The Market Report is your one-stop Monday shop for all the movement from a big weekend of NFL football.
These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.
This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.
Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.
Russell Wilson (Sea) — Russ cooked. He played easily the best game of any QB in Week 1, torching an inept Falcons defense for 322 yards and 4 TD on 31/35 passing. On top of that, he also led the team in rushing with 29 yards on 3 carries. Moreover, it was a game the Seahawks led from the get-go, having a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, and expanding that lead to as much as 20 in the fourth. The 20 rush attempts the Seahawks had were the fewest of any game under Pete Carroll in which the Seahawks won by nine or more points. It’s basically everything Seahawks fans have been begging for, for years now. The only question is if it will continue against better defenses. But armed with the most dangerous receiving duo of his career, Russ played the best game of his life. (Joe Dolan)
Josh Allen (Buf) — If we were to tell you heading into Week 1 that Allen would throw the ball 46 times, you probably wouldn’t expect the Bills to have done very well. On the contrary — they controlled the game from the start, and in addition to throwing for 312 yards and 2 TD on those 46 attempts, Allen also led the Bills in rushing with 14/57/1 on the ground. It was a dominant performance against a Jets team headed in the opposite direction of the ascending Bills, but Allen played one of the best games of his career and showed the explosive upside that made him one of our favorite QB targets. His loaded receiving corps also showed out, with Stefon Diggs and John Brown both having big games. (JD)
Aaron Rodgers (GB) — Packers-Vikings turned into a surprising Week 1 shootout with Rodgers looking his old mid-2010s self, ripping Minnesota’s secondary for 364 yards and 4 TDs. Green Bay absolutely dominated offensively, holding the ball for 41 minutes and running 76 plays compared to just 47 for the Vikings. Rodgers has been a mid-tier QB2 over the last two years but with Davante Adams balling out, Aaron Jones looking as explosive as ever, and Marquez Valdez-Scantling stretching the field -- perhaps Rodgers can re-discover his old top-5 fantasy ceiling? We’ll find out soon enough, at least. Green Bay’s next three matchups could be shootouts as well (vs. Det; at NO; vs. Atl). (GB)
Cam Newton (NE) — We knew the Patriots were going to run the rock a lot more this season after they signed Cam this off-season, but OC Josh McDaniels and HC Bill Belichick unveiled a college offense in Week 1. New England easily ran the ball at the league’s highest rate in Week 1 at 66.7% of the time, and Cam led the attack with 15/75/2 rushing. He attempted just 19 passes, completing 15 of them for 155 scoreless yards in a victory over the Dolphins. Cam joined Tim Tebow (2011) and Lamar Jackson (2018) as the only QBs to have 15 or more rushing attempts and fewer than 20 pass attempts in a game over the last decade. We’ll be curious to see what New England’s offense looks like this week in a potentially negative game script in a much tougher matchup against one of the league’s best teams in Seattle. Cam is going to have it air out more than 19 times going forward, but Cam has a real chance to lead all QBs in rushing yards if he can stay healthy for the duration of the season. (Tom Brolley)
Kyler Murray (Ari) — Murray continued to look shaky as a passer in the season opener going against one of the league’s top defenses from 2019. He averaged just 6.9 YPA with a limited cast as a rookie last season, and he opened his 2020 campaign by averaging 5.8 YPA on 26/40 passing for 230 yards, one TD, and one INT. He made up for his passing woes by leading all QBs with 13/91/1 rushing in Week 1, which powered the Cardinals to the upset victory. He actually had 100 rushing yards on the nose before he lost nine yards on two kneel-downs at the end of the game. The Cardinals took a page from the 49ers playbook and dominated the ball by running 78 plays to just 61 for San Fran. Kyler showed an instant connection with DeAndre Hopkins as the two connected 14 times for 151 yards on 16 attempts. Murray needs to clean it up a bit as a passer, but he could easily do it in easier matchups. He’s a set-it-and-forget-it QB1 this week against the Football Team and going forward until further notice. (TB)
Josh Jacobs (LV) — Jacobs had the perfect formula for success heading into Week 1 with a matchup against the league’s worst run defense from 2019 in a game the Raiders were favored to by three points on the road. Jacobs paid off the DFS chalk with the league’s only three-touchdown performance in Week 1. The second-year pro finished with 25/93/3 rushing and, most promising, he added 4/46 receiving on six targets. Jacobs looked like a true bell-cow back by playing on 78% of the snaps, ahead of Devontae Booker (13%) and Jalen Richard (11%). Jacobs was a little too positive game-script dependent last season, but he could avoid more pitfalls this season if he continues to be a factor in this passing attack. His bell-cow status will be tested over the next eight weeks as they’re projected to be underdogs in their next seven games. (TB)
