Every week, I will go back and watch all games played from the previous week on NFL Gamepass using the Condensed version, sprinkled in with some All-22. Stats like downs played, targets, routes run are good to know, but without watching the film, you are missing full context. The film will help weed out the meaningless numbers that can lead you astray. Some weeks I will drop more games than others, but will put out as much as I can before before the following weeks games.
Dolphins @ Patriots https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220131
Cam looked confident, strong and like his old self. The Pats used him correctly on Power Runs, Read Options and Options. He displayed his superior strength and athleticism. They kept it relatively simple for him in the passing game with a lot of short throws, but he made all of them and looked accurate. For a guy coming into his first game with a new team after taking a full year off, he looked prepared and ready to rock.
The Pats backfield was a mix of Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead with a sprinkle of newcomer and UDFA out of Arizona, J.J. Taylor. I liked what I saw from him, he may have been their most impressive runner on the day even though he only got 4 carries for 28 yards. He is somebody to keep a close eye on and worth a grab in Dynasty leagues. The one downside is when Damien Harris returns from IR in a few weeks he may be relegated to the practice squad. For now this backfield is a mix of characters with with no real clarity, even James White’s usual lead role may be dwindling some.
N’Keal Harry looked Ok, didn’t create much separation if at all, but used his big body to shield himself from defenders. He came close to a TD but got stripped at the one yard line, which went for a touchback. I like the prospects of Harry, but we need to see more.
Edelman had a unusual drop and looked a bit slower but assumed his usual position in the slot. Ryan Izzo was the Tight End who caught a pass, not rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene who was not active. I like Dalton Keene’s talent the most, somebody to monitor. Dalton Keene will be active for Week 2, add him where you can.
Fitzpatrick looked like his normal spry self, running around and giving his players a chance to make a play. He had a couple bad picks, but he’s always been prone to that. It didn’t help that Davante Parker left with a hammy injury late in the 2nd/early 3rd. Parker had 40 yards before he went out and looked solid, continuing his momentum from last year. Fitz also was throwing up to Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki. This was a tough matchup for the Phins, so they were all held in check, but in better matchups it’s good that Fitz is willing to fire away which should lead to some big performances from these three. If Parker is out for an extended time Jakeem Grant is probably the guy to target, although Isaiah Ford mixed in also.
The most interesting development was in the backfield, where it wasn’t newcomers Jordan Howard or Matt Brieda but 2nd year back out of Washington Myles Gaskin leading the way. Gaskin had 70 total yards on 12 touches and looked good while doing it, showing soft hands, good burst and he broke a few tackles as well. The advantage Gaskin has here is that he is probably their best receiving back. Brieda could probably do it, but Gaskin is more seasoned and it appears the Phins are going to use him the most. Howard punched one in from the one, but looked pretty bad on the rest of his carries. Brieda looked good on his runs, but overall Gaskin looked the best. He is the guy to own for now and with the Phins likely chucking the ball around all year, he is a sound add for your teams.
Browns @ Ravens https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220147
We saw the Browns Thursday night, so I won’t comment to much on them in this game other then the Ravens D was all over the place, stuffing the run and playing great coverage. Chubb and Hunt had some nice runs, but were limited, but we saw them show out Thursday night. Same with the WR’s and Baker as they were contained as well, the Ravens D is going to be a problem this year.
The biggest takeaway in this game was J.K. Dobbins scoring two TD’s and Mark Ingram getting nada. Neither really ran that well as the Browns D strength is their run D (they showed it again Thursday night against Cincy) but Dobbins was the better runner on this day, showing patience and strength on the goaline. I don’t think Dobbins has taken this job yet, but it’s def at least a 50/50 split between the two.
Jackson continued his torrid pace, scrambling, hitting WR’s all over the field. Marquise Brown was getting open all day, he could be in for a big season. Mark Andrews continued his dominance at TE, making a heck of a catch on his first TD. Would like to see more from Miles Boykin, was frustrating to see him drop a TD. I still have hopes for him, but it’s dwindling pretty quick. I would like to see the Ravens take some shots deep to him. Nick Boyle wasn’t involved too much, and is still more of a blocker than a WR, but he will have some quality games receiving. Willie Snead just runs and Lamar finds him, he’s never going to be a consistent option for this team. Devin Duvernay was used on a reverse and I believe a screen as well as special teams, his role could grow as the season goes on and he could be a legit weapon for them at some point. For now it’s the two backs, Andrews and Brown as the consistent options week to week for Baltimore.
