Sunday football is done. It’s time to go to bed everyone! We need to rest up for a Monday Night Football double-header. And yes, they should have a double-header every Monday, not just in Week 1. But we’ve had a glorious day of football. I was expecting some really bad football to be played in Week 1 of 2020, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Your Top-10 PPR fantasy scores pre-Monday Night Football are as follows, Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Calvin Ridley, Russell Wilson, Adam Thielen, Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins. Christian McCaffrey, Josh Allen, and Ezekiel Elliott. You won’t see all of these names below, but a good chunk are there. But, while I’m here, I need to give a shout out to Rodgers since I went with Adams over him in my post. He is back. How much of his success was the Vikings decimated defense versus Rodgers returning to form? I can’t say for sure, but we saw some amazing throws from the veteran and it looks like he’s not ready to hang up his elite status just yet.
Sunday Night Football
Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams
Wow. Brown took the lead back job and ran with it against the Cowboys on SNF. He finished the night with 18 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 3-of-4 targets for 31 more yards. That is the definition of getting the job done. He’s not assured the lead role moving forward, but he sure helped his chances. He’ll get a tough matchup against the Eagles next week unfortunately.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
Elliott is going to get his in this offense, but he had an extra burst Sunday night. He ended up rushing 22 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, while adding three receptions for 31 yards and another touchdown. And those numbers don’t quite match what we saw on the field. The loss of Blake Jarwin could also give him a few more targets moving forward.
The Not So Good
Cam Akers, RB, Rams
Akers got the start, but Brown was just the better back on Sunday night. Akers rushed 14 times for 39 yards and caught his one target for four yards. He showed very little to be excited about and with Darrell Henderson getting healthy, he could see even more competition for touches. He’s a sit against the Eagles next week until we see him do something.
Kyler Murray/DeAndre Hopkins, QB/WR, Cardinals
The addition of DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals passing game went as well as it could to start the 2020 season. Hopkins caught 14-of-16 targets for 151 yards. Those 151 yards made up a huge chunk of Kyler Murray’s passing yards, as he ended the day with 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Those numbers don’t make for a fantasy explosion, but when you add Murray’s rushing yards, you’ve got your explosion. He ended up running the ball 13 times for 100 yards and a touchdown to knock him up to 26.3 fantasy points. Those 13 rushing attempts were the most of his short career and a good sign that he’ll be taking off more than last season.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
If Kamara hadn’t have scored three touchdowns, he’s probably be in the “Not So Good” section, but he did! If you have Kamara on your fake team, you are super happy he found the end zone three times. He was stopped often on the ground. with 13 carries for 16 yards. He was better through the air with five receptions for 51 yards, with his biggest gainer on a gadget play that went for 38 yards. This is all to say that the Buccaneers defense is actually pretty good and that it wouldn’t have been a slight to Kamara if he had had a down day.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers
It’s been 966 days since McKinnon played in the NFL and he made his touches count. He didn’t put up huge fantasy numbers, but he showed he is back, as he ran three times for 34 yards and caught 3-of-5 passes for 20 more yards and a touchdown. He’s not going to take over Raheem Mostert’s role, but he looks like he could be involved a lot and his skills should keep him as a decent flex play in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme.
Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers
Tyrod Taylor didn’t look good on Sunday, which led to the team running the ball a bunch in a close game. Austin Ekeler is the lead back, but there were a lot of carries to go around and Kelley took advantage, rushing 12 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. Justin Jackson got the work before Kelley, but was quickly sent back to the bench after two short gains. If the Chargers can play strong defense, Kelley could easily find himself 10-12 touches per game.
The Not So Good
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
The Buccaneers defense came to play and to shut down Michael Thomas, which they did. Thomas, who broke the receptions record last season is now way off pace for a return to the record books after catching 3-of-5 passes for 17 yards. We can’t expect that moving forward of course. Drew Brees did not look good and will likely get things back on track, but it’s a hard pill to swallow if Thomas led you to a fantasy championship last season.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Chargers
Taylor completed 16-of-30 passes for 208 yards and rushed six times for seven yards. The lack of turnovers is what the team is looking for first and foremost as long as their running game and defenses is playing well, but this was a close game against a not very good Bengals team that were in a position to win this game. Justin Herbert might be coming sooner than we thought.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Buccaneers
Gronkowski was the no-doubt starter at tight end, but ended up with just three targets and two receptions for 11 yards. And when you look over at the other tight end, O.J. Howard, you’ll see that he saw six targets and caught four for 36 yards and a touchdown. We can’t be certain that this will be the target distribution moving forward, but it does look like Gronk and Howard will split targets enough to hurt both in fantasy.
