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Sunday NFL Recap: Week 1 News & Notes

NFL News and Notes

With the return of real football, we finally have some new data points to help us make fantasy decisions moving forward. It’s not time to panic or gloat — it’s still only Week 1.

NFL Week 1 News & Notes

[the_ad id=”63198″]With the return of real football, we finally have some new data points to help us make fantasy decisions moving forward. It’s not time to panic or gloat — it’s still only Week 1.

Did you get a chance to watch every game yesterday? Don’t worry – we’ve done it for you. Here is the most fantasy-relevant information for each NFL team from Week 1:

Arizona Cardinals

Week One Recap

So much for all that coachspeak this offseason about Chris Johnson spelling David Johnson as a runner. Sunday night, David Johnson played in a whopping 58 of 61 snaps while Chris Johnson received just one carry. David Johnson was electric and involved in all aspects of the offense — he busted off an impressive 45-yard run, caught four passes, and converted a goal-line look for a touchdown. It’s only one week, but there appear to be no concerns regarding DJ’s first round fantasy stock.

Atlanta Falcons

Week One Recap

If you own Devonta Freeman, your worst fears surfaced this week. Freeman played just four more snaps than Tevin Coleman (36 to 32) and was far less productive. We figured Freeman’s involvement in the passing game would provide a solid PPR floor, but Coleman looked vastly improved in that department on Sunday as he hauled in five passes for a team-high 95 yards.

Both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu appeared to suffer ankle injuries in this game — keep an eye for practice reports later in the week to see if it will affect their availability next week.

Baltimore Ravens

Week One Recap

Ravens’ running back Javorious Allen was a surprise inactive on Sunday, leaving Justin Forsett and Terrance West to man the backfield. Forsett out-snapped West 37 to 27, but West actually received more touches (14 to 13). With neither player being particularly effective, the main takeaway is that you should make a pre-emptive waiver move on rookie Kenneth Dixon — he should be the guy to own in the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, superhuman Steve Smith led the receivers in snaps played, while Kamar Aiken was third with just 53 percent of the snaps. Aiken is safe to drop if you’re making a free agent move this week.

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Buffalo Bills

Week One Recap

Sunday morning on ESPN, Adam Schefter revealed that despite full practices throughout training camp for Sammy Watkins, his foot is still not 100 percent. Perhaps that contributed to Watkins pedestrian 4-46 line in Sunday’s game, but the real trouble was the Bills’ inability to move the ball on offense. Tyrod Taylor passed for just 111 yards against the Ravens — it’s extremely worrisome, but give this offense a couple more games before you hit the panic button.

Carolina Panthers

Week One Recap

Kelvin Benjamin was supposed to be on a snap count of around 35 plays on Thursday night, but he was playing effectively and ended up on the field for 54 snaps. He looked to have no ill effects in his recovery from an ACL tear last season, posting six receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos’ tough secondary. Head coach Ron Rivera reiterated that he would still like to see Benjamin play around 35 snaps per week, so don’t go trading for Benjamin just yet. His season-long value will depend on much more on his snap counts than his production over the next couple of weeks.

Chicago Bears

Week One Recap

If there were any concerns about Jeremy Langford being a three-down back this season (and those worries should have been quelled if you read our preseason recaps), it was put to rest on Sunday as Langford received 19 of the 20 touches in the Bears’ backfield. Langford received the goal line looks as well, converting one into a short touchdown run.

Receiver Kevin White was battling a hamstring injury for most of the week and was questionable to play, but suited up and posted three receptions in his NFL debut. He may start slowly, but he’s an ideal buy low target if you couldn’t snag him in your drafts.

Cincinnati Bengals

Week One Recap

The days of Revis Island are over, as A.J. Green torched Darrelle Revis on Sunday with 12 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown. With the offseason departure of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu and the injury of Tyler Eifert, Jones dominated targets as expected — he received a whopping 43 percent target share against the Jets. Fellow receiver Brandon LaFell hauled in 91 receiving yards, but with just four targets, it will be tough for him to crack your fantasy lineup on a weekly basis.

