What We Saw: Week 1

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

Rams @ Seahawks

Final Score: Rams 30, Seahawks 13

Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter) and Justin Havelock (@HavelockJustin on Twitter)


This game was a wild ride for both fan bases. Seattle led 10-7 after the first three drives of the game, but only led 13-7 at halftime as the teams combined for two missed field goals and a blocked field goal in the three drives before the half. Seattle didn’t sniff the Rams’ side of the field in the second half, earning only two total yards on offense in the final 30 minutes of the game. Yes, you read that right. Two.

Matthew Stafford and his two young receivers Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell tore apart Seattle’s defense, especially in the second half, and they dominated Seattle in all facets of the game. I’m not sure anyone expected this result.

Three Up

  • Puka Nacua – The rookie shined in his debut. He’s a must-add in most formats after garnering 15 targets.
  • Kyren Williams – Outcarried by Cam Akers but scored two TD and was far more effective with the ball in his hands.
  • Matthew Stafford – No sacks, no turnovers. The veteran came back from injury and looked like the gunslinger of old.

Three Down

  • Seattle’s offense – Two total yards on offense in the 2nd half. Two.
  • Tyler Higbee – With Kupp out, Higbee was the guy many fantasy managers were targeting in this game. Three targets and 7.9 PPR points is a major disappointment.
  • Geno Smith – Struggled against a defense lacking elite talent (Besides Donald). Not a good sign.


Los Angeles Rams





Matthew Stafford: 24/38, 334 yards | 3 carries, 11 yards


No Cooper Kupp? No problem. Matthew Stafford turned back the clock in Week 1 with what many thought was a rag tag group of weapons. Seattle played mostly zone on Sunday and youngsters Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, with their quick, shifty feet, were able to work their way open seemingly all day long. Stafford had no turnovers and, despite looking uncomfortable at times with pressure in his face, was not sacked. He even used his legs at one point near the end of the 3rd quarter to pick up the first down; Scrambling for 9 yards on 2nd and 10, then sneaking it up the middle on 3rd down for the 1st.

Stafford passed the eye test today. Will that continue? Who knows. Will he stay healthy? Who knows. But he was able to elevate his supporting cast and lead the Rams to victory. I certainly was not expecting to write those words tonight.


  • OL struggling, looks uncomfortable
  • 9.5 yard scramble


Running Back


Cam Akers: 22 carries, 29 yards, TD


That stat line is not a typo – it’s not missing a 1 in front of the 29. Akers averaged 1.3 YPC on Sunday. He lacked explosion. He lacked quickness. The Rams’ O-Line did not play flawless football by any means, but Akers was running behind the same OL that Kyren Williams was, and Williams nearly doubled Akers’ output. Akers’ saving grace for fantasy purposes was a short half-yard TD run after everyone else on the offense did the hard work of getting the Rams down the field to that point. It almost didn’t come to fruition either, as Seattle was flagged for an illegal contact penalty on 3rd and 10 in the red zone that extended the drive and opened the opportunity for Akers to score. His longest run on the day went for 12 yards – without that, his stat line would be 21 carries, 17 yards. An abysmal day.

Who’s to say how this backfield situation will shake out in the coming weeks, but I would be pretty nervous if I rostered Akers in any leagues.


  • 1st and 30, draw up the middle
  • Vultured the TD after everyone else on the offense did the hard work to get them down to the half yard line


Kyren Williams: 15 carries, 52 yards, 2 TD | 2 targets, 0 receptions, 2 yards


Williams is rostered in 10% of ESPN leagues as of Sunday night. That will certainly change this week. Williams looked like the more explosive of the two RBs the Rams used in this game and outperformed Akers in basically all facets of the game. Williams looked quicker. Williams looked more physical. He was on the receiving end of a designed lateral from Van Jefferson, hence the two receiving yards without any receptions. The trick play came near the end of the first half, and the fact that he was on the receiving end of that instead of Akers tells me this team believes in him enough to trust him in those situations.


  • Good blitz pickup to keep Stafford on his feet, convert 3rd down
  • Second TD, nearly fumbled it but the ball broke the goal line before it came loose. Recovered it anyway
  • Stafford overthrew him on a target, Williams had no shot



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Tyler Higbee: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 49 yards


Seemingly everyone and their mother were hyping up Higbee as a smash pick in this matchup. He started this game off with a seven yard catch on their first drive but then went missing until he hauled in a 30 yard reception late in the third quarter. He was shaken up on the play but came back two plays later. He saw 74 snaps and ran 33 routes per PFF’s Nathan Jahnke, but Stafford simply wasn’t looking his way. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t think he was getting as consistently open as both Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell were. They were creating separation and being fed the ball on every drive. It will be interesting to see how this offense looks next week against the 49ers.


  • Got wide open on a nice pump fake by Stafford, nice catch down the sideline but was shaken up on the play


Van Jefferson: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 24 yards


Jefferson was another WR who many in the fantasy community thought would break out this week. And, just like Higbee, that did not come to fruition. Jefferson’s day would have been a lot more palatable had he not dropped a ball deep down field which would have been an easy 65 yard TD reception. He was wide open on a deep crosser and the ball just went right through his hands. If you started Jefferson anywhere that has to hurt.