Jonathan Taylor (Ind) — We’d be very excited about Taylor posting 6/67 receiving on 6 targets regardless of what else happened in the game (he was not used much as a receiver in college), but obviously Taylor’s chance to be a league-winning fantasy asset exploded following the tragic Achilles injury to Marlon Mack. Taylor had just 9/22 rushing in his NFL debut, but it stands to reason he might not see a single game under 10 carries the rest of the way. He has legitimate RB1 upside going forward, though he will still split some time with Nyheim Hines (who has fantasy value in his own right). (JD)
Raheem Mostert (SF) — The sample size keeps getting bigger with Mostert and the journeyman back just continues to excel as the top back in San Francisco. The 28-year-old RB was the entire 49ers offense in their season opener as he finished with 15/56 rushing and 4/95/1 receiving on five targets. He showed off his sprinter’s speed after catching an angle route out of the backfield and he raced past the defense for a 76-yard touchdown. Mostert owned the backfield with a 60% snap share compared to a 31% share for Jerick McKinnon and a 10% share for Tevin Coleman. Mostert is going to be in the RB1 conversation if the 49ers are going to continue to feature him as a receiver every week — he had just 14 catches all of last season. (TB)
James Robinson (Jax) — Robinson didn’t have a huge day for fantasy, but he posted a rock-solid 16/62 rushing and 1/28 receiving on his lone target, tallying 10.0 PPR fantasy points on the nose. He played 68% of the offensive snaps to just 24% for Chris Thompson, though the game flow was obviously not as anticipated — the Jags won a game in which basically the entire world was on the Colts in survivor pools. But he looked really good, and there’s no reason to think he will lose early-down carries going forward. He’s a viable FLEX play, though we wonder if things will change when the Jags play from behind (and it will happen eventually). (JD)
David Montgomery (Chi) — The Bears showed supreme confidence in Montgomery and his health after they decided not to sign an insurance plan for their second-year back after he suffered a groin injury on Aug. 26. Montgomery had no limitations in their season opener as he posted 13/64 rushing and 1/10 receiving on three targets against the Lions. Tarik Cohen ended up edging Montgomery out by a snap (30-to-29) but that was largely because of the negative game script the Bears were in down 17 points heading into the fourth quarter. Montgomery did nothing extraordinary in the season opener, but he looked good and his overall involvement was highly encouraging signs heading into a solid matchup against the Giants this week. (TB)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — Since Damien Williams (opted out) is not playing this year, the Chiefs need Edwards-Helaire to be an instant producer and he certainly rewarded them in the opener against the Texans. Edwards-Helaire looked decisive, nimble, and showed excellent burst en route to a monster 25/138/1 performance on the ground. In a game where Parick Mahomes only had to throw it 32 times (for 211 yards), we’re not concerned that Edwards-Helaire didn’t see a look in the passing game. The targets are coming -- especially since he played on 67% of the team’s snaps. Even though he failed to cash any of them, we’re way more encouraged that Edwards-Helaire got all six of the Chiefs goal-line carries (inside-the-5). The Texans did a fantastic job plugging gaps on Edwards-Helaire’s short-yardage looks while the Chiefs tried to burn the clock late in the game. It also doesn’t hurt that Darrel Williams looked like he was running in quicksand, earning just 23 yards on 7 carries. With no real competition behind him for touches, Edwards-Helaire is looking like a locked-in top-5 back. (GB)
David Johnson (Hou) — One of the best Week 1 surprises was how great Johnson looked. After dealing with multiple injuries that caused Arizona to shut him down last year, Johnson looked like his old self on the Thursday Night opener -- ripping off a 19-yard touchdown by making a few defenders miss and looking like the quickest player on the field. The Texans offense was horrible all night long and got behind on the scoreboard quickly, but Johnson ended up with a strong 99 scrimmage yards on 11 carries and 4 targets. With Duke Johnson (ankle) banged up, D.J. played on a workhorse-like 81% of the Texans snaps. Houston’s next two matchups are brutal (vs. Bal; at Pit), but D.J. came out of the opener looking like a potentially massive value. (GB)
DeAndre Hopkins (Ari) — So much for Nuk needing time to get on the same page with his new QB Kyler Murray. Hopkins saw a ludicrous 40% target share in his first game in the cardinal and white, which he turned into 14/151 receiving against a nasty 49ers defense in Week 1. San Francisco allowed more than 29.1 FP (Hopkin’s Week 1 total) to just two opposing WRs all of last season — Julio Jones and Michael Thomas topped the mark. Hopkins tripled up the next closest WRs in targets in Week 1 as Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, and Chase Edmonds each saw five looks in Week 1. It already looks like Hopkins could be as big a ball-hog as he was in Houston — he’s seen 150+ targets in five straight seasons. Nuk already looks locked in as a weekly top-five option at the position, including this week against the Football Team. (TB)
