Here are some more takeaways from the first week of the fantasy football season.
These three running back were surprising workhorses
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins
Jordan Howard and Matt Breida were the two running backs fantasy GMs were betting on to get the lion’s share of Miami’s workload, yet Gaskin ended up playing in almost two-thirds of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps on Sunday against the Patriots. Most of his snaps (29 of 39) came on passing plays, but he also led the team with nine rushing attempts.
Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions
The 35-year-old played on twice as many rushing snaps (15) as Kerryon Johnson (seven) and rookie D’Andre Swift (five) against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, plus Peterson had 13 of the team’s 27 rushing attempts on first or second down. Swift still has the inside track on the pass-catching duties, but it is clear that Peterson, after averaging 6.6 yards per carry, starts the season as Detroit’s main weapon in traditional running situations.
Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams
Brown received as many first-down carries as heralded rookie Cam Akers (seven), as well as five of the team’s seven carries on third down, giving him ample opportunity to run and catch passes out of the backfield. He also got his number called on both of the team’s carries inside the 5-yard line, scoring on each of those attempts. According to the NFL’s Next Gen stats, he produced more yards than expected on Sunday relative to the rest of the league.
These (possibly) undrafted quarterbacks put up big stats
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Trubisky completed 20 of 36 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. The next few weeks could see him post more high-scoring games, but his road gets increasingly difficult at the midway point of the season.
In Weeks 7, 8, 9, Trubisky and the Bears will play some of the best secondaries in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, the Los Angeles Rams (No. 9), New Orleans Saints (No. 6) and Tennessee Titans (No. 8) all boast a solid crew of defensive backs. After that, there is a much easier schedule for Chicago’s passing game, with no opponent having a secondary ranking higher than 11th.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
The second-year pro tossed three touchdowns with just one incomplete pass on 20 attempts against a weak Colts secondary. His next game, against the Tennessee Titans (eighth best secondary), will be a much stiffer test, but then it is smoother sailing for the next few weeks.
Still, be wary about relying too much on Minshew as a long-term starter. The Jaguars face the Titans and Baltimore Ravens (with the NFL’s best secondary) during Weeks 14 and 15, typically reserved for your league’s playoffs.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
Rivers produced big yardage (363) on Sunday, but finished with just one touchdown and two interceptions against Jacksonville, which has one of the league’s worst secondaries and a poor defensive line. There are some chances for redemption coming up, especially in two weeks against the New York Jets, who have the NFL’s worst secondary and second-worst defensive line, per Pro Football Focus.
Is it time to worry about these big-name wide receivers
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
The three-time Pro Bowl receiver suffered a high-ankle injury in Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Injury concerns for Thomas have been nonexistent — the 27-year-old has missed just one game in his four-year career — and with an extra day to heal before Monday’s matchup against the Raiders, there is no reason to panic yet.
The biggest cause for concern is his production in Week 1. Thomas averaged just 0.6 yards per route run, a far cry from last year’s league-leading average of 2.9 yards per route run.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Beckham was supposed to be Cleveland’s big playmaker, but so far he has been one of the Browns’ biggest disappointments. He caught just 3 of 10 targets for 22 yards in the season opener against Baltimore and dropped a pass on 3rd-and-2 late in the second quarter that would have set Cleveland up in prime scoring position.
Those lackluster results against the league’s best secondary don’t make Beckham a complete write-off yet, but if he doesn’t start to produce over the next few weeks, especially against a depleted Washington secondary in Week 3, it may be time to move on.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp and the Rams agreed to a three-year contract extension before kickoff against Dallas on Sunday night, and then he managed just 40 receiving yards. The good news is he led the team in passing snaps played (31 out of 35) and caught passes against four different defenders.