Beyond the Box Score: Week 1
Worried you missed something big with all the action in Week 1? Read Beyond the Box Score for the key fantasy takeaways from each of Sunday's games.
With so many games happening every Sunday in the NFL, it’s easy to miss key developments with huge fantasy impact. This is never more true than in Week 1, where every single offseason storyline is finally put to the test. To help sort it all out, I’ve gone game by game breaking down three key things to take away from each of Sunday’s matchups.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tyrod Taylor’s 23.6 fantasy points was not a fluke. Thanks largely to his rushing ability, Taylor finished top 10 in points per game twice in three seasons as a starter. If you’re searching for consistent quarterback play in a two-QB league, don’t hesitate to pick him up.
- Anyone hoping for clarity on the Jags WR situation will have to wait another week. Trevor Lawrence attempting 51 passes allowed all three of D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones to produce well. All are valuable, but don’t rush to start any except in deeper leagues.
- Is Mark Ingram back? Not really. As the clear lead back in Houston he is worth rostering, but he didn’t look great and this is likely the most favorable game script he’ll see all year. Prioritize other Week 1 surprises over the 31-year-old.
Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Chargers
- An early touchdown saved an otherwise mediocre outing from Austin Ekeler. Worryingly, the normally two-dimensional back wasn’t targeted a single time. Don’t panic yet on Ekeler, but if his receiving role isn’t back to normal next week, it might be time.
- Antonio Gibson was targeted five times to go along with 20 carries, the usage the college wideout needs to reach his ceiling. J.D. McKissic will likely play more of a role going forward, but Sunday was a great sign for one of fantasy’s most-hyped second-year breakout candidates.
- This year might be the year for Mike Williams. Aside from a few drops he looked great against the WFT, making the most of his 12 targets with eight catches for 82 and a score. Keenan Allen is still the top dog in Los Angeles, but Justin Herbert can support two WRs. Start Williams with confidence.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks
- The Colts extended Nyheim Hines just a few days ago and clearly intend to make him a large part of this offense. Eight targets (not to mention nine carries) will easily make him viable in all PPR formats.
- New OC Shane Waldron’s offense looks good. Russel Wilson clearly enjoyed himself, letting fly early and often. He, along with both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, should be an elite option.
- Zach Pascal may be the top wideout on the Colts, but that doesn’t make him particularly exciting. Two touchdowns is obviously nice, but they came on only five targets. He’s worth a speculative add, but don’t expect much.
Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers
- With Zack Moss a surprising healthy scratch, Devin Singletary looked good leading the way for the Bills. However, Josh Allen calling his own number will continue to limit Singletary’s upside. Celebrate as a Singletary investor, but don’t expect more than flex production.
- Najee Harris played every single snap for the Steelers. That’s unheard of. Their O-line did him no favors, but that kind of role is almost guaranteed to lead to great production.
- Cole Beasley had an impressive outing. Josh Allen looked his way early and often, even after a drive-killing drop on third and long. In any kind of PPR, the shifty slot receiver is a high-floor flex.
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets
- Robby Anderson was productive, but there’s reason for concern. He took his one reception for a 57-yard score, but was targeted just three times. If Anderson is relegated to a limited role as a deep threat, don’t expect last year’s consistency.
- Michael Carter, often the first Jets’ RB off the board, was the least productive in Week 1. The rookie was always a long-term play though. Whether anyone will be startable in that Jets backfield is another question, but don’t lose hope for Carter.
- Corey Davis looked great against the Panthers. He was quietly very efficient last season in Tennessee. Lock him in as a WR2, at least.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Minnesota Vikings
- Ja’Marr Chase might already be the Bengals’ best receiver. His chemistry with Joe Burrow is clear. Tee Higgins will get his, but Chase looked special, preseason drops be damned.
- K.J. Osborn had nine targets on the day, tied for second on the Vikings. The second-year wideout is still clearly third on the depth chart and only worth an add in the deepest of leagues … but keep an eye on him.
- Joe Mixon was one of the few highly drafted running backs not to disappoint. New Bengals O-line coach and run game coordinator Frank Pollack deserves some credit. Their scheme looked great, which means only good things for Mixon.
Tennessee Titans vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Don’t put too much stock in the Titans’ offensive breakdown. The Arizona defense looks legit. Look for Ryan Tannehill and Co. to get things going next week against the Seahawks.
- James Conner and Chase Edmonds both looked solid, but it will be hard to trust either for fantasy. They split work just about evenly, with Conner seeing more ground and red zone touches and Edmonds leading through the air. Meanwhile, even up multiple scores, Kyler Murray just kept slinging it, not a good sign for any Cardinal back.