John Brown (Buf) — Following the Stefon Diggs trade, Brown became somewhat of a forgotten man in draft season despite a very strong 2019 campaign, likely because no one expected the Bills to have a high-volume passing game. But our Adam Caplan told us Brown had a stellar camp, and that carried into Week 1, when he posted 6/70/1 receiving on a team-high 10 targets against an abysmal Jets team. We don’t expect that Josh Allen will be throwing 46 passes every week, but it’s a pretty good sign for Brown’s chances to produce WR3 numbers that Allen threw 46 times despite the Bills being in control from the get-go. He looked just as explosive in 2020 as he did in 2019, and if the Bills are even in the same solar system of passing efficiency going forward, there will be opportunities for both him and Diggs to succeed. (JD)
Will Fuller (Hou) — On a night where Houston’s offense sputtered, Fuller sleepwalked to 8/112 on 10 targets and looked like Deshaun Watson’s true No. 1 target. Fuller’s usage was incredibly encouraging -- he ran a route on 81% of Watson’s dropbacks and saw a monster 32% of the team’s targets and 50% of air yards. The Texans didn’t throw deep much in the game, instead electing to hammer the intermediate areas and using Fuller all over the field. Obviously, Fuller needs to stay healthy after missing 20 possible games over the last three years, but his usage on Thursday Night makes him a matchup-proof weekly WR2 moving forward. Our readers should have plenty of 7th round Fuller on their teams. (GB)
Marquise Brown (Bal) — The Ravens easily rolled over the Browns in their opener, looking like an even better and well-oiled version of their historic 2019 offense. Because Cleveland’s offense was so bad, Baltimore unfortunately took their foot off of the gas in the second-half but not before Hollywood Brown dropped 5/101 in the first half alone. The highlight of the day was Lamar Jackson throwing a beautiful 47-yard deep ball. Jackson and Brown also hooked up on a nice 21-yarder where Brown dusted CB Denzel Ward on a deep out. The Ravens deployed Brown as their clear focal point of their passing attack alongside Mark Andrews. Brown and Andrews tied for the team lead in targets (6). Brown was on the field for 84% of Jackson’s dropbacks in Week 1, which is a slight boost over his rookie season usage (80%). With the encouraging usage he got in Week 1, Hollywood could arguably be a WR1 in fantasy football over the next three weeks with amazing matchups on tap (at Hou; vs. KC; at Was). Hopefully, you got Hollywood everywhere. (GB)
Adam Thielen (Min) — With only Olabisi Johnson and Justin Jefferson behind him on the depth chart, we knew Thielen would be the Vikings unquestioned No. 1 target this year. But his Week 1 usage was even better than we expected. Thielen easily led the team in both target share (32%) and air yards (54%) en route to a 6/110/2 receiving line in the season opener. The Vikings only ran 47 plays as the Packers dominated time of possession in the game, so Thielen’s ceiling will be unreal once the Vikings run a normal amount of plays. Thielen’s next five matchups before the Vikings Week 5 bye look nice, too (at Ind; vs. Ten; at Hou; at Sea; vs. Atl). (GB)
Amari Cooper (Dal) — This is a tepid upgrade for Coop since he’s prone to disappoint us right when we begin to trust him. He faced a tough matchup against top CB Jalen Ramsey in Week 1 and he didn’t lay an egg, which is a step forward for a talent WR who is prone to disappear when he’s going against the best competition. He finished with a promising 10/81 receiving on 14 targets against the Rams, and he appeared to be the one player Dak Prescott trusted the most in a one-score game with eight fourth-quarter targets. On a side note, Cooper didn’t see additional time out of the slot under new HC Mike McCarthy in the season opener. He ran just 16.3% of his routes inside compared to 14.3% in 2019 as rookie CeeDee Lamb stepped right into Randall Cobb’s old role with 92.5% of his routes coming out of the slot. (TB)
Mark Andrews (Bal) — The Ravens absolutely destroyed the Browns in Week 1 and Andrews was a big part of their success, once again. Andrews dropped a 5/58/2 hammer in his 2020 debut and was finally unleashed as a true every-down player in the process. After running a route on just 62% of Lamar Jackson’s dropbacks last season, Andrews led the team in routes (27; 90%) in the opener. Andrews’ first TD was a ridiculous one-handed grab where he pinned the ball to his body while falling to the ground in the end-zone. With his every-down usage now in place along with his touchdown upside, Andrews has the upside to push Travis Kelce and George Kittle as the TE1. (GB)
Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.
