Welcome to the “NFL Sunday Recap” debut piece, where I will highlight all “Hero” and “Zero” relevant fantasy player performances and give a quick rundown of the week’s games.
Let’s take a look at Week 1:
Seahawks – 36 (1-0), Packers – 16 (0-1)
Heroes – Russell Wilson (191 pass yards, 29 rush yards, 2 TD), Marshawn Lynch (110 rush yards, 14 rec yards, 2 TD), Percy Harvin (59 rec yards, 41 rush yards), Randall Cobb (58 rec yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Aaron Rodgers (189 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Eddie Lacy (34 rush yards, 11 pass yards)
If you were wondering if the Seahawks were legitimate repeat Super Bowl contenders then I would say you got your answer on Thursday night when they shamed the Packers and their faithful into a loss. Russell Wilson wasn’t as efficient as usual, but your battle this season will be deciding to roster him knowing he likely won’t throw for more than 250 yards. Lacy left the game with a concussion, so you really can’t get too down on his production. Look for the Packers key contributors to bounce back in Week 2, as they faced arguably the best defense in the league in the Seahawks.
Falcons – 37 (1-0), Saints – 34 (0-1)
Heroes – Matt Ryan (448 pass yards, 3 TD), Julio Jones (116 rec yards), Devin Hester (99 rec yards), Roddy White (72 rec yards, 1 TD), Drew Brees (333 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Mark Ingram (60 rush yards, 2 TD), Marques Colston (110 rec yards), Brandin Cooks (77 rec yards, 18 rush yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Steven Jackson(52 rush yards)
I was lucky enough to plant myself on the couch and watch this game until the end, witnessing Matt Ryan take advantage of his receiving arsenal in a comeback victory. Rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks was a great start for anyone that ventured his way with their Week 1 lineup. The Falcons were able to establish a decent running game as they totaled 123 rush yards, although there was no one Falcons RB that took the reigns completely.
Vikings – 34 (1-0), Rams – 6 (0-1)
Heroes – Cordarrelle Patterson (102 rush yards, 26 rec yards, 1 TD), Greg Jennings (58 rec yards, 1 TD), Matt Cassel (170 pass yards, 2 TD), Adrian Peterson (75 rush yards, 18 rec yards), Brian Quick (99 rec yards)
Zeroes – Shaun Hill (81 pass yards, 1 INT), Zac Stacy (43 rush yards, 8 rec yards)
New offensive coordinator Norv Turner helped keep Matt Cassel’s mistakes to a minimum by limiting his downfield passes, as Cassel only threw three balls further than 10 yards. The Rams lost QB Shaun Hill after only one half of play to a quadriceps injury and they couldn’t keep pace with the Vikings overall, even though they kept Adrian Peterson from entering the end zone. Don’t expect the Rams to get back on track anytime soon with Sam Bradford out with major injury yet again.
Steelers – 30 (1-0), Browns – 27 (0-1)
Heroes – Ben Roethlisberger (365 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Le’Veon Bell (109 rush yards, 88 rec yards, 1 TD), Antonio Brown (116 rec yards, 1 TD), Markus Wheaton (97 rec yards), Terrance West (100 rush yards)
Zeroes – Ben Tate (41 rush yards), Jordan Cameron (47 rec yards)
The Steelers took a 27-3 halftime lead over the Browns on Sunday only to see the lead disappear as the Browns scratched and clawed to tie the game up in the middle of the fourth quarter. Luckily for Pittsburgh fans, the Steelers were able to pull the game out with a Shawn Suisham 41-yard field goal. Roethlisberger averaged almost 15 yards per completion, while tossing 278 first-half yards which was a new personal record for Big Ben. Ben Tate left the game in the second quarter due to a knee injury.
Eagles – 34 (1-0), Jaguars – 17 (0-1)
Heroes – Nick Foles (322 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), Jeremy Maclin (97 rec yards, 1 TD), Zach Ertz (77 rec yards, 1 TD), LeSean McCoy (74 rush yards, 41 rec yards), Darren Sproles (71 rush yards, 1 TD), Allen Hurns (110 rec yards, 2 TD), Chad Henne (266 pass yards, 2 TD)
Zeroes – Toby Gerhart (42 rush yards, 15 rec yards)
Well, this was an interesting game as the Jaguars jumped out to an early 17-0 halftime lead thanks to a Henne-to-Hurns connection, which seemed to work well until the Eagles scored 34 unanswered points to win going away. Hurns will be an intriguing option moving forward with all the injuries to the wide receiver unit (let’s not forget about Justin Blackmon’s suspension either), but I’m wary of his production being repeated here on out. If you had Eagles players in your lineup then you’ve got a lot to be thankful for, but I’d be wary of consistency issues ahead.