Cleveland Browns

Week One Recap

[the_ad id=”58837″]Stop me if you heard this before: Robert Griffin III was injured in the game and is questionable for next week’s contest. Late in the game, RGIII took a shot and suffered a sprained shoulder, but said afterward that he should be okay for Week 2. Griffin played as expected on Sunday — he took some sacks, scrambled for a few yards, and dropped in a couple of deep bombs. This offense will be inconsistent in most weeks with an incredible ceiling but also a very low floor for the skill position players.

Dallas Cowboys

Week One Recap

Well, the Dak Attack faced a much different challenge in the regular season, as Dak Prescott’s performance on Sunday was majorly underwhelming compared to his dominance in the preseason. Prescott wasn’t asked to do much, and it showed in his 5.0 yards-per-attempt. He targeted underneath routes heavily — Jason Witten with 14 targets and Cole Beasley with 12 targets — while throwing the ball towards Dez Bryant just five times against the Giants. We’ll see how the coaching staff makes adjustments for Week 2, but Dez may be a boom-bust fantasy WR3 until Tony Romo returns.

Denver Broncos

Week One Recap

Running back C.J. Anderson was impressive on Thursday night, looking like the guy we thought we were getting in the first round of 2015 fantasy drafts. With rookie Devontae Booker fumbling on his first NFL touch, Anderson should dominate this backfield and finish as a fantasy RB1.

Receiver Demaryius Thomas was relatively quiet against the Panthers with just 48 receiving yards, but a hip injury was reported Sunday morning by Ian Rapoport. Thomas will get a second opinion on his MRI, so we won’t know any more until those results are revealed. If Thomas were to miss any significant time, it would finally be time for Cody Latimer to shine. Pick him up if you have a spot on your bench.

Detroit Lions

Week One Recap

While this backfield was extremely productive on Sunday against the Colts, it’s likely to cause some major headaches for fantasy owners moving forward. Ameer Abdullah led the way with 17 touches, while Riddick hauled in 5 passes and rookie Dwayne Washington got some goal line looks. All three scored a touchdown, but that can’t be counted on every week. Abdullah looked explosive and likely will have the most value in standard leagues while Riddick will give his owners a high floor in PPR setups.

Green Bay Packers

Week One Recap

Were Aaron Rodgers’ struggles last season definitely due to the absence of Jordy Nelson? Perhaps the Jaguars’ defense is much-improved. Either way, Rodgers only passed for 199 yards today with 5.9 yards-per-attempt. He showed great movement in the pocket and precise throws on his two touchdown tosses, but he put up a top-five fantasy performance on Sunday thanks to a rushing touchdown. Keep a close eye on this offense early in the season — if the offense doesn’t look as dynamic as it has in years past, Rodgers could be a sell-high candidate who should provide a full return thanks to his name value.

Houston Texans

Week One Recap

In his first game as a Houston Texan, Lamar Miller carried the ball 28 times — he never had more than 22 carries in a game in his entire four years in Miami. Miller didn’t do much with the carries, averaging just 3.8 yards-per-attempt, but when you add in his four receptions, it’s hard to ignore Miller’s fantasy value as a workhorse.

On Sunday, it was Will Fuller, not first round fantasy pick DeAndre Hopkins, who led the Texans in targets and yards. Fuller was compared to Ted Ginn in the draft process, but his involvement in this offense could make him a weekly starter moving forward. At worst, he should be in flex consideration next weekend.

Indianapolis Colts

Week One Recap

Uh, so Andrew Luck is back. After missing much of last season with a variety of injuries, Luck made his 2016 debut by passing for 385 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday. Luck spread the ball to all of his weapons with five players receiving six or more targets, including three touchdown passes to his tight ends. Jack Doyle played more snaps than expected, hauling in two scores, and it’s unknown if it’s because of an injury to Dwayne Allen. More than 40 percent of Luck’s career touchdown passes have gone to tight ends, so Doyle would be worth a pickup should Allen miss any time.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Week One Recap

Running back Chris Ivory was limited most of the week with a calf injury and was expected to play on Sunday, but not his normal complement of snaps. However, Ivory was admitted to the hospital Saturday night with an unknown medical condition and missed the game against the Packers. Despite scoring a short touchdown, T.J. Yeldon didn’t take much advantage of the opportunity as he posted just 39 yards on 21 carries. If Ivory were to miss more time, Yeldon is still just a matchup flex play.

