NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens

2RT46GD Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) runs with the ball after making a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

• Justice Hill: 8 carries, 9 yards, 2 touchdowns

Nico Collins: 6 receptions, 80 receiving yards

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins suffers an Achilles injury: Coach John Harbaugh confirmed after the game that Dobbins tore his Achilles, which will likely cost Dobbins the rest of his season.

  • Dobbins had dominated offensive snaps in the first half, playing 23-of-29 snaps. He hadn’t played more than 50% of Baltimore's offensive snaps in a game since 2020 and never more than 66%. This could have been his best offensive snap rate had he not suffered his injury.
  • Gus Edwards was the second running back to play an offensive snap, but Justice Hill also received early-down snaps in the first quarter.
  • The Ravens used both Hill and Edwards significantly after the injury.
  • We can expect Edwards to lead the team in carries going forward but only with a slight edge over Hill, who will be used more in passing situations.
  • It’s certainly possible the Ravens look elsewhere for another running back, but it might not be that likely considering how long both Hill and Edwards have been on the team.
  • Melvin Gordon III is on the practice squad, will likely be elevated to the active roster and play at least a few snaps each week going forward.
  • Keaton Mitchell was an undrafted rookie with a lot of hype. He’s on injured reserve now, but he could be back as soon as Week 4.
  • Hill and Edwards are worth waiver wire pickups if you’re looking for a running back sooner rather than later, as either could be a fantasy starter in a good matchup. Mitchell is worth a stash in deeper leagues.

Start Zay Flowers: Flowers is already Baltimore's clear top wide receiver option.

  • He and Odell Beckham unsurprisingly started and consistently played in all personnel groupings.
  • Baltimore used both Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor at times in three-receiver sets.
  • Flowers would typically stay outside when Agholor was on the field with Agholor playing in the slot. Flowers would typically go to the slot when Bateman was on the field.
  • The first-round rookie was making plays regardless of where he lined up.
  • He ended up with nine receptions for 78 yards and ran the ball twice for nine yards.
  • It is worth noting that Mark Andrews didn’t play in this game, so we can expect Flowers' target share to decline when Andrews returns.

Dameon Pierce’s preseason hype deflates: Pierce did not maintain the three-down role he had during the preseason.

  • Pierce saw his ADP rise throughout August, as he consistently was used on third-and-long with the starters.
  • Devin Singletary seemed to be Pierce’s biggest competition for the third-down role, but it was clear that role wasn’t the plan in the preseason.
  • Mike Boone played the majority of passing down snaps on third down as well as in the two-minute drill.
  • Pierce still received a few snaps in these situations, which is better than what he experienced last year.
  • Singletary was the primary backup on early downs and cut into Pierce’s playing time in those situations more than any other back did last year.
  • This should still end up in a net positive for Pierce if it means more targets.
  • Pierce ran the ball 11 times for 38 yards and caught two passes for nine yards.
  • Houston didn’t just pass the ball a lot because of the game script, as the Texans were passing in the first quarter when the game was tied. If this pass/run ratio continues, that could be a problem for Pierce long term.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Isaiah Likely took injured Mark Andrews‘ role as expected but was only targeted on one of his 23 pass routes. Andrews should take over next week.
  • The Ravens ran more 11 personnel than last season, but they were still at a below-league-average rate of 43.8%. We could see them see them use even less 11 personnel next week, assuming Andrews is healthy.
  • Tank Dell made his NFL debut, playing significantly in 11 personnel mostly in Nico Collins‘ place. This could make Collins a sell-high candidate, as we could see Dell take more of those snaps as the season progresses.
  • Dalton Schultz’s playing time throughout the preseason was concerning, but his usage in this game was not a problem, playing in 49-of-54 pass plays. Only getting targeted on four of 49 routes leading to two receptions for four yards is concerning.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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