Week 1, we saw the usual variance at running back, while most of the elite receivers lived up to their billing (more on that shortly). Unsurprisingly, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen finished Week 1 as the top fantasy quarterbacks, scoring 34.9 and 33.5 fantasy points respectively, while Carson Wentz crashed the party by hanging 29.7 FP on the Jaguars despite tossing two picks.
Each Tuesday, we'll take an in-depth look back at the previous week, making note of the good, the bad and any other interesting tidbits I happen to come across. Through the first few weeks of the season I'll see what works and what doesn't work and likely make some tweaks to the format to keep things as simple and concise as possible.
Without further ado, let's dive in:
Most of the elite receivers came to play in Week 1. From August 28 through Opening Night, NFFC ADP closed with Justin Jefferson (3.5 avg pick), Cooper Kupp (3.7), Ja'Marr Chase (6.2), Stefon Diggs (10.0) and Davante Adams (10.6) as the consensus top-five wideouts.
All five finished in the top-six in fantasy points (PPR) at the position in Week 1, with Michael Pittman Jr. (27.1 FP) finishing as the fifth-highest scorer, just barely ahead of Diggs (26.2).
Justin Jefferson got off to a fast start against Green Bay's highly regarded secondary and finished with 39.4 fantasy points, catching nine of his 11 targets for 184 yards and two scores.
Jaire Alexander told reporters postgame that he begged for the shadow assignment on Jefferson all week. He did not get it, and the Packers paid dearly.
Cooper Kupp hauled in 13 catches for 128 yards and a TD, while Adams finished with 10 catches (on a league-high 17 targets), 141 yards and a touchdown. Chase played a whopping 100 snaps in the Bengals' OT loss to the Steelers, posting a 10-129-1 line.
In the Bills' decimation of the Rams on Opening Night, Diggs caught eight of nine targets for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The only receiver to finish top-10 in PPR fantasy points in Week 1 without a touchdown catch? A.J. Brown (10 catches, 155 yards on 13 targets).
Seeing his first action since late in the 2020 season, Michael Thomas made his presence felt, catching five of eight targets from Jameis Winston for 57 yards. Thomas found the endzone twice, including late in the fourth quarter to cut the Saints' deficit to two points with 3:38 to play.
It was a relatively quiet debut for Chris Olave, who caught all three of his targets for 41 yards.
Veteran Jarvis Landry was Winston's most-targeted receiver, catching seven of his nine targets for 114 yards, including a 40-yarder.
Of course I didn't start him anywhere, but I do have Landry rostered in one league. He's a steady veteran I always find myself targeting later in drafts. I love having him as an injury replacement, but I'm not sure I'll have the guts to start him unless I have some injury/bye issues.
Winston looked shaky to begin the afternoon – at one point it looked as though Andy Dalton was warming up to come in after Winston took a hard hit on a sack – but he found his rhythm just in time to lead back-to-back touchdown drives before Wil Lutzdrilled a 51-yard field goal to deliver the come-from-behind victory.
On the Falcons side of things, Cordarrelle Patterson defied all of the chatter about his role being reduced this season, piling up 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Patterson also tacked on three catches for 16 yards.
Kyle Pitts spent much of the day battling Marshon Lattimore and caught only two of his seven targets for 19 yards.
Thanks to 72 rushing yards (and a rushing TD), Marcus Mariota finished Week 1 as the QB10.
Rookie Drake London saw his first action since Week 1 of the preseason and led Atlanta with 74 yards on five catches. It's very possible that the Falcons do not have a No. 2 receiver on the roster.
Atlanta led this game 23-10 and was on the verge of another score before Mariota fumbled at the Saints' 5-yard-line late in the third quarter.
Carson Wentz took command in Washington's win over the Jaguars, tossing four touchdown passes for the first time since Week 14 of the 2017 season.
Only three quarterbacks – Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Joe Burrow – threw for more yards than Wentz in Week 1, though Wentz did toss two picks on back-to-back plays in the second half.
It was a big day for several Commanders pass-catchers, as five players had at least 40 receiving yards.
Antonio Gibson had seven catches for 72 yards to go with 58 rushing yards
Terry McLaurin salvaged an otherwise pedestrian day with a 49-yard touchdown
Rookie Jahan Dotson brought down two touchdowns on five targets, finishing with three catches for 40 yards. Dotson is now the Offensive Rookie of the Year favoriteat several books.
