I can’t help but smile. Week 1 in the NFL was absolutely off-the-walls bonkers. Aren’t you as glad as I am to have professional football back?
Before we get down to business here, a very quick introduction: My name is John Frascella and I am a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. You may have seen some of my work over the years on Bleacher Report, Rotowire, Yahoo Sports, Aaron Torres Online, CBS Sports, NBA.com and the UConn Daily Campus. Follow me on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things football throughout this adrenaline-packed NFL season!
It’s my great pleasure to join the Razzball team this season! Now, without further ado, let’s dive into some critical takeaways from the Week 1 target counts.
Derek Carr is glad to have his buddy back
Carr and Davante Adams were old college teammates, and boy did that show in Las Vegas’ opener against the division-rival Chargers. Davante was targeted an incredible 17 times; despite his hard work, however, the Raiders ultimately fell short by the score of 24-19.
But the real takeaway comes here: Hunter Renfrow, one of the best slot receivers in the game, came away with just six targets on the day. Six might be decent for some middling receivers, but fantasy owners came into the season expecting more from the diminutive PPR specialist. Carr tossed the rock around 37 times, which means Davante benefitted from nearly 46 percent of his looks. Renfrow was only at 16 percent, comparatively.
No sophomore slump for Ja’Marr
One of the most explosive players in the game had no intentions of slowing down his second year on the job; the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase opened the season with 16 targets from his gunslingin’ buddy, Joe Burrow. Keep in mind that talented WR2 Tee Higgins had to leave the game with a concussion; but still, Chase is Chase. I don’t expect 16 targets on a weekly basis, but 8-to-12? Sure, why not? I can’t blame head coach Zac Taylor for wanting to force feed one of the most dynamic receivers we’ve seen in years.
Cooper Kupp is a bad man
How does Cooper Kupp do it, when everybody knows the ball is going to him? Despite an ugly opening performance from the defending-champion Rams, Kupp did his thing with 13 receptions for 128 yards on 15 targets from veteran Matthew Stafford. Kupp’s route versatility is ultimately the gamechanger – he doesn’t limit himself in any way and he’s never predictable out there. Shockingly though, on the polar opposite end, new teammate Allen Robinson got just two looks in the passing game. You can be sure that’ll change going forward.
Amon-Ra’s Not a Fluke?
Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown looked like a “second half darling” to many coming into the season, but he came out of the gates roaring with 12 targets in an up-and-down battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jared Goff continues to show his trust in St. Brown, looking to him in a variety of different ways. New acquisition D.J. Chark showed some promise as well, picking up eight targets in another painfully close loss for Dan Campbell’s underdog Lions.
Samuel… Meet Samuel.
Oft-injured gadget player Curtis Samuel finally returned to the field on Sunday, and he returned like Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Curtis was targeted 11 times by the enigmatic Carson Wentz, and the former was also a force in Washington’s rushing attack. He’s not as big, strong or physical as Deebo, but Curtis does have the versatility and keep-you-on-your heels offensive repertoire. He was a super popular fantasy pickup this week.
It was a wild, wacky week and I can’t wait for more in Week 2. I’ll see ya right back here next week!
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things football throughout another exciting season.