NFL Week 1's Monday Musings with Kevin Tompkins
Week 1 is almost in the books but even with two games left to play on Monday night, I figured I would take a look at the week that was.
There were five instances of some really weird player usage during Week 1, some that didn't exactly jive from offseason reports, camp reports, and preseason. Sure, it's the first game action of the 2019 season, but we need something to talk about, right? If you want to do the same on social media, shoot me a tweet or follow @ktompkinsii!
Here, I'll be listing some random thoughts as I watched a majority of the games this week, some of which have fantasy relevance, some may not.
GB 10, CHI 3
- There's nobody to worry about on the Green Bay side, other than Geronimo Allison, who with a great matchup against Buster Skrine in the slot, ended Thursday without a target. He's a cut candidate if you need a higher upside play at WR.
- Allen Robinson looked like his 2015 Jaguars self and looks on track to surpass his 7th round ADP in 2019.
BAL 59, MIA 10
- Play everybody of fantasy relevance against the Miami Dolphins.
- Let's not overreact about Lamar Jackson, but if he can throw even 20-25 touchdowns and cut down on turnovers, he's a league-winner and a top 3 fantasy QB.
- Anybody who plays against Miami this season, their per game stats will be skewed, HARD. I want to see Marquise "Hollywood" Brown's numbers Weeks 2-17 as a true indication of relevance. He's going to be the top add this week, but we definitely need to temper expectations in a low-volume pass offense.
- Will anybody on Miami outside of Kenyan Drake be rosterable? Preston Williams maybe?
- MARK ANDREWS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. 8-108-TD.
DAL 35, NYG 17
- Since the Amari Cooper trade, Dak Prescott has been a viable QB1. He looked amazing yesterday and if Michael Gallup continues his stellar Week 1 (7-158), Dallas' offense could support two fantasy relevant receivers.
- Evan Engram looked unguardable yesterday. He looked by absolute far the best of the TE4-TE6 crowd and I hope he takes advantage of the narrow target distribution while Golden Tate is suspended. They have 2 of the next three at home (BUF/WAS) with a trip to Tampa in between, so there's little resistance there.
LAR 30, CAR 27
- Hard to argue with Christian McCaffrey's production yesterday. 209 total yards, 10 catches, 2 touchdowns. He was my overall 1.01 in drafts and he's cementing that claim.
- Looks like the non-Todd Gurley back to own might be the stalwart Malcolm Brown, not Darrell Henderson. Brown vultured two touchdowns from Gurley but Gurley still had a nice day with 97 yards on the ground plus a reception. I'm not worried in the slightest about Gurley's usage.
- Brandin Cooks (2-39 on 6 targets) had a bad day at the office. With an offense supporting three relevant receivers, it's going to happen.
TEN 43, CLE 13
- The Browns had a tough day, but the players who were supposed to be playmakers had solid yet unspectacular fantasy outings, except Baker Mayfield, who came out and threw 3 interceptions. The Browns have to gel and they'll get that time to do so.
- Derrick Henry did his best "shut up Kevin's offseason talk" work yesterday, catching a 75 yard pass for a touchdown and adding 84 more on the ground and another score. Henry's biggest impediment is game script, but yesterday looked very good for Henry moving forward.
- Corey Davis was shut out (0 catchers, 3 targets) and A.J. Brown posted a 100 yard receiving game in his debut. Who saw that coming? Also, Delanie Walker looked great in his first action since Week 1 last season, catching two touchdowns and propping up #LateRoundTE truthers everywhere.
KC 40, JAX 26
- Tough break for Nick Foles, but Gardner Minshew and his mustache should command a ton of FAAB dollars in Scott Fish Bowl 9 waivers this week.
- Dede Westbrook salvaged his day with a touchdown, but the duo of D.J. Chark and Chris Conley both had better days, both with their own touchdowns. This is an incredibly fluid situation with so many pass catchers, a new QB, it's incredibly tough to peg. Conley/Chark aren't must adds for me but I'd be more comfortable waiting and seeing instead of rushing out to burn a waiver claim or FAAB budget.
- Calm down, Sammy Watkins. The Chiefs may need you for a bit as Tyreek Hill will likely be out several weeks with a clavicle issue. For one week, I was wrong about Sammy Watkins, but we'll see how his health goes as he hasn't exactly been the most healthy player in long stretches.
- It looks as though both LeSean McCoy AND Damien Williams will be fantasy relevant, but fantasy succubuses for each other at points this season. I'm predicting McCoy with the higher floor work, Williams with the higher ceiling work.
- Patrick Mahomes is good, or something.
MIN 28, ATL 12
- Kirk Cousins had a nice 1st half line for his entire game: 8-10, 98 and a TD. The Vikings got this game with defense and the run game. Unfortunately, your Vikings pass catchers both suffered, though Adam Thielen did get in the end zone early on.
- Dalvin Cook looks like MONEY. I hope his health continues, as he had the look of somebody with something to prove and somebody that may be an early 1st rounder. He looked the best out of any player I saw in Week 1.
- Your Falcons receivers, Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, both chipped in a touchdown each in garbage time. Matt Ryan "Bortled" his way into a respectable stat line yesterday when the game was pretty much decided. Austin Hooper (9-77) looked really good, but we'll see if he can keep up that work. He tends to disappear as a followup to big games.
BUF 17, NYJ 16
- Jamison Crowder's 14 catches were the most catches in NFL history to not record a 100 yard game. Looks good for PPR, but shallow (3.5 yards/catch).
- Le'Veon Bell was heavily involved, a surprise to nobody, with 23 touches and a score.
- Devin Singletary by far has the most upside of any Bills' RB, so he's the play for me of the trio.
- John Brown (7-123-TD) is a viable WR3 right now and he went super late in most drafts. Shame on me for not seeing the "Smoke" signals.
PHI 32, WAS 27
- Good luck deciphering the DaVinci Code that is the Eagles' backfield in fantasy.
- You think DeSean Jackson liked being back in Philadelphia (8-154-2)? He's going to make a world of difference to that Eagles pass game and they're back to being super exciting again.
- Watching Vernon Davis' emotional reaction after scoring a touchdown got to me. On a personal level, great for him. In fantasy? Keep an eye on Jordan Reed and if Reed is inactive, Davis is a solid plug and play.
- Are we going out to grab Terry McLaurin in fantasy? I mean, probably not, but he put himself on the radar after a 5-125-TD performance. If you haven't grabbed Chris Thompson though, he's my must-add as with Derrius Guice's injury. Adrian Peterson should come back to some value as well.
LAC 30, IND 24
- Perhaps we (I) were/was foolhardy in bumping down Marlon Mack (25-174-TD) and T.Y. Hilton (8-87-2) after Andrew Luck's surprise retirement.
- Melvin Gordon who? Austin Ekeler's Week 1 had to open some eyes yesterday. His performance (154 total yards, 3 TD) couldn't have been any worse for Gordon's return.
- Over 300 yards passing, 3 TD, go have another kid, Philip Rivers. Still looking great after all these years. 123 of those yards and a touchdown to Keenan Allen, who is the most underrated #1 receiver in football.
SEA 21, CIN 20
- Chris Carson is doing his best to stave off Rashaad Penny and two touchdowns by Carson certainly helps matters.
- D.K. Metcalf may have staked his claim as Seattle's WR1 but it could come with headaches being such a low volume pass offense. We'll see how this shakes out with Tyler Lockett as well.
- Andy Dalton threw for over 400 yards minus A.J. Green. Commendable. Of course, we all saw John Ross and his 12 targets plus 7-158-2 line as well. Ross was a best ball godsend for me and may have earned a permanent role in this offense in year 3.
DET 27, ARI 27
- The beginning of the Air Raid offense looked god awful, but Kyler Murray is resilient and looked really dynamic during the last two drives and in OT.
- Larry Fitzgerald continues to defy age (8-113-TD).
- Just like we drew it up, the two receiving leaders for the Lions on Sunday were *checks notes* T.J. Hockenson (6-131-TD) and Danny Amendola (7-104-TD). Hock earned a spot on many rosters, but for Amendola, this can't be kept up week to week, not with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in tow.
- Matthew Stafford looked much better than he did at any point last season, a very encouraging sign as a bye week/injury replacement
SF 31, TB 17
- Dante Pettis. 2 snaps. More about this later.
- George Kittle looked great, Matt Breida did in spurts, but this offense is definitely a work in progress with Jimmy Garoppolo, who even in the win, was a letdown.
- Lots of letdowns on the Buccaneers side with Mike Evans (2-28. 5 targets) and Jameis Winston (194 yds, 3 INT). How much had we heard about Bruce Arians being a QB whisperer? Winston could right the ship, but how much more slack will he get?
- Did perennial stepchild Ronald Jones (93 total yards) just win the Bucs' RB1 job?
NE 33, PIT 3
- Imagine adding Antonio Brown to THIS Patriots offense. Too bad he can't run the ball, as Sony Michel looked bad (15 att, 14 yds.). Philip Dorsett seems like an add, but where does he fit with the addition of Brown to these receivers?
- Bad day all around for the Steelers offense as a whole. Juju Smith-Schuster had an okay game (6-78) but nobody else stood out positively.
We'll be doing a Top Five feature each week, with different topics, but this week, I'll be looking at:
Top Five Most Confusing/Puzzling Usage from Week 1
5. Philadelphia's Running Backs
Ain't nobody figuring this out anytime soon. The touches went:
- Darren Sproles: 12 (9 rush, 47 yd.; 3 rec., 16 yd.)
