NFL Week 1 - Fantasy Football Game Recap

Contributed by: Jason Stolberg and Al king
Last Updated: Sep 11, 2012 11:47 AM

New England Patriots 34,  Tennessee Titans 13


The New England Patriots offense did what they do every season, look suspect in the preseason then come out in the opener and perform like nothing bad ever happened. The one difference on this Sunday however was the fact that they established the run game early and stuck with it the entire game.

Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, proving that Tom Brady is still well Tom Brady. While the yardage numbers were down he still got two touchdowns and looked good. 

Stevan Ridley was the star of the game going off for 152 total yards, 127 rushing and 25 receiving also scoring a touchdown. Ridley played great while Vereen missed the game due to injury. This performance should all but solidify Ridley atop the Patriots running back depth chart.

Brandon Lloyd had a decent debut as a Patriot with five receptions for 69 yards on eight targets. The plus is that Brady and Lloyd looked to be on the same page already. Wes Welker did nothing grabbing three catches for 14 yards. Welkerwas all but cancelled out with all the other options in the passing game and the added presence of the run game.

Last years phenom Rob Gronkowski did what he did what he does best and got in the end-zone, adding six catches for 60 yards. The other superb Patriot tight-end Aaron Hernandez had six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. The two tight-ends will continue to be Tom Brady's favorite targets.

Tennessee Titans are coming into this season with some mild expectations with a new young and talented quarterback and a superstar running back who says he is back to his old form. 

Jake Locker was playing well before going out with a separated left shoulder (non-throwing arm), going 23 of 32 for 229 yards one touchdown and an interception. Locker is expected to play next season according to both him and Coach Munchak.

Chris Johnson was taken out of the game early when the Titans fell behind 21-3 but there is no excuse for a stat line of 11 rushes for four, yes, 4 yards. Johnson did however save himself a bit but catching six passes for 47 yards. 

Nate Washington had two receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown before getting hit hard and going down with what is an apparent leg contusion and is expected back for week two. He was targeted eight times. Rookie Kendall Wright finished the game with 5 receptions 37 yards and no touchdowns. Damian Williams chipped in with 5 catches for 33yards and 0 touchdowns. Williams will be a non-factor moving forward with the return of Kenny Britt and Nate Washington next week.

Jared Cook seemed to have a nice rapport with Jake Locker before the quarterback went down. Cook was the Titans leading receiver in terms of yardage, gaining 64 yards on four receptions.

Indianapolis – 21, Chicago Bears – 41

It only took until Week 1 for the luck to run out on Andrew Luck (318 total yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs).  As you can tell, I’ve been waiting all pre-season to use that one.  He still threw for 300 yards, and he’s well on his way to throwing for 4000 yards as a rookie, which very likely could happen with the Colts defense being as atrocious as it is.  Luck will be playing from behind a lot, and if he can limit the interceptions, he’ll be a pretty good fantasy starter.

Jay Cutler (329 total yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was another player touted as a good value sleeper in drafts, and he didn’t disappoint.  Now that he has a much better wide receiver group than he had last year, Cutler is poised to be a top 12 QB in fantasy this year; a good return since he was likely drafted as a backup in most fantasy drafts.

The reports of Reggie Wayne’s (9-135) demise have been greatly overstated, as he showed that even as the elder statesman on the Colts offense, he’s still the most dangerous weapon in Luck’s arsenal.  Coby Fleener (6-82) also proved to be Luck’s BFF as most predicted, catching 8 out of 10 targets.  Even Donnie Avery (3-37, 1 TD) had some value here, catching Luck’s lone TD pass.

Predictably, Brandon Marshall (9-119, 1 TD) was a boon for Cutler, as the two look like they haven’t missed a beat since their hayday back in Denver.  Alshon Jeffrey (3-80, 1 TD) also showed to be a capable running mate and looks like he’ll have some value.  Both Kellen Davis (0-0) and Evan Rodriguez (0-0) were tabbed as deep sleepers by some experts this season, and both predictably remained asleep.

Even though he only got 9 carries, Donald Brown (9 car., 48 yards, 1 TD) did the most he could with them.  Owners should be used to him not getting many carries, as the Colts look destined to fall behind early and often in 2012.

