What We Saw: Week 1

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

New York JetsBuffalo Bills

 

Josh Allen led the Bills offense to three scores in the first half and the Bills held on in the second half to defeat the Jets 27-17. The Bills lost two starting linebackers in the game but they still looked great against the Jets. The Bills’ new-look starting receiving corps had 18 combined receptions and their two running backs struggled to get much going on the ground today. The Jets really couldn’t do much on offense in the first half. They punted three times, threw an interception, and scored a field goal on their five possessions. They finally got in the end zone in the second half, scoring on two of their five possessions.

 

New York Jets

 

Quarterback

 

Sam Darnold: 21/35, 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 Sacks | 1 carry, 6 yards

 

Sam Darnold and the Jets looked more like the team that went 1-7 to open last year than the one that went 6-2 to end 2019. Darnold peppered receiver Jamison Crowder with targets and wasn’t throwing the ball downfield a ton. His interception was a weak throw in the middle of the field that was easily intercepted by the defense. He led the Jets offense to one first down on their first five possessions. He only completed 1 of 6 throws that traveled 15 or more yards down the field. Overall, it was a disappointing performance for Darnold at the start of his third year under center for the Jets. He was under a good bit of pressure, which seems to be the norm with Darnold and the Jets offensive line. It doesn’t get any easier next week with the 49ers ferocious front-seven on tap.

 

Running Backs

 

LeVeon Bell: 6 carries, 14 yards | 2 targets, 2 reception, 32 yards

Frank Gore: 6 carries, 24 yards

Josh Adams: 2 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD | 2 targets, 2 receptions 14 yards

Le’Veon Bell injured his hamstring in the first half and played through it for a while but he was announced doubtful late in the third quarter and didn’t play anymore. Frank Gore was rotating in with Bell on the second series and was clearly going to be a big part of the backfield even if Bell stayed healthy. Bell wasn’t doing anything productive when he was in the game and was splitting some time with Gore. You can see the snap count above, Josh Adams played a role and actually scored with Bell missing time in the second half. If Bell misses time going forward then Gore and Adams will likely split most of the running back work, but neither running back is appealing going forward. This offensive line couldn’t do much to open holes against the Bills front and will likely struggle again next week against the 49ers’ impressive defensive line.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Jamison Crowder: 13 targets, 7 receptions, 115 yards, 1 TD

Breshad Perriman: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards

Chris Herndon: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 37 yards 1 fumble lost

 

As expected, Jamison Crowder and Chris Herndon led the way in targets for Darnold. Crowder was the clear number one option garnering 13 of Darnold’s 35 pass attempts. He caught a 69-yard touchdown but he also had two dropped passes. He will continue to be the number one option in the passing game but the triple-digit yardage and touchdown shouldn’t be expected weekly because he is more of a high-volume low yardage receiver. Herndon really shone in garbage time. He caught three passes on the final drive that saved his day for fantasy owners. He was stripped and had a costly fumble when the Jets were trying to mount a comeback. He will likely be a volatile option week to week as long as the passing game struggles. Breshad Perriman did not do much and looked a lot like Robby Anderson from last year with his stat line. Anderson was a big-time boom-or-bust receiver with the Jets and that seems like the role that Perriman is slotting into. With the Jets not expected to be very good this season, we could see big target games out of Crowder going forward.

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

 

Josh Allen: 33/46, 312 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 3 Sacks | 14 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD 2 fumbles lost

 

Josh Allen had a mixed performance today. He had a great stat line – although he did turn the ball over twice, which is more of a real-life football concern because we only care about the final line in fantasy football. He had his first career 300-yard passing game and led the team in carries and rushing yards; he was also the only one to score a touchdown on the ground. Allen led the Bills on three consecutive scoring drives in the first half. His receivers helped him out a lot as his average depth of target was three yards less than last year but he still produced massive yardage today. We all know Allen will make mistakes, but if the Bills are going to give him this kind of usage he is going to be a top-five fantasy QB this year. He gets to face the Dolphins next week, who let quarterback Cam Newton run all over them in week one.

 

Running Backs

 

Devin Singletary: 9 carries, 30 yards | 7 targets, 5 receptions, 23 yards

Zack Moss: 9 carries, 11 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards, 1 TD

Devin Singletary remained the lead back for the Bills but it was a lot closer than people thought it would be.

Singletary did out snap Zack Moss 51-39 and got more opportunities 16-12. It seems that the Bills weren’t lying when they said that both would be heavily involved and that either one could lead from week to week. Neither running back did anything impressive on the ground but they had a combined 11 targets which was encouraging to see. It is going to be hard to trust either of them in fantasy when they are splitting the work so evenly.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Stefon Diggs: 9 targets, 8 receptions, 86 yards

John Brown: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 70 yards, 1 TD

Dawson Knox: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards

Cole Beasley: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 58 yards

 

This new-look receiving corps looked hard to stop on Sunday. The Jets do not have a great secondary, but the addition of Stefon Diggs really gave Allen and the Bills another top weapon opposite of John Brown. It was good to see the two of them lead the way in targets and they both produced well on those targets. They combined for 14 receptions, 146 yards, and a score. Both receivers look like WR2/flex options to start the season. It was disappointing to see second-year tight end Dawson Knox not be more involved in the offense. He was tied for sixth on the team and targets and so far it doesn’t seem like he will take a step forward in his second season. Beasley was tied for third on the team and targets and will likely be around there from week to week. He is a low upside slot receiver and can be avoided most weeks.

 

It was nice to see this Bills offense look explosive to start the season. If they can keep that up, combined with their strong defense, they will be a real threat in the AFC.

 

-Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)

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