The first Sunday of the NFL season is in the books, and now we're just waiting for Ravens-Raiders tonight to find out if we got that first win or if we're going to have to try again in Week 2. I'll have my Week 2 rankings right here for you tomorrow morning, but before we turn the page, let's take a look back at what happened in Week 1, why it happened, and whose Fantasy value was helped or hurt.
I'll be going through every game on Monday mornings, picking out winners and losers and giving you some noteworthy numbers/performances/plays that you might have missed while everything was going on yesterday. Keeping up with every game is tough, but the FFT team spent Sunday compiling eight pages of notes while watching the games to make sure we didn't miss anything.
Before we get to that, make sure you check out our other Week 1 recap content, especially Heath Cummings' Believe It or Not column, where he addresses five of the biggest storylines from Week 1 to help figure out whether it's all hype, or whether you should actually be changing your opinion already. Here are some of the questions he's answering today:
- Is Mike Williams a top-25 WR rest of season?
- Is Nyheim Hines' role going to be even bigger than last season?
- Will both Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift be worth starting every week?
Also, if you missed it last night, I wrote an early look at the Week 2 waiver wire, focusing on five running backs we'll be chasing this week. We'll have Jamey Eisenberg's full breakdown of the top options tomorrow morning, but here's a first glimpse:
- Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers
- Mark Ingram, RB, Texans
- Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
- Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles
- Tony Jones, RB, Saints
And now, here's my recap of every game from Sunday:
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Week 1 Recap
Eagles at Falcons
- Winner: Jalen Hurts. Hurts probably deserved more love for Week 1, given how bad the Falcons defense was last season. He shredded them for 264 yards on three touchdowns, finding Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert for touchdowns while adding 62 yards on the ground. This was just about as good a performance as you could have hoped for from Hurts. He might be a risky start in Week 2 against the 49ers, but he also might just be a must-start Fantasy player. This was a good step toward proving that.
- Losers: Matt Ryan. I had Ryan as a top-10 Fantasy QB for Week 1, so … whoops ! Ryan struggled last season when Julio Jones wasn't healthy, and he looked a lot like that same guy Sunday. Of course, it was Kyle Pitts' first game, so you should expect better moving forward. Still, a disappointing performance from Ryan in what should have been a pretty good situation. You can't trust him in Week 2 against the Buccaneers, and he needs to play better than this moving forward.
- One more thing to know: Kenneth Gainwell operated as the clear-cut RB2 ahead of Boston Scott, playing 35.2% of the snaps and even scoring a rushing touchdown among his nine carries. He also had a receiving touchdown nullified in the first half by an illegal man downfield penalty. A promising debut for a favorite sleeper of mine.
- Winner: Devin Singletary. With Zack Moss a surprise healthy scratch for Sunday, Singletary played 64 of 85 snaps for the Bills. The Bills did open the season with five wide receivers on the field for their first drive, and Singletary had just 11 carries, so it wasn't like he was used heavily despite the snap count. However, he was targeted five times, and if Moss is going to remain a non-factor moving forward, Singletary could be a low-end starting just by dominating touches, even if this isn't really a great offense for running backs.
- Losers: Ben Roethlisberger. I was pretty low on Roethlisberger after last season, so I hope this isn't just confirmation bias, but … he didn't look good again. He averaged 5.9 yards per attempt and 6.1 intended air yards per attempt, right in line with his dump off-happy approach from last season. Just one of his 32 passes traveled further than 20 yards down the field, per TruMedia, and if that trend continues to carry over from 2020, this is going to be one of the most disappointing offenses in Fantasy.
- One more thing to know: With just 45 rushing yards and 4 receiving yards, Najee Harris didn't have the most impressive debut ever. But he did play every single offensive snap for the Steelers while receiving 16 carries and earning three targets, and that kind of workload is going to make him a must-start Fantasy option even if you are pessimistic about this offense.
- One more thought: This was a bad game for the Bills offense, and I like to think it's just a bad game for them. This is a very tough matchup, as you are surely well aware. But this was probably Josh Allen's worst game since 2019, so we'll want to see him turn things around in Week 2 against the Dolphins.
