There's a great Patton Oswalt bit about how, as he ages, he doesn't have a wide range of emotions anymore. When he was younger, he would love or hate things passionately, but as a middle-aged man, he reacts to most everything as somewhere between "meh" or "huh."
In that sense, Week 1 in fantasy football is like a middle-aged Patton Oswalt. There was a smattering of great performances (Matt Ryan, Julius Thomas) and terrible ones, but most performances fell inside a small window of "a little bad" to "a little good."
Worst quarterbacks in Week 1
Shaun Hill, STL (81 passing yards, 1 interception, -1 rushing yard, 1 fantasy point)
When Sam Bradford was lost for the season, many said that the Rams hadn't lost much by going from Bradford to Hill, a 13-year NFL veteran who has only started double-digit games in a season once, four years ago. That always seemed like a slight mischaracterization -- a better description would say "Hill's ceiling is roughly Bradford's established level," ignoring the fact that Hill might not reach that ceiling or that Bradford might improve. That's moot now, of course, but it always seemed too simplistic. Hill left Sunday's game with a quad injury, so he compiled those stats in the first half only.
Next game: The Rams travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers next Sunday afternoon. The team expects to learn more about Hill's condition Monday afternoon, but either way, he's not a fantasy option, pretty much ever.
Robert Griffin III, WAS (267 passing yards, 1 fumble lost, 2 rushing yards 8 fantasy points)
Griffin was at least accurate Sunday, completing 78 percent of his passes for 267 yards. But he never found the end zone and did essentially nothing in the running game, keeping his overall value low. If Griffin can keep his completion rate high while running and/or accounting for the occasional touchdown, that would be a significant improvement, but for now, he has to be seen as a disappointment.
Next game: Washington hosts Jacksonville Sunday. The Jaguars forced a few turnovers out of Nick Foles in Sunday's game, but also let Foles throw all over them in the second half. It should be a get-right for Griffin, who needs it.
The quadro of sadness
Tom Brady, NE (249 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 fumbles lost, 3 rushing yards)
Aaron Rodgers, GB (189 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception)
Tony Romo, DAL (281 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions)
Alex Smith, KC (202 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 36 rushing yards)
All four of these quarterbacks finished with exactly nine fantasy points in Week 1. Three of them (Brady, Rodgers, Romo) are among the biggest names in the sport, and Smith finished 13th at the position in fantasy points a year ago. Best bet is these were all fluky games for a group of generally strong quarterbacks, but it was an inauspicious debut to 2014.
Worst running backs in Week 1
Bernard Pierce, BAL (14 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost, -1 fantasy point)
Fantasy Football Stats
Fantasy Football Stats
Pierce had a shot, with a big game Sunday, to maybe have a starting job even after Ray Rice's return from suspension for Baltimore. He went the exact opposite direction, running poorly, fumbling and then being benched for Justin Forsett. It was a continuation of 2013, when Pierce was pretty terrible as well, and could be a sign he doesn't have the promise some had in mind for him.
Next game: The Ravens play the rival Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night. The team hasn't said yet whether Pierce's benching was a temporary punishment or something more significant, but either way, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which he (or Forsett, or rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro) is fantasy-usable in that game.
Doug Martin, TB (9 rushing yards, 7 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Well this was a horrible disappointment. After missing much of last season with a separated shoulder, Martin was supposed to bounce back strongly in Week 1. Instead he was shut down entirely, averaging only one yard per rush. He exited the game with a left knee injury, though the severity is not yet known. There weren't any positives to take out of Sunday's game for Martin or his fantasy owners.
Next game: We don't yet know if Martin can even play Sunday, when the Buccaneers host the St. Louis Rams. His owners need to add backup Bobby Rainey, who was the clear fill-in in Martin's absence.
Jamaal Charles, KC (19 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
The best running back in fantasy last season was almost a non-factor Sunday, when the Titans were able to limit him in both sides of the offense. Charles didn't have fewer than 100 yards from scrimmage until Week 9 last year, and had at least 72 in every game he played, but he managed only 34 yards Sunday. It was a disastrous performance for a player who was the No. 1 overall pick in many drafts.