Jets – 19 (1-0), Raiders – 14 (0-1)
Heroes – Chris Johnson (68 rush yards, 23 rec yards, 1 TD), Chris Ivory (102 rush yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Geno Smith (221 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Darren McFadden (15 rush yards), Maurice Jones-Drew (11 rush yards)
The Raiders could manage only 158 total yards against the Jets defense on Sunday and were fortunate that the Jets kept them in the game as long as they did. Quarterback David Carr threw two touchdown passes, one unbelievably acrobatic reception to James Jones, but that was the excitement for the Raiders offense all day long. Without any running game whatsoever it was difficult for Carr to lock onto his downfield receivers. Even with all that said, the Jets kept the Raiders in the game until Chris Ivory’s 71-yard TD run mid fourth quarter.
Bengals – 23 (1-0), Ravens – 16 (0-1)
Heroes – A.J. Green (131 rec yards, 1 TD), Giovani Bernard (48 rush yards, 62 rec yards), Mike Nugent (Five field goals), Joe Flacco (345 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Justin Forsett (70 rush yards, 14 rec yards, 1 TD), Steve Smith (118 rec yards, 1 TD), Dennis Pitta (83 rec yards)
Zeroes – Jeremy Hill ( 19 rush yards), Torrey Smith (50 rec yards), Bernard Pierce (14 rush yards, 1 fumble)
The Bengals were another team on Sunday that almost let a game get away, but were fortunate enough to have a guy like A.J. Green on roster who made a juggling 77-yard catch while zig-zagging his way into the end zone. That play was enough to put the game out of reach for Baltimore, who aside from running back Bernard Pierce did get some good offensive production from it’s key starters (Joe Flacco had 62 pass attempts) to keep things close. An interesting stat: Andy Dalton is 38-10 as a starter for the Bengals over his career.
Bills – 23 (1-0), Bears – 20 (0-1)
Heroes – C.J. Spiller (53 rush yards, 11 rec yards, 1 TD), Jay Cutler (349 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT), Matt Forte (82 rush yards, 87 rec yards), Martellus Bennett (70 rec yards, 1 TD), Brandon Marshall (71 rec yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Sammy Watkins (31 rush yards)
The Bears rush defense failed them in Week 1 as they allowed 8.2 yards per rush between the tackles, eventually suffering an overtime loss at home after running back Fred Jackson scampered 38 yards in OT to set up the game-winning field goal. The Bears did rack up 427 total offensive yards, while quarterback Jay Cutler dropped back 49 times keeping most of his receivers in the mix with decent production.
Texans – 17 (1-0), Redskins – 6 (0-1)
Heroes – Arian Foster (103 rush yards, 17 rec yards), DeAndre Hopkins (89 rec yards, 1 TD), Andre Johnson (93 rec yards), Alfred Morris (91 rush yards), Niles Paul (86 rec yards), Pierre Garcon (77 rec yards)
Zeroes – DeSean Jackson (62 rec yards), Ryan Fitzpatrick (206 pass yards, 1 TD)
Arian Foster’s ability to gain yardage after contact (51 yards) was a huge plus for the Texans, as he also racked up his 25th career 100-yard game. It’s obvious Foster is healthy and ready to show fantasy owners that 2013 was just a small blip in his career. Second-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ 76-yard TD catch from Ryan Fitzpatrick put the Texans ahead with 4:15 left in the second quarter, and they never relinquished the lead. While Robert Griffin III didn’t play horribly, he couldn’t get his team to cross the goal line in the loss.
