Major takeaways: Aaron Rodgers returned from injury, leading the Packers to a stunning victory, Ryan Fitzpatrick guided the Buccaneers to a victory over the Saints with over 400 passing yards and Adrian Peterson recorded his 100th career rushing touchdown.
As a point of reference, an article highlighting snap counts, targets and touches will be published shortly after this. Lesser players will be discussed.
Unlike the what to watch series, we’ll be talking about players who were key contributors to their offense for these weekly articles. Let’s get to the takeaways.
Packers Takeaways: Seemingly playing on one leg, Rodgers led the Packers onto four scoring drives, including three touchdowns in the second half. However, the takeaway is without Rodgers the Green Bay receiving corps (and Jimmy Graham) are in trouble. Backup quarterback Deshone Kizer’s two drives resulted in a sack-fumble recovered by the Bears and an interception returned for a touchdown.
While Jimmy Graham recorded two reception for eight yards, the trio of Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison recorded touchdowns when Rodgers returned.
Simply, Kizer would not be able to sustain two Green Bay pass catchers as fantasy relevant, let alone three on a weekly basis. Rodgers said he’d play week 2, but this will be a situation to monitor for the coming weeks.
Due to game script, Jamaal Williams did not produce much, rushing for a pedestrian 47 yards with zero receptions (Don’t drop him yet).
“I’ll play next week.” https://t.co/AzeWrSSOCK
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 10, 2018
The key takeaway for this entire offense is don’t panic. Bears went up 17-0 at halftime. Game script lead to Trey Burton’s one reception for 15 yards. Allen Robinson paced the offense with 61 yards, while Taylor Gabriel and Jordan Howard each recorded five receptions.
Another takeaway was it was great to see Howard get more involved in the passing game, after failing to do so last season. In addition, Howard had 82 rushing yards, while Tarik Cohen had 25 rushing yards and three receptions.
Newton had a modest game through the air, throwing for 161 yards on 26 attempts, but he saved his fantasy day with 58 rushing yards and a touchdown. Midway through the second quarter, however, Newton overthrew Devin Funchess, who had a step on the defenders on a 3rd and 7, and McCaffrey on their last drive of the first half.
Christian McCaffrey didn’t get in the end zone as a designed run for Newton at the goal line, but he paced C.J. Anderson in carries by three for 50 yards on 10 carries. In addition, he brought in six receptions for 45 yards. The takeaway is the touchdowns will come. Also, Greg Olsen left this game, so that’s a situation to monitor.
Turns out the Cowboys were the team that needed to sign Dez Bryant the most. Dak Prescott’s lack of playmakers puts a ceiling on his fantasy value. Prescott attempted 29 passes for 170 yards while rushing five times for 19 yards. If the Cowboys keep their offense the way it is, you can drop Prescott in 12-team leagues or smaller.
That takeaway arrived during a crucial 3rd and 7 for Dallas late in the first half. Prescott steps up in the pocket, avoiding pressure, to throw the ball on the run downfield to a wide open Blake Jarwin. The pass was short. Late in the fourth quarter on a 4th and 10, Prescott fired a pass out of the reach of Deonte Thompson. Dez Bryant makes that catch. And to end the game, Prescott gets strip sacked.
Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan declined to comment as he exited the locker room.
— Brandon George (@DMN_George) September 10, 2018
A Travis Frederick-less offensive line, a weak receiving corps and pocket-focused Prescott is enough to fade him with QB so deep.
Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards with three receptions for 17 yards, but he had solid runs of 17 and 16 yards in the second half. The latter was capped off with a four-yard touchdown run. The takeaway is Elliott’s talent level’s good enough for better days to come.
The #Cowboys offense has averaged 11.5 points per game over the last four regular season outings, and Dez Bryant played in three of those games.
Ezekiel Elliott also played in three of them.
Trends are only "narrative" when the reader stares at the moment.
Linehan is an issue. https://t.co/hjmiySVtL1
— Patrik Walker [No C] (@VoiceOfTheStar) September 10, 2018
On a short field after an interception, Russell Wilson was able to find rookie TE Will Dissly for a 15-yard touchdown. Dissly followed that up with a 66-yard reception on a post up the middle, breaking three tackles. Another potential 23-yard touchdown was just out of Dissly’s reach in the end zone. One of the main takeaways this week is that if you’re streaming TEs look no further than Dissly, who played 58 percent of the snaps and commanded five targets.
Doug Baldwin left this game with an MCL sprain.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 10, 2018
In his potential absence, the takeaway is to prioritize Tyler Lockett over Brandon Marshall as a waiver wire pick up. Lockett played 98 percent of the team’s snaps and had four targets for three catches, 59 yards and a touchdown, opposed to Marshall’s six targets for three receptions, 46 yards and a touchdown on 65 percent of the team’s snaps.
And for right now, Chris Carson is the Seattle RB to start, carrying the ball seven times for an effective 51 yards and catching four receptions for 35 yards. Rashaad Penny carried the ball seven times for eight yards and caught three receptions for 28 yards.
Alex Smith proved last season wasn’t a fluke, throwing for 255 yards on 30 attempts with two touchdowns. Smith established Jordan Reed as his new Travis Kelce with a 16-yard reception on the first drive. The pair would hook up three drives later for a four-yard touchdown reception.
The takeaway is that the best Washington fantasy WR is Jordan Reed.
Smith also utilized Chris Thompson out of the backfield for 63 yards and a touchdown on six receptions, including a 23-yard reception. Thompson had five carries for 65 yards, including runs of 13 and 14 yards. Another takeaway is Thompson may be healthier than he led on, making him a draft day bargain.
Adrian Peterson carried the ball 26 times for 96 yards and touchdown and caught two receptions for 70 yards, including a 52-yard reception on a crucial 4th quarter third down to help milk the clock. The takeaway is like I predicted in the preseason, Peterson still has something left in the tank.
That monster game Sam Bradford had week 1 last season for the Vikings was a fluke, or the Cardinals offensive line is bad, or both. Probably both. Bradford completed 20 of 24 passes for 154 yards and an interception. The takeaway is there won’t be fantasy relevant pass catcher behind Larry Fitzgerald if this holds up. Fitzgerald was lucky enough to walk away with seven receptions for 76 yards.
Sam Bradford out dueling Nate Peterman in the race to the bottom…
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 9, 2018
David Johnson saved fantasy owners with a touchdown, but posted pedestrian numbers of nine carries for 37 yards a and a touchdown, and five receptions for 30 yards. It’s going to be a long season in Arizona.
Two of the Giants’ red zone drives stalled in the first half, while Manning missed Beckham on a potential 33-yard touchdown pass.
Saquon Barkley carried the ball 18 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, in addition to two receptions for 22 yards, but had his stat line inflated by a 68-yard touchdown run late in the 4th quarter. In addition, Odell Beckham caught 11 receptions for 111 yards, with five of those receptions coming in the 4th quarter.
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) September 9, 2018
As of now, the takeaway is the aforementioned two are the only Giants you feel comfortable starting.
Things didn’t start out well for San Fransico, going three and out on their first two drives. George Kittle calmed things down for Jimmy Garoppolo with back-to-back first down catches. Kittle caught five receptions for 90 yards. But, Alfred Morris would fumble on the Vikings’ one-yard line toward the end of the half.
George Kittle might just be a league-winner.
Coming off a shoulder injury, Kittle played on 80% of #49ers snaps, led team in targets (9), and his 13.1 average depth of target in Week 1 nearly matched Gronk's (13.4). Look at the vertical element on his routes, per #NextGenStats: pic.twitter.com/dPFBDD4GVa
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 10, 2018
Marquise Goodwin left this game, but he did return. Garoppolo completed 15 of 33 attempts for 261 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
All in all, the takeaway is the 49ers had a bad matchup. Still, Vikings only won by one possession.
The Vikings took care of business. As of now, no one bust (yet). Every skill player gave fantasy owners a double-digit performance except Kyle Rudolph, who had 8.1 fantasy points. The takeaway, for now, is the Vikings offense with Kirk Cousins are legit.
✔️First TD as a Viking
✔️ 100th career TD for Kirk Cousins
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) September 9, 2018
No Le’Veon Bell. No problem. James Connor filled in nicely for Bell, with 135 yards and two touchdowns and five receptions and 57 yards. The takeaway is if you drafted Connor you ride him until Bell comes back, then trade him to the Bell owner. Th three Bs are now two Bs and two Js (Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner).
Tyrod Taylor salvaged his fantasy day with eight rushing attempts for 77 yards and a touchdown, though he was 15 for 40 through the air for 197 yards, a touchdown and an interception. If he keeps playing like this, Baker Mayfield will be called in to start very soon.
Jarvis Landry established himself as the Antonio Brown in Todd Haley’s offense, while Josh Gordon bailed out fantasy owners with one reception for 17 yards and a touchdown. The takeaway is that the Browns offense will be very fantasy friendly, but it’s hard to predict if that translates to wins.
If there was any doubt prior to week 1, it’s gone now.
