It was an exciting opening weekend for the NFL, answering some fantasy questions but also opening up a host of others. From Rookie QBs to an injury to Donovan McNabb to Adrian Peterson once again proving that there is no reason to have considered anyone but him with the first pick, there certainly is a lot to cover. There were breakouts (Devin Hester) and disappointment (Jake Delhomme), so let’s take a look at all the action from yesterday’s slate of games:
Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21
- Tony Romo had a huge game, going 16-27 for 353 yards and 3 TD. Patrick Crayton was the biggest benefactor this week, catching 4 passes for 135 yards and 1 TD including an 80-yard catch. He’s got the potential to put up solid numbers all year long, but I wouldn’t quite expect these types of results. As for Romo, there was a lot of talk that he would be a better QB without the pressures of having to get the ball to Terrell Owens, and this one clearly would give proponents of that thinking some ammunition. Whatever it is, Romo came out looking like a top QB.
- Cadillac Williams (13 carries for 97 yards and 1 TD) and Derrick Ward (12 carries for 62 yards and 1 TD) basically split carries. They both put up solid numbers, making them good Flex options, but until one emerges as a top option neither are perfect plays in shallower formats.
Denver 12, Cincinnati 7
- While Kyle Orton’s numbers look respectable (17-28, 243 yards, 1 TD), 87 yards came on his final throw, a ball tipped into the air and pulled down by Brandon Stokley. Don’t point to this start as a reason to think he’s a usable option in any format.
- Brandon Marshall had 4 catches for 27 yards. It was an unproductive day, but after his antics that should’ve been expected. Next week should yield better results.
- Carson Palmer went 21-33 for 247 yards but 2 interceptions. As I’ve said (click here for the article), it’s going to take him some time to readjust to the NFL game, so keep him on your bench for the time being. He’s going to get there, but it’ll like take another week or two.
Baltimore 38, Kansas City 24
- There was no Mat Cassell, yet the team put up 24 points on what was one of the best defenses in the league last season. Is the loss of Rex Ryan going to make that big of an impact? It’s something to watch, that’s for sure.
- Larry Johnson’s season debut was disappointing, rushing the ball 11 times for just 20 yards. It’s only one game, so don’t write him off so quickly.
- While a lot of the focus is going to be on Joe Flacco, who went 26-43 with 307 yards, 3 TD and 1 Interception, Ray Rice deserves a lot of attention as well. He rushed the ball 19 times for 108 yards, as well as pulling in 2 receptions for an additional 12 yards. A lot of people were expecting a breakout (click here for our look at him) from him and this certainly was a good way to get things started.
- Willis McGahee proved that he will also factor into the offense, rushing for 44 yards and 1 TD, as well as picking up 4 catches for 31 yards and a TD. If you have him on your bench, don’t cut bait on him. He could prove valuable.
Atlanta 19, Miami 7
- Davone Bess had 7 catches for 57 yards. If that’s enough to get you excited, then so be it. At least it appears like he’s going to be a big part of the offense if you need a reserve WR.
- How much does Matt Ryan love to addition of Tony Gonzalez? Gonzalez had 5 catches for 73 yards and 1 TD and continues to prove that he is among the elite tight ends in the league. Why do people continue to call for his demise?
Minnesota 34, Cleveland 20
- How many people passed over Adrian Peterson with the first pick in the draft to take Matt Forte? Anyone who did is shaking their heads in disgust right now. Peterson proved early and often why he is the best back in the game, rushing for 180 yards and 3 TD.
- That performance by Peterson allowed Favre to simply manage the game, throwing for 110 yards and 1 TD. He’s going to open it up sooner or later, but with Peterson chewing up yards, he’s not likely to post those huge numbers we’re used to. He’s a #2 QB at this point for fantasy owners.
- It was Brady Quinn who got the start for the Browns, going 21-35 with 205 yards, 1 TD and 1 Interception. It’s nothing to brag about and who knows if he’s even going to be able to hold down the job all year long. At this point I’d avoid either Cleveland QB.
Philadelphia 38, Carolina 10
- It was an ugly game for Donovan McNabb, who went 10-18 for 79 yards, 2 TD and 1 Interception, as well as rushing for 27 yards and 1 TD. Nothing special, plus he left the game with broken ribs. We’ll have to see how much time he may miss, but hopefully you have a usable back-up stashed away.
- If that was bad for McNabb, who bad was the day for Jake Delhomme? He went 7-17 for 73 yards and 4 interceptions. He’s just not a usable option right now, even in 2 QB formats.
Indianapolis 14, Jacksonville 12
- Maurice Jones-Drew looked good in his first game as the main back in Jacksonville. He rushed for 97 yards and 1 TD, while adding a team high 5 receptions for 26 yards. He was a risky first round pick, but one well worth taking.
- Marvin Harrison is gone. Anthony Gonzalez went down early and didn’t register a catch. No problem for Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Wayne went for 10 catches, 162 yards and 1 TD to lead the way to victory. Those are lofty numbers, but if Gonzalez is forced to miss any length of time, he’s going to be a constant target for Manning and could have a monster season.