Week 1 served as official confirmation that, despite cleansing the organization of the Urban Meyer stink, the Jaguars are still very much the Jaguars. Jacksonville led 22-14 with 12 minutes to play before conceding a pair of touchdowns to fall to 4-30 since the start of the 2020 season.
Overall, Lawrence was just OK. He can make every throw, but he still looks like he's thinking too much. On Jacksonville's first drive of the game, Lawrence badly missed Travis Etienne for what would've been a wide open touchdown. Later in the first half, Etienne dropped another likely touchdown on a fairly risky 4th-and-goal call.
Christian Kirk (6-117, 12 targets) is very clearly Trevor Lawrence's go-to target, followed by Zay Jones and Marvin Jones – likely in that order.
Zay Jones brought in six of his nine targets for 65 yards
In his return from a torn Achilles, James Robinson looked fantastic: 11 carries, 66 yards and one TD to go with a three-yard receiving touchdown
Etienne had only four carries but he broke a 27-yarder and finished with 47 yards. In his 36 snaps, Etienne ran 23 routes but was targeted only four times.
I'm brave enough to say it: I did not anticipate Zander Horvath scoring more fantasy points than Etienne in Week 1.
For the most part, the Jags got away from the run early on. Lawrence was one of only five quarterbacks to reach 40 pass attempts in Week 1.
No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker was responsible for both an impressive interception and the Jaguars' lone sack of Wentz.
One week into the season, the Dallas Cowboys are already in panic mode. Not only did the offense look completely defanged against the Bucs on Sunday Night Football, but by the end of the night, it was Cooper Rush relieving an injured Dak Prescott. After a brief examination by a team doctor who rode in on a horse, Prescott was diagnosed with a fractured thumb.
As someone rostering Dak in two important leagues, this is obviously less-than-ideal. But luckily I have Matt Ryan, who threw an interception on a screen pass during a tie against the Texans, as my backup in both leagues.
Even before the injury, which occurred midway through the fourth quarter with Dallas trailing 19-3, the Cowboys were unable to get much of anything going against the Bucs' defense. Dallas was the only team that failed to score a touchdown in Week 1.
Prescott finished a frustrating night just 14-of-29 for 134 yards and a pick.
Noah Brown was Dallas' leading receiver during a frustrating night for CeeDee Lamb, who caught just two of 11 targets for 29 yards.
All indications are that it will, in fact, be Cooper Rush time once again in Dallas. Rush will put his undefeated record as a starter on the line in Week 2 when the Cowboys face off against the 0-1 Bengals in Dallas.
Dallas' next seven games: vs. Bengals, at Giants, vs. Commanders, at Rams, at Eagles, vs. Lions, vs. Bears
It's not exactly a gauntlet, but based on how they looked Sunday night before Dak went down, the Cowboys may only be favored in one of those games.
On the other side of the Sunday Night game, the Bucs slogged their way through an up-and-down night offensively. Tampa Bay was able to move the ball consistently, but all five first-half drives ended in field goal attempts (four makes, one miss). Tom Brady was sacked twice by Micah Parsons on third downs deep in Cowboys territory.
Chris Godwin caught all three of his targets for 35 yards before departing with a hamstring injury. While he could miss multiple weeks, the good news is Godwin's surgically repaired knee held up just fine.
With Godwin out, Julio Jones becomes a start-able option as the WR2 in the Bucs' offense. Jones looked plenty healthy and plenty spry, most notably hauling in a difficult 48-yard reception just before halftime.
Jones is rostered in less than half of ESPN leagues, as of Tuesday morning.
Mike Evans was in and out of the game at points in the second half while appearing to battle some sort of minor injury. Evans was on the field for key downs, however, including an acrobatic touchdown catch that essentially sealed the victory.
At that point in the game, Dallas had firmly established that it was not able to move the ball.
Leonard Fournette had a fantastic night, finishing with 127 yards on 21 carries to go with two catches for 10 yards.
D'Andre Swift was one of the biggest winners of Week 1, running all over the Eagles' defense for 144 yards on just 15 carries. Swift did find the endzone once, but Jamaal Williams vultured a pair of touchdowns in the first half.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: eight catches on 12 targets, 64 yards, TD
DJ Chark offset a bad drop with a touchdown in the second half
A.J. Brown shined in his debut for Philadelphia, commanding 13 targets for Jalen Hurts and bringing in 10 for 155 yards. All four of the Eagles' offensive touchdowns – James Bradberryhad a pick-six on Jared Goff – came on the ground, with Hurts, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott each finding the endzone.