Tom Brady (TB) — The Brady experiment in Tampa Bay got off to a rocky start going against one of the league’s best teams. He completed 23/36 passes for 239 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a key divisional loss to the Saints in Week 1. Brady became the first quarterback since 2013 to throw a pick-six in three consecutive games, joining his backup Blaine Gabbert and Matt Schaub as the last QBs to do it. He had another ugly interception in the middle of the field when he had a miscommunication with Mike Evans. Brady averaged 6.6 YPA in Week 1, and he also averaged 6.6 YPA last season in New England, which was a 17-year low for Brady. The G.O.A.T. has plenty of time to get back on the right track with his new receivers and his new coaching staff, but there’s a chance time is finally starting to catch up to him at 43 years old since we’re seeing some ugly trends in 2019-20. (TB)
Drew Brees (NO) — Brees had a less than stellar opening performance in 2020 as he averaged just 5.3 YPA against the Buccaneers, which was his lowest YPA average since Week 13 of 2018. He finished with 160 yards and two touchdowns on 18/30 passing as his average intended air yards sat at a minuscule 4.7 yards against Tampa. Brees could also be without Michael Thomas for the near future after he suffered a high-ankle injury at the end of their victory. The pest, Taysom Hill, also saw 25% of the snaps in the season opener, and he’s going to vulture a couple of touchdowns away from Brees this season. Brees is looking like a low-end QB1 option right now even in a friendly matchup against the Raiders this week. (TB)
Carson Wentz (Phi) — Wentz got off to a scorching start on Sunday against the Team, leading Philly to a 17-0 lead, despite the Eagles’ decimated offensive line. And then, everything collapsed. Against a talented Team front seven, Wentz took a career-high eight sacks, threw 2 INT, and lost a fumble, consistently giving the Team short fields in an embarrassing loss for the Eagles. Wentz finished with decent enough fantasy numbers, so long as you don’t get dinged too much for turnovers — 24/42, 270 yards, 2 TD. But the overmatched offensive line, combined with no run game and a bizarre insistence to have Wentz sit in the pocket on long-developing plays instead of rolling him out, led to Wentz making unacceptable mistakes. Wentz’s 2 INTs were both intended for rookie WRs on comeback routes, so maybe there’s a timing thing going on there. But while Wentz’s aggressiveness is one of the reasons we love him for fantasy, he’s got to stop playing hero ball and making stupid plays in the process. The Eagles desperately need RT Lane Johnson (ankle) back in the fold. (JD)
Marlon Mack (Ind) — Mack is out for the season with a torn Achilles. It was especially discouraging to see it happen after a week in which multiple RBs signed big-money contracts — Mack is an impending free agent at the end of 2020. He has a long way to go in rehab, and his earnings potential just took a huge hit. It’s a brutal thing to see for a talented young player. Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines will carry the load in the Colts’ backfield. (JD)
Le’Veon Bell (NYJ) — Man, the Jets stink. That’s one reason Bell isn’t particularly appealing for fantasy. The other is that he went down with a hamstring injury after posting just 6/14 rushing and 2/32 receiving (he hurt the hamstring early in the game). Even if he can play through it, do you want to be playing a gimpy running back on a bad team? (JD)
Antonio Gibson (Was) — There’s no reason to panic yet on Gibson, but after the entire world was playing him in season-long and DFS, it was pretty discouraging to see him play just 18 snaps, posting 9/36 rushing and 2/8 receiving. For what it’s worth, he did lead Washington in rushing, as the plodding Peyton Barber averaged 1.7 YPC (17/29) despite scoring 2 TDs. But Gibson did look raw, and it’s going to take some time for him to acclimate himself to a position he’s still learning. He was quite obviously behind Barber and JD McKissic in the rotation. (JD)
Jordan Howard and Matt Breida (Mia) — Without a preseason, fantasy owners were left in the dark when it came to the Dolphins backfield. New OC Chan Gailey turned their two-man backfield with Howard and Breida into a three-man committee that included second-year RB Myles Gaskin. Gaskin shockingly played ahead of both Howard and Breida in the season opener, seeing 25 more snaps than Breida and 30 more snaps than Howard (39 to 14 to 9). Gaskin was also the most effective out of the three backs against the Patriots, posting 9/40 rushing and 4/26 receiving. Breida finished with 5/22 rushing and Howard was ineffective with 8/7/1 rushing. Gaskin appears to be the top back in Miami, which is a bit stunning since they gave Howard $4.75 million guaranteed and they traded for Breida. Gaskin also couldn’t beat out Patrick Laird for significant snaps at the end of last season, either. Howard and Breida are likely to get more chances than they saw against the Patriots going forward, but they simply can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups until we actually see it happen. (TB)
Cam Akers (LAR) — HC Sean McVay stuck to his word by using all three of his backs in the season opener. Unfortunately for Akers’ owners, sixth-year RB Malcolm Brown looked like the clear best option in the season opener against the Cowboys. McVay rode the hot hand by giving Browns 60% of the snaps, which he turned into 18/79/2 rushing and 3/31 receiving on four targets. Akers got the start but he failed to make an impression in his first professional action, finishing with 14/39 rushing while catching his only target for four yards on a 33% snap share. The good news for Akers and Brown is that it looks like Darrell Henderson is currently a distant third option after playing just 7% of the snaps after a layoff from a hamstring injury. Akers has a chance to emerge if this backfield remains mostly a two-man backfield, but he’s going to have to play significantly better if he wants to get more work in the future. At least it looks like the Rams really want Akers to take control of this job by giving the rookie a start in his first NFL game, but it appears that McVay is going to go with the hot-hand approach for the foreseeable future unless one of these backs clearly distinguishes themselves above the pack. (TB)
Keenan Allen (LAC) — We don’t want to fall victim to complete confirmation bias, but this is what we feared this off-season. Despite facing off against a bad Bengal defense, Allen posted just 4/37 receiving on 8 targets from Tyrod Taylor. Taylor had a terrible game throwing the football, and the Chargers needed some good luck — bad calls, missed field goals — to pull out a win. Maybe Allen’s ceiling rises higher when the Chargers aren’t in competitive games, but a volume-based receiver in a run-heavy offense with a bad QB isn’t really the kind of fantasy player on whom we build our success. (JD)
DeVante Parker (Mia) — Parker suffered a “minor” injury at the end of August, and that minor injury has now turned into a major headache for his fantasy owners. It turns out that Parker was dealing with a hamstring injury and he got limited practices in before Week 1. He then aggravated the injury in the third quarter against the Patriots after posting 4/47 receiving before he left. Parker should be considered highly questionable to play this week, and he’d be a player to avoid anyway with a matchup against Tre’Davious White and the Bills secondary looming in Week 2. (TB)
Mike Evans (TB) — Evans’ 2019 campaign ended when he injured his hamstring in the final weeks of the season. His 2020 campaign is off to a shaky start because of yet another hamstring injury. Evans managed just a seven-yard touchdown reception on four targets against the Saints in Week 1 as he battled through his hamstring injury and a tough matchup with his nemesis Marshon Lattimore. Evans did at least draw two pass interference calls downfield, which resulted in 67 penalty yards, but he also wasn’t on the same page with new QB Tom Brady on an interception over the middle of the field. Evans is likely to play in a juicy matchup against the Panthers this week after he played through his hamstring issue in the season opener, but he doesn’t have his normal sky-high ceiling as he tries to get on the same page with Brady while playing through a hamstring injury. (TB)
Mecole Hardman (KC) — Unless Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, or Demarcus Robinson misses time, it’s going to be very difficult to start Hardman on any fantasy teams. Hardman was on the field for just 29% of Kansas City’s snaps in the opener, well behind Robinson (48%), Watkins (80%), and Hill (86%). After seeing just one target against the Texans, Hardman is a drop candidate in 10- and 12-team leagues this week. (GB)
Hayden Hurst (Atl) — Though the possibility he was shut down by Seahawk safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs must be acknowledged, it’s pretty discouraging that Hurst played 78% of the Falcons’ snaps, the Falcons threw the ball 54 times, and he saw just 5 targets (9.3% share), while Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage all saw 12. The volume of this passing offense is why we were so into Hurst in draft season. 3/38 receiving isn’t going to cut it with Matt Ryan uncorking 54 passes.