Titans – 26 (1-0), Chiefs – 10 (0-1)
Heroes – Jake Locker (266 pass yards, 2 TD), Shonn Greene (71 rush yards), Kendall Wright (46 rec yards, 1 TD), Donnie Avery (84 rec yards)
Zeroes – Jamaal Charles (19 rush yards), Alex Smith (202 pass yards, 1 TD, 3 INT)
The Titans surprised many on Sunday with the way they kept running back Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs in check, with part of the blame going to Chiefs coaching who have created a one-dimensional offense. But, if you’re going to be a one-dimensional club then you need to give the ball to the most valuable player in the offense – Charles, who saw only seven rushes the entire game. Give it up for Jake Locker and the Titans offense (clap, clap, clap) as they didn’t turn the ball over the entire game. Locker was efficient and mistake-free in the win.
Dolphins – 33 (1-0), Patriots – 20 (0-1)
Heroes – Knowshon Moreno (134 rush yards, 1 TD), Mike Wallace (81 rec yards, 1 TD), Julian Edelman (95 rec yards, 21 rush yards)
Zeroes – Tom Brady (249 pass yards, 1 TD), Ryan Tannehill (178 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT)
The Patriots went into halftime with a 20-10 lead, but came out in the second half as a different team. Credit should be given to the Miami defense as they pressured Tom Brady on 13 of his 37 dropback passing attempts in the second half. Running back Knowshon Moreno had 50 yards after contact, which propelled him towards an excellent fantasy day – a bit unexpected. The Dolphins did make some mistakes on Sunday, turning the ball over three times, but they kept their cool and stuck with massive defense pressure over the second half of play.
Panthers – 20 (1-0), Buccaneers – 14 (0-1)
Heroes – Derek Anderson (230 pass yards, 2 TD), DeAngelo Williams (72 rush yards), Greg Olsen (83 rec yards, 1 TD), Kelvin Benjamin (92 rec yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Josh McCown (183 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT), Doug Martin (9 rush yards), Vincent Jackson (36 rec yards)
Strong defense and solid play from backup quarterback Derek Anderson pushed the Panthers to victory in Week 1, where their superstar starting quarterback, Cam Newton, sat on the sideline with a rib injury. Bucs running back Doug Martin was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage in five of his nine carries, which shows you how tough the Carolina D really was in Week 1.
49ers – 28 (1-0), Cowboys – 17 (0-1)
Heroes – Vernon Davis (44 rec yards, 2 TD), Anquan Boldin (99 rec yards), Carlos Hyde (50 rush yards, 1 TD), DeMarco Murray (118 rush yards, 25 rec yards, 1 TD), Terrance Williams (50 rec yards, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Tony Romo (281 pass yards, 1 TD, 3 INT), Dez Bryant (55 rec yards)
The 49ers defense had three first-half interceptions against quarterback Tony Romo, while also recording one fumble recovery and three sacks in the game. Romo was able to drive his team between the 20’s with the help of DeMarco Murray’s 5.4 yard rushing average per carry, but couldn’t get them into the end zone without making mistakes. Niners tight end Vernon Davis has been the benefactor of 15-of-23 Colin Kaepernick career touchdown passes, so it’s safe to assume that Davis will continue to get looks in all passing situations.
Broncos – 31 (1-0), Colts – 24 (0-1)
Heroes – Peyton Manning (269 pass yards, 3 TD), Montee Ball (67 rush yards, 16 rec yards, 1 TD), Julius Thomas (104 rec yards, 3 TD), Emmanuel Sanders (77 rec yards), Andrew Luck (370 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT), Reggie Wayne (98 rec yards), Ahmad Bradshaw (70 rec yards, 15 rush yards)
Zeroes – Demaryius Thomas (48 rec yards), Trent Richardson (20 rush yards, 31 rec yards), T.Y. Hilton (41 rec yards)
What a fun way to wind down on Sunday evening by watching the Broncos offense; however, I found it more thrilling to watch quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts offense attempt a late-game comeback. Luck is about as cool under pressure as you can get for an NFL quarterback, but unfortunately for him and the Colts there just wasn’t enough time left in the game as the Broncos pass defense really stepped up. Quarterback Peyton Manning was outstanding in the game as he went with a short passing attack in which 23 of his 36 passes only went five yards or less.
It’s hard to believe that Week 1 is already in the books, but, yep, it’s history. I don’t know about you, but I’m already looking forward to Week 2! See you next week, and don’t forget you can catch me on Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy.