games being played on Sunday, September 12. Listen, paying attention to everything that’s happening in the NFL is tough. No worries. You’re busy. I understand. You keep doing you and let me do the work for you. Here we go!

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12:05pm (CST) – Buffalo Bills special teams ace Isaiah McKenzie returns the opening kickoff for 75 yards, which feels like a metaphor for the Bills somehow. Close but not far enough? Come on, I can’t be the only one who can’t see them getting past the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. I drafted a lot of Bills.

12:10 – The first big play that my phone won’t shut up about — Kyler tosses a 38-yard pass to Hopkins. These guys are best friends, and it’s wonderful.

12:12Larry Rountree already has two carries for the Chargers. Who is Larry Rountree? He’s the guy you should add from waivers this week. Justin Jackson is so last year.

12:15 – Austin Hamstring, uh… I mean, Austin Ekeler just scored the first touchdown of the year (not including the opening game). This past week was emotional for his first-round drafters because he was nearly held out with injury. Woof. This feels like a roller coaster ride that makes you puke even when you aren’t riding it.

12:20 – Only field goals so far (aside from the Ekeler run). Good gracious, if this is the year of the kicker, I’m going to regret demanding all my leagues drop the kicker and D/ST position.

12:21 – Fun fact: at this point in his career, Ja’Marr Chase actually has negative yards. Negative two, to be precise.

12:23 – Thank goodness Jimmy G’s dating life is interesting because he might be the most boring player I’ve ever watched. No wonder they don’t want to mess up with Trey Lance.

12:24 – Fun fact: Mohamed Sanu is playing for his 857th team in 10 years. Or something like that, I don’t know. My wife just brought me a bagel and I’m distracted. Someone score, please.

12:25 – UH OH! Trey Lance came in for the red-zone package. He tosses the 49ers’ first touchdown of the season. Wow wow wee wow. DRAMA IS BREWING IN THE BAYYYY!

12:26Mark Ingram just scored the Texans’ first touchdown to put them on top of the T-Law Jaguars. Will this be the only touchdown that any Texans player scores this year? Sorry. That felt rude, but I can’t believe Mark Ingram is still relevant.

12:26 – Slim Reaper catches his first NFL pass… for an 18-yard score. This man is already snatching souls. The DeVonta Smith era has begun. Amen.

12:27 – I took two bites of my bagel, in case anyone is interested. It tastes nicer than what I’m used to, and I don’t know how to process it. Do I savor it? Do I snarf it down? What a conundrum.

12:32 – Kyler to Hop for their first touchdown this year. Prop bet: “Kyler to Hop” will be said more times this year than “I love you.”

12:55 – Sorry for the delay. I was driving. Oh boy… the Bills vs. Steelers is… BORING?!? This is like watching turtles race each other up a mountain.

12:56 – Jaguars vs. Texans is 0-14. Either the Jags are bad or Houston isn’t awful. Also, is there a reason James Robinson has zero targets or carries? Carlos Hyde may be the running back to, uh, tentatively own in Jacksonville. I pray to the fantasy gods that I’m wrong.

1:15DeAndre Hopkins drafters have already won their week. Two touchdowns. I’m still nursing this bagel. So good. It’s like a cloud, assuming clouds taste good.

1:16 – Hey, uh, so… remember when we were like “everyone is gonna figure out Lamar Jackson because the Ravens only like to run”? Well, it feels like maybe that skeptical energy could have been directed at Josh Allen and the Bills, who may average fewer than 10 rushing attempts per game and the Steelers are not surprised at all. This is why you can’t only pass.

1:18 – Someone please tell Najee Harris (7 carries, 8 yards) that he can start trying now. Or maybe tell the offensive line.

1:21Sam Darnold tossed a 57-yard score to Robby Anderson. The Best Friends Forever are at it again. So glad these two are reunited.

1:25 – Full disclosure, one of my five jobs (yes, five) is as a sketch comedian for The Second City in Chicago. I was called in last minute to cover a show. I’m watching games, taking COVID tests, and memorizing lines right now. Also, I’ve only had half of this bagel, and it’s what I’m living for.

1:40 – I’m in rehearsal but just noticed that Darnold ran one in for six. Are we cool with him being good this year? Oh… he’s playing the Jets and this game pretty much doesn’t count cause it’s also his revenge game? Cool cool. Just checking.

1:45 – Kyler is the QB1 this year. Guaranteed. Just ran in a touchdown (his third of the first half), and it’s pretty clear that he’s still just getting started. The sky’s the limit (weather permitting).

1:47 – I have completely neglected this boring Vikings vs. Bengals game. My apologies to both of you sorry fanbases. Looks like things are finally getting hot. Ja’Marr Chase just caught a 50-yard touchdown. Man’s gonna have a good career… assuming Burrow stays healthy, which may be assuming too much. He’s been sacked twice already.