For Sanders, it was his first touchdown since Week 16 of 2020 – a span of more than 140 carries.
Sound the alarm for DeVonta Smith, who was held without a catch on four targets. Smith did play 72 snaps (six more than Brown), however.
For the second straight year, the Packers made the controversial but brave decision to no-show Week 1. It wasn't quite as bad as last season's 38-3 shellacking at the hands of the Saints, but Green Bay was punched in the mouth early and never fully recovered.
After letting up a touchdown on Minnesota's opening drive, the Packers called a deep shot to rookie Christian Watson on their first offensive play. Watson gets some credit for a nice route that got him wide open, but this is one of the worst drops you'll ever see:
After the drop, which essentially landed Watson in Aaron Rodgers' doghouse for the rest of the afternoon, the Packers' passing game never found its rhythm. Green Bay's five first-half drives: punt, punt, stuffed at 1-yard-line, punt, interception.
Despite some ugly drives and a clear lack of talent at receiver, I came away from this game still feeling OK about the Packers. They were without two starting offensive lineman, plus Allen Lazard, and the Watson drop (known henceforth as simply The Drop)essentially eliminated another target for Rodgers.
Defensively, Green Bay had several miscommunications and didn't look anything like a potential top-five unit, but it did hold Minnesota to just two field goals in the second half.
Not a great sign: AJ Dillon led the Packers in receiving (5-46)
Aaron Jones had only eight total touches
Robert Tonyan made his return from injury, catching three passes for 36 yards
At the end of the day, Watson ended up leading Green Bay's receivers in routes run (29) and ranked second behind Sammy Watkins in total snaps (40).
With Lazard's status in jeopardy, and the Bears on the schedule in Week 2, Watson could be worth a speculative add.
Romeo Doubs: 4-37
Robbie Anderson surprisingly finished the week as a top-10 fantasy receiver. Of his 102 yards, 75 came on one TD catch in the fourth quarter on what looked like a (horrifically poorly timed) broken coverage by the Browns. Hey, they all count the same.
DJ Moore: three catches on six targets for 43 yards
Baker Mayfield was predictably erratic from the jump. More than half of his 235 passing yards came on two plays: the 75-yarder to Anderson and a 50-yard completion to tight end Ian Thomas.
Quiet Week 1 for Christian McCaffrey, who carried just 10 times for 33 yards and added 24 receiving yards on four catches.
McCaffrey played more than 80 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps – the problem is they only ran a league-low 50 plays. Cleveland won the time of possession battle 38:26 to 21:34
The last time the Browns won a Week 1 game, it was Jeff Garcia and William Green taking down Kyle Boller's Baltimore Ravens back in 2004.
Tough to get fired up about the Browns' passing game under Jacoby Brissett, but Donovan Peoples-Jones (6-60, 11 targets) may be worth an add in deeper formats.
Amari Cooper: 3-17 (six targets)
Nick Chubb: 22 carries, 141 yards
Kareem Hunt: 11 carries, 46 yards, TD; four catches, 24 yards, 1 rec TD
49ers over Bears was my Beating the Book lock of the week. Shameful stuff by me. I'll be taking a long look in the mirror before making this week's picks (they'll publish every Wednesday). I knew I regretted the pick once Kittle was injured, but I regretted significantly more more when it became clear this game would be played in a rare inland hurricane forming off of Lake Michigan.
Calling this game a slopfest would be a gross understatement. This was so far beyond the usual rain game that it's hard to come down too hard on Trey Lance, who could barely grip the football for most of the second half.
Eli Mitchell exited the game with a knee injury and was later diagnosed with a sprained MCL that will likely keep him out for two months. Jeff Wilson stepped in after Mitchell exited and racked up 41 yards on six carries.
Deebo Samuel: 52 yards, one TD on eight carries
Samuel also coughed up a fumble deep in Bears territory in the first quarter
Not much to take away from the Bears' side of things. Justin Fields deserves credit for finding a way to win under incredibly difficult circumstances, but we'll know a lot more about this offense after next Sunday night's game at Lambeau Field.
It's been nearly 48 hours and I'm still not sure how the Steelers escaped Cincinnati with a victory. Despite forcing five Joe Burrow turnovers – four of which came in the first half – Pittsburgh failed to build any cushion and was on the verge of defeat before blocking an Evan McPherson extra-point that would've put Cincinnati up 21-20 with two seconds remaining. In overtime, both teams traded missed field goals before Chris Boswell finally drilled a 53-yarder as time expired to avoid a second Week 1 tie.
