Mostly NFL Notes: Dez Bryant goes down and so do many others in Week 1

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Dez Bryant broke his foot Sunday night and is looking at a 4-6 week absence. This is terrible for owners, and there’s no other way to slice it. Bryant has played in 16 games in each of the past three seasons (and 15 the one prior), often fighting through injuries that would make someone like myself hospitalized. His 56 touchdowns are the most by any WR since 2010. Dallas faces the Eagles, Falcons and Saints during the next three weeks, respectively, who ranked No. 32, No. 27 and No. 26 when it came to allowing fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season. Go ahead and treat Terrance Williams as a top-15 fantasy wide receiver for the time being and aggressively spend your FAAB on him if he’s available in your league...Jason Witten (and Cole Beasley) gets a boost as well.

It’s clear Joseph Randle is the Cowboys’ lead back as long as he can handle the workload (although Lance Dunbar is going to be heavily involved in the passing game)....The same can be said for Rashad Jennings for the Giants...With 1:37 left in the fourth, why didn’t Eli Manning just fall down when his first read wasn’t open? That extra 40 seconds cost them the game, and this is in no way a hindsight thing. Dumbfounding...That failure led to the latest TD winning pass in Cowboys history...Odell Beckham Jr. will be fine, so please don’t worry...The narrative of Tony Romo being unclutch continues to be debunked

Those who took the Panthers in Survivor got breaks, as the Jaguars missed a field goal and an extra point and got a pick-six, although I guess the latter wasn’t totally unexpected with Blake Bortles involved. Bortles got 4.6 YPA, was sacked five times and struggled mightily after an encouraging preseason...Cam Newton’s 14 rushing attempts tied for the second-highest of his career...It was surprising Greg Olsen and Allen Robinson combined for 38 yards on nine targets, whereas Rashad Greene saw 13 looks (although he turned them into just 28 yards)...T.J. Yeldon looked shifty. Don’t give up on him.

Pretty crazy Sammy Watkins was held without a catch when Tyrod Taylor got 10.3 YPA...This Buffalo defense looks terrifying. They are the real deal...LeSean McCoy looked good enough returning from his hamstring injury, but him losing a goal-line carry to Booby Dixon isn’t exactly encouraging...T.Y. Hilton saw a whopping 14 targets before leaving with a knee injury. Fantasy owners have to hold their breath at this point, but Donte Moncrief (who saw 11 targets) is an immediate FAAB priority right now in all leagues...Andre Johnson will be better, especially if Hilton is out for an extended period, but he was out of sync with Luck on Sunday and had a bad drop during a two-point attempt.

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As someone who had the Packers in Survivor, this Green Bay game had me on edge all day, thanks partly to Sam Shields going offsides on a field goal attempt (and committing multiple other penalties)...I was big on Davante Adams and preferred Ty Montgomery as the WR3 entering the year, but James Jones easily could’ve had four touchdowns Sunday. He’s apparently going to be very fantasy relevant...Alshon Jeffery looked healthy and should be started with confidence moving forward...Maybe it won’t last, but Matt Forte didn’t look like a 30-year-old-back. He’s a clear top-10 fantasy asset...Eddie Lacy looked good too, including this sick catch

I’m still trying to figure out how Nick Foles got 11.0 YPA against the Seahawks with Brian Quick inactive and Tavon Austin getting negative two yards on five targets...The Rams ran a QB sneak on 3rd and 21 to be conservative, and the next play resulted in this...Seattle started overtime with an onside kick (although it’s unclear this was on purpose), which actually makes some sense considering a following FG would end the game. But that’s still a pretty crazy move...For those still criticizing the Seahawks’ last play in the Super Bowl, the ending to this game was ironic

Johnny Manziel nearly had as many rushing yards (35) as Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. combined (42) on 14 fewer carries. Johnny Football also got 7.6 YPA against a defense that projects to be strong after adding Darrelle Revis over the offseason...This play by Brandon Marshall was pretty awesome

Jarvis Landry had a nice punt return for a TD, but he got 4.4 YPT against a Washington secondary that allowed an NFL-high 8.2 YPA last season, so I remain skeptical about a major breakout...Kirk Cousins now owns a 19:21 TD:INT ratio during his career...Jordan Reed will be a top-10 fantasy tight end while healthy, although that shouldn’t be expected to last long...This interception by Brice McCain was legit...Treat Pierre Garcon as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver while DeSean Jackson is out with his hamstring injury...The AFC East was quite impressive during Week 1.