Blake Jarwin (Dal) — Jarwin, unfortunately, tore his ACL in the season opener against the Rams, which will end his fourth season after just two quarters. The Cowboys were ready to hand Jarwin an expanded role in their passing attack after they let Jason Witten walk in free agency and after they handed him $9.25 million in guaranteed money. The Cowboys WRs will see a slight boost in usage in this passing attack with Jarwin out of the fold while Dalton Schultz will look to climb into the streaming conversation as the team’s new starting TE. (TB)
Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.
Baker Mayfield (Cle) — This is more of a “watch” for the entire Browns passing attack. Granted, it was a tough opening matchup on the road in Baltimore, but the Browns offense and Baker Mayfield looked completely out of sorts in Week 1. Mayfield’s accuracy was shaky while Odell Beckham had a bad drop, showed terrible chemistry with Mayfield once again (caught 3-of-10 targets), and struggled to separate against CB Marlon Humphrey. Perhaps better days are ahead here -- the Browns play the Bengals, Washington, and Dallas next -- but there is no way you can play Mayfield with any confidence any time soon. Beckham and Jarvis Landry will remain on the WR2 radar moving forward, but if this opener is any indication, neither receiver has week-winning upside. (GB)
Chris Carson (Sea) — Carson entered Week 1 with 3 career receiving TDs and left it with 5, scoring twice on 6/45 receiving from Russell Wilson. All three marks either set or tied a career-high. However, he also had only 6/21 rushing, and played just 45% of the snaps (Carlos Hyde played 34% and Travis Homer 21%). That’s worth noting, because a mailbag answer from Seahawks beat writer Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest last week suggested that the Seahawks could take more of a committee approach in the backfield to keep Carson fresher this year. Nobody is going to complain about Carson scoring 2 TD, but it was surprising to see him play so little in a game in which the Seahawks were in control. Will his snaps rise in a closer game? (JD)
Austin Ekeler (LAC) — It’s probably a Week 1 overreaction, especially since Ekeler got 19 carries and played 68% of the offensive snaps, but it sucks when a guy who caught 91 passes last year and nearly posted 1000 yards receiving gets only 1 target from Tyrod Taylor. Anecdotally, we assume Taylor targets RBs less because he can take off and run. That might not be true. But what is true is that this offense just isn’t very good with a bad QB at the helm, and rookie Joshua Kelley looked awesome, posting 12/60/1 rushing on a 24% snap share (coaching Anthony Lynn said after the game that the Chargers wouldn’t have beaten the Bengals without Kelley). Kelley will have a role, and Tyrod stinks. Ekeler will almost certainly have big-target games in the future, but his window to success got narrower in Week 1. (JD)
Miles Sanders (Phi) — With Sanders (hamstring) out and the offensive line decimated, the Eagles had zero run game to speak of against the Team in Week 1. Our Adam Caplan reports that Sanders had a good week of practice and should be ready to go soon, perhaps as early as Week 2. The Eagles clearly wanted to be cautious with him and RT Lane Johnson (ankle), but after an embarrassing loss, they might have to reevaluate before things get out of hand. (JD)
D’Andre Swift (Det) — Swift had a forgettable first professional performance, which he capped off by dropping the game-winning, walk-in touchdown in a demoralizing divisional loss to the Bears in the season opener. The ancient Adrian Peterson, who the Lions signed a week before the season opener, dominated the touches in this backfield with 17 compared to 13 combined touches for Swift and Kerryon Johnson. Swift finished his first pro game with just 3/8 rushing and 3/15 receiving on five targets, and he luckily salvaged his owners by scoring on a one-yard run. Swift did lead the backfield in snap share (44%) but both AD (31%) and Johnson (26%) saw enough snaps to make this a gross three-man backfield. The Lions should get Swift more involved going forward, but HC Matt Patricia’s history suggests this three-man backfield is here to stay for as long as Peterson and/or Johnson stay healthy and effective. At least the Lions could face negative game scripts the next three weeks (@GB, @Ari, NO) to give Swift a chance at more receiving production going forward. (TB)
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette (TB) — Jones led the Buccaneers backfield in work, which wasn’t unexpected since Fournette had just a few days of practice to get on the same page with Tom Brady in a new offense. RoJo did fine in the lead back role in Week 1 in a tough matchup against the Saints, posting 17/66 rushing and 2/16 receiving while playing 47% of the snaps. LeSean McCoy actually finished second in snap share (36%), but he was used exclusively as a pass blocker as he saw just one opportunity. Fournette saw just 13% of the snaps, but he turned his six opportunities into 19 yards. Fournette’s workload should continue to expand with another week of learning the playbook, but Jones will still be the better FLEX option in a juicy matchup against a Panthers defense that gave up three TDs to Josh Jacobs in Week 1. (TB)
Mark Ingram (Bal) — Even though he started the game, Ingram was out-played and out-produced by rookie J.K. Dobbins in the season opener. Ingram led the team in carries (10), but Dobbins punched in both of his goal-line carries -- scoring from three and two yards out. This looks like it’s going to be a full-blown committee all year with Gus Edwards involved as well. The Ravens full Week 1 snap shares were: Dobbins (39%), Ingram (36%), and Edwards (25%). This backfield is always capable of producing no matter the matchup, but both Ingram and Dobbins are going to eat into each other's production all year long. (GB)
Michael Thomas (NO) — Thomas had his leg rolled up on late in the Saints’ Week 1 victory over the Buccaneers, and we learned Monday afternoon that he suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Thomas believes he can play through the injury but, unfortunately, Thomas plays on Monday night this week so his fantasy owners will need a backup plan heading into Week 2. Our Dr. Edwin Porras tweeted that the average return to play from a high-ankle sprain is 15 days and, perhaps more troublesome, Thomas could feel the effects of the injury for weeks even after he returns to the lineup. Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara would see upticks in targets if Thomas misses a chunk of time and Tre’Quan Smith would be a handcuff option if you want to wait out Thomas’ injury until Monday night. (TB)
Kenny Golladay (Det) — Golladay picked up a dreaded mid-week injury last week to his hamstring, and he never came close to playing against the Bears. Matthew Stafford certainly could’ve used the help as rookie Quintez Cephus finished with a team-high 10 targets (23.8% share), which he turned into just 43 yards (4.3 YPT). HC Matt Patricia described the issue as “tightness” last week but Golladay will still likely be in a race to be ready for Week 2. Once again, have a backup plan ready to go if Golladay is unable to play against a Packers defense that allowed 6/110/2 receiving to Adam Thielen in the season opener. (TB)
DeSean Jackson (Phi) — The Eagles’ entire gameplan in Week 1 was bizarre, with an insistence on having Carson Wentz staying in the pocket on long-developing play-action plays despite being under siege all day. What made that weirder? Well, Jackson played only a rotational role, playing just 54% of the offensive snaps (to 59% for Jalen Reagor), despite saying after the game he was perfectly healthy. Jackson posted 2/46 on 7 targets, and didn’t seem happy with his role. The Eagles appeared to focus on getting through Week 1 healthy without actually ensuring they won the game. We’ll see if things change in Week 2. (JD)
George Kittle (SF) — Kittle gave us an injury scare right out of the gates when he had his knee hyperextended on a first-half target. He still played a near full allotment of snaps (98%), but he wasn’t featured as a receiver (or as a runner) in the second half even with the 49ers trailing at points. Kittle finished with 4/44 receiving on five targets and he added a nine-yard carry against the Cardinals, but all of his opportunities came in the first half. He missed two games due to a knee injury last season so keep an eye on his practice statuses this week just in case he misses practice time. There’s a chance he could be feeling a little worse this week after adrenaline likely helped him play through the issue in Week 1. (TB)