As predicted, Matt Forte (16 car., 80 yards, 1 TD; 3 rec., 40 yards) got most of the carries, and even scored a touchdown, but ceded all the carries inside the 5 yard line to Michael Bush (12 car., 42 yards, 2 TDs).  This type of stat line is bound to happen all year long; but Forte owners beware, he probably won’t score a touchdown most weeks with Bush the vulture around.

Buffalo Bills 28-  New York Jets 48

The New York Jets offense looked down right awful in the preseason, so awful that the first team offense didn't score a single touchdown. Neither did the second string offense for that matter. This was not the case on Sunday afternoon as the offense put up 34 points with a touchdown coming on an interception return and another on a punt return. I guess the "vanilla" offense that the Jets said they were using in preseason isn't so far-fetched now. 

Mark Sanchez played well throwing for 266 yards and three touchdowns.Tim Tebow was a non-factor in his wildcat a.k.a. "wild-Tim" offense (5 rushes 11 yards 0 pass attempts).

Shonn Greene got plenty of carries as promised gaining 94 yards on 27 attempts and rushing it in for a touchdown. A game that could be warranted as a good start after giving you 15 points 

The rookie wide receiver out of Georgia Tech, Stephen Hill, looked impressive in his debut hauling in five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns, shutting our mouth on the bad start tag. Santonio Holmes stayed with his middle of the road start putting up four receptions for 68 yards and no touchdowns. TCU's Jeremy Kerley  also had a strong showing catching four passes for 45 yards 1 touchdown, he also had a 68 yard punt return, making him relevant in return yardage leagues as well.

Dustin Keller seemed invisible only bringing in one catch for seven yards as the Jets operated more out of three-wide-sets than usual. 

Buffalo Bills were hit hard by the injury bug yet again on Sunday. Much like 2011 the Bills are already becoming short handed. The offense struggled early against a good New York Jet pass defense, throwing three interceptions in the game. With a banged-up no. 1 receiver and the youth of the rest of the group the Bills struggled in the passing game throughout.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was true to his bad start tag throwing for only 195 yards, three touchdowns to go along with three interceptions.

Fred Jackson went down early with a knee injury that is being called a sprained LCL and is out at least four weeks. A big blow to Jackson owners who didn't pick up Spiller. C.J. Spiller exploded after Jackson went down and took full advantage of his opportunity once again running wild for 169 yards on 14 attempts and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 25 yards. 

Stevie Johnson was clearly hampered by his lingering groin problem but was able to come up with a garbage time touchdown, catching four balls for 55 yards and one touchdown. David Nelson suffered an ACL tear and is out for the season, a big blow to the receiving core as he was their best slot man. Donald Jones will now likely be moved to the slot and had five receptions for 41 yard and a touchdown. 

Scott Chandler did his best impression of last season where he started the season off popping up on everyone's radar after the first few weeks. Chandler hauled in four catches for 38 yards and that all important touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles – 17, Cleveland Browns – 16

So much for the dynasty that Michael Vick (349 total yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs) predicted.  This was an ugly, ugly game and the Eagles won because Vick was barely able to outperform a rookie making his debut with one of the worst wide receiver groups in the league.  Good job Mike.  The Eagles and Vick are going to have to get things together if they want to have a chance at all against the visiting Ravens in Week 2.

 What more can we say about Brandon Weeden’s (143 total yards, 4 INTs) debut but, “Ugh”?  One of the worst performances by a rookie making his debut, things can’t get much worse for Weeden, can it?  Maybe it can, with a road game against the division rival Bengals on the docket next.  Ugh.

As usual, Jeremy Maclin (7-96, 1 TD) served as Michael Vick’s favorite target, but apparently he suffered a hip flexor injury late in the game.  If it weren’t for the myriad of injuries Vick sustains, we’d be talking more about Maclin’s proclivity for showing up on the injured list.  Desean Jackson (4-77) had a normal stat line bolstered by a 30+ yard catch, while Brent Celek (4-77) showed to have some value even with Vick having a bad day.

Nothing really worth mentioning for the Browns receiving group, which is likely to be the theme for the year.  Still, surprising that Greg Little (0-0) couldn’t even manage one catch in the game.

Even though he’s already off the pace for beating his 20 TD year last season, Lesean McCoy (20 car., 110 yards; 6 rec., 26 yards) still showed enough elusiveness and tough running to be considered one of the best RBs in the league.  He’s always good for some yardage, and we all know the TDs will come.

Wow… the Eagles did nothing but stack 8 and 9 men in the box and punished rookie Trent Richardson (19 car., 39 yards; 1 rec., 5 yards).  If Weeden can’t make opposing defenses pay, Richardson’s going to be pounded into the turf on a weekly basis.  Don’t expect much production out of the touted rookie until the passing game picks up. 

Seattle Seahawks 16,  Arizona Cardinals 20

Releasing a superstar, choosing a rookie quarterback over the man they paid and bringing on a receiver past his prime, doesn't really sound like a great way to go about an off-season. That's exactly what the Seahawks and Pete Caroll did this off-season. 

The story of the preseason and the most unexpected rookie starting quarterback Russel Wilson had a lackluster performance in his debut. He threw for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Marshawn Lynch was questionable going into Sunday with back spasms and all signs pointed to him not playing. He played, and played well rushing the ball 21 times for 85 yards. He also caught 2 passes for 12 yards. Robert Turbin barely saw the field on offense and only rushed two times for 5 yards and had one catch for two yards. 

Braylon Edwards led the team in receiving hauling in 5 catches for 43 yards. Sidney Rice was able to find the end-zone but only had four receptions for 36 yards.

Zach Miller finished the game with three receptions and 40 yards. Still not enough to be considered in fantasy circles.

With a quarterback competition that lasted all off-season, the Arizona Cardinals came into Sunday with alot of uncertainty. A week of practice that saw their oft-injured starting running back get hurt again on Thursday and not know if and how he would play.

John Skelton started the game for the Cardinals and complete 50% of his passes for 149 yards before going down with a low ankle sprain. Kevin Kolb came in to lead the Cardinals on what was a game winning drive going 6 of 8 for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Beanie Wells was injured (hamstring) Thursday but did suit up for the game where he was a non-factor carrying the ball seven times for 14 yards. Ryan Williams struggled as well gaining only nine yards on eight carries as the Cardinals weren't able to get anything going on the ground.

Larry Fitzgerald was held to only four receptions for 63 yards. You can blame bad quarterback play for that and maybe a little bit on the coverage. Andre Roberts finished the game with 5 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Roberts helped himself in landing the no. 2 wide receiver role with the solid outing. Early Doucet caught three passes for 32 yards.

Todd Heap had three catches for 32 yards.

St. Louis Rams - 23, Detroit Lions - 27

Have to hand it to Sam Bradford (201 total yards, 1 TD) and the Rams; for about 59 minutes, they looked poised to stun a preseason darling of all the prognosticators.  They played smart football, and Bradford was helped out by a defense that played adequately enough to keep the Rams in the game until the very end.  The Rams might surprise a few people this year, but with the ball control type of offense, don’t expect big numbers from the QB position.

Matthew Stafford (355 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs) sleepwalked through about 3 quarters before finally waking up and realizing they were on the verge of losing to a team that was supposed to be a gimme game.  Luckily for the Lions fans and fantasy owners, Stafford came alive and made his day respectable despite the 3 INTs.

As predicted, looks like Danny Amendola (5-70) will be the top target this year for Bradford, as he had almost twice as many targets as the next player.  Brandon Gibson (4-51, 1 TD) showed that he isn’t going away as the other starter, and may have some value going forward if he continues to play well.

It took until the second half, but Calvin Johnson (6-111) finally came alive and ended up with some pretty good stats, despite not catching a touchdown.  Brandon Pettigrew (5-77) also showed up well in this contest.  Titus Young (1-14) lost his temper and got a personal foul penalty in the first half, relegating him to the doghouse and elevating Nate Burleson (6-69) into usefulness.

Steven Jackson (21 car., 53 yards; 4 rec., 31 yards) was the lead dog of course, but that wasn’t worth much this week as he didn’t find much room to run.  The Lions are pretty stout against the rush, so expect better days ahead for Jackson.

Kevin Smith (13 car., 62 yards, 1 TD; 4 rec., 29 yards, 1 TD) doesn’t look special in terms of physical skills, but the guy just gets the job done as long as he’s healthy.  That probably won’t last, which is probably why it’s a good think Mikel Leshoure will be back after next week.

Miami Dolphins – 10, Houston Texans – 30

Gee, who would have thought Ryan Tannehill (218 total yards, 3 INTs) would have had a tough game against the #2 defense in the league in 2011?  Hmm… probably everyone who knows anything at all about football.  Tannehill looked like the raw rookie that he is, and for the time being he’s making pretty much all the Dolphins offensive players unrosterable in most leagues.

Matt Schaub (264 total yards, 1 TD) seems like he hasn’t missed a beat since his injury during the second half of 2011.  He was efficient and managed the game just fine against an underrated Dolphins defense.  Since the Texans have a strong defense and running game, these types of stat lines are probably what owners can expect, making Schaub a pretty good backup but not much more.

Davone Bess (5-45) might have some value in PPR leagues, but other than that, the pass catchers really are low on both value and talent when compared to the WR corps of most other teams.  Really, hard to tell who has the worst WRs, the Dolphins or the Browns.  Right now, I’m going with the Dolphins.

Another player that people were writing off is Andre Johnson (8-119, 1 TD).  Well, you really shouldn’t do that as long as he’s healthy.  When on his game, Johnson is still one of the best in the business.  Owen Daniels (4-87) also proved to be back and fully healthy, and should be a starter in TE mandatory leagues.

While he might not lead the league in rushing, Reggie Bush (14 car., 69 yards; 6 rec., 46 yards) still is looking like he’s settled in nicely in the role of lead rusher for his team.  As long as he stays healthy, Bush is the only Dolphins player worth owning, and he should be a starter as a RB3/Flex play for sure with RB2 upside.

Arian Foster (26 car., 79 yards, 2 TDs; 1 rec., -4 yards) didn’t quite look like himself with a lingering knee issue, but still got most of the carries and scored a couple of times.  Unless he’s actually out, you have to start him every week regardless of opponent. 

Atlanta Falcons – 40, Kansas City Chiefs – 24

Looks like all those people who tabbed Matt Ryan (324 total yards, 4 TDs) as the newest member of the top 5 QB club are so far looking very right after Week 1.  Ryan was on target and zoned in with his receivers and looked every bit like an elite fantasy QB.  Ryan is a must start until otherwise noted.

Matt Cassel (278 total yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) ended up with decent stats, but really only in the first half when the Chiefs were still actually in the game.  After that, all hell broke loose and Cassel’s productivity went down the tubes.  The Chiefs should be ok most weeks, but proved they’re not really ready for primetime against the better teams in the league.

Welcome to being a #1 WR on your own team as well as on fantasy teams, Julio Jones (6-108, 2 TDs).  Many prognosticators (including yours truly) predicted this would be the year Jones would take the mantle from Roddy White (6-87), and looks like that may just hold true.  White still has good value, but Jones will likely have the better stats each week.  Speaking of good stats every week, Tony Gonzalez (5-53, 1 TD) just keeps plugging away, and is once again a player that should be starting in TE mandatory leagues.  Amazing.

Looks like the Chiefs preseason plans of getting the ball into Dexter McCluster’s (6-82) hands held true in the regular season.  McCluster is a playmaker out in space, so if you’re in a PPR league, he might be worth a pick up.  Dwayne Bowe (3-53) was the second leading receiver, and look for his targets to pick up as he gets more comfortable after taking most of the preseason off.

The one ugly part of the Falcons’ game was of course the rushing attack.  Michael Turner (11 car., 32 yards) looked like he’s an old running back in plodding his way to a pathetic 32 yards rushing.  Jacquizz Rodgers (7 car., 22 yards; 2 rec., 13 yards) wasn’t much better; but he at least looks like he has more wiggle to him at this point.  Look for the timeshare to continue, making both RBs value pretty well nil.

Jamaal Charles (16 car., 87 yards) looked good in his first real game action since suffering an ACL tear almost an entire year ago.  Peyton Hillis (7 car., 16 yards; 3 rec., 8 yards) didn’t pan out, but did get in on several plays hinting at better days are likely ahead.

 Jacksonville Jaguars – 23, Minnesota Vikings – 26

Don’t look now, but Blaine Gabbert (266 total yards, 2 TDs) actually looked like a fairly decent fantasy backup QB in this game.  Might have been a product of a pretty bad Vikings secondary, but Gabbert looked decisive and had some nice throws down the field.  Maybe he’s turned a corner after last year’s disaster.

Christian Ponder (271 total yards) ended up with pretty efficient stats and a good QB rating, but didn’t throw any touchdown passes with the running game clicking so well.  Ponder will get his TD throws in though, but probably will have enough of these types of afternoons to make him just a low end fantasy backup, if that.

Laurent Robinson (5-66) finally showed up after being absent from most of the stat lines during the preseason.  Cecil Shorts (4-74, 1 TD) made the best catch of the day to put the Jaguars in position to win the game, even though they ultimately lost in overtime.  Marcedes Lewis (5-52, 1 TD) had a better game than he had pretty much all year last year, and Justin Blackmon (3-24) had a rough debut game.

Percy Harvin (6-84, 20 rush yards) did all the heavy lifting for Ponder in the passing game, while Kyle Rudolph (5-67) looked the part of an up and coming young TE stud.  If you can get Rudolph on the cheap, I suggest doing it now before he starts catching touchdowns.

Rashad Jennings (8 car., 31 yards; 1 rec., 9 yards) lasted all of 1.5 quarters before giving way to Maurice Jones-Drew (19 car., 77 yards; 3 rec., 18 yards) due to an injury.  Jones-Drew looked good, so don’t expect him to relinquish the role of lead back now.  Unless you also have MJD, you can probably feel free to cut Jennings.

ACL tear?  No problem for Adrian Peterson (17 car., 84 yards, 2 TDs; 1 rec., 3 yards), apparently, as he looks like he never got injured in the first place.  Feel free to start him like you would have pre-injury, which is simply amazing.

Washington Redskins – 40, New Orleans Saints – 32

The Robert Griffin III (362 total yards, 2 TDs) era begins in Washington and it started with a bang.  RGIII looked like a savvy vet in going into one of the toughest environments in the league to steal one from a perennial Super Bowl contender.  RGIII looks like he just makes plays, so ride it before he runs into the rookie wall like Cam Newton did, right around the mid-point of the season.

For the first half of the game, Drew Brees (339 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) really didn’t look like a former MVP and Super Bowl winner, as his numbers were held down by a surprisingly effective Redskins pass defense.  Have to wonder if the Saints not bringing in some help at WR all these years is finally starting to catch up to them.

Pierre Garcon (4-109, 1 TD) looked the part of lead dog in the passing game until he hurt his foot on his 88 yard TD pass from RGIII.  Keep an eye out on the injury report to see if Garcon’s injury is serious enough for him to miss time.  In Garcon’s place, Aldrick Robinson (4-52, 1 TD) looked fairly decent as well and might be worth a pickup if Garcon is kept out for a week or two.  Santana Moss (3-47) also had decent stats, while Fred Davis (2-38) disappointed.

Lance Moore (6-120, 1 TD) got a lot of garbage time catches and yards once the game was pretty well out of hand.  However, without many other options, he’s worth a pick up if he wasn’t already drafted.  Marques Colston (4-71) led in targets but could only convert on four of those passes.  Jimmy Graham (6-85, 1 TD) once again looked like the preferred target of Brees, but he spent a lot of time in the second half blocking since the Saints weren’t able to protect Brees adequately with their offensive line.

Alfred Morris (28 car., 96 yards, 2 TDs) got the start in this game, and he did a good enough job showing toughness and good ball security as a fine balance to the electric RGIII.  Looks like Morris has the job for now, but you know with Mike Shanahan that can change on a whim.

What running game?  The only RB of note was Darren Sproles (0 car.; 5 rec., 35 yards, 1 TD) and he didn’t get a carry.  The Saints will have to find better balance if they want to recover from this stunning defeat.

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