Chargers at Washington
- Winner: Mike Williams. Williams' career has been largely defined by unrealized potential, but he looked like a star in this one. It's funny, new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi compared Williams to Michael Thomas in the modified version of the Saints offense he installed, but most of us took that serious, perhaps, but not literally; it meant Williams was going to be an important part of the offense, not that he would be their version of Thomas. For one day, at least, Williams did fill that role, earning 12 targets with an average depth of target of 9.8 yards -- well below where he's been in his career typically. He earned two end zone targets, to boot. It's just one game, but if this is a sign of things to come for Williams' usage, the breakout could be upon us.
- Losers: Terry McLaurin. Look, it's one game where the starting QB left with a hip injury, so you don't want to be too critical, and I won't be. However, part of why we were so excited about McLaurin this season was because of the expectation that Ryan Fitzpatrick would provide better play and a more explosive offense in Washington, so if Fitzpatrick's injury does cost him serious time, it does put McLaurin's upside in question. Something to monitor.
- One more thing to know: Austin Ekeler had a very strange game. Some might call it "troubling." He had 15 carries with a touchdown (on one of two goal-line carries he received), which is nice, but he also wasn't targeted in the game, and that's where Ekeler typically makes his money. Ekeler did run 25 routes, so it's not like he wasn't on the field, which makes me feel a bit better about the situation. Don't panic.
- Another thing to know: Antonio Gibson certainly got the work-horse role we were hoping for, with 20 carries and five targets, which is great. And he actually was more of a factor in the passing game than J.D. McKissic for the first time in his career, running 13 routes to McKissic's 13. That's still just half of the team's pass plays and he was a non-factor on third down, which is concerning come games where they throw more, but this was a promising first game.
- Winner: Just a reminder: Kyler Murray has as much upside as any QB in football if he's throwing the ball well. He took advantage of the Titans defense, tossing four touchdowns in this one and adding a rushing touchdown, too -- it doesn't matter who is back there next to him, Murray is the best goal-line back the Cardinals have. With A.J. Green and Rondale Moore added to this offense, the hope is Murray can play like he did in the first half last season all year long. If he does, he might just win MVP.
- Losers: Ryan Tannehill. Expectations were high for Tannehill and the Titans passing game with the addition of Julio Jones, but they just couldn't get anything going. You can pin much of the blame for that on Chandler Jones, who sacked Tannehill five times, forcing two fumbles. This was probably just one bad day for the Titans, but with Jones and A.J. Brown having missed much of training camp, you do worry just a bit if they might need some time to gel.
- One more thing to know: James Conner only got one carry in the Green Zone (within the opponent's 10-yard line), but he did play four of the team's six snaps there. He's going to have a role no matter what, but if he takes over Kenyan Drake's from 2020 -- Drake had 10 touchdowns -- Conner is going to be one of the best values in Fantasy this season.
Seahawks at Colts
- Winner: Jonathan Taylor/Nyheim Hines. Taylor had 17 carries and seven targets, while Hines had nine and eight, respectively. That made them Carson Wentz's top two targets in the game and created quite a bit of Fantasy production between the two of them. 41 touches between them won't be repeatable every week, but it's pretty clear the Colts want to make both a big part of their offense. Hines' running game role was promising, but Taylor's passing game role could make him a legitimate contender for a top-five RB spot if it's the start of him getting 60-plus targets this season.
- Losers: Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman played a massive role, logging 74 of 76 snaps and running nearly every route. However, like we saw last season, he wasn't really able to take advantage of it, garnering just four targets. Pittman is an interesting talent, but he ranked just 121st out of 141 players (min. 50 TAR) in targets per route run in 2020, and just 100th in yards per route run. The opportunity is there; can he take advantage of it?
- One more thing to know: Well, the Seahawks new offense didn't lead to some kind of gigantic increase in pass attempts. In fact, Russell Wilson threw just 23 times. Was that because of the game plan, or was it because he was so efficient that they didn't need to throw it more? It's probably too early to take much from this offense, but if the goal was to make this offense less predictable, it sure looked like they had a pretty good Colts defense confused.
- Winner: Ja'Marr Chase! I'm sorry for yelling, but I have Chase in a lot of my leagues -- I was buying the dip. I can't take too much credit for one, because I didn't start Chase in any of those leagues, but I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to do so soon. Yes, it was troubling that the narrative surrounding him in camp and the preseason was about his trouble catching the ball, but he's also a very, very good prospect who was worth betting on, especially because the Bengals gave no sign of having soured on him. He actually led the Bengals WR in snaps in his NFL debut, and should be viewed as a starting-caliber Fantasy option after today.
