Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 1

Takeaways from Week 1 as told through @MarcasG's tweets.

It was the biggest mystery of the fantasy offseason and the early returns aren't great. The Rams began the game with a pass-heavy script and even when they started running the ball, the snaps and touches were split pretty evenly between Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown -- with the latter getting a goal line carry. Maybe the plan is to keep him fresh until later in the season -- an idea partially backed up by Gurley's higher usage in the second half. But if that happens, the hope will have to be that he continues to be efficient. Nonetheless, the idea that he won't be a workhorse back this season has grown serious legs.

The haters will say "But it's the Dolphins!" I respond with "So what?" Yes, Jackson and the Ravens played a terrible defense this week but the second-year quarterback still made some amazing throws and his rookie receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown looks like he's as difficult to cover as his more famous cousin. Certainly no one thinks Jackson is going to throw five touchdowns every week, but it should quiet a lot of the "Lamar can't throw" crowd. It also serves notice that there are some pass-catchers in the Ravens offense worth having on your roster. Maybe this team won't be quite as run-heavy this year.

But also, yes, the Dolphins are bad. We expected them to be #ungood this season but ... whew. Miami was putrid on both sides of the ball Sunday. Next week, they get to face *checks notes* the Patriots with Antonio Brown. The two games after that feature a trip to Dallas to face Ezekiel Elliott before welcoming Philip Rivers and the Chargers to town. There are four straight blowup games coming for some of your early-round fantasy picks. You couldn't ask for anything better.

When we talked about Jordan Reed's fragility during the preseason, we didn't spend enough time mentioning that Vernon Davis would probably be in play at some point this season. The second half of today's game also reminded us that the Washington offense is going to be hit or miss all season. As long as Reed is out, Davis is worth having on a roster but he might be tough to predict all year.

With reports that Melvin Gordon could miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season, it became mandatory to lock in with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Ekeler rewarded that faith in the first half of Week 1 with 87 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the second half, Justin Jackson picked up the slack with the ground game. I doubt that it's going to make Gordon come back any sooner but it reinforces the idea that the Chargers offense will be just fine with the running backs they have and fantasy managers shouldn't hesitate to have them in their lineup.

During training camp, we heard Kyle Shanahan criticize Dante Pettis' on-field performance. We tried to brush it off as a coach trying to use the media to light a fire under his player. But maybe there was something to it. Pettis was barely on the field during the Niners Week 1 game while the targets were spread fairly evenly among the rest of San Francisco's pass-catchers. We hadn't been able to identify a WR1 in the Niners offense, though we thought Pettis might have the inside track. We can probably go ahead and rethink that.

Things went according to plan on this front -- and then some. Engram was far and away the team leader and targets (14) and finished the day with 11/116/1. Things might change a little when Golden Tate returns from his four-game suspension but it would be a mild upset if Engram wasn't the most-targeted player on his team by season's end -- and among the most-targeted at his position. Giants fans might want to see Daniel Jones take over for Eli Manning sooner than later. That's fine only if he promises to keep throwing it to Engram.

Wait...what?


* Marquise Brown played just 12 snaps.

* Kirk Cousins threw the ball 10 times. In the entire game.

* LeSean McCoy had 10 touches on 18 snaps. Efficiency!

* Malcolm Brown (6) outsnapped Todd Gurley (4) in the red zone.

* Darren Sproles played 21 snaps -- five more than Jordan Howard.

* John Ross entered Sunday with 210 career receiving yards. He had 158 in Week 1.

And one for the road...


Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is learning to operate in the dark. Send him your newfound surprise skills or fantasy football questions via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.