What We Saw: Week 1

QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during the opening weekend of the 2020 NFL season.

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

 

These teams showed a sign of unity by taking a knee on the opening kickoff after Seahawks’ kicker Jason Myers booted the kickoff for a touchback. The Seahawks showed they could win last year by keeping the ball on the ground. This year, they decided to switch it up on the NFL as they called run plays on just 17 of 58 snaps. Let’s dive in and see what we saw in this high-scoring affair.

 

Atlanta Falcons

 

Quarterback

 

Matt Ryan: 37/54, 450 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT | 1 carry, -1 yard

 

Matty Ice, garbage time hero for fantasy. Ryan threw for 201 yards and both of his touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Early on, Ryan was a mixed bag. On the opening drive, he hit Calvin Ridley on an 18-yard out-route that was a perfectly thrown ball. But later in the drive, he took a costly intentional grounding penalty that pushed them further back than if he would’ve just taken the sack. On the day, the Seahawks defense had 8 QB pressures, resulting in 3 sacks – most of which came while the game was still competitive.

For fantasy purposes, this is great. The Falcons played from behind most of the game, which forced them away from the run game. Next week, the Falcons get the Cowboys, in what should be another shootout.

 

Running Backs

 

Todd Gurley: 14 carries, 56 yards, 1 TD | 5 targets, 2 receptions, 1 yard

 

Gurley looked good early on. It was fun to see the Falcons call a sweep for Gurley on the first play from scrimmage. The following play saw Gurley show patience and let the hole open up for him as he went up the middle for 15 yards. In addition to the sweep and excellent patience, we got to see Gurley leaping over the pile for the first Falcons touchdown of the season.

The one area we saw Gurley struggle with was in the passing game, as he and Matt Ryan didn’t seem to be on the same page, which could be due to the shortened training camp. In Los Angeles, Gurley was used heavily in the passing game, so we’ll have to keep an eye on his usage moving forward.

From a backup standpoint, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag as Brian Hill and Ito Smith shared the load.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Julio Jones: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 157 yards

Calvin Ridley: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TD | 1 carry, -1 yard

Russell Gage: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 114 yards

Hayden Hurst: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards

 

For fantasy purposes, this group is going to be a lot of fun. Julio Jones is a stud. His workload is likely to remain unchanged regardless of the in-game scenario. Calvin Ridley really benefitted from garbage time. Through the 3rd quarter, he had just 4 targets and 1 carry on the day. He then saw 8 targets in the 4th quarter, catching both of his touchdowns. Moving forward, that will be something to monitor in neutral and positive game scenarios.

Russell Gage looked great in the slot role. There was one point during a two-minute drill that Ryan looked to Gage on four consecutive plays. I’m viewing Gage as a high-floor flex option in PPR leagues moving forward. I was concerned that the lack of training camp would affect players that changed teams, which seemed to be the case with Hayden Hurst. While Hurst didn’t see the volume of targets that the wide receivers did, he showed off his athleticism on an incredible 28-yard diving catch.

 

 

Seattle Seahawks

 

Quarterback

 

Russell Wilson: 31/35, 322 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT | 3 carries, 29 yards

 

Russell Wilson shredded the Falcons secondary. Granted, this is a secondary that PFF ranked 30th, so maybe this result shouldn’t surprise us. Wilson was sharp and smart. He seemed to know when it was time to take a sack versus making a risky throw and every time he did that, he bounced right back with a big play. Wilson ran the ball just three times but showed off his athleticism on a 28-yard scamper.

Wilson was super efficient, with two of his incompletions coming on deep balls. Moving forward, I’ll be interested to see if they continue having a pass-heavy offense or if this was part of their game plan due to the poor Falcons’ secondary.

 

Running Backs

 

Chris Carson: 6 carries, 21 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 45 yards, 2 TD

Carlos Hyde: 7 carries, 23 yards, 1 TD

 

Despite a great day from Chris Carson from a fantasy standpoint, I can’t help but be a little worried moving forward. The running back snap count was extremely split and despite the Seahawks being up 31-12, they continued to air the ball out. The targets in the passing game for Carson are encouraging, as he saw just a 10% target share last year. Carson’s second score came on a perfectly set up screen pass where he had three offensive linemen rumbling up the field ahead of him to block.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Tyler Lockett: 8 targets, 8 receptions, 92 yards

D.K. Metcalf: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD

Greg Olsen: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 24 yards, 1 TD

David Moore: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards | 1 carry, 12 yards

 

Overall, this is pretty much what we expected from the Seahawks receiving core. Tyler Locket is Mr. Reliable for Wilson. He caught all eight of his targets including two deep targets. If there is a concern it’s that he’s not a primary target in the red zone, as none of his targets came within the 20-yard line. He did have one deep target in which he drew a pass interference flag which would’ve been a target in the red zone.

The majority of D.K. Metcalf’s production came off two deep balls, one of which resulted in a touchdown on a 4th and 3 play. Metcalf may be more boom or bust than Lockett, but I’m thinking we see more red-zone work for Metcalf moving forward as we did in 2019.

Greg Olsen found the end zone in his first game as a Seahawk. While I don’t expect Olsen to be a high-volume TE, his role in the red zone is interesting for fantasy players that are streaming TEs.

 

 

-Rich Holman (@RichardoPL83 on Twitter)

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