- Julio Jones and Ryan Tannehill looked out of sync, unsurprising given they’ve only had one week of practice together. Hopefully their chemistry grows throughout the season, but don’t expect Jones to ever surpass A.J. Brown as Tannehill’s 1A option.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers
- Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift will both be startable in fantasy. Williams was surprisingly given the start, and cashed in for over 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Swift drafters should also be happy, as he led the team with 11 each of targets and carries, elite usage.
- Now is the time to panic on Trey Sermon. Kyle Shanahan’s postgame comments oozed a lack of belief in the third-round pick. If you drafted him and can find someone who thinks he’ll lead the backfield with Raheem Mostert injured (again), sell now.
- Brandon Aiyuk is a different story. His mysterious disappearance seems to be at least partly explainable by a lingering hamstring issue. Unlike Sermon, Aiyuk has proven production at an NFL level. He likely isn’t the stud you drafted him to be, but don’t move him for pennies on the dollar.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- The Falcons offense looked very, very bad. With Russel Gage essentially invisible and Kyle Pitts managing only 31 yards on eight targets, the Eagles defense keyed in on Calvin Ridley. Both Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson looked alright, but don’t trust any Falcon outside of Ridley before seeing improvement.
- Jalen Hurts has top five QB upside, at least. In full games played, he’s averaged a whopping 26.8 fantasy points. This is a small sample size, and the Falcons secondary is atrocious, but rushing production makes the sky the limit for the second-year passer.
- DeVonta Smith will get all the headlines, and rightfully so. But don’t ignore Jalen Reagor, who posted a solid stat line to open up his sophomore campaign. By all reports he looked great in camp, and should be considered a flex play.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
- Anthony Schwartz had 43.35% of the Brown’s air yards in his NFL debut on five targets, but don’t rush to add him. Instead, look into Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ will take the deep threat role from Schwartz on his return to health, and should do even more with it.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire had all but one touch by Chiefs’ running backs. His upside will always be capped by Andy Reid’s tendency to get tricky in the red zone, but that touch share in KC’s offense should lock him in as at least an RB2.
- David Njoku led the Browns in both targets and receiving yards. The hyper-athletic tight end has disappointed so far, but is clearly above Austin Hooper as a receiving option. You could do worse if you’re hurting for TE production.
New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers
- The less said about Aaron Rodgers’ performance against the Saints, the better. He looked off, and the rest of the Packers offense went with him. The future Hall of Famer will bounce back, bringing Davante Adams and Aaron Jones with him.
- Juwan Johnson’s two touchdowns will make him a hot waiver wire add. But rookie Adam Trautman outsnapped him 82% to 19%. Trautman wasn’t just blocking either, with six targets to Johnson’s three. He’s the tight end to target in New Orleans.
- Tony Jones Jr. has gotten nothing but praise from Saints’ coaches, and looked good in his NFL debut. He obviously won’t surpass Alvin Kamara, but is worth rostering, as a high-value handcuff at least.
New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos
- Before suffering a nasty ankle injury, Jerry Jeudy was putting on a clinic. Luckily his X-rays were negative, but he’ll still be out a number of weeks with a high ankle sprain. If he’s dropped and you have roster space or an empty IR slot, stash him.
- As far as four-catch, 64-yard performances go, Kenny Golladay’s was very impressive. He made two incredible catches, and was open more often than Daniel Jones looked his way. Preseason injuries likely hurt his chemistry with Jones, but talent should quickly make him their number one option.
- Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams looked to be in a roughly even split. Expect the younger Williams’ role to expand throughout the season, but Gordon is going nowhere.
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
- It’s a tale as old as time: James White will be a reliable flex option in PPR. He’s be the ultimate safety valve for Mac Jones, and could lead the team in targets on a weekly basis.
- Mike Gesicki was a popular candidate to emerge from the tight end wasteland this year, but that dream may be dead on arrival. His insane athletic metrics won’t matter if he is not getting consistent snaps, and he played just 39%. Don’t be afraid to cut him, there’s likely better TE options on your wire.
- Damien Harris is the Patriots lead running back. He got volume and looked good with it, and Cam Newton isn’t around to vulture touchdowns. Treat Harris as a backend RB2.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Chicago Bears
- Darrel Henderson was on the field for 94% of the Rams offensive plays, more than any RB in the league bar Najee Harris. Sony Michel’s snap count will increase as he settles in, but Henderson is clearly the main back. If Matthew Stafford continues to elevate this offense, that makes him an RB2.
- Marquise Goodwin’s literal Olympic speed makes him a threat to score on every touch. Chicago clearly wants him involved, even scheming up a designed run early in the game. He’s a name to watch for in deep leagues and DFS lineups, especially once Justin Fields takes the reins for good.
- Tyler Higbee was one of the offseason’s big winners as Gerald Everett left town and Matthew Stafford arrived. His connection with Stafford already seems strong. He can be considered a solid mid-tier TE going forward.