Next game: The Chiefs play in Denver Sunday afternoon. It's way too early to be giving up on Charles, but his fantasy owners will need him to turn things around in a big way.
Worst wide receivers in Week 1
Michael Crabtree, SF (25 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
It's easy to say that Crabtree was limited in the 49ers' opener with his calf injury. And he likely was. But even a partial-strength Crabtree against the Dallas Cowboys' putrid defense should have been expected to do better than two catches. Whether he was more hampered than we thought, or he and Colin Kaepernick don't have the connection we thought, or they just shut down the passing game when they took the huge early lead, we don't know yet, but Sunday's performance hurt a lot of fantasy owners.
Next game: The 49ers and Bears play Sunday night. With another week to heal his calf, it'll be a real make-or-break for Crabtree as a solid fantasy starter.
Danny Amendola, NE (16 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
Amendola's 2013 season was hamstrung by ... well, not his hamstring, but several injuries. Everyone knew his injury history, of course, so the fact that he missed a few games wasn't a huge surprise. Which is why it made some sense that, now that he's apparently healthy, Amendola would be productive to start this season, under the "use him while you got him" thinking. It didn't work out that way -- Amendola was barely an afterthought in the Patriots' offense.
Next game: The Patriots travel to Minnesota for a 1 p.m. ET game Sunday. Amendola might have been justifiable as a low-end flex play in Week 1, but can't be used in any but the deepest of leagues until he shows more.
Vincent Jackson, TB (36 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
We all know Jackson has wild swings in his fantasy performance, putting up great games and duds with no apparent pattern. This was one of the duds -- Jackson caught only four of his nine targets in the Buccaneers' 20-14 loss to the Panthers that wasn't as close as the score indicated.
Next game: The Buccaneers play the Rams next week, but here's the thing about Jackson: You knew exactly what kind of player he was when you drafted him. You know he'll hurt you in a big way some weeks, but he'll also single-handedly win you some weeks. All you can do is keep him in your lineup and hope the good outweighs the bad.
Worst tight ends in Week 1
Jordan Reed, WAS (4 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
The main knock on Reed entering the season was that, as productive as he can be, his health was a problem. That held true Sunday when Reed left after only one catch for four yards with a hamstring injury. He's expected to go for an MRI, so more will be known on his status Monday, but his fantasy owners had a big disappointment on their hands.
Next game: Washington hosts Jacksonville next Sunday. If Reed is cleared to play, it's a nice matchup, but you'll need to be sure he's at or close to full strength before you risk it.
Jason Witten, DAL (14 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
Most everything about Sunday's game for the Cowboys was a disaster. The team turned the ball over four times and lost by 11 when it easily could have been double that. Only DeMarco Murray, who passed 100 yards and scored a touchdown, was relatively immune to the disaster. Witten, meanwhile, caught only two passes in one of his worst games.
Next game: The Cowboys travel to Tennessee to play the Titans next week. As bad as the Cowboys looked Sunday, there's no reason to think they'll stay that bad all season, so Witten gets another week to show he can still do it.
Charles Clay, MIA (27 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
Clay was the lone real bright spot in the Miami offense a year ago, but it didn't translate into Week 1 success. Clay didn't have much to do with the team's 33 points Sunday. He caught only two passes in the game, while Knowshon Moreno, Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace were much more integral pieces to the Dolphins' attack.
Next game: Against Buffalo next Sunday, Clay isn't a surefire fantasy starter. He was ranked near the back of the starters entering the season as it was, but the development of guys like Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce, combined with Clay's disappointing usage, means he needs to re-prove himself.
Worst defense/special teams in Week 1
New Orleans Saints (37 points allowed, 1 fumble recovery, -7 fantasy points)
It didn't look like a disaster for the Saints' defense at halftime. They shut the Falcons out in the first quarter and gave up only 10 points in the first half. But in the second half and overtime, the Falcons moved the ball at will, and the New Orleans defense couldn't do anything about it. It was an awful performance for a unit that was expected to offer much more value to start the season.