Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots

2RGRB43 August 10, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) warms up prior to the NFL pre-season game between Houston Texans and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Anthony Nesmith/CSM (Credit Image: © Anthony Nesmith/Cal Sport Media)

Kendrick Bourne: 6 receptions, 64 yards, 2 touchdowns

•  DeVonta Smith: 7 receptions, 47 yards, 1 touchdown

Kenneth Gainwell leads the Eagles' running back rotation: Gainwell was the Eagles' every-down back, with D’Andre Swift serving as the primary backup.

  • Gainwell ran the ball 14 times for 54 yards and caught four passes for 20 yards.
  • Swift was restricted to one carry for 3 yards and one reception for 0 yards.
  • Boston Scott also received a few snaps, and that was enough to match Swift in carries and receptions but with 10 total yards on his plays.
  • Rashaad Penny was a healthy inactive.
  • Everything from beat writers pointed to Gainwell being the lead back in Philadelphia, so we could see Gainwell continue as the every-down back and have even more success when the Eagles offense is playing better. This makes him one of the top waiver wire options of the week.
  • It’s fine to hold onto Swift and even Penny, but they should stay far away from fantasy starting lineups for the time being.

Ezekiel Elliott debuts with the Patriots: We got the first glimpse of the Patriots running back rotation with Rhamondre Stevenson and Elliott.

  • New England has traditionally rotated by situation or based on down and distance, but the tendencies weren't as clear cut today.
  • Stevenson dominated playing time in general. Half of that was because he played in two-minute drills, and the other half was simply Stevenson playing more in normal situations.
  • Stevenson carried the ball more times (12-7) and caught more passes (6-5).
  • The Patriots had both Steveon and Elliott on the field at the same time for 10 different plays.
  • Many speculated Elliott could be the goal-line back. Elliott took a two-point conversion attempt late in the game, which counted as the Patriots' only goal-line play. It occurred after a drive where Stevenson took every snap, so this case could have simply been time for Elliott to take over regardless of the situation.
  • Stevenson will remain a fantasy starter based on this usage, but it’s possible Elliott could have standalone value this season too.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is third on the Patriots' depth chart: Smith-Schuster ran notably fewer routes than both Kendrick Bourne and sixth-round rookie Kayshon Boutte.

  • The Patriots consistently used Smith-Schuster in 12 and 21 personnel, playing 21 of a possible 21 snaps in those situations.
  • It was 11 personnel where he started losing playing time, with Kayshon Boutte, Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas as the most common trio in that personnel grouping.
  • It’s pretty unheard of in today’s NFL for a wide receiver to be fantasy-relevant without being one of the main wide receivers in 11 personnel.
  • DeVante Parker missed this game. The two wide receivers play fairly different roles in the offense, but Parker’s return is more likely to hurt Smith-Schuster’s playing time rather than help it.
  • He caught four passes for 33 yards.
  • He’s not exactly a sell-high candidate because this wasn’t a great game, but he is someone I would be looking to trade based on his usage in this game.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Eagles' wide receiver and tight end rotation were very similar to last season, except with Olamide Zaccheaus serving as the Eagles' fourth wide receiver.
  • Dallas Goedert was held without a catch for just the second time in the last four seasons.
  • Hunter Henry was one of the best fantasy tight ends this week with five receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown, but he benefited from the Patriots running 58 pass plays. We can expect him to run fewer than 42 routes going forward.

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