Week one of the NFL season is in the books, and you know what that means! It’s time to overreact to anything and everything that happened on Sunday. Is Trey Lance a bust? Maybe! Is Saquon Barkley the best running back in the history of the NFL! You betcha! But, every week of every season we overreact to things in every game. Today, we take a look at some of the things that happened in week one and tell you if our reactions to these news items are warranted, or if the overreaction bug bit us. If it’s the first, please, feel free to freak out. If it’s the second, please let this article be a soothing bit of Calamine lotion, or doing the X with your fingernail over the overreaction bug bite.
Is it Time to Panic About Trey Lance?
The first game of the Trey Lance Era didn’t exactly go as planned for the San Francisco 49ers. Monsoon conditions paired with a brand new turf (installed earlier this week) led the team into disaster. Jupiter conspired against them, giving the Bears a brief respite from the torrential downpour that allowed them to score twice and put them ahead. As for Trey Lance, he finished the game with 9.96 fantasy points, on 13/28 passing, with 164 yards, and a pick. He luckily ran the ball 13 times, notching 54 yards on top of it. So, it wasn’t a complete loss for those who started Trey Lance today.
But, it also isn’t enough to toss him out entirely. It’s not time to panic about Trey Lance, and if you think it is, well, this is what he was playing in:
So, I’m completely willing to give Trey Lance a pass for this one. I’m doubly willing to do it considering the 49ers play a moribund Seattle Seahawks squad that will be on a short week after playing on Monday Night Football this week. People are so ready to jettison Lance for Jimmy Garoppolo that I would be buying him, not selling him, after this performance.
Does Travis Etienne have a James Robinson Problem?
James Robinson performed the medical miracle that Cam Akers fans swear to me that he made: James Robinson returned from an Achilles tear in record time, and he looked pretty good in his return to action. He finished week one with 13 opportunities, which he turned into 69 yards and two touchdowns en route to sidelining Travis Etienne, who finished week one with 4 rush attempts and 4 targets, which he turned into 65 yards, and no scores. One of the two incompletions to Etienne was an airmailed Trevor Lawrence pass that would have been a touchdown, and the other was a drop on Etienne’s part, which also would have been a touchdown.
Ultimately, they split the snaps nearly equally, with Etienne getting 51% of the snaps, and James Robinson getting just 49%.
Luckily, according to Dwain McFarland above, Travis Etienne had the vast majority of the snaps that came in situations where the Jaguars are likely to find themselves this season: he was the long-down and distance back, and the hurry-up back. When you’re the Jags, and you’re likely to be bad, this is the player you want in the offense. He’s also the short-yardage back, which means goal-line carries, which means touchdowns.
I fear that Etienne will fall victim to a touch-and-snap split, especially since James Robinson getting 49% in what was ultimately a tune-up game is concerning for Etienne. We are probably looking at a straight split, with James Robinson usually out-touching Travis Etienne, but Etienne getting the more valuable touches.
I wouldn’t say that it’s time to worry about Travis Etienne, but it is time to adjust expectations downward; he won’t be the bell cow, but barely anybody is these days. He will still get plenty of valuable touches for you to start him every week.
Devin Duvernay or Yay?
Devin Duvernay finished Sunday as a top-ten wide receiver, as he notched four catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a pretty good stat-line, but we don’t get fantasy points for what’s already happened, we get fantasy points for what will happen. And with Devin Duvernay, I’m not so sure we haven’t already seen his highest fantasy output for the season.
First and foremost, the Ravens threw the ball 30 times. That isn’t going to be out of the norm for what they do. But, what they did with the targets today is likely not going to be out of the norm for what they do this season. That is: give a whole mess of targets to Mark Andrews and spread the rest out among everyone else. While Duvernay made the most out of his four targets, and Demarcus Robinson did not, Robinson still had the same number of targets, and both sat behind Rashod Bateman, who had just five targets. The rest ended up spread through the running backs and Tylan Wallace. So, you have to ask yourself: if this target pie grows, where does it go? Does it go to Duvernay, or Bateman, who is their #1 wide receiver? Or, does it go to Mark Andrews, who had a 23% target share in week one after sitting around 26% last season (meaning a target goes his way)?
Duvernay is in a situation where he maximized his opportunities, and it made for two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns were the second and third of his career. Outside of that, he just went 4/4 for 54 yards. That’s not exactly inspiring. So, ultimately, I don’t trust Devin Duvernay. You should still make a move for him because the guy’s downfield profile means he’s in for some boom games this year, but he’s not a guy I’m blowing more than a few bucks in FAB on, or a bottom 25% waiver priority. The Ravens would need to shift their passing game for him to be a must-start receiver, but he could be good depth if you followed some idiot and got Jalen Tolbert and/or David Bell (it’s me, I’m some idiot) and you want to replace them.
Is Jameis Winston a Must-Add?
Jameis Winston finished week one with a torrid second half, leaning on Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas en route to finishing Sunday as the QB5 in fantasy points, finishing with 269 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 9 rushing yards, and most importantly no interceptions. Jameis didn’t seem all that comfortable in the first half, as the Falcons offensive line dominated New Orleans’ line, leading to Jameis notching just 24 passing yards and no touchdowns in the first half of the game.
So, now, what do we do with Jameis Winston? Winston had himself a heck of a game. Well, a heck of a second half, against a team that fell apart at the seams and allowed a hot second half to do them in. While Jameis gets matchups likely to do that again in weeks three and five (at Carolina and versus Seattle), his schedule coming up is very difficult, at least on paper. Next week he gets Tampa Bay, who just held the Cowboys and their lead-leaguing 2021 offense to three points on Sunday Night Football. Then, in week four, he gets Minnesota, who just shut down Aaron Rodgers to the tune of 195 yards, zero touchdowns, and a pick, for a cool, cool 3.7 fantasy points.
So, Jameis had himself a nice game in week one, and he’s likely to have a nice couple of games coming up, but I wouldn’t call him a must-add player. The Saints have a couple of tough matchups in their next four weeks, so Jameis isn’t going to be a set-and-forget player. However, if you are in a 2QB platoon, then Jameis is a great player to get alongside Justin Fields or Derek Carr, or even Kirk Cousins, to play the matchups. He’s definitely worth an add, but he is not must add, given his upcoming schedule.
Is it Gerald Everett SZN?
If you’re not a cool kid like me (a 36-year-old man with a mortgage who still uses phrases like “cool kid”) then of course you know that SZN means season, and it’s short for “Gerald Everett will be good.” Well, Gerald Everett got off to a good start, with a team-leading four targets, which he turned into three receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. And that “team-leading four targets” was actually a seven-way tie for first place in targets. While Everett finished Sunday as TE4, the target volume just likely isn’t there to sustain a weekly top-five performance. But, there are some great things to take away from this game for Everett. He tied for eleventh in receptions on Sunday, with the three. He also finished sixth in receiving yards with 54, and he was one of seven tight ends with a touchdown.
All of that came on just four targets, and four targets is his absolute floor. Jared Cook, whose role he’s replacing in the offense, played in 16 games last year. He had at least four targets in 13 of them and 5 targets in 11 of them, and he finished with 7 or more targets in 5-of-13 games. The four targets for Everett were a nice start, but that should only go up from here, and that means one thing… It is, most definitely, Gerald Everett SZN.