What We Saw: Week 1

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

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

Quarterbacks

 

Dak Prescott: 25/39, 266 yards, 1 TD | 3 carries, 30 yards

 

It was a tough night for Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott with a stout Rams’ pass-rush making him uncomfortable for a lot of the night. Even with constant pressure, he was able to avoid committing any turnovers and turned in a decent fantasy performance as a result. Prescott’s receivers didn’t have a lot of time to develop their routes, and so Prescott finished with a middling 6.8 yards per attempt – which would have been good for 16th in the NFL last year. And which NFL quarterback finished at 16th in the league in YPA last season? You guessed it, Dak Prescott. And what was his YPA last season, you might ask? That’s right, 6.8. This isn’t a new problem for Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense, but to be fair, this Rams defense – led by DT Aaron Donald up front and CB Jalen Ramsey on the perimeter – looked pretty impressive on the night. Prescott nearly scored a rushing TD in the fourth quarter to bolster his outing, but it was reversed when the review showed he was down before he crossed the goal-line. Managers of Prescott will hope to see a more impressive outing next week back home in Dallas.

 

Running Backs

 

Ezekiel Elliott: 22 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD

Tony Pollard: 2 carries, 10 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards

 

RB Ezekiel Elliott was the lone star (get it?) for the Cowboys from a fantasy perspective this week. The perennial fantasy star looked as sharp as ever – netting over 120 yards from scrimmage and 2 TDs. Elliott only had two such games last year, so those who roster him this year have to feel good about such a strong performance against a stout defense. RB Tony Pollard managed only 4 touches on the night, squashing any ideas of Zeke potentially ceding more work to Pollard this season. Should Elliott miss any time, Pollard would no doubt remain one of the most valuable handcuffs in the league. However, Pollard doesn’t appear as if he’ll provide any fantasy value of his own in most formats.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Amari Cooper: 14 targets, 10 receptions, 81 yards

Michael Gallup: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 50 yards

CeeDee Lamb: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 59 yards

Blake Jarwin: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards

Dalton Schultz: 4 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards

 

If you came into this game like a lot of us – wondering how the Cowboys’ WRs workload would be divided – you may agree that we didn’t walk away with a much clearer picture. WR Amari Cooper led the pack in targets, catches, and yards, but the snap share was close enough between Cooper and WRs Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb that nothing seems guaranteed moving forward:

 

 

As I mentioned earlier, this Cowboys’ WR corps had trouble getting consistent separation from the Rams’ secondary and weren’t able to break off big plays. I know that a lot of their miscues can be chalked up to the strange offseason and lack of preseason games. There were plenty of teams this week who seemed a bit out of sync. Managers with Cowboys wide receivers rostered will look forward to a matchup next week with Atlanta’s secondary – who were torched earlier Sunday by Seattle.

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterbacks

 

Jared Goff: 20/31, 275 yards, 1 INT | 4 carries, 15 yards

 

If you started Jared Goff this week, it’s likely you came away disappointed with his performance. If you plan on using Goff as a starter, it may be time to start to consider other options on the waiver wire. I know one game seems too early to panic, but it’s likely there are better options out there – plus you have to consider this type of game script is ideal for Los Angeles. The Rams dominated time of possession (35:38-24:22) by converting 9/17 3rd downs (52.9%) and running the ball 40 times. There will be games where Goff throws multiple TDs, but you should consider this game as a reasonable floor for Goff.

 

Running Backs

 

Malcolm Brown: 18 carries, 79 yards, 2 TDs | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards

Cam Akers: 14 carries, 39 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards

Darrell Henderson: 3 carries, 6 yards

 

Rams’ RB Malcolm Brown took the starting RB job in Los Angeles and ran with it (literally) against the Cowboys on Sunday night. I know some of you out there with RB Cam Akers were hoping Brown’s starting role was more cerimonious than anything, but that wasn’t the case. Brown certainly looked like the best of the three on this night, and he has the production and the snap share to prove it:

 

 

At this point, I would say that RB Darrell Henderson is almost certainly droppable at this point. Even knowing that he’s been nursing a hamstring injury, Henderson was hardly able to get onto the field – and he looked bad while he was out there. I have been a believer in Henderson’s ability since he came into the league last year, I just don’t know if I see a path forward to production for him. I may be wrong, but this appears to be an A – B backfield that Henderson will C his way out of. Don’t quote me on that.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Robert Woods: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 105 yards | 1 carry, 14 yards

Cooper Kupp: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 40 yards

Van Jefferson: 3 targets, 1 reception, 31 yards

Josh Reynolds: 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards

Tyler Higbee: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards

Gerald Everett: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

 

Other than for WR Robert Woods, it was not an encouraging night for Rams’ pass-catchers. With the game script heavily favoring the running game, there just weren’t enough WR touches to go around. Woods started off with a bang, grabbing 3 receptions for 60 yards on the Rams opening TD drive – but would go on to have a quiet night after that series. WR Cooper Kupp also had a quiet night. Rookie WR Van Jefferson had a nice 31-yard grab in tight coverage along the sideline, but he and fellow backup WR Josh Reynolds only played about half as many snaps apiece as Woods and Kupp:

 

 

Rams’ backup TE Gerald Everett generated some buzz this preseason as rumors circulated about the potential for more involvement for him in the offense, but unfortunately, Everett injured his back in the 2nd half and didn’t return. If Everett goes on to miss more time, TE Tyler Higbee would get a considerable bump in value. Higbee ended last season on a high note and could potentially return to the form that made him a TE1 last season.

 

 

-Corey Saucier

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