Week 1 of the NFL is over. After a long offseason, we finally got to see players on our fantasy teams appear in regular season action. As always, week 1 is quite informative. Certain players performed as we expected. Others defied what we believed would occur. Here are 10 things that we learned in week 1.
There was a lot of offseason hype surrounding Falcons first-round rookie Calvin Ridley. Some expected the talented and versatile WR to make an immediate impact. Those expectations fell short as Ridley did not record a single reception in week 1. Mohamed Sanu however, had the second most targets for Atlanta with 6. The unfortunate thing for Sanu is that he averaged a pitiful 4.5 yards per catch. Against opponents whose defense is not as disruptive as the Eagles unit, Sanu should be more productive.
2Shouldering the load
He’s back and so is the lack of run game that his team always seems to have. Andrew Luck did his part to shoulder the load of the Colts offense. He threw the ball 53 times as his RBs could only muster 3.2 yards per carry. As Luck would have it, the former 1st-overall pick looked good. Arguably his best throw was a 26-yard pass play to Eric Ebron in the end-zone. Luck demonstrated that he is head and shoulders better than the other options that Indianapolis has at QB. Sorry to give Jacoby Brissett the cold shoulder but I have to get as many shoulder jokes in as possible. While Luck did not lead the Colts to a victory, he certainly helped fantasy owners who trusted him. He should be started most weeks.
3Jackson 5 (plays a game)
Joe Flacco is still the starting QB for the Ravens. The only reason that Lamar Jackson had drives to himself in the 2nd half was that Baltimore was up 40-0. However, Jackson did come on the field during the team’s opening drive of the game. Flacco stayed on the field and flanked out wide. Jackson then ran 15 yards up the middle on that play. The Ravens are clearly confident in Jackson’s abilities and he will likely see a handful of snaps every game. He is still not startable in fantasy, yet. If his role expands, then fantasy football managers can consider him in Superflex leagues.
4Phillip the script
Against the Texans, Rob Gronkowski and James White were the top two targets for QB Tom Brady. While that could have been expected, Phillip Dorsett being third on that list may have surprised some people (not this writer, as outlined here). Entering week one most probably would have guessed that Chirs Hogan or even Cordarelle Patterson would headline the Patriots WRs. They only caught 1 pass each, while Dorsett hauled in all of his 7 targets. It appears that Dorsett has gained Brady’s trust and should continue to be targetted even after Julian Edelman‘s return.
It was not 25 touches like Ron Rivera stated that Christian McCaffrey would receive. The star RB did, however, lead the Panthers in targets, receptions and receiving yards. His 9 targets in week one put him on pace to surpass the 113 he saw last season. With TE Greg Olson set to miss time with a foot injury, McCaffrey is Cam Newton‘s main weapon. Perhaps 25 touches might be on the horizon.
In week 1, we got a good look at how Washinton will use their running backs. Adrian Peterson got 26 carries in a lopsided victory. While he probably won’t see that type of workload in every game, it appears that Peterson has established himself as the early-down back used to run out the clock. Even in this scenario against the Cardinals, Chris Thompson still saw 11 touches and lead Washinton in targets. In games where the team is behind, Thompson will likely see an increase in workload. Meanwhile, Rob Kelly only saw 3 carries in a game situation that matches his skill set. AP and Thompson have rendered all the other Washington RBs irrelevant for now.
7Freeman and… Lindsay?
All offseason, we were hearing that rookie Royce Freeman was competing for the starting RB role with Devontae Booker. Freeman was not a workhorse but instead battling for touches with… Phillip Lindsay. Both Broncos got 15 carries for 74 yards apiece. Meanwhile, Booker only received 2 carries (both in the 2nd half). It appears the book is closing on Devontae while Freeman’s role will likely expand.
8Corny title about Cobb
In an offseason riddled with injuries and trade rumors, Randall Cobb did not have a lot of momentum going into week 1. However, late Sunday night he was able to take advantage of the Bears extra attention on Devante Adams and scored a 75-yard TD. This gave the Packers their first lead of the game which they maintained for the final 2+ minutes. It appears that Cobb has fully recovered from his ankle ailments and he seems poised to be a proficient target for Aaron Rodgers. At worst, he will be a solid flex play most weeks in 2018.
9No, No Gadget Cohen
The Bears established that Tarik Cohen will not just be a gadget player. While he only got 5 carries, they were at key points during the game. Cohen got Chicago’s first carry of the game. He also ran for a 1st-down on 3rd-and-2 as well as getting a red-zone carry, traditionally a role for Jordan Howard. Both RBs were on the field at the same time for certain plays. Howard is not going away, but Cohen has a regular role in the offense.
10Dawn of Darnold
His first pass left a lot to be desired, as it was a pick-6. Sam Darnold responded very well by leading a TD drive later in the quarter. He demonstrated his mobility by buying time for his receivers to get open. Even when scrambling, Darnold kept his eyes downfield, looking to make plays with his arm. The NFL game did not seem to fast for him. He is a must add in Superflex leagues and maybe even 1QB formats.
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