Chargers @ Bengals https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220161
Will be brief on the Bengals, just like the Browns because they played Thursday night and I covered them both in my Bengals vs Browns preview, but Burrow showed a lot of what he showed last Sunday in this game. Quick decisive throws, taking what the defense gave him, while missing a few shots deep. I thought A.J. Green looked better in this game than he did against the Browns, so it’s possible that short week really hurt him after not playing for two years. He still has a lot of potential playing with Burrow, regardless if he’s lost a step. Boyd is going to be fine all year and likely will be Burrow’s favorite target. Tee Higgins didn’t do anything in this game but played more against the Browns and is worth adding this week, because of his pedigree and playing with Burrow. Uzomah was targeted often in this game, but now we know he’s out for the year, so Drew Sample is worth adding because Burrow is going to throw to him a decent amount. Mixon had a rough matchup in this one and also Thursday, be patient with him, his time will come.
Tyrod Taylor was his usual self, mostly short throws, with a few shots deep. When he did go deep it was to Mike Williams, and Mike seems to be Taylor’s favorite WR. Mike declared himself fully healthy after last week, he could be in for a nice season. Remember as a rookie he had 10 TD’s and then last year he had 1,000 yards even though the TD’s weren’t there, this year both may come. Keenan Allen is probably going to be a little underwhelming this year playing with Taylor, but maybe it changes if Herbert takes over. Austin Ekeler is another guy who may fail to live up to expectations because Captain Dumpdown Philly Rivers is no longer there. Taylor didn’t target Ekeler nearly as often and that is where Ekeler is at his best, on the move and in open space. His strength was never running out of the backfield. Justin Jackson got hurt at some point in the 2nd quarter and UCLA rookie Josh Kelly took over and ran well. It looks like Jackson may be out once again, so Kelly has a legit chance to take his job, and become a real factor in this offense. He ran strong and finished runs well. If you are an Ekeler owner, I would think about seeing what you can get for him, I don’t think his situation improves much with Herbert taking over.
Philip Rivers may lose his job to Jacoby Brissett. After 22 Int’s last season, he had 3 awful picks in this game although one of them was called back. He just is not being smart, backpedaling and throwing of his back foot. His arm is still lacking as well. He will make the occasional good throw, but I’m almost positive his deep ball is gone. The biggest benefactors are going to be Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor as they are going to catch a ton of dump offs from him. Marlon Mack started early in this game, Taylor didn’t see any action until there was about 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. With Mack now out for the year, Taylor is going to be getting a ton of targets and carries. Nyheim Hines likely will have a role all season and be a solid flex throughout the year.
Paris Campbell was running drag routes, crossing routes and they took one shot deep but he was double covered. I’m sure the screens, reverses and other gadget plays will come, he will also have a sizable role in this offense. Just don’t expect a lot of TD’s. T.Y. Hilton’s ceiling is probably going to be cuffed because of Rivers’ arm, but is still the best WR on this team. I just don’t see a big season from T.Y. Jack Doyle did Ok in this game and is now hurt. With Trey Burton also hurt, VCU Basketball star Mo Allie-Cox is worth an add this week if you are desperate at TE. Michael Pittman also didn’t do much and I don’t expect much from the rookie this season. Unfortunately, the WR’s are going to be limited because of Rivers and the RB’s will excel, I think it will be the same thing we saw in San Diego last year. If Brissett does step in, it probably doesn’t change much other then the backs being less of a factor in the passing game.
As a runner, Taylor didn’t do much at all. Their weren’t many holes, but he also didn’t look great. The opportunity is there with Mack hurt and playing behind this line, let’s see if he takes full advantage of it. I am sure it’s just a matter of time before they spring some holes for him and he’s running for 50+ yard TD’s. Saquon would love to have this line. Hines will not be a major factor as a runner.
First, the Colts D was pretty unimpressive in this game, Minshew was picking apart their secondary, and they made James Robinson look like Garrison Hearst. On the flip side, the Jax D looked pretty good, especially rookie CB C.J. Henderson from Florida, their 1st round pick. He made several big plays, including the game winning pass break up while covering T.Y. Hilton.
Minshew hit Chark for a TD, but other than that Chark didn’t do much, we know Chark is legit, he showed that last year. Keelan Cole ran wide open on his TD pass, he literally ran uncovered from one side of the field to the other. James Robinson looked pretty good, but like I said the Colts D was bad, so I need to see more. He was the guy though, and there really is nobody else, unless they start using Dare Obunguwale more. Chris Thompson was not a factor either was Tyler Eifert. Minshew continued to extend plays with his feet and make throws on the run, but I foresee some dud games in his future, this was an easy matchup. Shenault had a good game and scored a TD on a drag route with a hesitation move. He should have some splash games but will probably be very inconsistent as he’s more of a hybrid type player than a true every down wideout. That said he could have an effective rookie year just like Deebo Samuel did last season. He is probably their 2nd best option catching the ball behind Chark.
