Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from Monday's game

Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks to pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams fumbled at the one-yard line but led the team in receptions, which is a good sign for his future fantasy production.
  • Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy led the game in receiving yards thanks to a 67-yard touchdown deep catch and run.
  • The Seattle Seahawks emerged victorious due to Geno Smith‘s consistency and touchdowns by two of their three tight ends.

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Be cautiously optimistic about Javonte Williams: The second-year running back started the game over Melvin Gordon III, something he didn't do last season. Both backs were used significantly, but Williams was the man more often than last season.

  • He looked better than Gordon as a runner with three explosive runs on his limited carries.
  • He caught a career-high 11 passes while leading the team in targets.
  • His receiving usage was something talked about during the offseason and is likely to carry on in future games.
  • It was odd to see Gordon receive more carries while Williams sees more targets, but Gordon took the third-down snaps while Williams played more on early downs. The vast majority of cases are the opposite. Typically, the running back who plays on third downs also gets the two-minute drill, but that wasn’t true for Denver.
  • Williams can be a top-10 fantasy back if he receives half the carries and significant targets. He would likely need to take the third-down snaps, and at least a slight majority of carries to reach top five.

The Broncos have a clear slot receiver: Jerry Jeudy was often the Broncos' slot receiver despite K.J. Hamler having that role when he was last healthy in 2020.

  • Hamler was still Denver's third wide receiver, playing the vast majority of snaps out of 11 personnel, but he almost always lined up on the outside.
  • Russell Wilson has a history of throwing to slot receivers, so this is good news for Jeudy and bad for Hamler for fantasy purposes.
  • Three of Jeudy’s four catches, including the 67 yards touchdown, came while Jeudy was lined up in the slot.

Avoid all tight ends from this game: Two tight ends scored a touchdown while another gained over 50 receiving yards, but these tight ends will be impossible to predict from one week to another.

  • The Seahawks used Will Dissly and Noah Fant interchangeably. Neither player runs enough pass routes to be a consistent fantasy tight end.
  • Seattle tends to use Fant more on third downs, which would indicate he’d be Seahawks tight end to pick up if any, but he had the worst game of the three for fantasy football purposes.
  • Colby Parkinson mixed in with three tight end sets, a minority of two tight end sets and even some snaps from 11 personnel.
  • The Broncos used three tight ends, plus tight end/fullback hybrid player Andrew Beck. All four played significant snaps.
  • Albert Okwuegbunam tended to be the primary receiver, but he rarely played in two tight end sets and didn’t receive all of the snaps in 11 personnel. That also isn’t enough playing time for a consistent fantasy tight end.

The Seahawks running backs haven’t changed from last season: The Seahawks running back usage was predictable, as Rashaad Penny played early downs while Travis Homer took third downs.

  • This is almost the exact same split the Seahawks used to end last season.
  • The main difference is DeeJay Dallas also mixed in on passing downs, but Homer appears to have taken a clear hold on the passing role.
  • Kenneth Walker III missed this game due to his hernia surgery.
  • Once Walker is healthy, he will likely cut into Penny’s role while Homer’s role will remain unchanged.
  • Penny can be a fantasy starter for as long as Walker is out, but it will be hard to start either back once both are playing.
  • Homer might end up being the most consistent back in the later months of the season, especially if the Seahawks are losing games and need to pass a lot.

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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