What We Saw: Week 1
Note: scroll down to the bottom of this article for links to the other week 1 games.
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
Are you ready for some football? I thought I was–being a proud Bears fan and all. It’s the 100th season, and we were facing off against our long-time rivals. Everyone was talking about the high potential of the Bears, and I’ll admit I was drinking the kool-aid. So what happened? Thirteen points. Thirteen measly points happened. This was a snoozer matched only by the last Super Bowl, and Green Bay held on for the victory. When it all finished, only two players came through (three in PPR) with the rest being a snoozer. So how did everyone look?
Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers: 18/30, 203 yards, 1 TD, 5 sacks | 3 carries, 8 yards
After Green Bay’s first three drives, I almost thought something was wrong with Wisconsin’s future Hall of Fame quarterback. Aaron Rodgers only completed two of his first five passes, and he was sacked twice in those three drives. He didn’t have time to work and his throws were off-target. Well, something clicked after that because the next drive was four plays–all completed passes–and the only touchdown in the game. The highlight was a nice 47-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling as he found space from the defense. Things were quiet after that drive, and it’s clear that Chicago’s defense hasn’t lost a step. I think Rodgers was lucky to get out unhurt, and I’ll gladly keep him in my top-5 quarterbacks with optimism for easier matchups ahead.
- Aaron Jones: 13 carries, 39 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 0 yards
- Jamaal Williams: 5 carries, 0 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
If you expected Aaron Jones to immediately be a successful bell-cow back I have bad news for you. It doesn’t look like Jamaal Williams will ever completely go away, and this was not the best matchup to begin with. Jones was often met at the line by the Bears pressure, so it’s impressive that he still averaged three yards per carry. He had a few nice runs to save his day, and I still love his talent. That being said, there are lingering worries that this could become a full-on timeshare. Williams did even less than Jones, but he continues to be the better pass-protector. This, along with his ability to catch passes, will keep him relevant. He will need an injury to Jones, however, to really matter in fantasy. Stick with Jones as a starter and keep an eye on Williams–just in case.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 52 yards | 1 carry, 0 yards
- Davante Adams: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 36 yards
- Jimmy Graham: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD
There was a bit of intrigue in the passing game as to who would become the second target: Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. MVS had a solid day against a tough opponent while Allison failed to crack the box score. I still want to see a few more games, but I continue to be much more interested in Valdes-Scantling than I am in Allison. Both should be useful during the season on what figures to be a high-powered passing attack but Valdes-Scantling looks to be separating himself as the clear second option. I am happy to use him in my flex and he may continue to rise.
Davante Adams had a relatively quiet day, but he was clearly still the favorite target. It was just hard for anyone to find much room. With his top receivers tightly covered, Rodgers looked to Jimmy Graham frequently tonight. Graham’s best moment came early in the second quarter when he boxed out a defender in the endzone, elevated, and made a great catch. Although he is a far cry from the athlete he once was, Jimmy Graham is clearly still a useful weapon and could be considered a low-end TE1. Just don’t expect great week-to-week consistency.
- Mitchell Trubisky: 26/45, 228 yards, 1 INT, 5 sacks | 3 carries, 11 yards
I think Bears fans are going to fall into two camps after tonight’s games: the first is those who are ready to dump Trubisky after yet another mediocre (maybe that’s too kind?) showing. He stinks and we need to accept it. The second group will realize it’s only one game, the Green Bay defense looked good, and the game plan let us down. I can definitely see both sides. Mitchell Trubisky made some bad mistakes tonight–don’t get me wrong. I counted at least three passes that should have been intercepted, and the game ended when he stared down a receiver for a good hour before finally throwing.
At the same time, there were mitigating factors. First, I really do think the Packers’ defense is improved. They gave Chicago fits, and they didn’t allow Trubisky to run for open space. Second, I blame the gameplan. The weapons on offense seemed mismanaged tonight, and the only players regularly involved were Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen. I think brighter days are on the horizon but I’m tempering my season expectations big time after this stinker.
- Mike Davis: 5 carries, 19 yards | 7 targets, 6 receptions, 17 yards
- David Montgomery: 6 carries, 18 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 27 yards
- Tarik Cohen: 0 carries | 10 targets, 8 receptions, 49 yards
The biggest question I had before the game was about how Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery would split the workload this week. Who would get more carries and who would see more targets? Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting Mike Davis to lead the team in rushing yards. This is probably the most frustrating part of the night for me, because I cannot figure out why the Bears didn’t just stick with their rookie back…at least for a few drives.
David Montgomery looked good in his extremely limited action. He fought hard for his yardage and I was excited to see what he might do with 15-20 carries. However, he saw six. Montgomery also made a nice grab downfield on a wheel route out of the backfield. He took off and then quickly spun around to make a great catch. Here’s to hoping we see more of Montgomery in the coming weeks.
Tarik Cohen was heavily involved in the passing game and I’m curious to see if this is a future trend…fewer carries and more targets. If it is, look out: he’s going to be a PPR monster. I am nervous to start Montgomery until we see him grab hold of the backfield from Davis. I will gladly start Cohen at flex, though, as he figures to stay involved in the passing game each week.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
- Allen Robinson: 13 targets, 7 receptions, 102 yards
- Taylor Gabriel: 2 receptions, 24 yards
Let’s start this off by saying Trey Burton was out for the night. He was held out despite suiting up for warm-ups mostly as a precautionary measure. The passing game really centered around two guys: Tarik Cohen, who we mentioned earlier, and Allen Robinson. Robinson was targeted to a comical degree, catching seven of them. He did a good job finding space in the Packers’ secondary, and he could have had an even bigger day if not for a couple near-misses. Robinson won’t always see this much volume, but it was a nice start to the season. Expect him to float around the WR1-WR2 range and for him to prove himself a bargain at his preseason draft cost.
Anthony Miller was a whole other story tonight. Miller has been a favorite of many fantasy football experts, and he’s drawn comparisons to Odell Beckham Jr. with his style of play. Well, he hasn’t made it quite yet. Despite playing tonight, Miller was completely blanked from the stat sheet. I’m left wondering if he was dealing with some minor injury or if Trubisky simply didn’t see him. Either way, this game should be a reminder that Miller cannot be counted on yet. I have hopes for his eventual success. It just hasn’t arrived yet.
— Mike Miklius