Kansas City Chiefs

Week One Recap

Just like we all expected, Spencer Ware dominated in his start in place of the still-recovering Jamaal Charles. Just like we didn’t expect whatsoever, Ware caught seven passes for 129 yards. Ware is a legitimate talent and a must-start RB1 whenever Charles doesn’t play (and perhaps even when Charles does return). Ware only played 10 more snaps than backup RB Charcandrick West (39 to 29), but he doubled his touches (18 to 9). As well as this backfield is playing, we likely won’t see the Chiefs rush back Charles until he’s 100 percent healthy.

Miami Dolphins

Week One Recap

Second-year running back Jay Ajayi didn’t make the trip to Seattle this weekend because of a “coach’s decision” which allowed Arian Foster to play 87 percent of the RB snaps on Sunday. Depending on whether or not Ajayi can get out of the doghouse, Damian Williams may be the Foster handcuff moving forward.

DeVante Parker also didn’t play on Sunday, but his absence was due to a hamstring injury that he’s been battling. In our preseason recaps, we preached Kenny Stills as a top option in this offense — he led the Dolphins wideouts in snaps on Sunday. He dropped a long bomb against the Seahawks, keeping his value down for now. An explosion is coming, so grab him wherever he’s available.

Minnesota Vikings

Week One Recap

Shaun Hill got the start at quarterback for the Vikings in Week 1 and despite his inability to throw the ball downfield more than 10 yards, wide receiver Stefon Diggs still managed a 100-yard receiving game against the Titans. Diggs lined up all over the field — 31 percent on the left side, 38 percent on the right side, and 27 percent in the slot. Once Sam Bradford gets into the lineup, it will only mean good things for Diggs. If Week 1 is any indication, he will be a major factor in the Vikings’ offense this season and a steal at his redraft ADP.

New England Patriots

Week One Recap

[the_ad id=”62257″]Rob Gronkowski was the big story for the Patriots in Week 1, as he didn’t even travel to Arizona to make an attempt to play against the Cardinals. Gronk has been battling a mid-grade hamstring strain for the past couple of weeks, but the injury was downplayed by nearly everyone. Martellus Bennett is the obvious beneficiary of an extended Gronk absence, but Chris Hogan will also move up in the pecking order — he played 79 percent of the snaps Sunday night and hauled in three receptions and a touchdown.

New Orleans Saints

Week One Recap

C.J. Spiller was a surprise healthy inactive on Sunday, which should have meant a big day was in store for running back Mark Ingram. That wasn’t the case, however, as Ingram only played 29 of the team’s 65 RB snaps on Sunday. Travaris Cadet was second in snaps with 25 and received seven targets, compared to just two for Mark Ingram. It’s too early to tell if this was a one-week aberration or the beginning of a trend — at the very least, Ingram owners should be concerned.

New York Giants

Week One Recap

There weren’t many surprises for the Giants’ offense in Week 1, as Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen played their usual roles (this season, thankfully, without Andre Williams interfering) with 31 and 24 snaps respectively. Jennings ran for 75 yards on 18 carries and will likely be useful for your fantasy teams in weeks where the Giants are favored to win.

Odell Beckham, Jr. played every snap at WR, while Victor Cruz, who hasn’t played in nearly two seasons, nearly matched rookie Sterling Shepard’s snap count (53 to 49). It was good to see Cruz salsa dancing in the end zone against the Cowboys, but his role remains as the third wideout on this team — Shepard is far more dynamic.

New York Jets

Week One Recap

Perhaps everyone was prematurely writing off Matt Forte. With the training camp hamstring injury and Bilal Powell’s emergence last season, most analysts expected a near 50/50 split in this backfield. That wasn’t the case in Week 1, as Forte dominated Powell in snaps (55 to 19) and touches (27 to 6). Forte led the Jets in receiving yards on Sunday, proving the Jets’ desire to use him as a key piece in the passing game. If you grabbed Forte in your draft, you likely have a borderline RB1 this season.