1:55 – The Eagles are spanking the Falcons. Up 22-6 at the half. I’m going to guess that this is more about how bad the Falcons are than how good the Eagles are. Julio is missed already. Also, Kyle Pitts looks pedestrian. Someone hold this poor kid’s hand and tell him it’s a long career and that it’s okay to cry along the way.

1:56Mike Davis seems ineffective. Did you draft him? Were you told he was a value? Yeah… he probably wasn’t. Sorry. Cordarrelle Patterson could be interesting, though. An RB2 with some carries, targets, and return yards. I like him in leagues with return yards. Low-ceiling but solid floor guy.

2:05 – Had to run a scene that I only knew half the lines to. You ever do that? You ever make stuff up as you go? You ever fake it until you make it but then fail to make it? Just wondering.

2:15 – Someone should remind the Steelers and Bills that they’re supposed to be good.

2:30 – Rehearsal is over, but now I need to prep. Let’s do a quick check-in with the scores while I continue to memorize lines and savor this bagel.

2:31 – Seattle should throw more cause they’re good at it. Let Russ cook. Anybody? Buehler? They’re up 21-10 and Tyler Lockett managers are pulsing with joy. Pulsing. Of course, that means he’ll catch nothing the next two weeks.

2:32 – Oh no. I just realized that Fitzmagic is out with an injury, and the world seems a bit darker already. Looks like it’s Taylor Heinensteimerschmidt…uh, HeinzKetchup…or… Taylor Germanlastname is in. Whatever, I’m tired, get off my case. Antonio Gibson is gonna be good this year, but the Chargers’ defense may be better. 

2:33 – The 49ers are not messing around. Deebo is a man. A MAN.

2:33 – The Texans know they’re supposed to lose, right? No one told them? Okay. They’re crushing this Jaguars team that feels one less Urban Meyer away from being decent.

2:35 – Alright I got stuff to do. Check in with you when things get REAL.

3:35 – Okay, the second round of games are starting. The Texans are not the worst team in the league. The Cardinals look exciting. The Titans will obviously turn it on near the end of the season. Put in a waiver claim for Taylor Heimdall…Heidecker?… Heinecke. There it is. Also, trade for Mike Williams. He’s gonna finally make the WR1 jump this year. Joe Mixon is going to have a good year. Seriously, he put up RB1 numbers against a Vikings defense that will end up top-10. Dalvin Cook is having a mediocre game… which means more than 100 total yards and a touchdown. The man’s a legend. The Bills and Steelers both have some work to do. Najee stifled. Josh Allen, too. These defenses are both stout, at worst. Zach Wilson is literally all alone… except for Corey Davis. If he survives this year without a major injury, he’ll bring glory to a franchise that only knows desolation. Darnold wins his revenge game. Good for you, Sam. Here’s hoping you don’t see ghosts anymore. The 49ers are fun. I want to see them play a real opponent. Tangent: the rumors of the Lions’ demise may be exaggerated. They don’t look pathetic and they also aren’t as obsessed with knee caps as we all thought. The Texans… (sigh) win. I was hoping they would be serious in the tanking business. Looks like they think Mark Ingram’s 3.3 YPC will bring them glorious purpose. That’s it for now. Catch you when these next games take off.

4:05 – Okay, the Browns mean business. Currently leading the Chiefs.

4:06 – If you cut me, I will bleed green and gold. Everyone in Wisconsin thinks this is the year. This is not the year. The Packers look discombobulated by the new-look Saints.

4:15 – Packers look REALLY bad. Woof!

4:30 – This Tua vs. Mac rivalry seems destined to plague us for years. Both guys are okay, not great. Feels possible that they will always have good rosters around them. 10-10 at half. Yawn.

4:32 – The giants and Broncos are either both teams with really good defenses or really boring offenses. Daniel Jones plays uninspired. Excited to watch this team get a new quarterback next year. At least Saquon is back-ish.

4:35 – Message to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers: this is what happens when you spend the offseason creating havoc. This is what happens when you turn things on at the last minute. This is what happens when the biggest focus is “what happens next year?” Do you think Brady does anything other than focus on winning? No. This team can’t get David Bakhtiari back fast enough. Losing 17-3 against Jameis and his Jacksonville Saints (the game was moved to Jacksonville due to hurricane issues.)

4:50 – My show is about to begin here, so I’ll have to tune in afterward. For anyone keeping track, there’s exactly one-quarter of my bagel left. It’s a darn good bagel. These games are all coming out of halftime. Will Mahomes lead a comeback and stay undefeated in September? Will the Packers come back? Will any of the Dolphins, Giants, Patriots, or Dolphins stop being boring?!? Stay tuned.

7:05 – The show went well, thanks for asking. Okay, let’s check the damage.