- Losers: Tyler Boyd. Boyd only had four targets on 27 pass attempts, and the problem there is that he's more of a compiler than either Tee Higgins or Chase, who both should hit big plays and touchdowns more consistently than Boyd. It's just one week -- and Joe Burrow's first game back -- so hopefully we see more overall pass volume than we did Sunday.
- One more thing to know: Adam Thielen scored two touchdowns; Justin Jefferson didn't have one. Uh oh, it's happening again. Except, Jefferson looked like he scored a 34-yard-touchdown in the fourth quarter, but was ruled down at the goal line and upheld on review. Dalvin Cook followed up with a touchdown on the next play, but Jefferson was closer to a good Fantasy game than the box score shows.
- Winner: Corey Davis. So, Davis didn't sustain his 1.4 targets per route run pace from the preseason -- shocking! -- but he was still Zach Wilson's top target, especially in the red zone. He caught five of seven passes for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and looks like he could be a top-24 WR moving forward.
- Losers: Robby Anderson. Anderson played just two fewer snaps than D.J. Moore in this one, but if you were banking on his and Sam Darnold's time in New York together pushing him to the top of the WR pecking order, you didn't see it Sunday. His three targets were actually tied for fourth on the team with tight end Dan Arnold, though he did at least make his one catch count, going for a 57-yard touchdown. I think Anderson will be fine moving forward, but he was used exclusively as a deep target in this one, while Moore was used more like a true go-to alpha WR. We'll see if that remains true moving forward.
- One more thing to know: The bad news is, Elijah Moore had just one catch for -3 yards on his four targets. The good news is, he was on the field for 57 of 65 offensive snaps and was targeted several times down the field by Wilson in his NFL debut. He nearly caught one bomb from Wilson in the first quarter and had a second tipped in the fourth. Seeing him get those kinds of targets was very promising, so hopefully, he can keep this role if and when Jamison Crowder is active. I'm still stashing him, and would even add him if available.
Jaguars at Texans
- Winner: Mark Ingram. There aren't going to be many -- any? -- more games where the Texans find themselves leaning on the run to close a game out early in the second half, so don't expect another 26-carry game from Ingram anytime soon. However, he clearly established himself as the No. 1 option in this running game, with Phillip Lindsay seeing eight carries and David Johnson getting just three. Ingram may not hold up as a lead back all season, and he doesn't have huge upside in this offense, but his 32% roster rate is obviously too low right now.
- Losers: James Robinson. There was no question who the lead back for Jacksonville was, as Robinson played 46 of 73 snaps. However, Robinson ended up with just five carries, compared to nine for Carlos Hyde -- who actually opened the second half as the starter. I have no if that means Hyde is likely to start in Week 2, but you can't be happy about Hyde getting more carries. Robinson was still the primary option in the passing game with three catches for 29 yards on six carries, but if the Jaguars end up adding Duke Johnson from the practice squad, that may not be guaranteed either. I have to assume Robinson will be the lead back and the more valuable option, but it's hard to be excited about an offense that looked as bad as Jacksonville's Sunday. One positive note: He was the clear passing down's back and even split out wide 10 times. Hopefully, there are more targets coming his way consistently.
- One more thing to know: Trevor Lawrence predictably struggled in his first taste of NFL action, and it looks like this could be a pretty messy team -- at least until they get comfortable. The wide receivers were probably the part of the offense we were most interested coming in, and there were some promising signs in that regard, at least. DJ Chark ended up catching just three passes, but his 12 targets and 199 air yards suggest some real upside if he can get on the same page as Lawrence. Marvin Jones earned nine targets and 104 air yards, while Laviska Shenault was more of the short-area guy, earning nine targets of his own but for just 28 air yards. Shenault could be a starting-caliber PPR option, but at least based on what we saw in Week 1, Chark has the most upside in this offense. Which makes sense; he's also, in my opinion, the riskiest of them.