Burrow easily finished as a top-10 quarterback despite posting negative points deep into the second quarter.
Tee Higgins exited with a concussion after a nasty hit to the head by Minkah Fitzpatrick. He's in concussion protocol and should be considered iffy for Week 2 at Dallas.
If Higgins doesn't play, Tyler Boyd (4-33-1) becomes a viable starting option
Make no mistake: this was a horrendous loss for Bengals. Pittsburgh was begging them to win this game. BUT, Cincinnati has to be encouraged by the fact that it moved the ball at will for the entire second half against a good defense.
Cincy's new and improved offensive line did not have a great day, as Burrow was sacked seven times.
Joe Mixon: 27 carries for 82 yards; seven catches for 63 yards
Name to monitor if you're needy at TE: Hayden Hurst (5-46)
Najee Harris departed in the second half with what initially looked like a serious injury. He eventually returned to the sideline in a walking boot but appears to have avoided anything major. He says he'll play in Week 2 against New England, but that's not a certainty.
Pittsburgh lost T.J. Watt to a torn pectoral, but it's unclear whether it's severe enough to require surgery.
The Steelers' passing offense under Mitch Trubisky was a disaster for most of the day. No tangible upgrade over Ben Roethlisberger. It may be time to temper expectations for guys like Chase Claypool (4-18, six targets) and George Pickens (1-3, three targets)
However, Pat Freiermuth had a strong debut, catching five of 10 targets for 75 yards.
Colts-Texans produced one of the surprise results of the weekend thanks to a shaky debut from Matt Ryan and the Colts' passing game. Ryan finished Week 1 with 352 yards and 1TD (plus one bad pick), though the Colts were playing from behind the entire second half
Despite that game script, the Colts kept riding Jonathan Taylor as they clawed back from a 20-3 deficit. Taylor found the endzone midway through the fourth quarter, and after a quick Houston punt, Ryan found Michael Pittman Jr. for the game-tying score with under two minutes remaining.
One thing is abundantly clear: the Colts do not have a No. 2 receiver behind Pittman. Kylen Granson (real person) was targeted seven times, while Nyheim Hines and Ashton Dulin each had six targets. Parris Campbell had three catches for 37 yards on four targets.
Rookie Alec Pierce, who was being drafted as Indy's No. 2 receiver, was responsible for the second-worst drop of the week.
The "is this a misprint?" line of the week goes to O.J. Howard, who caught both of Davis Mills' touchdowns just nine days after signing with the team.
Howard will surely be a popular waiver target this week, but keep in mind that he played only 12 snaps compared to 45 for Pharaoh Brown and 40 for Brevin Jordan.
Lovie Smith threw some cold water on the Dameon Pierce hype train, opting to roll with Rex Burkhead as the lead back for most of the afternoon. Burkhead out-snapped Pierce 48 to 20 and was in the game for most passing situations, as well as virtually the entire late-game 2-minute drill.
I still think there's a lot to like about Pierce, but for now at least, the Texans coaching staff is more comfortable with Burkhead.
In his head coaching debut, Mike McDaniel got the best of Bill Belichick as the Dolphins handed the Pats a Week 1 loss for the second straight year.
I remain unconvinced that Tua Tagovailoa is a long-term star, but he did enough to capitalize on a sloppy day by the Patriots. Tua finished with 270 yards on 23 completions with one touchdown – a 42-yarder to Jaylen Waddle on a 4th-and-7 late in the first half.
Waddle had been battling a quad injury late in the preseason but did not appear limited.
Tyreek Hill: 8-94 on 12 targets
If you haven't already, it's time to drop Mike Gesicki, who had just one target on 15 routes run. Gesicki was out-snapped by Durham Smythe 38 to 25.
Mike Williams was one of a handful of big-name receivers who disappointed in Week 1. Justin Herbert put up 279 yards and three TDs, but he converted only two of his four targets to Williams for 10 yards.
Keenan Allen departed with a hamstring strain. It's unclear how severe it may be, but with a short week before Thursday's showdown with the Chiefs, Allen will almost certainly miss at least one contest.
Obviously, that would position Williams for a major bounceback in Week 2, while Josh Palmer would become the temporary No. 2. Palmer was quiet in Week 1 (three catches, five yards), while DeAndre Carter (3-64-1) had a nice afternoon.
Palmer is rostered in 35.5 percent of ESPN leagues as of Monday evening. He out-snapped Carter 51 to 25 on Sunday.