Oakland Raiders

Week One Recap

A rookie running back for the Raiders caught more passes than Latavius Murray on Sunday, ran for more yards, and even busted off a 75-yard touchdown run. Wait, it wasn’t DeAndre Washington? Nope — it was undrafted rookie Jalen Richard. Richard will likely be a waiver wire darling this week, but he still remains a handcuff at best. Murray still doubled the next closest RB in touches (14 to Washington’s 6) and received the goal line looks. Let another owner overpay for Richard this week.

Philadelphia Eagles

Week One Recap

While it’s easy to get excited about the Eagles’ Week 1 performance, we must take it with a grain of salt. The Browns’ defense couldn’t get any pressure, nor cover anyone, which is generally a bad combination. Regardless, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz did what he was asked to do while tossing two touchdowns on perfectly placed passes downfield. The most important takeaway may be the health of Jordan Matthews, who showed he was fully recovered from the bone bruise in his knee he suffered in training camp — he hauled in 7 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown while lining up all over the field, not exclusively in the slot.

San Diego Chargers

Week One Recap

This is when football sucks. Keenan Allen suffered a non-contact knee injury in the second quarter of the Chargers’ Week 1 game, with what the team believes is a torn ACL. Allen already racked up six catches to that point and was in line for a huge season in this offense. With Stevie Johnson already out, this opens up a major opportunity for size-speed freak Tyrell Williams. Williams caught just two passes on Sunday — although for 71 yards — so his stock may still fly under the radar. He’s a top waiver wire addition this week.

This game was also the kind of situation where it’s key to look beyond the fantasy box score. Melvin Gordon scored two touchdowns en route to a 17.7 point fantasy day, but he was out-snapped 50 to 23 by Danny Woodhead in a game that the Chargers were winning for nearly the entire game. If you’re a Gordon owner, this is the exact type of game that you would expect Gordon to dominate the Chargers’ backfield, but that just wasn’t the case. While he’s much improved as a runner, playing just 25 snaps per game will lead to a very up-and-down season for Melvin Gordon.

Seattle Seahawks

Week One Recap

As the Seahawks’ coaching staff promised all week, they eased running back Thomas Rawls back into the mix, as he played just 22 snaps on Sunday. However, he was extremely active when he was in the game and nearly matched starter Christine Michael in touches, as he carried the ball 12 times while catching three passes. Rawls looked like he did pre-injury last season, so if you drafted him, be happy knowing that he should be receiving the majority of the touches in this backfield within a week or two.

Quarterback Russell Wilson tweaked his ankle on Sunday and was clearly limited for the remainder of the game. Wilson may not practice much this week as he receives treatment on his ankle, so we’ll likely see him listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. Regardless, you’re likely not starting him next week on the road against the Rams’ defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week One Recap

Jameis Winston balled out on Sunday, throwing four touchdowns against the Falcons, each to a different receiver. Everything played out as anticipated, for the most part — Mike Evans led the team in targets (7), Doug Martin dominated the carries (18), and Charles Sims was great in the passing game as he eluded about five defenders on a beautiful catch-and-run for a touchdown. While Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a touchdown, the tight end snap distribution may have been the only unusual thing about the Bucs’ offense. Luke Stocker actually led the tight ends in snaps (38), giving an unclear answer to the preseason question of Cameron Brate (25 snaps) versus ASJ (19 snaps).

Tennessee Titans

Week One Recap

We were told most of the week that DeMarco Murray would be a workhorse back in this offense, and the Titans didn’t lie on Sunday. Murray played 29 more snaps than rookie Derrick Henry and out-touched him 18 to seven. Neither player could get anything going on the ground, but Murray’s fantasy day was saved by his two receiving touchdowns. The “exotic smashmouth” offense didn’t show well in Week 1, but a tough Vikings defense isn’t the best one game sample. The key takeaway here is that Henry won’t push for fantasy relevance, at least not in the first half of the season.

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