Travis Kelce was a monster, securing all six of his targets for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He left the game after taking a big hit but later returned, and his best highlight of the day might have been Terry Bradshaw not knowing how to pronounce his name...Alex Smith threw three touchdowns and still not one of them was to a WR...I wouldn’t bother rostering Alfred Blue...DeAndre Hopkins is going to finish among the top-five in targets this season. He ended Sunday with 98 receiving yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion against a defense that allowed the third-lowest YPA (6.4) last season with a quarterback (Brian Hoyer) who was later replaced by Ryan Mallett due to ineffectiveness.

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Most Mark Ingram owners probably didn’t expect an 8/9 carry split between Khiry Robinson and him, but then again, it was also pretty shocking to see Ingram lead the Saints with nine targets (catching eight for 98 yards)...David Johnson had the nice 55-yard TD catch, but if Andre Ellington’s injury proves serious (and it didn’t look good), I’d prefer Chris Johnson moving forward, solely based on his usage Sunday...What a performance by Carson Palmer, coming off yet another ACL tear. He got 9.6 YPA with a 3:0 TD:INT ratio while taking zero sacks.

Not sure why Calvin Johnson saw just four targets...Meanwhile, Keenan Allen saw a whopping 17, securing 15 of them for 166 yards in a terrific performance, although he ceded TDs to Stevie Johnson and Ladarius Green...Golden Tate got 3.0 YPT...Melvin Gordon looked good at times, despite losing a fumble and yielding two TDs to Danny Woodhead. I still say the former scores far more fantasy points than the latter this season...Ameer Abdullah made the most of his first career carry...Up 26-21, San Diego lined up for a two-point conversion (after attempting none last season), and then decided to attempt a 38-yard extra point after a delay of game penalty, which was absurd with 11:49 left (they missed it, but that’s actually beside the point).

Song of the Week: Civil Twilight – Story Of An Immigrant 

I’d worry far more about Ronnie Hillman getting the same amount of carries (12) as C.J. Anderson than the latter having a lackluster first game. An even split was really surprising, although Anderson owners can at least take solace in his eight targets...What happened to Owen Daniels?...Joe Flacco was terrible, but realize Denver allowed an NFL-low 6.0 YPA last season, and his options are really weak right now. Definitely don’t give up on him in 2-QB leagues...Brandon McManus kicked both a 57-yard and 56-yard field goal in the first quarter, which is pretty impressive...Justin Forsett owners probably didn’t expect a 14/9 split with Javorius Allen right away. I know I didn’t...Cody Latimer wasn’t targeted a single time, and Peyton Manning’s arm strength is a legitimate concern for every shareholder of Broncos players, to say the least.

It’s too late for anything actionable, but it sure looks like the hype on Tyler Eifert was real. With no Jermaine Gresham, he’s going to be a top-10 fantasy tight end barring health...There were some concerns about Derek Carr, but Matt McGloin would be an obvious downgrade for anyone counting on Amari Cooper...This Jeremy Hill TD run on fourth down was no joke...A.J. Green had a shockingly bad drop in the end zone...The Raiders didn’t have a play in Bengals territory until the fourth quarter.

Longread of the Week: The Coddling Of The American Mind 

Marcus Mariota finished with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio while getting 13.1 YPA and a perfect 158.3 QB Rating during the first start of his career, which came on the road as an underdog and with no obvious dominant weapons...Meanwhile, Jameis Winston’s first pass ever was a pick-six, making him the first QB to do so since Brett Favre...On the opening drive of the second half, the Bucs faced a third-and-42...Kendall Wright and Austin Seferian-Jenkins both look like they are going to be major assets this season...Tampa Bay has lost 10 straight home games...During their last two matchups, Mariota’s teams have outscored Winston’s 101-34.

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