9. The Walk of Shame
It’s just Week 1, and maybe you feel like the team you drafted might not be what you hoped. Let’s run down some players and consider how you’re feeling and reassure you on whether or not you should regret your selection.
• Jimmy Garoppolo SFO (261 yards passing, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 3 sacks) – Faced arguably the best defense in the NFC and potentially the NFL. I wouldn’t worry and to get what he did against the Vikings only shows that he’s got fight in him. Garoppolo was expected to stumble in Week 1 so don’t fret, better days are ahead.
• Deshaun Watson HOU (176 passing yards, 1 TD, 1INT) – Losing Will Fuller as a game-time decision was huge. Fuller takes out the big play ability and allows DeAndre Hopkins to get single coverage. Instead Hopkins had guys draped over him and Watson was flushed and flustered most of the game. Let’s see what happens how he plays when Fuller plays.
• Cam Newton CAR (161 yards passing, 0 TD, 0 INTs, 3 sacks) – Faced a improved Cowboys defense but this is what you’re going to get with Newton. I felt like he was going to be overdrafted this season and I felt like his ADP numbers were on the high side. The Cowboys did not impress me a great deal, though they showed a lot of grit. Without Greg Olsen, Newton’s numbers are going to suffer. It’s the Devin Funchess show now and that showed in Week 1. He’s got to learn how to develop young players like D.J. Moore and Ian Thomas to get those numbers up.
• Derek Henry TEN (10 rushes for 26 yards) – Did not get into the expected high volume and was phased out in the second half with Dion Lewis being the preferred back. This was a bad sign, especially as the injuries mounted in the game.
• David Johnson ARI (9 rushes for 37 yards, 1 TD) – I saw this coming because the Cardinals still have a bad offensive line, the kind that gets their quarterback killed and the kind that can’t contained a stacked box to getting to their star running back. I wouldn’t panic, there are better days ahead, but he’s going to work much harder than just about any other back with the exception of Zeke Elliott.
• Danny Amendola MIA (4 catches, 6 targets, 26 yards) – Sorry to say, this is Kenny Stills’ domain now.
• Kelvin Benjamin BUF (1 catch, 7 targets, 10 yards) – I’m afraid to say this is the present day and the future for Benjamin owners.
• Chris Hogan NEP (1 catch, 5 targets, 11 yards) – Admittedly this was a bad game for Hogan who should have had more, but he was target give time so that’s a minor consolation. Instead of going down field, the Patriots decided to keep it close to the pocket, passing to the backs and tight ends instead. There will be better weeks ahead, but predicting when that will happen is as tricky an estimate as any.
• Trey Burton CHI (1 catch, 6 targets, 15 yards) – Maybe one of those five missed targets could have helped the Bears win the game, anything to keep those second half drives from ending in a punt. It’s good to see the six targets but Mitchell Trubisky has to find Burton and feed him the ball more.
10. Beware of Baltimore
I felt the Baltimore Ravens were on the cusp of something special headed into this season. It’s just the right kind of circumstances that fell into place. Joe Flacco is in a contract season, the drafting of Lamar Jackson to push Flacco ensured good QB play. Then you saw the Ravens surround Flacco with quality pieces and the defense was shored up. Not every opponent is going to be as bare of talent as the Bills, so it’s not going to be this easy for 15 more games, but for anyone who counted out Baltimore this season, did not study the off-season moves.