Bears vs. Packers: Chicago led 20-0, and Aaron Rodgers looked finished for the night (if not the season) after getting carted off with a knee injury before he miraculously returned in the second half, leading the Packers from their largest fourth quarter deficit in team history. Immediately after Kyle Fuller dropped an easy interception that would’ve ended the game, Rodgers found Randall Cobb for this 75-yard winning connection. He finished with 286 passing yards and a 3:0 TD:INT ratio and got 9.5 YPA while missing snaps, clearly playing compromised and against the makings of a strong defense that immediately felt the impact of Khalil Mack. It’s tough to speculate on Rodgers’ health status right now, but he said he would play next week in the postgame interview. We’ll see after the meds wear off, but regardless it was one of the more memorable performances in recent memory. The league is better off when Rodgers is healthy.
Jamaal Williams didn’t exactly take hold of Green Bay’s RB job, while tight ends Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham were awfully quiet (23 yards on 10 targets) during their debuts on their new teams. Jordan Howard saw one more target (five) than Tarik Cohen (or Tarik “Cone” if you’re Al Michaels), securing all of them, which is encouraging news moving forward.
Chiefs vs. Chargers: Tyreek Hill became just the third player in NFL history to record a 50-yard TD catch and a 90-yard return TD in the same game, and he accomplished that by the end of the first quarter (and later added a third touchdown originally ruled a rush). Hill got 169 receiving yards on just eight targets and now has 23 touchdowns in 32 career games…Making just his second career start, Patrick Mahomes threw four scores and got 9.5 YPA on the road against a Chargers defense that allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. It’s going to be a fun fantasy ride in Kansas City throughout 2018, and there are only a handful of QBs I’d prefer over Mahomes…The Chargers had four horrendous drops in the first half alone, and their comically disappointing performance was comfortably familiar in an otherwise unpredictable Week 1. KC has now beaten the Chargers nine straight times.
Steelers vs. Browns: Ben Roethlisberger entered with more career wins than any Cleveland QB at Browns Stadium and left tied 21-21 thanks to Pittsburgh committing six turnovers. In tough conditions, “road” Roethlisberger showed up and was responsible for five of them against a defense that forced an NFL-low 0.8 a game last season. Maybe Denzel Ward over Bradley Chubb wasn’t so crazy…James Conner totaled 192 yards with two scores on 36 touches and despite losing a fumble is locked in as a weekly RB1 regardless of matchup as long as Le’Veon Bell is not playing…Steelers backers didn’t like the answer to “do ties knock you out in Survivor?”
Bengals vs. Colts: Joe Mixon’s matchup helped, but he looked great, rendering Giovani Bernard useless…Jack Doyle got 6.0 YPT against beatable safeties, lost a fumble and was outplayed by Eric Ebron during an inauspicious start to the season…I didn’t expect John Ross to finish with 40+ fewer yards yet one more touchdown than Tyler Eifert…Andrew Luck looked healthy enough. He and T.Y. Hilton should have monstrous fantasy seasons given their setups.
Titans vs. Dolphins: In a game filled with delays, Derrick Henry had a 62-yard TD run called back by a holding penalty and finished with nearly half as many touches (11 to 21) as Dion Lewis. The Titans lost the game and Marcus Mariota (elbow), Delanie Walker (almost certainly for the season) and Taylor Lewan (whom they just made the highest paid left tackle in football) to injuries…Corey Davis now has 437 yards on 78 targets in his career…I remain skeptical 35-year-old Frank Gore remains healthy, and Kenny Stills is someone to possibly shop after recording two touchdowns (including this nice long one) while finishing third on Miami in targets with a modest five.
Texans vs. Patriots: Deshaun Watson played poorly and looked rusty, but the Pats’ defense is improved…I’m beginning to think Will Fuller can’t be trusted to stay healthy…Chris Hogan’s outing was up there among the most disappointing in Week 1, and he gets to try to bounce back with a trip to Jacksonville next…Tom Brady missed Rex Burkhead on a sure 30+ yard touchdown toss but at least the back looked healthy, while Jeremy Hill departed with a knee injury.
