In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter we recap the Bucs-Cowboys opener, chronicle a wild day in the Ravens backfield, and check-in on injured players. It's 9/10. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
Well, that didn’t disappoint. The Buccaneers eked out a 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in a pass-heavy game that featured plenty of notable fantasy performances.
* Both Dak Prescott (403 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) and Tom Brady (379 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs) look like they are ready to rip off great fantasy seasons in up-tempo offenses. It was especially encouraging to see Dak back in peak form.
* Amari Cooper turned 17 targets into a career-high 13 receptions, 139 yards, and 2 TDs. And yet almost equally as impressive was second year WR CeeDee Lamb’s performance. Lamb played all over the formation and looked silky with the ball in his hands. He finished with 7 receptions for 104 yards and 1 TD. You don’t have to waste any time debating who is the WR1 here. It doesn’t matter when the pie is this big and the players are this good.* Any talk of a tight end committee in Tampa Bay seems misguided after Rob Gronkowski had 8 receptions for 90 yards and 2 TDs. I wouldn’t say Gronk turned back the clock—he’s still his same, lumbering self—but he never came off the field and Brady was constantly looking for him.
* Antonio Brown didn’t play in 12 personnel and saw 20 fewer snaps than Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but it didn’t matter because he was consistently one of Brady’s favorite targets and finished with 121 yards and 1 TD. Godwin was no slouch either. He caught 9-of-14 targets for 105 yards and a TD. Evans was the odd man out here.
* It was a bit of a mixed bag for Ezekiel Elliot. He was stonewalled by the Bucs elite interior defensive line and Tony Pollard finished with more combined yards than him, but Zeke still played 82% of the snaps. His schedule will get much easier over the coming weeks.
* On the not so notable side, the Bucs backfield looked atrocious. Both Ronald Jones (who fumbled and only played 6 snaps) and Leonard Fournette looked like they were in a game of one upmanship to see who could perform the worst. It was also bizarre that Giovani Bernard only saw the field for a handful of snaps.
For better or worse, I’m tracking all my NFL bets on Betsperts this year—a great social media bet tracking app that is free to download. You can follow both me & Matthew on the site if you’d like to see our posts and what we are betting. And not to brag, but I am officially 1-0 after taking Dallas with the points last night. I also put up four other bets for Week 1 that I’m interested in, including the Rams -7.5 vs. The Andy Daltons.
📰 FANTASY NEWS FOR THE TRUE SICKOS
Yesterday was a wild day for the Baltimore Ravens backfield. First, the team suffered a brutal blow when Gus Edwards sustained a season-ending torn ACL during practice. In response, the team signed veteran RB Devonta Freeman after also previously signing Le’Veon Bell. But they weren’t done kicking the tires on veteran RBs because this morning they finalized a deal with FA running back Latavius Murray.
Ultimately I think Ty’Son Williams—a 2020 UDFA—will still have the most value in this backfield as the lead runner, but Murray should slide right in as the 1B with one of Bell or Freeman playing some passing downs.
🚑 THE INJURY WARD
* Michael Gallup suffered an ankle injury late in the game and will be re-evaluated today. He was spotted after the game walking under his own power, but with a bit of a limp.
* Austin Ekeler was another DNP at practice yesterday with his hamstring injury. It was reported that he did some more work with trainers, but I’d make sure you are stashing Justin Jackson just in case.
* Josh Jacobs has been limited in practice due to a toe issue.
* Giants TE Evan Engram remained sidelined with a calf injury. He’s not trending in the right direction to play Sunday.
* Patriots WR Nelson Agholor didn’t practice due to an ankle injury. The Patriots are pretty thin at WR with only Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski behind Agholor.
* Another DNP for WFT WR Curtis Samuel as well. Dyami Brown and Cam Sims are next up if Samuel can’t go.
* Keelan Cole is battling a knee injury that limited him at practice yesterday and is now listed as a game time decision. Jamison Crowder was ruled out after not clearing COVID protocols. You know what this means, right? Newsletter fav Denzel Mims could get another shot.
* A.J. Brown returned to a full practice Thursday and is good to go for the Titans game vs. the Cardinals.
📚 THE FANTASY ARTICLES YOU MUST READ
Matthew Berry's Week 1 Love/Hate: 5 lists of 5 to kick off the season. One of Matthew’s bold predictions: “Tyler Boyd is the top-scoring Bengals wide receiver. What I'm thinking: The least buzzy of all Cincy receivers, Boyd also is the most experienced, and he was a top-15 receiver last year with Joe Burrow as his quarterback.”
🐦 COOTERDOODLE'S FAVORITE TWEETS
We’ll be back tomorrow with our very first set of weekly rankings from new newsletter contributor, Rob Waziak (aka Waz).
- Pete Overzet