7:06 – Uh… wow. The Packers have put Jordan Love in the game, which feels like a dirty statement. This team just got pillaged by Jameis. Five touchdowns from this guy. Side note: Jameis is good?!? Just kidding. I’ve been saying all offseason to target him. I was right. It just hurts that I was right against the one team I actually root for.

7:07 – The Browns vs. Chiefs is my new favorite rivalry. This is the same matchup we’ll see in the AFC Championship game (sorry Bills fans). These teams do the exact opposite of whatever the other team does, and it’s like watching poetry in motion. One runs, the other throws. Both have solid defenses. I’m in tears from the beauty. As soon as Brady retires (in 307 years), we’re going to casually say Mahomes is the GOAT.

7:08Mac Jones is not going to win any championships on his own, but we already knew this. He’s seemingly hyper-efficient and meshes with the running game talent really well. Damien Harris is about to break the 100 yards rushing mark. Have to assume that would not have happened if Cam Newton had been named the starter. The season outlook is great for Harris. Tua is fine. I don’t think he’s worth starting outside of Superflex leagues. Waddle, however, is going to have a good year and a better career. Does this team’s chemistry change with Will Fuller coming off suspension in Week 2? Yes. But I think Waddle still gets 5-6 targets a week, which will keep him in the weekly WR2-3 conversation.

7:09Melvin Gordon refuses to go away. I thought we all agreed he was supposed to be done. Maybe no one told him? He broke off a 70-yard touchdown and instantly wrecked my hopes and dreams for Javonte Williams. This backfield is a headache.

7:10 – The Packers have played the single worst game I have ever seen. And I once took my wife to a game when prime Rodgers was out with an injury and the team got shut out at home. We literally stood next to a woman who was going to propose to her boyfriend and her boyfriend was so irate that they ended up breaking up. This game was worse than that game was.

7:11 – Okay, I need to drive home now. Please respect my privacy while I cry-eat this block of cheddar cheese.

7:35 – The Chiefs completed the comeback. Kelce is still the tight end king. The Dolphins somehow won and I forgot the Broncos exist. Anyway, the Bears and Rams are playing now.

7:36Andy Dalton had his pass tipped and intercepted in the end zone. Time for Justin Fields?

7:40 – I walked away for 30 seconds. What happened? 67-yard touchdown. The Matt Stafford hype-rocket has officially lifted off. Van Jefferson is worth adding in deeper leagues, if only because he’s the deep threat for a team that will definitely throw deep.

8:10 – Halftime is approaching. I’m going to pick up a salad I ordered. Be right back.

8:45 – Okay, I’m back and this salad is fire. I always forget how good it feels to eat a salad. Not physically good, but emotionally good. This game is still happening. I want Justin Fields.

8:55 – Stafford tosses a deep ball to Cooper Kupp. Boy, oh boy, this passing offense is a thing of beauty. The running game is missing Akers.

9:10 – Just ate the salad. I enjoyed it a lot, which probably means I’m a psychopath. Anyway, this game is fun. The Bears’ offense looks competent. The “Fields to the rescue” moment is potentially delayed. Dalton is effective enough. Given that the Packers, Vikings, and Lions all lost earlier, this Bears team could be a surprise division-winner.

9:11 – Montgomery is getting checked out by trainers, but man, he looks good. And that’s against potentially the top defense in the league. As my dad likes to say, “Wowza.”

9:15 – Welp. Monty is heading to the locker room to get looked at. Have to wonder if Damien Williams can take the lead role right now.

9:16Allen Robinson feels simultaneously underutilized and over-targeted.

9:17 – Justin Fields just ran it in. Wild that Trey Lance and Justin Fields both seem to have the most value around the red zone… based on their usage, that is. Also, that bagel I ate earlier is still sitting on the counter. There’s a bite left. I’m conflicted about what to do with it. It’s too good to throw away, but I’m too full to eat it right now. Life is hard.

9:49 – Fun fact: the Rams are winning 27-14, and Sony Michel has been a non-factor. Actually, he’s totaled exactly zero carries or receptions… or targets. I thought he’d be more of a threat to Darrell Henderson, but I’m apparently very wrong. David Montgomery is also back and fine. Whew.

10:00 – This game is essentially over. Takeaways: Montgomery could repeat his RB1 finish from last year. Dalton won’t start for much longer, so deal for Fields now. Trade for anyone on the Rams. Literally anyone. Higbee might have the most appeal, given the tight end position being so top-heavy.

10:30 – Thanks for following me through this first week of Sunday games. I’m excited to hang out through this season with you. Let me know what you think I’m right or wrong about. (HINT: I’m usually wrong.) Which team do you think bounces back in Week 2? Which team keeps their winning streak going? See you next Sunday!

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Timothy Metzler is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Timothy, check out his archive or follow him @timmy_the_metz.

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