2023 Fantasy Football: Takeaways From Every Week 1 Game

This article details one must-know takeaway from each Sunday NFL Week 1 game. It’s aimed at providing readers with immediately actionable fantasy football information. 

Resolutions to unresolved preseason backfield battles populate this week’s edition. 

Top Five Takeaways

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens No. 1 RB J.K. Dobbins dominated backfield snaps in rushing and passing situations before suffering an early third-quarter, season-ending Achilles rupture on Houston’s 2-yard line. Justice Hill replaced Dobbins, scoring on the ensuing play, and scored again on the following drive.

Hill and Gus Edwards split post-injury rushing attempts six to eight, respectively, with Hill taking three-of-three combined passing-down and green zone snaps. However, Edwards’ full-game four yards per rushing attempt embarrassed Hill’s 1.1-yard rate. 

Hill and Edwards took first-team reps this preseason, but Hill debuted as the preseason Week 1 starter with Dobbins inactive. Running back-needy fantasy managers should submit claims for both players, slightly prioritizing Hill’s superior usage. 

However, Edwards is a good consolation prize as coach John Harbaugh could ultimately value Edwards’ steadiness to Hill’s multi-faceted explosiveness.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

First-round rookie RB Bijan Robinson functioned as the nominal starter and passing-down specialist but was out-touched by Tyler Allgeier, who crucially led the way in scoring position. 

Allgeier can be started as a high-end points-per-reception (PPR) RB3/flex option on most teams but profiles as fantasy football’s premier RB2 option for Zero-RB roster constructions. No. 3 RB Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) was inactive.

Atlanta Falcons RB Usage Bijan Robinson Tyler Allgeier
Rush Att. – Targets 10 – 6 15 – 3
1st & 2nd Down Snaps 22 21
3rd & 4th Down w/ 3+ Yds To Go Snaps 8 3
2-Minute Drill Snaps 4 0
Green Zone* Snaps 1 4

*The space between the opponent’s 10-yard line and the end zone is called the green zone.

Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints’ primary passing game components are now buy-low targets after QB Derek Carr totaled 305 yards passing and just one touchdown. 

The table below ranks, in parentheses, Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed and Michael Thomas’ receiving data among 44 pre-Sunday Night Football Week 1 wide receivers with at least six targets.

New Orleans Saints WR Receiving Chris Olave Rashid Shaheed Michael Thomas
TPRR 37.0% (T-No. 12) 30.0% (No. 22) 27.6% (No. 26)
YPRR 4.15 (No. 6) 4.45 (No. 4) 2.10 (No. 25)
Air Yards/Target 12.90 (No. 11) 16.33 (No. 3) 9.75 (No. 26)
Yards After Catch/Reception 8.00 (No. 3) 1.00 (T-No. 35) 0.60 (T-No. 38)
Longest Gain 45 (No. 2) 41 (No. 5) 25 (No. 16)

Shaheed also took two rushing attempts for 11 yards, and Carr added one interception, but this was an extremely strong showing against a tough Tennessee defense. 

TE Juwan Johnson earned five targets but was limited to 36 yards on three receptions, taking a clear backseat to the receiving trio.

The Carolina Panthers lost starting CB Jaycee Horn to a hamstring strain this week, replacing him with the struggling C.J. Henderson. Henderson’s leaky coverage offers New Orleans wide receivers big-play opportunities in Week 2, particularly Olave and Shaheed. 

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

QB Jordan Love carved up Chicago’s pass defense despite a hamstring strain keeping his No. 1 WR Christian Watson inactive. Love kept his cool on a bobbled snap, finding TE Luke Musgrave wide-open on what should have been a 41-yard touchdown. Love was forced to throw on awkward footing, necessitating a tumble from Musgrave to secure the catch. 

The Packers’ quarterback finished with pre-Sunday night positional highs in both NFL passer rating (123.2) and touchdowns passing (three). He possesses the requisite rushing profile to produce as a chain-moving, high-scoring QB1. 

Among 23 Week 1 QBs with at least three rushing attempts, Love’s 33.3 percent first-downs gained per rushing attempt rate tied for No. 6. His rostership rates should be north of 90.0 percent following the Week 2 waiver wire run.

>> READ: Justin Fields Is Running Out of Time

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams‘ rookie WR Puka Nacua and RB Kyren Williams made good on their NFL Week 1 Waiver Wire Targets appearances. They notched pre-Sunday night top-eight positional finishes against Seattle. 

Nacua is now flex-viable through Cooper Kupp’s injured reserve stint and can carve out a permanent role as Los Angeles’ No. 2 WR. Nacua’s 3.50 YPRR tied for No. 5 among 44 Week 1 wide receivers with at least six targets. 

WR Tutu Atwell (six receptions on eight targets for 119 yards receiving) relegated journeymen Van Jefferson Jr. and Ben Skowronek to irrelevancy.

Williams played ahead of Akers in nearly all fantasy-relevant categories, producing 52 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. 

Los Angeles Rams RB Usage Kyren Williams Cam Akers
Rush Att. – Targets 15 – 2 22 – 0
1st & 2nd Down Snaps 37 22
3rd & 4th Down w/ 3+ Yds To Go Snaps 12 2
2-Minute Drill Snaps 6 3
Green Zone Snaps 4 2

Nacua and Williams are a must-add, flex-worthy players across all formats.

Remaining Storylines

Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs

Detroit’s rookie TE Sam LaPorta produced a quietly strong debut, securing all five of his targets for 39 yards receiving. Among 16 pre-Sunday night tight ends with at least five targets, his 1.50 YPRR ranked No. 4, and he was one of three to secure a 100.0 percent catch rate. 

LaPorta’s 26 routes run were No. 3 on the team and just three short of No. 2 WR Josh Reynolds

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb caught a team-high four receptions on four targets. He played on three of 14 passing-down snaps and was the only Cleveland running back to earn a target, unlocking a sky-high RB1 ceiling.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley dominated Indianapolis’ talentless perimeter cornerbacks. He produced top-10 per-route targets (32.4 percent) and yardage (2.97) rates among 44 Week 1 wide receivers with at least six targets. 

Ridley nearly doubled No. 2 WR Zay Jones’ (five receptions on seven targets, 55 yards receiving and one touchdown) receptions and yardage totals, catching eight-of-10 targets for 101 yards and one touchdown. Ridley is a PPR WR1 moving forward.

San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Brock Purdy showed no ill effects following offseason UCL repair, effectively distributing targets across his talented pass-catching corps. Purdy ranks No. 9 in QB fantasy scoring (16.80 points) among quarterbacks with at least 10 passing attempts entering Sunday night. 

He has a No. 13-ranked 20.7-percent 15-plus-air-yards throwing rate and 20 yards rushing (No. 8) in his back pocket.

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Commanders

Washington’s Nos. 1 and 2 RBs Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson flashed bust potential against Arizona. Robinson Jr. totaled 59 yards rushing on a top-five positional workload (19 attempts). 

Coach Ron Rivera forced a three-way passing-down split between Robinson Jr., Gibson and rookie Chris Rodriguez. The two green-zone rushing attempts went to Rodriguez and QB Sam Howell

Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams delivered promising usage in his return from a 2022 multi-ligament knee injury, impressively leading the team in rushing attempts (13) and targets (six). 

Williams’ two passing-down snaps trailed Samaje Perine’s nine, but the duo split green-zone snaps down the middle (two each). Williams’ touch volume will increase as his rehabilitation progresses. 

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers backup RB Joshua Kelley blossomed into a capable ballcarrier, totaling 91 yards rushing and one touchdown, tying Austin Ekeler with 16 rushing attempts. 

Kelley now owns a featured role in Week 1’s third-highest-scoring offense (34 points). Los Angeles’ inept defense will facilitate more high-paced, high-scoring offensive environments. He will push for the No. 1 spot in the Week 2 waiver wire column. 

Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

Kenneth Gainwell debuted as Philadelphia’s lone fantasy-relevant running back, hoarding eight of 15 passing-down snaps and two of four green-zone snaps. 

Free agent-signee Rashaad Penny was a healthy inactive, while D’Andre Swift and Boston Scott combined for just five total rushing attempts and targets. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay No. 1 RB Rachaad White did little to keep hold of the starting role, inefficiently averaging 2.3 yards per rushing attempt on 17 attempts. He added two receptions on two targets for 10 yards. 

Undrafted free agent Sean Tucker (15 yards rushing on three attempts, plus two receptions on two targets for nine yards receiving) remains a high-value bench stash.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard erased concerns over his ability to fill Ezekiel Elliott’s vacated pass-blocking and scoring position roles by allowing zero quarterback pressures on four pass-blocking snaps and converting two of six green-zone rushing attempts for touchdowns. Pollard deftly navigated traffic on this two-yard touchdown toss.

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