After what felt like the longest offseason in recent memory, the NFL finally returned back to action this past weekend.
From the Kansas City Chiefs ropening night to the Denver Broncos game winning kick on MNF it was an action packed Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.
From a fantasy aspect, here’s five winners and losers from Week 1.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire -- When thinking about who won the week, it’s hard to not start at the top with Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. After starting running back Damien Williams opted out for the upcoming season, the backfield was handed on a silver platter to the 2020 first round pick. Spoiler alert: he didn’t disappoint. CEH torched the Houston Texans, finishing with 25 carries for a 138 yards and a mesmerizing 27 yard touchdown run where he juked and shimmied multiple defenders en route to the endzone in the Chiefs 34-20 victory. Despite having zero catches in his first game as a pro, keep an eye on the rookie this upcoming week against the Chargers as he is sure to see some targets from superstar QB Patrick Mahomes.
RB Josh Jacobs -- Speaking of sensational running back performances in week one, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had an absolutely dominant performance against the Carolina Panthers in a 34-30 win. Jacobs had 139 yards (93 rushing, 46 receiving) on 29 total touches and three rushing touchdowns. While the three scores on the ground are his most ever in one game in his young career, the more important stat was his usage as a receiver in the passing game. Jacobs recorded four catches for 46 yards on six targets. After questions in the offseason of being a dominant three down back in year two, Jacobs checked off all the boxes in week one. However, it could be tough sledding for Jacobs in week two where they face off against ferocious New Orleans defense on Monday Night Football.
WR Davante Adams -- Once the Green Bay Packers decided against drafting a potential #2 wide receiver in what was regarded as the deepest receiver draft in the history of the position, you knew that there was the chance star receiver Davante Adams would get force fed the ball this season. And that’s exactly what happened in game one. Against a rebuilt Minnesota Vikings secondary starting multiple rookies, Adams torched them with a whopping 14 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets. He was dominant from start to finish and was clearly QB Aaron Rodgers go to target all across the field. As long as the Adams/Rodgers combo stays healthy, look for this connection to be strong for the remainder of the season which continues with a great matchup in their home opener against the Detroit Lions next week.
QB Russell Wilson -- After rumors all offseason of #LetRussCook, the Seattle Seahawks finally let quarterback Russell Wilson open up the playbook and cook up the defense with his arm instead of his legs. Wilson went 31-for-35 for 322 yards and four touchdown passes as the Seahawks and company steamrolled the Atlanta Falcons 38-25. While the team is known as a ground and pound offense with its running attack, it was amazing to see what Wilson could do if he had full reigns of the offense. While this may seem like not huge news, Wilson only had one such game last season where he threw for over 300+ yards and four plus touchdowns which was a 40-34 overtime win against Buccaneers in week nine. Even though it was against potentially one of the league’s worst defenses, it was good confirmation that this wasn’t just an offseason rumor. Look for Wilson and company to keep it going next weekend in their home opener against New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.
TE Dallas Goedert -- Possibly the most shocking name on this list is Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert. Goedert, technically the number two tight end on the team’s depth chart, was one of the lone bright spots for the Eagles in its shocking week one loss to the Washington Football Team. Goedert led the team in catches (8), yards (101) and targets (9) and scored a touchdown in the game. With starting tight end Zach Ertz and the team having disputes on a new contract, Goedert will be a name to keep an eye on in the future if Ertz potentially holds out for a new deal at any point during the season.
QB Carson Wentz -- Speaking of the Eagles, QB Carson Wentz definitely had his ups and downs on Sunday. Despite throwing two early touchdown passes leading the team to a quick 17-0, Wentz and company struggled down the stretch as Washington scored 27 unanswered points. While he was missing his top three offensive linemen and multiple offensive weapons due to injury, Wentz threw two interceptions and took eight sacks in what looked like a fairly easy matchup to start the year. While the team should get starting right tackle Lane Johnson and hopefully running back Miles Sanders next week in their home opener against the Los Angeles Rams, it’s gonna be a tough task against an already banged up line and depleted receiver core to face two of arguably the best defensive players in the league in DT Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey.
TE Rob Gronkowski -- Rob Gronkowski decided to hang up the cleats following the New England Patriots 13-3 Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams. Or so we thought. Once QB Tom Brady decided to head down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency this offseason, it didn’t take Gronk long to come out of retirement and join Brady and the Bucs. With years worth of chemistry between the two players, it seemed as though both could be fantasy relevant players heading into 2020. The results after week one don’t look so good. While Brady wasn’t great in his own right in the Bucs debut in the team’s 34-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Gronk made very little impact catching two passes for 11 yards and only seeing three targets. The more concerning news is that fellow TE O.J. Howard outplayed Gronk with four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. While the team may just try to ease Gronkowski into the new system/role, it could be costly if you took him early on in your fantasy drafts.
WR DJ Moore -- DJ Moore had a tremendous second season in 2019 where he caught 87 passes for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns with subpar QB play after Cam Newton went down with injury early on. However, once the team brought in veteran WR Robby Anderson as a free agent, it meant that Moor could see fewer looks on a weekly basis. That’s exactly what happened in week one. In the team’s 34-30 loss to the Raiders, Anderson put up the better stat line with six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown while Moore had a pedestrian four catches and 54 yards. Despite the off game from Moore, I wouldn’t be too worried going forward. He still led the team in targets with nine. Look for Moore to bounce back next week against the Bucs.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. -- After a disastrous 2019 campaign, Beckham Jr. came into 2020 healthy (unlike last season) ready to move forward in his second season with the Browns that overhauled their coaching staff in the offseason. The schedule makers did the Browns no favor as the team opened up against reigning AFC North champions the Baltimore Ravens in week one. To say it was ugly would be putting it nicely. The Ravens dismantled the Browns 38-6 and were outscored 28-0 after the first quarter. Even more not ideal is the connection between starting QB Baker Mayfield and Beckham. While he had a team high 10 targets, Beckham only caught three of them for a meaningless 22 yards. It’s a disappointing sign on both ends to not get on the same page. For those who drafted Beckham high in their fantasy drafts, you may want to look to pivot soon if the duo can’t get an adequate connection going soon. A better performance should hopefully be coming against a weak Bengals secondary in the Browns home opener on Thursday Night Football.
RB Saquon Barkley -- Speaking of high fantasy draft picks, the most disappointing one was New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley. While it was a tough matchup to begin with, no one expected Steelers QB Ben Rothelisberger (9 yards) to ultimately outrush Barkley (6 yards) on the night but it happened. Although not all is lost. We knew going into the season it would be tough for the offensive line to get on the same page as with three new starters playing together for the first time against one of the best defensive lines the team will see all season. Barkley salvaged the night with six catches for 60 yards. Even though the line will gel and hopefully get better as the season goes on, it will be tough sledding trying to run the ball in the next weekend for the G-Men as they face Khail Mack and the Bears on Sunday afternoon.