— Curtis Patrick (@CPatrickNFL) September 10, 2018
Both offenses in this contest were sloppy, as Tom Brady missed Rex Burkhead on a potential 19-yard touchdown. Rob Gronkowski made up for it on 3rd and 12 with his first touchdown of the season.
James White would follow with a 12-yard touchdown reception, while Gronkowski topped that with a nice catch in double coverage during a two-minute drill. Phillip Dorsett got involved from there, he caught three of his seven targets on the Patriots’ final drive of the first half and scored as well.
Phillip Dorsett caught 4 passes of 4 targets for 40 yards and a 4-yard touchdown.
Brady hit Gronk, Lewis and Dorsett for touchdowns in the first half.
Brady has now thrown to 69 [nice] diffirent targets in his career. Including Titans coach Mike Vrabelpic.twitter.com/HSs0x43Vk2
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 9, 2018
The takeaway is like I said in the preseason, Phillip Dorsett is going to be fantasy-relevant until Julian Edelman returns.
The team’s first two drives resulted in a turnover and a 3 and out. Lamar Miller had a key 31-yard run from the Texans’ nine-yard line to flip field position, while Deshaun Watson followed up with a 13-yard run on the next play. Watson drove the offense downfield enough to get a field goal, but he threw an interception on the next drive.
That Deshaun Watson INT is the type of play that went for a TD for him last year
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 9, 2018
That said, Lamar Miller had a nice day, carrying the ball 20 times for 98 yards. Alfred Blue vultured a touchdown on the one-yard line.
The takeaway is throughout the day Watson couldn’t get much going and showed signs of rust, so don’t panic yet.
Neither Keelan Cole, who had three receptions for 51 yards, and Dede Westbrook, who had five receptions for 54 yards, did nothing to become the clear-cut no. 1 WR.
On the other hand, Leonard Fournette left this game, and he did not return. Fournette will play week 2, according to Josina Anderson, but if not T.J. Yeldon is a potential waiver wire pick up. In Fournette’s absence, Yeldon carried the ball 14 times for 51 yards and hauled in three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown.
Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay both carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards, but the latter added two receptions for 31 yards and a 29-yard touchdown. The takeaway is that Lindsay is a potential waiver wire pick up, especially in PPR formats. Freeman was on the field down the stretch, rattling off runs of 17, 15 and 5 as he milked the clock.
Every touch for Phillip Lindsay in week 1 vs Seahawks. The fact that he was involved this heavily in week speaks volumes of what they think of him. He can run between the tackles for a smaller back. pic.twitter.com/ovSo32JDNa
— Jake Anderson (@JakeAndersonFF) September 10, 2018
The Case Keenum and Emmanuel Sanders connection got underway on Denver’s first drive, connecting on a 14-yard pitch and catch on 3rd and 14. Sanders went on to catch 10 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. Another takeaway is that Keenum can be a serviceable streaming QB after hanging 25 fantasy points on the Seahawks.
In addition, Demaryius Thomas brought in six receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown, hauling in a crucial 23-yard reception for the Broncos with a starting field position at their two-yard line.
Phillip Rivers’ pass catchers had a case of the drops week 1. Travis Benjamin missed an open field catch in the first half, while Tyrell Williams a wide-open touchdown reception in the end zone. That said, Rivers found success with his other guys, as Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon both had over 100 receiving yards. The former had a touchdown.
While Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams both eclipsed 80 yards. The takeaway is Ekeler is a potential waiver wire pick up in PPR formats. After hyping him up in the preseason, Ekeler made me proud, scoring 23.6 fantasy points. Chargers want him to be their new Danny Woodhead, according to Pete Prisco.
In addition, both RBs were effective carrying the ball. Ekeler had five carries for 39 yards, while Gordon carried the ball 15 times for 64 yards.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 10, 2018
Patrick Mahomes exploded on the scene in his first start as a full-time starter, throwing for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 27 attempts. Tyreek Hill led the charge with seven receptions, 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Travis Kelce had one reception for six yards, but commanded six targets and played every snap. Don’t panic.
Joe Flacco is going to have his Alex Smith year with a rookie quarterback breathing down his neck. Flacco attempted 34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead scored, while Alex Collins carried a touchdown in.
The takeaway is that Crabtree may end up being a draft day steal if his volume is higher than expected.
