Packers 10 – Bears 3
The Packer’s offensively never really seemed to get into a rhythm on Thursday night. Rodgers struggled with constant pressure in his face, getting dropped for five sacks at Soldier Field. Aside from a 47-yard toss to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and a pair of 28-yard completions to second-stringers Trevor Davis and Robert Tonyan, the Packers offense was relatively quiet as they struggled to move the ball against the likes of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson.
It is safe to expect the likes of Rodgers, Davante Adams Aaron Jones, and Geronimo Allison will have better outings going forward. It should be noted, however, that Allison played significantly less than Valdes-Scantling and should be viewed as third in the receiver pecking order. Tight end Jimmy Graham found the end zone in Week 1, which is something he only did twice last season; expect a slight bump in that total in 2019.
The Bears’ offense managed to be even worse than the Packers, partly due to a vastly improved Packers’ defense and partly due to poor play calling from second year head coach Matt Nagy. In addition to an odd third-and-one play for wide receiver turned running back Cordarrelle Patterson, Nagy had a multitude of other head-scratching play calls which stalled drives that were showing some promise.
The running back situation in Chicago proved to be murkier than most thought with Cohen mostly playing split out as a wide receiver and Mike Davis and rookie David Montgomery splitting snaps in the backfield with 58.5% and 35.4% respectively. It was fairly evident Montgomery offered more as an all-around back, but Davis continued to get the rock as the lead back into the second half. It’s unclear if Montgomery will get a larger share in Week 2, but with Chicago only amassing three points in Thursday’s contest, he should get more run going forward.
Allen Robinson reminded folks of why he used to be considered a top fantasy wide receiver, finishing the night with 7 grabs for 102 yards. Anthony Miller was a huge letdown, only getting on the field for 14 offensive snaps; this is something to monitor going forward. Taylor Gabriel was on the field for 92% of offensive snaps for Chicago, but he is an afterthought in terms of fantasy relevance barring injury to Robinson. Trey Burton will likely return soon from a groin injury which held him out Week 1.
Rams 30 – Panthers 27
The defending NFC Champions put up 30 points in this game but actually struggled to move the football at times against the Carolina defense. Jared Goff had a pedestrian 186 yards and one touchdown to go along with an interception. His biggest targets were Robert Woods (8/70) and Cooper Kupp (7/46), which doesn’t bode well for Brandin Cooks’ fantasy owners. It’s too early to panic as both Goff and Cooks will have better games. However, for PPR leagues, it’s fairly safe to say that both Woods and Kupp will have more slightly more targets than Cooks on a weekly basis.
The rushing game for the Rams fared better. Starter Todd Gurley racked up just shy of 100 yards on his 14 carries, but split a lot of work with Malcolm Brown who vultured two touchdowns to go with his 53 yards on 11 carries. This is something to note and will likely continue as the Rams attempt to keep Gurley healthy for the entire season. Third string rookie Darrell Henderson was a distant third on the depth chart with just one carry. It is clear that Brown is the handcuff for those worried about Gurley’s knees and has standalone value if he continues to get double-digit touches in a normally explosive Rams offense.
On par with last season, the Panthers’ offense ran through Christian McCaffrey. He had over 200 total yards on 29 touches with two scores. He almost had a third score but got brought down at the one-yard line, where fullback Alex Armah punched it in for six on the following play. Second year wideout D.J. Moore was targeted ten times and came away with seven catches and 76 yards. Tight end stalwart Greg Olson and Curtis Samuel were the only other relevant receivers, totaling 36 and 32 yards respectively. Samuel had been a late preseason fantasy darling but appears to be the fourth option in the passing game.
Eagles 30 – Redskins 27
This was a game of two halves, as the Eagles went into the locker room at halftime down 20-7. They rallied behind a strong effort from Carson Wentz, who had 313 passing yards and three scores, and DeSean Jackson, who torched the Redskins secondary in the second half for 51- and 53-yard touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz combined for 10 receptions and 105 yards, with Jeffery getting a pair of touchdowns (one rushing). The rest of the looks were spread between Dallas Goedert, Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor, and Jordan Howard.
The rushing game was a complete timeshare between Miles Sanders (36 snaps), Sproles (22 snaps), and Howard (17). Despite getting the most snaps and carries, Sanders struggled to gain much ground, getting 27 yards on 12 touches. Both Sproles and Howard reached the 50 total yard mark and should be expected to remain a part of this three-headed backfield.
Journeyman Case Keenum started for his fifth franchise Sunday and didn’t disappoint. Despite jumping out to an early lead, Washington couldn’t get anything going in the run game with Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson combining for just 28 yards on 13 carries. Keenum instead put the offense on his shoulders and racked up 380 yards and three scores.
Despite spreading the ball to eight different pass catchers, Keenum had a favorite target in rookie receiver Terry McLaurin, who finished the game with 125 yards on just five receptions. Thompson showed why he is a valuable receiving back when healthy and should continue to see a healthy dose of targets after getting 68 yards on seven grabs on Sunday. Wideouts Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn finished with four grabs and just over 35 yards each.
With oft-injured Jordan Reed still in the concussion protocol, 35-year old Vernon Davis got the start and showed he still has it on a 48-yard touchdown where he hurdled a defender and broke a pair of tackles. Reed is constantly injured and Davis has showed he can still be productive when given the work. Keep an eye on Reed’s recovery from his seventh documented concussion.
Bills 17 – Jets 16
Sometimes it’s okay to win ugly as long as you win, and that’s just what Josh Allen did against the Jets. Despite four turnovers, Allen orchestrated two fourth quarter touchdown drives in which he scored a rushing touchdown and dropped a dime to new receiver John Brown for 38-yards. Allen won’t be a reliable starting fantasy quarterback in 2019, but he could have weeks where he limits his turnovers and gives fantasy players high upside with his rushing ability.
Rookie running back Devin Singletary proved he deserves more carries moving forward. He only got four on Sunday but made the most of them, gaining 20, 23, 12, and 15 yards for a total of 70 yards on the ground. Singletary also added on 28 yards on five catches. Look for him to get more involved, as it was extremely apparent he was more dynamic than the future Hall of Famer Frank Gore, who managed only 20 yards on 11 carries.
The Bills went out and got new weapons for Josh Allen this offseason and on Sunday they used them. John Brown had 123 yards and a touchdown to pair with Cole Beasley’s five receptions for 40 yards. These two should pace the receiving room in Buffalo, but Zay Jones needs to be stashed as both Brown and Beasley have a history of injuries. Tommy Sweeney, the rookie tight end out of Boston College, had a pair of notable grabs. There may not be a ton of passing volume in this offense but he is a deeper name to keep an eye on.
The Jets struggled to move the ball with sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold. He wasn’t careless with the ball but he also struggled to drive the ball downfield, settling with short passes to slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Crowder was peppered with targets which he turned into 14 receptions for 99 yards. Le’Veon Bell was the only other notable fantasy producer on this offense, gaining 92 yards and a touchdown on 23 total touches. Robby Anderson looked to not be 100% after being cleared for the game from his calf injury. Expect better results from him in future weeks.
Stay tuned for more fantasy takeaways from the rest of Week 1 games.