There was only one early game that didn’t top 44 points, as Miami and New England totaled just 32 while the Packers and Vikings hit 77, Raiders and Panthers totaled 64 and Falcons and Seahawks ran it up to 63.
I’d expect defenses to catch up a little more as we get a few games under our belt, but for now, let’s soak in all these fantasy points. We’ll go through some of the good, the not so good and the, why God why!!!!
Davante Adams, WR, Packers
When everyone and their dog was saying that Adams should be a target hog after the team didn’t upgrade their WR2, well, they were incredibly correct. Adams caught 14-of-17 targets for 156 yards and two touchdowns to lead all PPR scoring in the early games with 41.6. The Vikings were never in it but they kept scoring, which pushed the Packers to do the same. The Vikings defense will get better, but not a whole lot better after losing multiple key defenders this season.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
Jacobs had a great matchup with the woeful Panthers defense and he made good on that matchup, as he rushed for three touchdowns. His yards per carry weren’t great, but he got the job done, rushing 25 times for 93 yards and the three scores. He also caught 4-of-6 targets for 46 yards, which is a good sign for his PPR projection moving forward.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
There hasn’t been a changing of the guard in Atlanta, but Ridley ended up beating out Julio Jones this week in fantasy, as he hauled in two touchdowns to go along with his 9-of-12 receptions for 130 yards. Jones had the same number of targets and also caught nine and put up a lofty 157 yards with no touchdowns.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets
It didn’t start well, as Sam Darnold and Crowder couldn’t connect on his first four targets, but it turned around quickly. Crowder ended up catching 7-of-13 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Crowder is the best target available for Darnold right now and they will likely be trailing early and often and need to throw a lot.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
The Colts came into this game with two starting caliber running backs Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor. So, of course, Hines scores the first two touchdowns. Hines was in a committee with Mack until Mack’s injury took him out. Taylor then saw an uptick in work, as he finished with 15 touches to Hines’ 15. Hines managed eight receptions and Taylor six, so the dink and dunking Philip Rivers did his thing to be sure. With Mack likely done for the season, these two should remain the top backs on the team and Hines a top waiver wire addition.
The Not So Good
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington
The rookie will have plenty of opportunities ahead of him, but he didn’t get many in his first game as a Football Teamer. He ended up rushing nine times for 36 yards and catching both his targets for eight yards. Gibson ended up seeing 20 snaps, which means he touchded the ball on more than 50 percent of those, but he was behind Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic both had 29 snaps while Barer was the clear goal line back with two short touchdowns.
Marvin Jones, WR, Lions
Jones came into this game as the likely No. 1 receiver with Kenny Golladay out, but he ended up with 4-of-8 receptions for 55 yards. Rookie Quintez Cephus led the team with 10 targets, but only caught 3 for 43 yards. It’s odd that the rookie was the go-to receiver with Jones there. They’ll need to get Golladay back fast.
Last season Chubb went off on the Ravens, but with a huge deficit, it was Kareem Hunt who saw more work. Chubb was fine on his 10 rushing attempts for 60 yards, but Hunt, as the passing back, ended up with 13 carries for 72 yards and 4-of-6 catches for nine yards. Chubb is likely to be more dependent on game flow than last season.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Falcons
The Falcons top three receivers each caught nine passes on 12 targets and topped 100 yards while Hurst saw just five targets, catching three for 38 yards. If Russell Gage can continue to see a good target share, that’s bad news for Hurt, but I expect those two will fluctuate based on defensive scheme. Hurst is still a player worth rostering and starting for now.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns
Another year, another poor connection between Baker Mayfield and Beckham Jr. OBJ caught 3-of-10 targets for just 22 yards. You can probably find a similar game last year if you want to look. The Ravens are going to be one of their tougher matchups, and the 10 targets is good, but they’ve still got a ways to go on their journey to fantasy greatness.
Matt Breida, RB, Dolphins
The trade from the 49ers to Miami seemed like a good one to get Breida some more work, but instead, he was behind Jordan Howard and Myles Gaskin against the Patriots. Gaskin ended up the touch leader, as he had 39 snaps and touched the ball 13 times for 66 yards. Breida had five rushing attempts for 22 yards and Howard had eight carries for 7 yards and a touchdown. This is a backfield to continue avoiding.
Why God, why!
D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions
Swift got a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter, which is great for fantasy, but he then went on to drop the game-winning touchdown in the end zone against the division rival Chicago Bears. Overall he had three carries for 15 yards and caught 3-of-5 targets for 15 yards. The touchdown makes him fine as a flex play this week, but that other touchdown would have been nice and kept him from being the main reason his team is now 0-1.
You can watch it here, if your stomach can handle the pain: