What We Saw: Week 1

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from this week's action

Lions @Β Chiefs

Final Score: Lions 21, Chiefs 20

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


The opening game of the 2023 NFL season came and went like an ice-cream on a hot summer’s day. The Super Bowl champions were in half a mood to celebrate and half lamenting the absence of talismanic tight end Travis Kelce, who injured his knee in the week and was ruled out earlier in the day. The Lions were buoyant (an early fake punt on their own 17-yard line proved that) and Dan Campbell‘s men were up to spoil the party. Which they did, but maybe not in the way they wanted to. It was more about what the Chiefs gave away than what the Lions took for themselves.

A barnstorming start, a big upset and plenty of talking points. The NFL returns with supreme fanfare.

Five Up

  • Travis Kelce – The man didn’t play but it’s clear that he will be the key (only?) cog in this offense once healthy
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown – Faced tight coverage all night and still put on a show. He’s special
  • Jahmyr Gibbs – Didn’t get as many touches as David Montgomery, but he flashed every time the ball was in his hands. He might also be special.
  • Rashee Rice – Had a drop of his own but then was seemingly the only Chiefs WR with the ability to catch the football
  • Sam LaPorta – The rookie TE caught all five targets that came his way and was a big part of the offensive gameplan. A good sign for his fantasy prospects

Three Down

  • Kadarius Toney – A truly awful performance from the 3rd year WR
  • Skyy Moore – At times forgot he was even on the field
  • Marvin Jones Jr. – Coughed up his first career fumble


Detroit Lions




Jared Goff: 22/35, 253 Yards, TD | 5 Carries, -1 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)


In the stadium where the ultimate game-manager Alex Smith played for so long, Jared Goff gave a masterclass in functional quarterback play. There was nothing spectacular about the way Goff went about things as the Lions stuttered through a mediocre first half that included two tedious drives that owed a lot to the run game and the ability of Amon-Ra St. Brown after the catch. After their first scoring drive looked dead and buried on fourth down at their own 17-yard line, a ballsy fake punt conversion seemed the invigorate Goff and some easy completions over the middle to Josh Reynolds and St. Brown took the wind out of the Chiefs defense.


After the first drive of the second half quickly broke down with the Lions trailing by 7 there wasn’t much optimism about the offense before the defense drew them level with a fortunate pick-6 after Kadarius Toney‘s blunder. Goff still couldn’t pull them ahead as the next three drives resulted in punts despite decent opportunities to move the ball. Finally, Goff did what he needed to and found his old friend Reynolds across the middle before he took the ball down into the end-zone. David Montgomery finished off what turned out to be a game-winning 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.


Goff’s 14.02 fantasy points in Yahoo! are a long way off what we would like, and if the Lions are to feature the run-game more going forward then Goff is overvalued at 73% rostered. The weapons are there and Sam LaPorta also looks like a viable fantasy tight end if Goff gives him more opportunity.


Running Back


David Montgomery: 21 Carries, 74 Yards, TD


A professional, “don’t-forget-about-me” performance from former Bears running David Montgomery as he fully cemented his role as the leader of this backfield with 66% of the carries. Montgomery was used often in early downs and had some success early until the Chiefs adjusted and brought another man up into the box (something they usually don’t have to worry about if Chris Jones is on the field). Still, it was Montgomery who saw the majority of red-zone looks too and made it count in the second half with a nice run between the tackles to give his side the lead.


The caveat here is that Montgomery is a one-dimensional factor in this offense. He won’t be catching balls out of the backfield, and he won’t necessarily hold onto the share of carries if the game plan doesn’t go his way. Still, it is a nice start for the veteran with his new team and fully meets his RB2 value.


Jahmyr Gibbs: 7 Carries, 42 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 18 Yards


This was a case of huge upside on the eye-test and sad face emoji on the stat line. The expectations tied to rookie Jahmyr Gibbs after being selected with the 12th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft are sky high. And at times in his NFL debut he looked the business, running hard with electric speed and nifty feet to make things happen with the ball in his hands. The downside was that it only happened nine times across the game. The Lions coaching staff warned us but everyone who rostered Gibbs with RB1 desires in mind will be sorely disappointed. There were two runs in particular that highlighted the promise, both outside zone runs where he uses his vision and cut to miss tackles before ploughing into contact and fighting for extra yards.


Exciting, and more to come from the rookie but expectations are thoroughly tempered given his lofty ADP.


Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 1 Carry, 3 Yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Josh Reynolds: 7 Targets, 4 Receptions, 80 Yards


A nice night for the former Rams receiver Josh Reynolds, who certainly acts as a comfort blanket for Goff. Reynolds came up with two huge grabs in the Lions’ final scoring drive, both times finding space between the linebackers and secondary to haul in big gains. Like last season, Reynolds was hovering on the fringe as a flex fantasy play without every really graduating to that role. He shouldn’t get this many looks – as this key grab shows, the better option is St. Brown a little ahead of him down the middle, who is wide open for a touchdown if the throw goes to him. Goff just doesn’t make those throws and plays safe, which serves Reynolds well.


Amon-Ra St. Brown: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 71 Yards, TD


The stand out receiver on the field by a long way, Amon-Ra St. Brown was a real difference maker for the Lions in the passing game. Somewhat eerily, the wideout averaged 6.6 receptions on 9.1 targets with 72.6 receiving yards in 2022 – read his stat line again! Yikes. It would be nice to see an uptick in targets especially with Reynolds and Marvin Jones Jr. seeing 16 between them. Let’s hope that we see that jump int he coming weeks. St. Brown was too much for the Chiefs pass-coverage and found separation at all levels. He laid out for his quarterback on a key third-down in the second half too.


Sam LaPorta: 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 39 Yards


For fantasy purposes, the performance of rookie Sam LaPorta was probably the most intriguing factor of the game. The Lions famously traded T.J. Hockenson to division rivals the Vikings last year and loved LaPorta enough to pick him in the second round of this year’s draft. The tight end slotted in comfortably and looked like he knew the playbook well – he turned 72% route participation into 19% targets per route, which is excellent. He was a monster in the run-blocking game and turned in a key block for the Montgomery touchdown run. There is TE2 value here right away.


Khalif Raymond: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 20 Yards

Brock Wright: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 17 Yards

Marvin Jones Jr.: 6 Targets, 2 Receptions, 8 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


The veteran wideout coughed up his first career fumble at a nightmare time in the second quarter – Jones hauled in a pass from Goff on a third and long way short of the line to gain, and despite bracing for contact lost the ball when Chiefs corner Trent McDuffie put his head straight on the football. Goff went back to him on the next drive but threw far too high on an intermediate route. It carried on like that for most of the night for Goff and Jones, the connection just wasn’t there.


Kansas City Chiefs




Patrick Mahomes: 21/39, 226 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT | 6 Carries, 45 Yards


There was a nervy feeling across the first two quarters as the Lions matched everything the Chiefs did on offense and looked to be more effective at times. However, on the last drive before the half Mahomes exploded after being put in a third-and-long situation after a holding penalty. He hit three passes of more than 25 yards, going 5-of-6 for 91 yards and a touchdown to Blake Bell to put his team up 14-7. It was a reminder that even without the injured Travis Kelce, it is Mahomes who can make things happen. Prior to that drive, Mahomes had been efficient if not spectacular. It was smart, high-percentage football with the offensive line doing its job despite some questionable tackle alignments. Mahomes hit rookie Rashee Rice for his first career touchdown for his first passing score of the year.


However, his wide receivers let him down badly throughout the contest and the second half was a comedy of errors across the field. The Chiefs were 0-for-7 on third downs after the break and a number of bad drops had the Arrowhead crowd booing! Overall, Mahomes threw multiple completions to six different targets and connected through the air with a whopping 11 players across the offense. Nobody stepped up, and that was the issue.

