Week 1 Review: QB1s Everywhere
We are back with our weekly dynasty review, with a slightly different format this time around.
For those of you who were here last year, welcome back. For those of you who are new here, this is your Monday one-stop-shop for a review of what happened over the weekend, from a dynasty perspective. I will essentially be emptying my notebook and our goal here is to highlight standout performances, good or bad. While we can’t review every single player, we will hit many of the big performances, especially here in week one. In addition, I’ll tell you if you should be buying or selling what these players are putting down.
I, like many of you, felt like a young kid on Christmas morning today and this week’s slate did not disappoint. Without further ado, let’s review.
- Jalen Hurts
Of course, we had to start here, with the Fantasy Scouts darling, Jalen Hurts. Hurts looked every bit like a franchise QB in this one, playing smart, efficient, and with some swagger. Those that were concerned with his completion percentage from last season were pleasantly surprised as he finished the game at 77.1%. Hurts posted a total of 28.6 fantasy points after filling up the box score with 264 passing yards and three touchdowns to go with 7 carries for 62 yards on the ground. Per ESPN, Hurts has tallied 120.72 points through his first five career NFL starts, which is the fifth most of any QB making their first five starts. And remember, that includes the final game of last season when he didn’t play the fourth quarter. Whatever your opinion of Hurts as an NFL QB is, it’s undeniable that he’s a fantasy QB1 oozing with upside.
- Kyler Murray
Murray was in complete command of this game from the opening kickoff, with his one interception being his only real blemish. A potential MVP candidate, Murray impacted the game through the air, finishing with 289 yards and four touchdowns, and on the ground with 20 yards and a score. We know that the Titans defense is softer than your favorite toilet paper, but Murray is poised to have a big year and remains an elite option at the QB position.
- Russell Wilson
The word out of Seattle since they hired Shane Waldron as the team’s offensive coordinator has been that they wanted to play more up-tempo and get Russ more throws in rhythm. The Hawks stayed true to their word and let Russ cook in this one as he tossed four touchdowns on 254 yards. This is a team that typically runs their offense through the ground game, but we very well could be witnessing a shift in philosophy. Russ has never had more upside, treat him as a high-end QB1 going forward.
- Dak Prescott
While there are no moral victories in the National Football League, Cowboys and Prescott fantasy managers must feel good about what they saw Thursday night. The only real question about Dak was his health but he certainly looked healthy against the defending champion Bucs defense, finishing the contest with 403 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He managed just 13 rushing yards but looked like his old self. You can rest easy with Dak as your QB1.
- Tom Brady
At the ripe age of 44, TB12 opened the season with 379 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Surrounded by more weaponry than ever, Brady looks poised to continue defying any sort of decline. Obviously, he’s not going to give you anything in the rushing column, but he’s a strong QB1 for a contender.
- Patrick Mahomes
The greatest QB in all the land delivered another dazzling performance on Sunday, posting 337 passing yards to go with 3 passing touchdowns. Mahomes also added 18 rushing yards and another score on the ground. The Browns have a stout defense from top to bottom, but they were no match for the former MVP who remains fantasy football’s top QB option.
- Jameis Winston
Winston threw five touchdown passes on just 148 passing yards. The touchdown total is what carried his point total, but he played confident turnover-free football. Perhaps the biggest win for Winston was that Taysom Hill threw the ball just once and ran it twice. Winston should be in the QB1 mix most weeks.
- Aaron Rodgers
Other QB Notes
Josh Allen had a quiet day with just 17.2 fantasy points, but nothing to be worried about. None of the rookies face-planted, with Trevor Lawrence leading the way amongst them with 19.08 fantasy points. He was up and down all day but finished with 332 yards, three touchdowns, and three INTs. Zach Wilson had his moments, throwing for 258 yards and two scores, adding one interception. Mac Jones played the cleanest game of the three, going 29/39 for 281 yards and one touchdown. Ryan Tannehill struggled mightily, as did the Titan's entire offense, posting just 14.18 points. There’s going to be an adjustment period without Arthur Smith, I’m not panicking yet. Justin Herbert fell short of expectations with just 13.38 yards but faced a stingy Washington defense. Jared Goff put up strong numbers but mostly in garbage time. Matthew Stafford made the most of his Rams debut with 24.34 points.
- Joe Mixon
Mixon has been a divisive fantasy asset since entering the league, but with Gio Bernard in Tampa and a high-powered offense, there’s been an uptick of optimism surrounding the Oklahoma product. Mixon touched the ball a whopping 33 times, going 29 for 127 and one score on the ground, and catching all four targets for 23 yards. After week 1, Mixon appears to be a workhorse running back in a league without many of those left. As such, he should be viewed as mid-to-low end RB1 in an offense that’s going to score tons of points this year.
- Elijah Mitchell
Trey Sermon was a surprise healthy scratch for the 49ers, so after Raheem Mostert left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury, the backfield was down to JaMycal Hasty and Mitchell. Mitchell got the opportunity and ran with it, quite literally, tallying 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. As of this writing, we don’t know the severity of Mostert’s injury, but it’s tough seeing Mitchell carrying the full load going forward. Sermon would likely be active if Mostert misses extended time, but it seems Mitchell has at least earned more opportunities. Figuring out which running back Kyle Shanahan prefers is nearly impossible, but we should learn more this week. For now, I don’t feel comfortable playing any of them, but Mitchell was impressive.
