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Every Sunday evening throughout the season, we'll bring you the three biggest takeaways from the NFL slate. There really wasn't much question about the most impressive individual performance from opening week...
1. Marcus Mariota was awfully good. He basically treated Tampa Bay like they were Cal or Oregon State. When the Heisman winner was lifted from Sunday's blowout road win, his team led the Bucs 42-7, he'd completed 13 of 16 throws for 209 yards and four TDs (13.1 Y/A), and he exited with a perfect passer rating. Not such a bad pro debut. In fact, only Cam Newton and RG3 posted more fantasy points in their first regular season games. Mariota gets the Browns next week and then the Colts, so there's a very good chance the good times continue. Almost no one started the rookie on Sunday, but we won't all make the same mistake next week.
It's worth noting that Mariota's greatest fantasy trait — his uncommon running ability — wasn't even on display against the Bucs. He rushed just twice for six yards. Back in his Oregon days, he never ran for fewer than 700 yards in any season.
2. The demise of James Jones may have been overstated. It's impressive enough that he caught four balls for 51 yards and two scores, but he could have easily finished with four spikes. An early touchdown was negated by penalty, plus Jones drew a PI flag at the goal line on a late bomb. His rapport with Aaron Rodgers is well-established. We probably aren't on the doorstep of another 14-TD season, but Jones pretty clearly should be universally owned.
3. Denver isn't looking much like a fantasy juggernaut. Sure, the team got a win. (Expected.) The defense looked pretty great. (Also expected.) But Peyton Manning was consistently harassed by the Ravens (four sacks), he threw with no zip whatsoever and he averaged an atrocious 4.4 yards per attempt. His Sunday stat line (175 yards, 0 TDs, INT) would have fit perfectly into his second-half game log from 2014, when he tossed only four TDs over his final five games, playoffs included.
Also worth a mention: C.J. Anderson appeared gimpy in Week 1, and, before he tweaked anything, he was sharing backfield touches with Ronnie Hillman. C.J. finished with 29 rushing yards on 12 carries, adding four catches for 19. Hillman turned his dozen carries into 41 yards, generally looking livelier than his teammate. That situation looks committee-ish, gamers.