49ers at Lions
- Winner: D'Andre Swift/Jamaal Williams. All that hand-wringing about who the "A" back in this offense was in the preseason feels like years ago after this one. Swift led the team in carries with 11, while Williams got nine -- plus a goal-line touchdown -- but it was in the passing game where both looked like true Fantasy studs, as Swift caught eight of 11 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown and WIlliams added eight catches of his own for 56 yards on nine targets. The Lions won't throw the ball 57 times every time out, so the volume there isn't sustainable. However, given the lack of talent in the WR corps, both should be consistent parts of the passing game. And Swift sure looks like a potential No. 1 RB. That injury discount looks clutch right now.
- Losers: Trey Sermon. I mean, he wasn't even active for this game despite being healthy, with Kyle Shanahan telling reporters after the game that Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty had simply outplayed him in training camp and the preseason. With Raheem Mostert hurt, Sermon may be active next week, and it's entirely possible the rookie improves enough in the coming weeks to carve out a significant role. However, seeing as Mitchell, also a rookie, is already ahead of him in the pecking order (and might be the top target on waivers in Week 2), Sermon's ascension is by no means a fait accompli.
- One more thing to know: Brandon Aiyuk. When Aiyuk failed to garner a single target in Week 1, I assumed the hamstring injury he had been dealing with was the reason. And it was -- sort of. Shanahan acknowledged the injury was part of why Aiyuk was out there, but he also acknowledged that Trent Sherfield had simply earned the right to be on the field more. "Sherfield was pushing as it was," Shanahan said. That doesn't mean Aiyuk is the No. 3 WR all of a sudden, but with Deebo Samuel posting a dominant nine-catch, 189-yard performance, it's also not at all guaranteed that Aiyuk is going to live up to expectations. Don't drop Aiyuk, and don't let someone else buy low. But you can't start him next week, that's for sure.
- Winner: Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater is known as the kind of QB whose best trait is that he brings a steady hand to the wheel, but there was obviously plenty of upside in his approach in Week 1. His average intended air yards per target was 8.7 yards, and 14% of his attempts traveled 20-plus yards down the field; in 2020, Bridgewater's IAY/T was just 7.1. He's surrounded with plenty of pass-catching talent, though the likely loss of Jerry Jeudy, who suffered a reported high-ankle sprain, for at least a few weeks isn't ideal. Still, Bridgewater has the Jaguars and Jets on the schedule over the next two weeks, so he could be a viable starting option if you're streaming.
- Losers: Devontae Booker. This was a weird game, with so many Giants players coming back from injuries and Jeudy leaving the game for the Broncos, so I don't know how much you can necessarily take from any of what we saw. But, one thing is for certain, which is that Booker's window of relevance never opened. He was someone we liked targeting late in drafts in case Saquon Barkley's early-season limitations gave him a chance to contribute, but with just one target and four carries, there's no reason to hang on to Booker except as a handcuff. But Barkley figures to see his role only increase from here, so it's just an injury insurance situation at this point.
- One more thing to know: The game could have been even better for the Broncos and Bridgewater, except that second-year slot receiver KJ Hamler dropped what should have been an easy touchdown; he was wide open and the ball just went through his hands on what would have been an on-the-money 50-yard touchdown pass. If Jeudy's injury keeps him sidelined -- and it seems like it will -- Hamler is worth adding in most leagues. Tim Patrick will also be an interesting waiver target, too, but Hamler's big play ability makes him a bit more interesting.
- Winner: David Njoku. Injuries have made it tough for Njoku to consistently contribute, but he's always had the physical abilities to be a Fantasy starter at tight end. He was healthy for Week 1 and played 35 of 59 snaps, including more routes than Austin Hooper. We'll see if that was just a one-game thing, but Njoku is worth watching at the very shallow TE position.
- Losers: Odell Beckham. There was some speculation from Browns beat writers that Beckham wouldn't be 100% ready for Week 1, but most Fantasy analysts seemed to treat him as if he was going to play a relatively normal role. That was mistaken, and seeming him inactive for Week 1 has to dramatically alter your expectations for at least the next few weeks -- Beckham hasn't even been tackled yet. I'll wait to see him at least put in some full practice sessions before I plan on starting him.
- One more thing to know: The box score numbers look pretty underwhelming for Clyde Edwards-Helaire -- 43 yards on 14 carries with three catches for 29 yards on three targets -- but it's worth noting that Darrel Williams had just one carry and, most importantly, no targets in the game. Edwards-Helaire was treated like a legitimate No. 1 RB, playing 47 of 65 snaps in a game script that should have lent itself to Williams or Jerick McKinnon -- at least based on our preseason expectations. He played seven of 13 snaps on third down and was on the field for all four snaps inside of the 10-yard line, too; he also ran 26 routes while Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon ran just eight combined. It wasn't a great Fantasy day for Edwards-Helaire, but it was a great day for his Fantasy value moving forward. See if you can buy low.