Eagles @ Skins https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220268
Wentz started the game hot, hitting Goedert and Ertz for TD’s also hitting Reagor on a 55 yd bomb, but finished Ice Cold with some poor interceptions and also missing Reagor for a TD. The biggest thing I noticed here is Wentz just refusing to hit the easy read and dump off, he basically went Anti Phil Rivers. Boston Scott’s boxscore looks poor, but he still looked good to me, breaking tackles and showing burst, had he caught a few dumpoffs where he was wide open he could have finished the day much stronger. The Eagles Oline was also being extremely outplayed and was not opening up anything. That may change this week with the return of Lane Johnson. Miles Sanders is back this week, but I think Scott will still have a role regardless. I don’t think Sanders is much better than Scott, I could be wrong. Both are talented and do a lot of the same things. Keep Scott.
Ertz dropped a pass that he usually never drops, there was a lot of that across the league, I will shake it up as rust. Goedert looked great and could be in for a big season. Reagor beat the defense twice deep, and him and Wentz 1 for 2 on those connections, like I mentioned Wentz missed him for a TD. DeSean Jackson was also open a few times where Wentz missed him. Wentz loves the deep ball, so Reagor and Jackson are bound for some big plays.
Dwayne Haskins was inconsistent all day, he made some good throws, but also missed a lot. Terry McClaurin had a decent day, despite Darius Slay being all over him. Darius Slay is so smooth and is going to be a problem for most #1 WR’s. I liked what I saw out of Steven Sims, he’s small but can get up and get the ball, he also has very good speed. Haskins is concerning though, let’s see how he develops. Logan Thomas or being dubbed by some as LT3, caught a wide open TD and had four catches. He’s not an eye popping player by any means, but could get a chunk of targets each week. TE Premium he’s somebody to roll with weekly at this point.
The skins are really committed to making Antonio Gibson a RB, he had a few nice runs, but there wasn’t much open. You would think they would try to involve him in the pass game a little bit more as the season goes on. Need to see more from him, but the opportunity is clearly there. Peyton Barber may have stole the goal line work after he punched in two TD’s, he did little else however, and will likely remain TD dependent.
Last thing I want to mention here is the Skins D and their pass rush. Chase Young looks like a monster, Montez Sweat is promising, Kerrigan, Ioannidis, Bostic, Collins all solid. This defense has some great potential here. If they are available in your league they are worth grabbing. They may generate 4 or 5 sacks a game and create a few turnovers a game as well. Pressure busts pipes.
Bears @ Lions https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220282
Mitch had a rough game for basically the first three quarters, but came through when it mattered, tossing a dime to Anthony Miller to take the lead and ultimately win the game. Mitch was running which is great for his fantasy prospects, but also continued to miss badly on throws. Allen Robinson is still his favorite target and had a great diving catch in this game. After some early week reports Robinson may want out of Chicago, it appears he’s going to stay, they should just pay the man already. Anthony Miller might be an every week play, the talent is there, it all depends on Mitch. Jimmy Graham had two TD’s in this game. It looks like the camp reports were true, haa! He bodied out the defender on his first TD and dove into the endzone for a 2nd td. It appears he may be heavily featured in this offense and very well may be in for a nice season.
David Montgomery runs hard and can move the pile, but it’s going to be rare you see him break a big play. The Bears Oline didn’t look much better at opening holes than they did last year when they were one of the worst Olines in the league. Montgomery also lacks breakaway speed. That said he is basically their workhorse and will pay dividends when he gets into the endzone. Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson mixed in at RB as well and Patterson may have a distinguished role, more so than last season.
Matt Stafford looked very good, throwing darts and displaying great pocket presence. He needs Kenny G back. Marvin Jones, Quintez Cephus, T.J. Hockenson, and Marvin Hall is a lackluster group. Kenny G makes it pop. Hockenson boxed out the defender for a TD and also got tackled near the goaline on a crossing route. He’s not the most athletic guy, but is smart, tough and showed good hands. My expectations are still tempered on him however, just feel there are better options in the league.
Adrian Peterson came to the Lions and became the Alpha real quick, kicking D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson to the side. Peterson displayed his savvy veteran experience showing patience hitting holes and running strong. Kerryon and Swift both mixed in making this backfield a three headed porcupine. Kerryon looked unimpressive while Swift ran in an easy TD, caught a few passes but as we all saw, dropped the game winner. The Lions have had a lot of misses at RB in the past years, Kevin Jones, Jhavid Best, and Kerryon looks like the next one. I am 60/40 towards the negative on Swift, his college tape was impressive, but I am not sure he’s made for the NFL. His route running out of the backfield needs work and he’s not really a great runner in between the tackles. I will be watching him closely and am rooting for him, because the potential is certainly there.
There is more I could talk about but this what I could get out for this week. I will try to cover the full slate next week. For now, enjoy the games and all the best in Week 2. Please give me a follow on twitter @FantasySavvy. Thanks for reading.