- Jamaal Williams & D’Andre Swift
Prior to kickoff, NFL Network reported that Swift was going to play, but Williams would carry most of the load. Hopefully, that didn’t scare you off of Swift, as he finished with 24.4 PPR points. He rushed for just 39 yards on 11 carries but tallied eight receptions, 65 yards, and one touchdown on 11 targets. Williams saw nine carries for 54 yards and a touchdown, adding eight receptions for 56 yards on nine targets. There’s been speculation that this tandem would be used in a similar way to how the Saints have used Kamara with Ingram or Murray, and so far that comparison looks spot on. Swift is a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside, while Williams is an RB3.
- David Montgomery
It’s no secret that Montgomery’s late-season push to fantasy stardom last year was aided by a soft schedule, but he put up a strong performance on Sunday night. We would have liked to see more than one target go his way with Cohen out, but he ran 16 times for 108 yards and a score and remains a solid RB2.
- Jonathan Taylor & Nyheim Hines
Taylor has been treated as fantasy royalty all offseason while Hines has been the forgotten man. Based on the results from week one, both can be effective and have value. Taylor carried the ball 17 times for 56 yards and received seven targets, turning them into six receptions for 60 yards. Hines toted the rock nine times for 34 yards, adding six receptions on eight targets for 48 yards. While we would like to see Taylor notch a few more carries, you can’t complain about seven targets. With a limited group of pass-catchers, I see no reason both backs can’t continue to see a solid target share. Taylor remains a high-end RB1 and Hines an RB3.
- Christian McCaffrey
CMC picked up right where he left off, pre-injury. As the overall RB1. McCaffrey lead the position with 27.7 PPR points without even finding the endzone, finishing with 21 for 98 on the ground and 9 for 89 through the air. The bottom line is that McCaffrey is a truly special talent. No matter who the coach is, who the QB is, or who the opponent is, CMC is the RB1.
- Mark Ingram II
While the Texan's RBs do little to excite any fantasy manager, Ingram appears to be the back-to-own in Houston. Ingram carried the ball 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Phillip Lindsay carried just eight times for 25 yards and a score, while David Johnson was only given three handoffs. Johnson, however, saw five targets while the others saw just one apiece.
- Austin Ekeler
Ekeler rushed 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown but did not see a single target come his way. So much of Ekeler’s damage is done through the air, so this is concerning. I believe the team will make some adjustments in an effort to get him more targets going forward, but it is something to monitor.
Other RB Notes
Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara remain elite, posting 20.4 and 18.1 PPR points respectively. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are still the most lethal tandem in the NFL behind a tremendous offensive line. Chubb went 15 for 83 and two scores on the ground, adding two for 18 through the air. Hunt carried six times for 33 and one score, catching three passes for 28 yards. Melvin Gordon finished with 101 yards and one touchdown, but the bulk of it came on a 70-yard run. He was mostly ineffective outside of that run, while teammate Javonte Williams saw three more carries, finishing with 45 rushing yards. Damien Harris rushed 23 times for 100 yards but lost a fumble and was still outscored (PPR) by teammate James White, 11.7 to 12.1. White is currently undervalued and should be a flex consideration with his receiving chops. Derrick Henry had one of his worst games in recent memory yet still finished with 10.7 PPR points. Ronald Jones lost a fumble in the first half on Thursday night and didn’t see the field after, leaving him and fantasy managers with -.6 points. Leonard Fournette benefited in the way of 10.7 PPR points but wasn’t very effective himself. Darrell Henderson put up 15.7 points. Nothing special, but he touched the ball 17 times while Sony Michel saw just one. I’ve had some nice things to say about Larry Rountree through the pre-season and he served as the RB2 behind Ekeler, a role that has had fantasy relevance in the past. Antonio Gibson finished with 20 carries for 90 yards and five targets, catching three for 18. Notably, JD McKissic saw just one target. Miles Sanders went over 100 all-purpose yards on 15 carries and four receptions, but Kenneth Gainwell was the one who found the end zone. Gainwell was more involved than expected, acting as the team's RB2 and posting 9 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown to go with two receptions for six yards. Myles Gaskin is clearly the back-to-own in Miami but saw just 14 total touches, generating 76 yards. Zack Moss was a surprisingly healthy inactive, leading the way for Devin Singletary to run 11 times for 72 yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was quiet with just 43 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards, but I’m not panicking. The Jets backfield is a mess.
- Amari Cooper & CeeDee Lamb
Although fantasy managers have been treating Lamb as the WR1 in Dallas, it was Cooper whose star was brightest on Thursday night, finishing with 13 catches on 16 targets for 139 and two touchdowns. Lamb wasn’t too far behind, however, grabbing seven of 15 targets for 104 and one touchdown. The duo saw 31 targets and have a strong chance to each finish as WR1’s.
- Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, & Mike Evans
Two parts of the best WR trio in the league put on a clinic Thursday with Brown leading the way. He finished with five receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Godwin was also effective, catching nine passes for 105 yards and a score but it was Evans who struggled, catching just three passes for 24 yards.AB looked like his Steeler self out there, and it’s within the range of outcomes that he finishes as the WR1 on the team. There’s little doubt that Evans will bounce back, but Godwin is the player who I want from this group going forward.
- Tyreek Hill
The best WR on the best offense in the league, Tyreek Hill is still a home run threat every time he touches the ball. His 37.1 PPR points were second only to Cooper’s 38.9. Hill saw a whopping 15 targets come his way, converting them into 11 receptions for 197 yards and a score. He will be in the mix to finish this season as the WR1 overall.
- Deebo Samuel & Brandon Aiyuk