  • Caught a ball, designed lateral back to Kyren Williams
  • Dropped a wide open deep bomb, would have been a TD


Puka Nacua: 15 targets, 10 receptions, 119 yards


There was a lot of hype surrounding Puka Nacua after being drafted by the Rams in the fifth round of the NFL draft this April. Then, in camp, it became clear that Nacua was making a name for himself. Surely a 5th round pick wouldn’t make a name for himself in Week 1, right? Wrong. Nacua ate the Seattle defense for lunch and came back for seconds. Seattle played primarily zone in the 1st half and Nacua/Stafford accepted it with grace, finding and settling in openings the defense gave them.

I was really impressed with Nacua’s toughness. He got banged around pretty good and took a beating. Yet he stayed in there and even showed up well in run blocking. I was super impressed with Nacua and he lived up to all of the hype.


  • Wide open over the middle of the field, Stafford threw it behind him
  • Dropped pass on a slant
  • Double teamed, left Tutu Atwell wide open
  • Shaken up midway through the third quarter. Returned two plays later
  • Caught a ball thrown near his feet, bobbled it but reeled it in. Tough catch
  • Ball tipped away in the end zone, nearly a TD but good defensive play. Penalty on opposite side of the field gave LA a fresh set of downs
  • Dove for a ball at the goal line, was just out of reach. Really taking a beating today


Tutu Atwell: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 119 yards


Atwell and Nacua had very similar days. Seattle’s defensive gameplan was perfectly drawn up to allow Atwell and Nacua to exploit them. Honestly, there were times where Atwell caught the ball and I initially thought it was Nacua, and vice versa. I liked Nacua’s blocking ability more than Tutu and thought he was overall more physical. I do not expect both of these guys to go for over 100 yards in the same week again, but if I had to bet on one of the two it would be Nacua. Either way, Tutu looked great in this one.


  • Caught a ball between three defenders for a first down. Nice catch in a tight window
  • Wide open down the field
  • More Tutu in the 2nd half


Brycen Hopkins: 2 targets, 1 reception, 21 yards

Ben Skowronek: 2 targets


Seattle Seahawks





Geno Smith: 16/26. 112 yards, TD, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 6 yards


It was a rough start to the 2023 season for the Seahawks offense and it was effectively Geno Smith‘s fault.

That’s the only time tonight you’ll hear the words Geno Smith and effective together as the quarterback opened the season with just four completions of 10+ yards and only one of those actually went for more than 10 yards. Yikes. It’s never a good thing when more than half of your starting quarterback’s passing yardage comes on four plays.

Hopefully, this can be an easy fix in the film room as Smith struggled with his progressions all night long. The Seahawks’ offensive line held up quite well and kept the pressure to a minimum so there really aren’t excuses to be made here. This was a textbook case of a quarterback second-guessing themself on first read and holding onto the football too long. Plain and simple.


Running Back


Kenneth Walker III: 12 carries, 64 yards | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 3 yards


Kenneth Walker saw a bulk role in Week 1 with almost 75% of the backfield touches. While he only had a pair of explosive rushes, Walker was only stuffed twice and didn’t give up any yardage. His boxscore in the passing game would’ve looked much more attractive if the Seahawks were able to execute some more designed plays instead of having to settle for checkdowns all night long.


Zach Charbonnet: 3 carries, 11 yards


It’s quite possible that Zach Charbonnet was being eased into the offense tonight as he saw only 11 snaps in his NFL debut. Although, it should be noted that his YPC was saved by a nine-yard rush up the middle on the final play that the Rams’ defense looked like it had completely forgotten about.


DeeJay Dallas: 2 carries, 4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


DK Metcalf: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 47 yards, TD


Whether or not you think this boxscore looks productive, we know DK Metcalf is capable of producing much more than this. It becomes even more alarming when you realize that more than half of those receiving yards came on Metcalf’s first target of the game, a 28-yard catch-and-run that came with Geno Smith scrambling in the pocket. Metcalf had no problems getting himself open all night. If his quarterback had been able to get the ball out of his hands quicker, this likely would’ve been a more typical WR1 stat line.


Tyler Lockett: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 10 yards

Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 13 yards


Jaxon Smith-Njigba outpaced Tyler Lockett in receptions, targets, and receiving yards, however, Lockett still has the WR2 role locked down in Seattle. The veteran outpaced the rookie in snaps (45-29) and routes run (27-11). Lockett was only targeted twice outside of the opening drive and one of those targets was called back due to a DPI call on the play.

If you aren’t fazed by what Detroit’s defense did to Kansas City on Thursday Night Football, Week 2 could be a bounce-back game for Lockett.


Will Dissly: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Colby Parkinson: 2 targets, 1 reception 8 yards


The most noteworthy insight I can give into this tight end room is as follows: Noah Fant – 25 snaps, 14 routes run, and zero touches. Unless the passing game improves here, this might be a situation to avoid completely this year.

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