Get out. Sell Lesean Mccoy while you for anything. Drop Kelvin Benjamin. Nathan Peterman didn’t look good, and Josh Allen, a rookie, won’t be any better.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2018
Tough break for Delanie Walker, who left this game with an injury and led the Titans in targets last season. With Walker likely out for the season, the takeaway is the door is opened for a Corey Davis breakout, who commanded 12 targets week 1. Rishard Matthews holds value now, too, so don’t drop him yet. Also, Marcus Mariota left this game.
Titans’ TE Delanie Walker suffered a broken ankle and ligament damage in there as well, per source. He is not expected to play again in 2018.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2018
#Titans QB Marcus Mariota still being evaluated by medical staff
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 10, 2018
Kenny Stills, who I touted all preseason, made me proud with two touchdowns. On another note, Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake had an almost equal distribution of carries. The takeaway is Frank Gore is a potential waiver wire pick up.
Kenny Stills is so damn good. Bill Parcells had a term for guys who blocked guys like Kenny Stills from hitting their ceiling. He called them "Progress Stoppers."
Jarvis Landry was Kenny Stills' Progress Stopper.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 9, 2018
Some Week 1 play-time nuggets for Dolphins fans & fantasy football owners: Kenyan Drake played 74% of the offensive snaps, had 17 touches. Frank Gore 29%, had 9 touches. Kenny Stills was full-time WR. Danny Amendola (73%),… https://t.co/r72hG4Pp4I pic.twitter.com/4VgFvMYDGd
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) September 10, 2018
The Joe Mixon breakout is here, while OC Bill Lazor has Andy Dalton looking improved, as I predicted in the offseason. The takeaway is that Andy Dalton may be able to penetrate into the top-15 at his position this season if he continues his play from week 1.
Cincinnati called Joe Mixon a bell cow in February. Then went quiet on the subject.
Today, Mixon played on 44 of 56 snaps, saw 17 of 18 carries, and saw 7 of 8 RB targets.
Congratulations if you drafted him. He's for sure a bell cow and now a fringe-RB1. Great value at ADP.
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 10, 2018
Andrew Luck is back, and he delivered touchdown passes to T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Jack Doyle fumbled a third down conversion late in the 4th quarter, where Luck could’ve potentially scored another touchdown. However, fantasy owners are happy with what they say.
Luck threw for 319 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Hilton caught five receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. In addition, brought in seven receptions for 60 yards before fumbling on the Colts’ last play of the game.
None of the RBs did enough to challenge Marlon Mack when he comes back, but both should be flex-worthy until he’s back. The takeaway is if you drafted Luck you potentially got the biggest bargain of your draft.
Andrew Luck led all passers with 53 attempts in Week 1, a great sign. A less-great sign was his 5.6 aDOT.
IND's air yards leaders:
Hilton: 108 (11 targets, 9.8 aDOT)
Doyle: 59 (10, 5.9)
Grant: 59 (9, 6.6)
Ebron: 50 (5, 10.0)
— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) September 10, 2018
After a rough preseason, the pass-catching Nyheim Hines played just 9 fewer snaps than starter Jordan Wilkins (46 vs. 37) while seeing 9 targets (~17% target share). Negative script helped, but that could be the case for plenty of Indy games this year.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) September 10, 2018
It appears the Saints bad defense is back. For now, it’s looking like Drew Brees will have to throw over 600 times again, a feat he accomplished five straight years before last. In spite of the shock loss to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brees threw for over 400 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The loss is on the defense.
The takeaway is that is the Saints defense is this bad moving forward, any part of the Saints offense is going to be fantasy friendly on a given week. Ted Ginn and Ben Watson are potential waiver wire pickups. And with Brees throwing all over the place, Alvin Kamara was still able to score over 40 fantasy points week 1.
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 10, 2018
Alvin Kamara picked up right where he left off. ? pic.twitter.com/bX25HTmz5U
— ESPN Fantasy Sports (@ESPNFantasy) September 9, 2018
Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t carve up the Eagles defense like he did the Saints week 1, but his 417 passing yards and four touchdown performance makes Mike Evans, Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin owners less worried. The takeaway is that Evans remains a WR1 with Fitzpatrick, while Jackson and Godwin are flex-worthy based on the matchup.
Still, all three scored week 1, while Mike Evans and Desean Jackson had over a hundred yards receiving.
Just like we all thought… Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the NFL & Jimmy G in last place. pic.twitter.com/rVqCHfS444
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 10, 2018
Peyton Barber was a nonfactor, carrying the ball 19 times for 69 yards.
Potential Waiver Wire Pick Ups (As Mentioned Above)
With week 1 takeaways in the book, look out for the week 1 snap counts, targets and touches article tomorrow, week 2 rankings Wednesday and what to watch for week 2 Thursday.