Fantasy Football Week 1 Recap: 16 Things You Need to Know
We waited all summer for the return of NFL football and, better yet, fantasy football. NFL Week 1 did not disappoint. We had heroic performances, unexpected fantasy stars, and key players leaving with injuries. Now it’s time to make sense of what we have learned.
The Stars Are Stars
Justin Jefferson proved to be as advertised facing the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Kirk Cousins targeted him 11 times and Jefferson hauled in nine of those passes for 184 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns. It should come as no surprise as Jefferson was either the first or second receiver selected in most fantasy drafts.
Justin Jefferson is a cheat code.
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) September 11, 2022
Ja’Marr Chase, often the third receiver in drafts, had a big day against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He caught 10 passes for 129 yards and a late touchdown that would have been the game-winner, had not Minkah Fitzpatrick blocked the subsequent PAT attempt.
It turns out that Kansas City’s high-octane offense did not stall out without Tyreek Hill. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was at the top of his game in Glendale visiting the Arizona Cardinals. He piled up 360 passing yards and threw five touchdown passes to lead all quarterbacks in fantasy scoring on Sunday. Travis Kelce led all tight ends in receiving on Sunday. He caught eight of nine targets for 121 yards with a receiving score. Kelce could be looking at a career year following the departure of Hill. His season-opening performance supported that narrative.
Saquon Barkley is back! Barkley looked like his old self rushing for 164 yards on 18 carries. He found the end zone on the ground and added six receptions in the passing game. His heroics helped the Giants upset the Tennessee Titans.
The Stars Are Not Stars
Aaron Rodgers dismayed fantasy managers in his first outing following Davante Adams’ exodus to Las Vegas. A visibly frustrated Rodgers threw for just 195 yards and an interception completing 22-of-34 pass attempts. He did not throw a touchdown pass. The lack of experience among his receivers may continue to irritate Rodgers’ managers this season.
Austin Ekeler struggled to play a role in the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense Sunday. He tallied only 36 rushing yards and added an additional 36 yards receiving on four receptions. Ekeler caught all four of his targets but failed to find the end zone in the Chargers' win.
CeeDee Lamb made very little hay in the Cowboys' passing game Sunday. Although he was heavily targeted with 11 passes aimed in his direction, Lamb only managed to pull in two of those tosses for 29 yards. Without another dangerous receiving threat, Lamb will likely draw heavy attention from opposing defenses this year.
Kyle Pitts had a quiet game, catching just two passes for 19 yards. While he did tie for the team lead in targets with seven, Pitts was not a factor against the New Orleans Saints. The volume should remain for Pitts, but quarterback, Marcus Mariota, will need to be sharper than he was today for Pitts to realize his potential.
New Stars Emerged?
Carson Wentz stated his presence finishing as Sunday’s second-highest scoring quarterback. The Commanders’ quarterback threw four touchdowns and totaled 313 yards passing. He had a pair of interceptions, as well. Wentz is not likely to finish the season as a top-12 quarterback, but he likely will be a high-volume passer and usable fantasy option in Superflex and 2QB formats.
Dontrell Hilliard was the highest-scoring fantasy running back for Tennessee. Just what we expected, right? Hilliard only carried the ball twice for eight yards, but he was a major contributor as a pass catcher. He snared three of his four targets for 61 yards and two touchdowns through the air. It is almost certain that this will be Hilliard’s highest fantasy output for 2022.
Devin Duvernay proved to be Lamar Jackson’s most reliable receiver on Sunday. The third-year man caught all four of his targets for 54 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Duvernay could be establishing himself as a reliable target in a young wide receiver room.
O.J. Howard made a big impression in his first contest as a Houston Texan. The tight end only saw two targets, but he caught them both, scoring twice and putting up 38 receiving yards along the way. Obviously, he will not continue this efficiency, but Howard could emerge as the most targeted tight end in Houston.
Injuries Derail Seasons
Dak Prescott injured his right thumb squaring off against Tampa Bay. He reportedly will have surgery and is expected to miss “several weeks” recovering from the injury. Expect a downgrade for all Cowboys’ pass catchers.
Dak Prescott (hand) will be out for a while, according to Jerry Jones. Several weeks. He needs surgery
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 12, 2022
Najee Harris left the Steelers’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals with an apparent ankle injury. Reports are that the injury is not considered serious and the team remains hopeful that he will not miss time.
Elijah Mitchell injured his right knee and left the matchup against the Chicago Bears. Early reports are that it is an MCL injury that could see him missing 4-6 weeks. He will undergo an MRI to confirm.
Chris Godwin made his return from ACL and MCL tears Sunday night against the Cowboys. He injured his hamstring during the game and was forced to exit. There has not yet been an update suggesting how much time Godwin may miss.