What We Saw: Week 1

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

 Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

 

There was a lot of buzz after the NFL draft about the Packers drafting a quarterback and no pass catchers for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers came out today and showed why he is still the man that should be behind center in Green Bay. He threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns and he did not turn the ball over, leading the Packers to a 43-34 win over their division rival Minnesota.

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

Quarterback

 

Kirk Cousins: 19/25, 259 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 2 Sacks | 4 carries, 34 yards

 

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense only ran 18 plays in the first half with five passing attempts. The Vikings were down 22-10 at half time and then 29-10 after three quarters, which led to a lot of garbage time for the Vikings offense and Cousins. He threw for two scores and led three touchdown drives in the fourth but it was too little, too late. Compared to other quarterbacks, Cousins will be in the bottom-five/seven of passing attempts on the week and finish in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points; that outcome should be the expectation for Cousins week in and week out. Cousins’ interception came on an underthrown ball to Adam Thielen late in the first half that was bobbled but ultimately picked off. The Vikings want to run the ball early and often and will only rely on Cousins’ arm if forced into clear negative game script. Cousins will face off with the Colts in Week 2.

 

Running Backs

 

Dalvin Cook: 12 carries, 50 yards, 2 TDs | 2 targets, 1 reception, -2 yards

Alexander Mattison: 6 carries, 50 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 30 yards

This was a disastrous game script for Dalvin Cook. The Vikings ran 18 plays in the first half and were getting blown out by the end of the third quarter. It was very surprising and a little concerning that Cook only had two targets and his backup Alexander Mattison had double that amount. Cook tied for fifth on the team in targets. That’s something we need to keep an eye on because the Vikings already don’t want to pass the ball a lot and if Cook isn’t second or third on the team in targets most weeks, his value becomes highly touchdown-dependent. Cook had two short-yardage touchdowns to really salvage his day. Mattison remains one of the top handcuffs in all of fantasy football and would be a weekly RB1 if Cook were to miss any time.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Adam Thielen: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 110 yards, 2 TDs

Bisi Johnson: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 56 yards

Justin Jefferson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards

Irv Smith Jr.: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 28 yards

 

There were really no surprises in the Vikings receiving corps after this week. Adam Thielen had double the targets of any other pass catcher and the secondary guys mostly split up the remaining 17 pass attempts from Cousins. Thielen had a long 37-yard touchdown and a 19-yard score in the fourth quarter and was (as expected) the preferred target all day for Cousins. The Vikings offense as a whole only ran 49 plays and had the ball for just under 19 minutes total. There should be plenty of weeks with more plays ran but Thielen did benefit from the garbage time stats.

There will, of course, be weeks where some of the secondary receivers score touchdowns or have decent fantasy games. However, the only one we can trust week in and week out is Thielen, who should be among the league leaders in terms of target share.

 

 

Green Bay Packers

 

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers: 32/44, 364 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, 0 Sacks

 

Aaron Rodgers showed everyone in Week 1 that he is still an elite talent at the quarterback position. He took full advantage of the young Vikings secondary and not dealing with opposing fans at Minnesota. The Vikings moved on from their top-three cornerbacks from 2019 and they had a tough time covering the Packers receivers. They were also without their top-two pass rushers from 2019, as Everson Griffen is now in Dallas and Danielle Hunter is injured. Those factors add up to Rodgers having plenty of time to throw all day and finding three different receivers for scores with Davante Adams catching two. He led the Packers to seven scoring drives on their nine possessions (not counting kneel-downs on the last one). Rodgers and the Packers get the Lions’ beatable pass-defense in Week 2.

 

Running Backs

 

Aaron Jones: 16 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD | 6 targets, 4 receptions, 10 yards

Jamaal Williams: 7 carries, 21 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 21 yards

AJ Dillon: 2 carries, 14 yards

 

Aaron Jones had exactly the type of usage fantasy owners wanted to see in Week 1. He had a major role in the passing game, scored a touchdown inside the five, and had double the amount of opportunities as Williams. He was tied for second on the team in targets. Those targets didn’t amount to much, only 10 yards on four receptions, but those numbers should improve if he continues to get chances like that. If Jones can continue to get 20 or more opportunities, he will be an RB1 every week in this quality offense. Jones had 22 opportunities on his 42 snaps.

 

It was interesting to see Jamaal Williams dominate backup running back touches and opportunities. It was said coming into this season he worked on his receiving game to be more of an asset in the passing game. It showed in week one as he caught four of four targets for 21 yards. Rookie AJ Dillon got his feet wet with a couple of carries one for six yards and the other for eight yards. His role should expand as the season progresses, but he only had five snaps and it is hard to envision him carving out any kind of passing game role. I would still expect a timeshare between them if anything were to happen to Jones.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Davante Adams: 17 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards, 2 TDs

Allen Lazard: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 63 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry, 19 yards

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD

 

The Packers receivers beat up on the young, revamped Vikings secondary. Davante Adams was unstoppable with a franchise-tying 14 receptions for 156 yards and two scores from 24 yards and 1 yard out. Adams clearly is the top target in this offense and he remains the preferred red-zone option for Rodgers. He is obviously a high-end WR1 week in and week out. Allen Lazard caught a four-yard touchdown and had a nice 38-yard reception. He seems to be the second option with Aaron Jones in the passing game. I would love to see a few more games like this before I really trust Lazard, but this was a good step. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the deep target in this passing game as he caught a nice 45-yard touchdown from Rodgers in the second quarter. MVS will likely be boom-or-bust from week to week, as he really relies on the big plays for his production. He is worth shots in Daily Fantasy GPPs when using Rodgers.

 

So far, so good for the Packers. It was a lot of what we expected from their offense in terms of usage. Adams was the clear number one option in the passing game and Jones was the clear lead running back. MVS and Lazard were number two and three receivers and will mix in with Jones in terms of passing game usage week to week.

 

-Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)

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