Dolphins at Patriots
- Winner: Damien Harris. Harris was always going to be the lead back for the Patriots, but when Rhamondre Stevenson fumbled on his second touch of the game, Harris' role was secured. He may not dominate carries quite to this extent -- 23 of 29 RB carries plus three targets -- but this was a very promising game. Harris is always going to be relatively touchdown dependent unless his role in the passing game grows, but you have to feel pretty good about him if you drafted him as your No. 3 RB right now.
- Losers: Mike Gesicki. Gesicki played just 21 snaps in this one and was targeted just twice on 27 total attempts, despite the Dolphins missing Will Fuller, arguably their top receiver. The addition of Jaylen Waddle has already pushed Gesicki down in the pecking order, and when Fuller is active in Week 2, Gesicki will be just a streaming tight end in my eyes.
- One more thing to know: Myles Gaskin was on the field a decent amount, but after playing 65% of the team's snaps in all 10 of his games last season, he played 54% in Week 1. He's clearly the lead back, but with just nine of 17 RB carries and five of eight RB targets, he's not going to dominate touches like he did last year. And I'm not sure he's good enough to be a must-start Fantasy option without that.
Packers at Saints
- Winner: Alvin Kamara. Kamara ran the ball 20 times in this one while Tony Jones Jr. got 11 carries, and that might be what the split looks like most weeks. Kamara isn't going to get 300 carries, of course, but I'm expecting an increase, and perhaps a significant one, from his previous career high of 194 carries. And he did that while still maintaining a 19% target share from Jameis Winston. He was my No. 2 RB coming into the season, and I'm not regretting that at all.
- Losers: Aaron Jones. Things just went sideways for the Packers early in this one, so you can't take much from it, especially after they brought their backups in for the fourth quarter. Still, just two targets and five carries is tough to swallow from a guy who was probably a top-10 pick in all leagues. The good news is, it's not like A.J. Dillon was heavily featured. Chalk it up to a flukey bad game.
- One more thing to know: Marquez Callaway's one catch for 14 yards on targets was a disappointing line given the hype around him in the preseason. However, the Saints threw just 21 passes and nobody had more than three receptions, so it's not like he was pushed out of the picture by someone else. As with Jones, it seems like this one could be explained away by circumstances, especially since Callaway played 52 of 62 snaps. He's still the No. 1 WR here and I'm hoping we see more from him in Week 2 against the Panthers. I'm also going to be watching the tight end split here very closely, because Juwan Johnson ended up playing just 12 snaps total despite his two touchdowns, while Adam Trautman played 51. Trautman is a better blocker than the converted wide receiver Johnson, but I'd still like to see Johnson carve out a bigger role before I trust him as more than just a touchdown-or-bust option.
- Winner: Cooper Kupp. Matthew Stafford's Rams debut went about as well as you could have hoped for, and Kupp was his clear No. 1 target, with 10 of 26 passes going his way. Kupp turned those into seven catches for 108 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown, and he made plays both down the field and in shorter areas. I'm not ready to just assume Kupp is the No. 1 option ahead of Robert Woods, but you have to feel great about Kupp right now. He's a potential top-12 WR.
- Losers: Sony Michel. Maybe Michel is still getting up to speed in the offense, but he didn't play a single snap until the second half, with his first and only touch coming with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. His role should expand moving forward -- asking Darrell Henderson to consistently take on 90%-plus of the RB touches doesn't seem viable based on his injury history. However, this wasn't a good start for those of us who think Michel could end up the No. 1 back in this offense.
- One more thing to know: I ranked David Montgomery as my No. 12 running back in this one, and he rewarded me with 18.8 PPR points, so I'm happy about that. However, one thing I didn't like seeing was Damien Williams out-targetting him four to one. What made me really like Montgomery last season was his passing game role after Tarik Cohen's injury -- 4.9 targets per game. If Williams is going to cut into that, Montgomery becomes a lot less interesting. I'll be watching that closely in Week 2 against the Bengals.