The reality is there may be a downgrade at Offensive Coordinator with Matt Nagy taking over from Eric Bieniemy, something that potentially reared its head in the second half with Nagy continually going to his receivers rather than pivoting to his backfield to change things up. Jerick McKinnon, for example, was criminally underused.

In terms of fantasy production, the output was solid from Mahomes – 20.54 fantasy points on Yahoo! Without Kelce, we’ll take that.


Running Back


Isaiah Pacheco: 8 Carries, 23 Yards | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 31 Yards


Going into the season, Isaiah Pacheco was a difficult fantasy pick given the situation in the Kansas City running back room and the focus this offense has on Mahomes and the receiving corps. And this game did nothing top clear up anything too much. The facts are Pacheco out-carried Clyde-Edwards HelaireΒ by two carries yet saw much more of the targets out of the backfield. He caught all four for 31 yards and looked natural in that role. Considering he only saw 14 targets all of last year, that was a notable development. Pacheco and CEH found little room between the tackles as the Lions defense shut the door with vicious fight across the field.

Jerick McKinnon was hardly used and could eat into this share going forward, as might Kelce when he returns too. There is not a clear and obvious road ahead for Pacheco to be a fantasy asset going forward.


Clyde-Edwards Helaire: 6 Carries, 22 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

Jerick McKinnon: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 10 Yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Marques Valdes-Scantling: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 48 Yards


The play of the day came from Chiefs veteran Marques Valdes-Scantling, who hauled in a deep ball to setup the Chiefs’ go-ahead score prior to half time and showed an immense amount of bravery in bringing it in. The 34-yard gain on third-and-long was exactly the type of play MVS has been making a career out of and this one was no different. The fact he only saw one further target and the other receivers were peppered was a travesty from Nagy in truth.


Justin Watson: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 35 Yards

Noah Gray: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 21 Yards

Rashee Rice: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 29 Yards, TD | 1 Carry, -3 Yards


Just how Rashee Rice was going to fit into this offense seemed to become apparent very quickly as he caught his second target in the NFL for a touchdown. Rice saw one target near the red-zone prior to the score and it has to be said that the target wasn’t a play design read. Mahomes was scrambling to the right and his brilliant vision saw Rice break free towards the opposite side of the end zone. He threw off balance across his body and nailed the throw to hit Rice between the numbers. On the scoring drive prior to the half, Rice took a short pass from Mahomes on a crossing route and burst for extra yards in another eye-catching moment. Rice was hardly used after the half, again come on Matt!!


Blake Bell: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards, TD


Gray and Blake Bell filled in for Kelce and both had modest involvement. Bell hit the end zone for only his second career touchdown across 101 regular-season games in his career. He will immediately become irrelevant once Kelce returns.


Richie James: 2 Targets, 1 Receptions, 6 Yards

Justyn Ross: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards

Kadarius Toney: 5 Targets, 1 Reception, 1 Yard | 1 Carry, -1 Yard


A really disappointing night for Kadarius Toney, who enjoyed a career renaissance last year after moving from the Giants. The wideout has struggled with injury all preseason and he looked very rusty throughout the game despite garnering five targets. A perfect throw from Mahomes early in the third quarter was badly mishandled by Toney and the ball popped into the hands of Lions rookie Brian Branch, who took it to the house for a pick-six. All the fault was on Toney, though. He also dropped a short pass on a crossing route on third down after Richie James obscured his view in the third quarter before a terrible drop late in the game as the Chiefs trailed by one with less than three minutes remaining. A night to forget for Toney.


Skyy Moore: 3 Targets | 1 Carry, 4 Yards


Sigh! The hype about Skyy Moore evaporated in a flash of smoke as he was barely involved in the game plan aside from a couple of targets, two of which were contested catches he had very little chance of hauling in.


Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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