What We Saw: Week 1

Deebo Samuel became the King of the Jungle after his performance against the Lions.

Jaguars Texans

Final Score: Texans 37, Jaguars 21

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter)


This game was honestly a complete surprise to me. With so many people being so down on Houston coming into this season, I fully believed that Jaguars’ rookie QB Trevor Lawrence and his stable of weapons would roll into Houston and take care of the reeling Texans with ease. Texans’ QB Tyrod Taylor had plans of his own, however. We were told that first-year Texans’ RB Mark Ingram was on the verge of being a roster casualty just a couple of weeks ago, and yet he seems to have taken over as the lead back in Houston – at least for now. Houston ended with only a slight lead in Time of Possession (35:04-24:56) and total offensive plays (75-68) but simply did a better job of converting their drives into points than the Jaguars did. Lawrence’s first TD pass cut Houston’s lead to 14-7, but he unfortunately threw his first two NFL interceptions on Jacksonville’s next two possessions. By the time Jacksonville found the end-zone again, Houston’s lead had ballooned to 34-7. Did Lawrence’s irratic debut hurt your fantasy team? Let’s dive into what we saw:


Jacksonville Jaguars




Trevor Lawrence: 28/51, 332 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT


Jaguars’ QB Trevor Lawrence has one of the longest leashes not just in the NFL currently, but in NFL history. Lawrence admitted before the game to having some nervous energy and jitters, and of course he would. Any human being in that position would have those same feelings. And to that extent, it’s tough to say that Lawrence’s debut was all that awful. Sure the three interceptions were bad, although you could definitely argue they weren’t all 100% his fault (at least two of them definitely were). But as Lawrence struggled with his accuracy at times, at others, he totally looked the part. On this, his first NFL touchdown pass, he sort of throws behind TE Chris Manhertz – forcing him to turn back-shoulder to make the grab:



Here on his second TD pass, he throws an absolute dime to WR D.J. Chark Jr.:



Lawrence was a little erratic and struggled with his accuracy at times, but clearly, the sky is the limit for this guy.


Running Backs


James Robinson: 5 carries, 25 yards | 6 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

Carlos Hyde: 9 carries, 44 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards


It was truly a sad day for J-Rob truthers out there. With the Texans somewhat surprisingly coming out and punching the Jags in the mouth to start, RB James Robinson and RB Carlos Hyde fell into a negative game script for running pretty early on. If you have shares of Robinson anywhere, seeing Hyde out-touch J-Rob 11-8 has to be disheartening. Hyde even showed more burst than Robinson – finishing with both a longer carry and a longer catch! That being said, to be fair, Robinson did have a nice catch-and-run that was ultimately wiped out on an accepted penalty for roughing the passer. But I honestly expected this offense to be better, and for the Texans’ defense to be a juicy matchup for Jacksonville, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. If Hyde continues to dip so heavily into the RB touches for Jacksonville, it may be tough for Robinson to return value on his ADP.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


D.J. Chark Jr.: 12 targets, 3 receptions, 86 yards, TD

Marvin Jones Jr.: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 77 yards, TD

Laviska Shenault Jr.: 9 targets, 7 reception, 50 yards

James O’Shaughnessy: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 48 yards


While Lawrence looked lost at times and wasn’t anywhere near leading Jacksonville to a win on Sunday, he did display his ability to produce some fantasy-viable receivers. WR D.J. Chark is coming off of a down year last season, and even on a woefully inefficient 25% catch percentage, he was able to produce 17.6 PPR points on Sunday. WR Marvin Jones had a mostly quiet outing on Sunday, but a 4-yard TD in garbage time helped him secure a decent fantasy outing. I honestly hoped we would have seen more from WR Laviska Shenault. He had difficulty getting many opportunities to get the ball in space against Houston on Sunday, although he finished with a respectable output as well.




Houston Texans





Tyrod Taylor: 21/33, 291 yards, 2 TD | 4 carries, 40 yards


I must admit, it is still a strange notion that we are kicking off the 2021 NFL season and QB Deshaun Watson is not the starting quarterback in Houston. Luckily for the Texans, they were able to bring in veteran QB Tyrod Taylor to bring them through this strange period in their franchise’s history. Taylor had a vintage Ty-God performance on Sunday – completely shocking the league by steamrolling Jacksonville in what was (at least partially) framed as the anointing of Trevor Lawrence. I don’t think many people had Houston winning this game, especially in such a decisive fashion. Taylor frequently escaped pressure in the pocket and connected on big plays downfield. He was helped tremendously by RB Mark Ingram and the running game, but he also made some plays when he had to. His first TD pass was a smart throwback across to his left, leaving RB David Johnson just enough room to sneak past the goal line:



His second and final TD came just before halftime – another short pass, this time to WR Danny Amendola:



Running Backs


Mark Ingram II: 26 carries, 85 yards, TD | 1 target

Phillip Lindsay: 8 carries, 25 yards, TD | 1 target

David Johnson: 3 carries, 10 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards, TD


As I mentioned in the opening, it was rumored that RB Mark Ingram was in jeopardy of being left off of Houston’s 53-man roster. For a man that doesn’t need a chip on his shoulder, Ingram made his case for the lead-back role in Houston on Sunday. His 3.27 yards per carry average was nothing to write home about, but Ingram showed he still has a nose for the end-zone, and there’s still plenty of juice left in the tank. Here’s a perfect example of a vintage Ingram TD:



Texans newcomer RB Phillip Lindsay played second-fiddle to Ingram and didn’t impress much on his own, but he was able to find the end-zone on this nifty scamper:



RB David Johnson seemed to have a lockdown on the passing-down work, so it would be easy to imagine him getting more snaps in games where Houston isn’t absolutely demolishing the team they’re up against.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Brandin Cooks: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 132 yards

Pharaoh Brown: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 67 yards

Danny Amendola: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 34 yards, TD


WR Brandin Cooks found himself on the end of multiple big plays on Sunday against Jacksonville. The speedy receiver didn’t find the end-zone, but he did make two huge catches that directly set up Houston touchdowns. You could also argue that Cooks made the best of his meager opportunities – finishing with a ridiculous 18.9 yards per target. Cooks has been anticipated as the most likely Texans’ WR to carry week-t0-week fantasy relevance this season, and he showed why on Sunday. Here’s his first big play to set up first and goal:



Cooks also made a big catch to set up the TD by WR Danny Amendola:



After Cooks, Amendola will presumedly continue to operate in the slot. Other than those two, it’s tough to imagine that any Texans’ pass-catchers will have much of a path to fantasy relevancy in the immediate future.


— Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

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