Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Washington Commanders vs. Arizona Cardinals

2RT483C Landover, United States. 10th Sep, 2023. September 10th 2023: Washington Commanders safety Darrick Forrest (22) defends a pass to Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz (86) during the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Commanders in Landover, MD. Reggie Hildred/CSM/Sipa USA (Credit Image: © Reggie Hildred/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

Brian Robinson: 19 carries, 59 yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

James Conner: 14 carries, 62 yards, 5 receptions, 8 receiving yards

  • Add Zach Ertz: Ertz was the clear starting tight end for Arizona and a favorite target of Joshua Dobbs.
  • Ertz averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game last season, the sixth-best mark among tight ends, but ACL and MCL tears cut his season short.
  • It was unclear if Ertz would be ready for the start of the 2023 season, and former second-rounder Trey McBride was expected to at least share the tight end workload with Ertz. Ertz turning 33 years old in two months and a new coaching staff added to the concerns.
  • He was limited in practice all week and questionable coming into the game, but he was consistently the tight end on the field in 11 personnel while also taking a clear majority of snaps in 12 and 13 personnel.
  • McBride was largely restricted to two-tight end sets.
  • He caught six of 10 targets for 21 yards.
  • The offense in general needs to do better before fantasy managers place Ertz in their starting lineups, but the snap share and target share mixed with his history of success are too much to leave him on the waiver wire.

Brian Robinson pulls ahead of Antonio Gibson: It seemed like Robinson has pulled further ahead of Gibson as the Commanders’ starting running back.

  • The second-year back gained 59 yards on 19 carries and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass.
  • Gibson was held to three carries for nine yards. He also recorded a 10-yard catch and lost a fumble.
  • The fumble didn’t seem to impact Gibson’s playing time, as he was on the field for five plays on the following two drives, compared to three for Robinson.
  • Robinson received a majority of snaps on early downs, but it was surprising to see Robinson play a few snaps on third down.
  • He took three snaps on third-and-6 or longer, something he did only once all of last season.
  • Gibson’s carries were on the decline late last season, but this was just the second time in his career he was held to four touches or less in a game. The other was a 2020 game where he played only four offensive snaps.
  • This should make Robinson a safer start in fantasy leagues going forward, and Gibson a back to probably avoid.

Add Logan Thomas: Thomas missed most of training camp and all of the preseason due to injury, but he saw more playing time in Week 1 than he typically received last season.

  • Thomas led the team in targets and caught four passes for 43 yards.
  • He gained more than 43 yards on three occasions last season and recorded more than four receptions in only four games.
  • There had been hype for Cole Turner throughout the preseason, but he was third on the depth chart in this game.
  • John Bates was always on the field in two- or three-wide receiver sets. If Thomas were to suffer an injury, Turner would probably take over.
  • New Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has a history of building his offense around a veteran tight end, so we could see Thomas continue to be a big part of things going forward.
  • This one game might not be enough to push Thomas into fantasy starting lineups, but it’s still a reason to be optimistic about him.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Terry McLaurin has been dealing with a toe injury, but that had no impact on his playing time in this game. It may have impacted his target share, leading to just two receptions for 31 yards.
  • The Cardinals’ wide receiver rotation went exactly as expected, with Marquise Brown and Michael Wilson playing in two-receiver sets the majority of the time while Rondale Moore joined them in three-receiver sets.
  • The third-round rookie Wilson played in 13 and 22 personnel, which is why he led the wide receiver room in offensive snaps.The Cardinals’ backfield also went mostly as expected, with James Conner absolutely dominating snaps. His workload might not be sustainable, so Keaontay Ingram could be worth stashing as a handcuff.

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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