New Orleans 45, Detroit 27
- Matt Stafford has problems in his NFL debut, going 16-37 for 205 yards and 3 interceptions. It’s likely to be a long season again in Detroit. He’s going to get some numbers, especially with Calvin Johnson at his disposal, but it’s not going to be consistent enough to consider using him in any format.
- Was there any doubt that Drew Brees was the top QB in the NFL? He went 26-34 for 358 yards, 6 TD and 1 interception. Those are simply unbelievable numbers, especially in Week 1.
- With Pierre Thomas out and Reggie Bush hurting, Mike Bell got the majority of the carries, rushing for 143 yards. That just further throws some questions into the Saints rushing rotation moving forward, doesn’t it? If you are in need of a back, stashing him away, if it’s not to late, would be a smart idea.
New York Jets 24, Houston 7
- What a great debut for Mark Sanchez, going 18-31 for 272 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He’s shown immediately that he is going to be a viable QB in two quarterback formats, so if he’s available I wouldn’t hesitate. You may not want to lean on him all season long, but for spot starts he’s got potential.
- Only four Jets receivers caught passes, but the most important to take notice of is Chansi Stuckey’s 4 catches for 64 yards and 1 TD and Dustin Keller’s 4 catches for 94 yards. With a rookie QB, Keller is likely to emerge as a great TE in all formats, while Stuckey has the potential to breakout on the opposite side of Jerricho Cotchery.
- Don’t be too discouraged if you are an owner of any of the Texans offensive weapons. The Jets defense may just be that good. I’d look for a rebound from the entire unit next week.
Seattle 28, St. Louis 0
- Is there anything positive to say about the Rams in this one? I guess pointing to Donnie Avery’s 6 catches for 46 yards would be about it. He’s got potential to be a weapon on the outside, as we’ve already discussed (click here for the article).
- John Carlson had a huge week for a TE, catching 6 passes for 95 yards and 2 TD. It’s not likely that he can continue to produce anything near this and just remember that with TEs, it seems like anyone can emerge in any given week. Don’t become married to him just because he had a huge first week of the season. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had 6 catches for 48 yards, is likely to emerge as a bigger threat before long.
- Julius Jones was unaffected by the presence of Edgerrin James (11 carries for 30 yards), as he rushed for 117 yards and 1 TD (and also added 2 catches for 19 yards). Hopefully you didn’t let the James signing deter you.
New York Giants 23, Washington 17
- Santana Moss was completely shutdown, catching just 2 passes for 6 yards. That’s a terrible performance, but I’d look for him to bounce back with a vengeance next week. If someone is already worried about it, target getting him on the cheap.
- Would anyone have expected Ahmad Bradshaw (60 yards) to out rush Brandon Jacobs (46 yards)? Don’t look for that to happen to often, but the presence of Albert Haynesworth clearly played a factor.
- Steve Smith (6 catches for 80 yards) and Mario Manningham (3 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD) had the biggest days among receivers, but I wouldn’t consider using them yet. It’s going to take a lot more than just one week for the Giants receiver situation to shake itself out.
San Francisco 20, St. Louis 16
- The 49ers didn’t win because of their excellent offense, with no player really standing out. If you want to point to a surprising performance, Vernon Davis lead the way with 5 catches and was second on the team with 40 yards. Outside of that, there was no real standout performance. Shaun Hill threw for 209 yards and 1 TD. Frank Gore rushed for 30 yards, while adding 3 catches for 18 yards and 1 TD. He should be significantly better moving forward.
- Anquan Boldin did play for Arizona, but was a non-factor, with 2 catches for 19 yards. Steve Breaston ended up not playing.
- The Cardinals did little on the ground, with Beanie Wells rushing 7 times for 29 yards and Tim Hightower rushing 8 times for 15 yards. Hightower added 12 catches for 121 yards, however, clearly being the more productive of the two. We’ll have to see which ultimately emerges in the backfield, but thanks to his receiving skill, Hightower is the better option at this point.
Green Bay 21, Chicago 15
- You just get the feeling that Jay Cutler went out trying to prove that he could be successful, no matter who was in the receiving corps, and he forced things a bit. While he had 277 yards and 1 TD, it came along with 4 interceptions. Don’t look for those types of struggles to continue.
- What was a bit surprising about Cutler’s performance was the lack of production from Greg Olsen, who managed just 1 catch for 8 yards. Devin Hester, who we have been a proponent for (click here for the article), had a big game with 4 catches for 90 yards and 1 TD. He has the potential for a big breakout campaign.
- Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings. Get used to the sound of that. Jennings went for 6 catches, 106 yards and 1 TD. Rodgers threw for only 184 yards and 1 TD, but the Bears defense is tough, so it’s understandable. He’s going to have a big-time season, don’t get nervous quite yet.
What do you think was the biggest story coming out of yesterday’s games? Who was the brightest star? Who was the biggest disappointment?
Make sure to check out our baseball site by clicking here.
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.