- Miles Sanders: 12 (11 rush, 25 yd.; 1 rec., 2 yd.)
- Jordan Howard: 8 (6 rush, 44 yd.; 2 rec., 11 yd.)
What I did like to see was the burst and vision from Miles Sanders. The 3rd play in the below clip was called back on holding I never saw from J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, but really highlights what the Eagles and fantasy owners want to see from Miles Sanders going forward.
How soon we get to see that without a ton from Sproles and Howard remains to be seen, but as it stands right now, you can't trust anybody in that backfield to make a meaningful contribution to your roster in redraft leagues.
4. Kerryon Johnson
Kerryon Johnson mustered 18 touches on Sunday, but CJ Anderson inexplicably saw 11 of them himself, adding to some concern on the field as well. Arizona's defense allowed the most points to opposing running backs last season so Johnson's 3.1 YPC was pretty disappointing. Most drafted Kerryon as an upside RB1 or rock solid RB2 league winner, but CJ Anderson could get in the way as it stands right now. We did know Matt Patricia's offense tended to be "Patriots Midwest" to some, but it was thought that with the release of Theo Riddick, the Lions would skew a lot of that work Johnson's way. Maybe not a bellcow, but certainly a featured role.
Adding to the confusing and puzzling usage was the fact that the game script was generally very positive for Johnson to turn in a great effort but QB Matthew Stafford had the passing game working. Unfortunately, it turns out that C.J. Anderson may get more work than expected so this is definitely a situation to monitor. Johnson definitely has more than enough to win you a week any given week, but his upside at least for now is capped.
3. Tyler Lockett
It looks like we're back into a 2018 loop here with Tyler Lockett. He had a grand total of 2 targets, but the lone catch was a 44 yard strike from Russell Wilson. Those two targets curiously happened with a 91% snap share.
D.K. Metcalf had the line of the day from the Seahawks pass catchers, posting a 4-89 line on six targets. He asserted himself quickly, so many that whole "Tyler Lockett bonafide WR2" talk should be tabled for the time being. Lockett did finish 2018 as WR16 on just 70 targets, but that was in part thanks to extreme efficiency. Last season may have been the outlier, as that kind of efficiency with low volume is rarely repeatable. Add in Metcalf to the mix and while I do think the Seattle passing offense can support two 75+ target receivers, Lockett may be the fringe option to the big-bodied Metcalf. Stay tuned here.
2. David Montgomery
David Montgomery, he of the 3rd round ADP, only received 7 touches on Thursday night. SEVEN. Matt Nagy inexplicably abandoned the run to let Mitch Trubisky sling the ball around Chicagoland 45(!) times. Maybe it was an homage to unceremoniously departed Packers HC Mike McCarthy, maybe Nagy wanted to prove a point that... well, who knows at this point. If you drafted Monty in the 3rd round, you have to be shaking your collective heads at that usage. Mike Davis carried the ball 5 times and received 11 total touches. Those Davis truthers since February (I was formerly among them until May's draft) were out in full force on Twitter extolling the virtues of their once and former king of running back value.
For me, Monty looked the part and passed the eye test. From the vision, to setting up linebackers, breaking tackles, and making a great catch, showing his passing game chops, Montgomery has the look of a back that will scare opposing defenses for the next 7-8 years. We just have to get this Mike Davis stuff out of our system, but as we saw with young backs having to leapfrog veterans (Joe Mixon and the aforementioned Kerryon Johnson come to mind), it may take some time this season for Montgomery to get those opportunities to really show what he can do at the pro level. As a drafter, you have to be encourage, but he's in a holding pattern right now and is probably a mid-range flex option at this point.
1. Dante Pettis
To begin, I'll be listing the snap counts of all wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers.
- Deebo Samuel - 88%
- Marquise Goodwin - 74%
- Richie James - 38%
- Kendrick Bourne - 25%
- Dante Pettis - 3%
Yeah, there's something else at play here. We heard in the offseason about Dante Pettis taking that next step after a solid finish to his 2018. We heard what we thought was "coachspeak" from Kyle Shanahan regarding Pettis' status on the 49ers roster, “He’s still trying to earn a role on this team and he’s still trying to show us what he’s capable of doing consistently.” Pettis played well into the 4th quarter in one preseason game, showing that maybe Shanahan was trying to light a fire under his young receiver. It turns out that maybe, he hasn't earned the spot that many fantasy analysts assumed he had.
Pettis isn't an immediate drop from your fantasy rosters, but if these snap counts are any indication, it may be long road for consistent fantasy relevance for the former 2nd rounder from Washington.