What we Learned from the NFL in Week 1


Dwayne Haskins looks like a (cough cough) decent next man up: If Ben Roethlisberger's surgically repaired arm doesn’t hold up, Dwayne Haskins appears to be in line to lead the QB room. Haskins was impressive, completing 16-of-22 passes for 161 yards and a score, also orchestrating two more touchdown drives. Of course, the backup battle is not over yet, but if you’re throwing a dart thinking Roethlisberger's arm may not make it through 2021, Haskins could be that guy.

Justing Fields Quarterback for Chicago Bears

Jared Goff wasn’t off-full: In limited action, the new Detroit QB got off to a so-so start but got it together to engineer an 18-play drive which included passes to five different receivers. He was 7-of-9 for 56 yards with Tyrell Williams and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown among his favorite targets. Still not impressed after Week 1 with the former surfer bro.

Justin Fields: Mild overreaction, of course, but Fields showed he’s ready for the NFL in his first professional game. It wasn’t the strongest start for the rookie when he replaced Andy Dalton in the second quarter, but the 22-year-old came alive after halftime. Fields was confident in the pocket, showed strength as a runner and completed 14-of-20 passes for 142 yards and a score, along with 33 rushing yards and a touchdown with his legs.

Ole Crab Legs Jameis Winston: New Orleans had six—yes, six—turnovers in their first preseason game of 2021. Taysom Hill was the starter, but Jameis Winston had the better full series, capped off by an eight-yard score to Lil'Jordan Humphrey not to mention 5…. Yes, FIVE touchdowns…. It’s not great for fantasy clarity, but this fight for the Saints’ helm should be fun to watch unfold. Regardless, I’m still not buying Crab Legs to repeat this success anytime soon

Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson:  The Pats backfield is as cloudy as ever, but shows talent: Sure, it was against Washington’s backups, but the former Sooner ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, which included a 91-yard score late in the fourth quarter.

Darrynton Evans got dinged up: The second-year back is coming off a shortened rookie campaign where he missed 10 games due to a hamstring strain. Evans got the start on2 then injured his knee on the fourth carry and didn’t return. It’s certainly something to monitor moving forward, as the Titan makes for a great later-round target when healthy due to his place in a high-scoring, run-heavy offense.

Chuba Hubbard was as advertised: Carolina drafted the RB for depth behind Christian McCaffery and after this week it seems they found one with potential. Hubbard appeared to get swallowed by the pile on a short third-down run but somehow emerged for a 59-yard gain, which set up a score for the Panthers.

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones: Arguably the most anticipated player to make their debut for the 2021 season. Jones got picked up by the Titans in a trade and buyout earlier this summer with hopes of bringing even more fire power to this Titans offense behind Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and AJ Brown, but Julio (pardon my French) completely shit the bed in Week 1. Stats read 3 catches for 29 yards. But let’s not forget Julio’s most important contribution to the game, picking up a 15 yard penalty for punching another Cardinals player and somehow not getting kicked out of the game. Maybe that’s what happens when you don’t play all preseason and expect to produce superstar numbers.

Quez Watkins: With no relation to Sammy, or maybe there is, Watkins may just make a case for himself in an offense in need of playmakers. He exploded for a 79-yard touchdown on a quick screen for Philly on Thursday night, after already turning heads at training camp. Lets not forget the 2020 Heisman winner Devonta Smith catching his first NFL touchdown in ironically the same stadium… and same place in the endzone.

Tutu Atwell is still really fast: The Rams sat all of their first-string guys, which left plenty of opportunities for their rookies to show their stuff. Atwell caught two passes for 21 yards, and also impressively ripped off a long punt return by blowing past coverage, which was sadly called back due to a penalty. Atwell is still small, though, with a crowd of WRs ahead of him on the depth chart. However, if you're in a league that scores return yards, he could be a sneaky add.

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