Buccaneers vs. Saints: A healthy Saints team not only lost at home as this week’s biggest favorite against a really banged up Bucs team starting their backup QB but were down 48-24 midway through the fourth quarter in an embarrassing performance that ended many Survivor entries (making that back-to-back years with Week 1 exits for yours truly)…In a game with pinball scoring, Alvin Kamara did his part (141 scrimmage yards with three TDs), and Michael Thomas pulled down a whopping 16 catches for 180 yards and a score…Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson combined for 293 yards on 12(!) targets.
Jaguars vs. Giants: Saquon Barkley was mostly bottled up during his debut but also showed why he’s going to be a special back…It’s disappointing Leonard Fournette suffered yet another injury after putting in effort during the offseason to try to improve his durability, and owners can do nothing but wait now (and it appears T.J. Yeldon is clearly ahead of Corey Grant)…Keeping with last year’s tradition, Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a TD called back by penalty…Imagine Odell Beckham Jr.’s numbers not with Eli Manning as his quarterback (and indoors).
Bills vs. Ravens: What timing to announce LeSean McCoy won’t be charged right before kickoff of Week 1, although any positive news for Buffalo ended there (they didn’t record any first downs in the first half Sunday). Joe Flacco exited the game with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter and finished with more completions (25) than Nathan Peterman did passing yards (24). It was no five-interceptions in one half performance but getting 1.3 YPA isn’t far off…Alex Collins lost a fumble and ran for just 13 yards in a game his team won 47-3. He did get a TD but later lost two goal-line scores to different teammates in a discouraging opener.
49ers vs. Vikings: George Kittle dropped what could’ve been a 75-yard touchdown but saw a team-leading nine targets and should be considered a top-five fantasy tight end as long as health cooperates, especially if Marquise Goodwin misses time (which would also make Dante Pettis worth adding in deeper leagues)…Kirk Cousins’ TD pass to Stefon Diggs was a thing of beauty, and Jimmy Garoppolo continues to remind of Tony Romo with this play. Jimmy G also continues to prove interception-prone, but he got 7.9 YPA after losing his No. 1 WR and two offensive guards while in one of the toughest environments in football (Minny allowed just 12.5 ppg at home last season)…Alfred Morris lost a brutal fumble at the goal line, but he should be treated as a strong RB2 in Week 2 at home against the Lions.
Seahawks vs. Broncos: Preseason punting sensation Michael Dickerson didn’t disappoint kicking in thin air, averaging 59.0 yards (and pinning four punts inside the 20), as the rookie was a fifth-round steal…Case Keenum threw three touchdowns and got 8.4 YPA, as the Broncos put up 297 yards of offense in the first half against a Seattle defense with Earl Thomas back. Keenum’s terrific preseason rapport with Emmanuel Sanders continued, while Phillip Lindsay is suddenly a threat to Royce Freeman’s touches, and the old Von Miller looks back…It’s Will Dissly’s world, the rest of us are just paying rent…Brandon Marshall is somehow fantasy relevant again with Doug Baldwin going down.
Washington vs. Cardinals: Chris Thompson looked terrific returning from a broken leg and was a steal in PPR leagues, although his value wouldn’t increase a ton if Adrian Peterson were to go down given his workload limitations…Peterson also looked good, although durability is his biggest concern at this stage of his career…Arizona’s scheme did no favors to David Johnson, but Washington’s D line is significantly improved.
Cowboys vs. Panthers: Cam Newton and Dak Prescott combined for zero TD passes and took nine sacks, while Christian McCaffrey saw a modest 10 carries and lost a fumble…With Greg Olsen suffering a likely serious injury, Devin Funchess should see a nice increased target share and gets a big boost in value.
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