NFL Week 1: Patience / Pause / Panic
Jayson Braddock breaks down his process of dealing with early-season letdowns. When is it time to start worrying about your draft day darlings?
All of NFL Week 1 is in the books except for Monday night's matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Las Vegas Raiders. We have such a small sample size to base our assessments on after the first week. I typically look at each underperforming fantasy prospect after Week 1 and I separate them into three different categories:
Patience - Let it play out
Pause - Monitor for another week or two, then reassess
Panic - Realizing a fantasy prospect has tanked R.O.I.
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Early Evaluations From NFL Week 1
Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Zach Wilson all land under the patience grouping for different reasons. Allen has MVP aspirations and the hopes of the city of Buffalo that he’ll lead them to the Super Bowl this year. I believe he had a slow start and nothing more than that.
Rodgers is still getting the sand out of his shoes from his semi-retirement. When Rodgers isn’t going, nothing in the offense is going. It’s going to click, just give it time. Patience.
Ryan lost his security blanket in Julio Jones. Arthur Smith is taking over his first head coaching gig. When Ryan and Smith find the identity of the offense, it’ll start rolling.
Wilson is a rookie who just played his first road game in the NFL, without an offensive line or any type of running game. He still battled back and put up a fight.
RB - Clyde Edwards-Helaire only averaged 3.1 yards per carry on 14 carries for 43 yards. No other running back had more than one carry for Kansas City. His 3 receptions for 29 yards tied him for third on the team in receptions and third in receiving yards. Patrick Mahomes targeted his top two all-world talents, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce all game. The duo brought in three combined touchdowns on 22 targets for 17 receptions and 273 receiving yards.
Robert Woods, Robby Anderson, D.J. Chark and Tyler Boyd all underperformed. Woods is in a high-powered offense with a veteran quarterback that takes what’s available. He’ll be the beneficiary next game.
Anderson and Boyd had a similar issue today as they weren’t the read but their Week 1 performance is not indicative of the season ahead.
D.J. Chark caught three receptions on 12 targets. While he went for 86 yards and a touchdown, the 25% catch rate was surprisingly low. I attribute it to Chark missing most of camp as he was out getting surgery on his finger and recovering. It cost him chemistry with his new quarterback.
Gerald Everett hauled in a touchdown but Will Dissly had one more target and reception than Everett. I chalk this up to Dissly having chemistry with Russell Wilson established as Everett was playing in his first regular-season game with the quarterback.
James Robinson and Mike Davis were both outrushed by their counterparts in their respective backfields. Robinson’s five carries for 25 yards was almost half of the nine carries for 44 yards that Carlos Hyde rushed for. Davis saw 15 carries for 49 yards but Cordarrelle Patterson only needed seven carries to outrush him with 54 yards on the ground.
Davis and Robinson saw six targets apiece in the passing game with each of them hauling in three receptions with Davis going for 23 yards and Robinson for 29. Following the oddly similar parallel, Hyde and Patterson each saw two targets and they both made two catches with Patterson going for 13 yards and Hyde for 14.
Jacksonville got behind big and had to throw a lot. I believe this changed the game script for the running backs. Going forward Robinson should outdraw Hyde on carries as well as continue to see a 3-1 target ratio over him.
It’s concerning that Davis only averaged 3.3 yards per carry while the former receiver turn running back, Patterson was able to more than double that with his 7.7 yards per carry. Not only could Patterson continue to cut out a role, but Davis’ struggles could open the door for Wayne Gallman to get some looks. Any shrinkage to Davis’ role is devastating to his value as his production is volume-based, not only through the air but on the ground as well.
Davis could move from “Pause” to “Panic” next week if Gallman is active and Davis sees a similar role or smaller. For now, we ride our assessment we held pre-draft for another week and see if his struggles were more to do with all of the new moving pieces with him, Arthur Smith and Kyle Pitts all joining the team this season.
WR - Marquez Callaway was a hot name in the preseason. His value was vaulted off of a small sample size. In Sunday’s game, he only saw two targets in which he made one reception for 14 yards. His quarterback threw for five touchdowns but the wealth was spread elsewhere. Jameis Winston looks good. He’s already shown that he can link up with Callaway.
- A.J. Green - Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore are far ahead of him at this stage.
- Indianapolis Colts WRs - Carson Wentz hates you...unless you’re Zach Pascal.
- New York Jets RBs - They’re not good enough to overcome this offensive line.
- Ben Roethlisberger - He’ll lead the league in five-yard passes due to his protection.
- Najee Harris - He’s going to have to fight for every yard this season.
- Terry McLaurin - Taylor Heinicke
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