Baltimore rolled over the Jets 24-9, despite struggling to run the ball for most of the afternoon. The Ravens finished with just 63 yards on 21 carries and did not have a single run go for more than 10 yards.
Lamar Jackson threw three touchdowns – one to Rashod Bateman and two to Devin Duvernay, who appears to have the inside track to the No. 2 WR job.
Mark Andrews had five catches for 52 yards on seven targets, but he goes down as one of the bigger disappointments in a Week 1 that featured O.J. Howard, Taysom Hill and Gerald Everett as top-five fantasy producers at tight end.
Joe Flacco attempted 59 (fifty-nine) passes in the loss. For those curious, Vinny Testaverde holds the Jets franchise record with 69 attempts – fittingly, in a loss to the Ravens.
The massive volume created opportunity for a bevy of Jets receivers, as Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Michael Carter, Breece Hall and Braxton Berrios each registered at least four catches and at least 35 yards. Suffice it to say that won't be the case every week.
Carter: 10 carries, 60 yards
Hall: six carries, 23 yards
Patrick Mahomes said he was planning to spread the ball around more this season and he backed that up in Week 1. Four Chiefs players caught Mahomes' five touchdown passes, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire bringing down two.
Travis Kelce was the clear TE1 in Week 1, piling up eight catches for 121 yards and a score en route to 26.1 FP.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 6-79
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 4-44
Draft-season hero Isiah Pacheco got much of the work in garbage time after Kansas City built a 37-7 lead through three quarters. Pacheco carried 12 times for 62 yards and cashed in a three-yard TD midway through the fourth.
Not a whole lot to say about the Cardinals. Playing without Deandre Hopkins and RonDale Moore, the offense was mostly impotent. Hollywood Brown salvaged his day with a touchdown. Greg Dortch finished as Arizona's leading receiver (7-63).
Fairly underwhelming Week 1 for Austin Ekeler in the Chargers' win over Las Vegas. Ekeler played almost exactly half of the Chargers' offensive snaps; It was pretty much a clean 50/25/25 split between Ekeler, Joshua Kelley and Sony Michel.
Ekeler: 14-36; four receptions, 36 yards
Zamir White: declared active but did not play a single snap
With Davante Adams vacuuming up targets at an alarming rate, Hunter Renfrow caught just three passes for 21 yards on six targets.
Darren Waller: 4-79
I picked the Broncos to cover 6.5 at Seattle on Monday night, but early on it became very clear that the Seahawks would not be allowing that to happen. While Denver literally fumbled away two chances to win the game, it was the bizarre, Mike-McCarthy-on-acid decision to run clock and attempt a 64-yard field goal – rather than going for it on 4th-and-5 with three timeouts – that ended up as the biggest talking point of the night.
On the whole, this will go down as a disastrous debut for Nathaniel Hackett from a game management standpoint, but lost in the chaos is the fact that Denver moved the ball well all night and piled up 180 more yards of total offense than Seattle. Had the Broncos been able to punch it in on either goal-line fumble – they also settled for three field goals deep in Seattle territory – we'd be talking about a completely different narrative.
This was a banner night for Geno Smith, who at one point was 18-of-19 passing to begin the game. Seattle did an excellent job of using motion and creative play-calling to give Smith easy throws to household names like Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly, who each had 43 yards to co-lead the team in receiving.
DK Metcalf: seven catches, 36 yards
Tyler Lockett: three catches, 28 yards
Rashaad Penny: 12 carries, 60 yards
Travis Homer (one carry) was the only other Seattle back to factor into the game plan.
Russell Wilson mostly looked good for Denver, though he should've thrown at least one interception, with Quandre Diggs falling to pull down a relatively pick in the endzone late in the first half. Wilson did not target a wide receiver until the second quarter, but both Courtland Sutton (4-72) and Jerry Jeudy (4-102-1) ended up having solid nights.
The biggest play of the night was a 67-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Jeudy. The ball was under-thrown, but Jeudy made a nice adjustment, shook off a defender, then easily won a 35-yard foot race to the endzone
Wilson routinely looked for tight ends Albert O and Andrew Beck in the flat, while also dumping it off to Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon a combined 13 times. Eleven of those receptions were made by Williams, who finished the week as the RB12 in PPR formats, despite finishing with only 43 yards on seven carries. Williams was responsible for one goal-line fumble, while Gordon had the other.
Albert Okwuegbunam: 5-33
KJ Hamler: no catches on one target
Gordon: 12 carries, 58 yards