NFL Week 1 Takeaways

by Tyler Knaeble · Fantasy Football

Everybody, welcome to the first ever Sunday Takeaway article! Hopefully, this written piece is the first of many and can help crown some Fantasy Champions for the 2023 season! Before I jump into my NFL Week 1 Takeaways, I’d like to give a brief overview of what you can expect from this series during the NFL season. The overall premise is I will be finding and breaking down the most notable stats, situations, and stories from each week. The article will go live early on Monday. I will also be livestreaming my findings over on the PlayerProfiler Youtube Channel on Monday’s at 6:30 CDT.  

Now that the housekeeping items have been taken care of, let’s dive right into the biggest takeaways from Week 1!

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Joe Burrow and the Bengals will be fine.
  • When Tua Tagovailoa is healthy, this offense is incredible. 
  • Calvin Ridley is who we thought he was.
  • Jordan Love might be him.
  • Is Kendrick Bourne actually going to be a guy?
  • Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson are picking up where they left off.
  • Kyren Williams out-snapped Cam Akers 24-4 in the first half.

Alright, now let’s do some hard-hitting analysis!

Takeaway 1: We Have No Clue Who the Chiefs WR1 is Yet.

All of the talk after Thursday night was centered around Kadarius Toney‘s bricklayer hands and Skyy Moore‘s disappearing act. I know it’s the most cliche thing I could say, but as Aaron Rodgers would say. R-E-L-A-X. Relax.

The first notable stat was the fact Skyy Moore finished first in total snaps (45) and second in routes run (29) among the Chiefs WRs. I would say that’s a good indicator for Moore being a big part of this offense going forward. 

As far as Toney’s situation goes, it’s a very similar story to the one we saw play out in 2022. Toney only ran 11 routes in Week 1, but had five targets. Not only is getting a target on just under half of your total routes insane, but those five targets had him tied for the most on the team with Rashee Rice and Noah Gray. Despite those guys finishing first in targets, it was actually Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson who were the top two wide receivers in receiving yards on the night. Take a second to look at how many names I just mentioned.

The point I am trying to make is that the ball was spread around so much on Thursday there is no way anyone can make an accurate assumption of who the No. 1 wide receiver on the Chiefs is right now. As bad of a night Toney and Moore had, I wouldn’t say they’re “must sits” in Week 2. This is because both of these guys still have an opportunity to show they are who we drafted them to be. Therefore, I’m willing to let them off the hook for Week 1. 

Takeaway 2: Bijan is Awesome, but Be Weary of Tyler Allgeier

Bijan finished the day with 10 rushes for 56 yards and six catches for 27 yards plus a TD. It was a very exciting debut for the top 10 pick. However, it could have been an all-time debut if Tyler Allgeier didn’t vulture two goal line rushing TDs. You also may have been shocked to see that Allgeier actually out-touched Robinson 18 to 16. But if we are being honest, the community as a whole should have seen this coming. 

The night Bijan Robinson was drafted, head coach Arthur Smith said Robinson and Allgeier would be like “lighting and thunder” and that “he’d never ask someone to be like Derrick Henry.” This was a comparison a lot of people made when the Falcons took Robinson in the top 10. The consensus seemed to be that Robinson was going to dominate the snaps and touches like Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Leonard Fournette all did when they went top 10. However, if we have learned anything about Arthur Smith, it’s that he does not care about your fantasy team! Ask the Kyle Pitts and Drake London managers!

The Most Likely Scenario

Going forward, I think this situation could be very similar to when the Saints had prime Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Kamara was the “lightning” and used more like a weapon. While Ingram was the “thunder” and used as the bruiser and goal line back. In 2017, Kamara and Ingram both went over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and combined for 25 total TDs. 12 TDs were scored by Ingram and 13 were scored by Kamara. While those are lofty numbers, and I’m not predicting that sort of success from this Atlanta duo in 2023, what we saw in Week 1 from Robinson and Allgeier mirrors that 2017 Saints backfield pretty similarly in terms of the usage and the roles each of them played. 

Takeaway 3: Brock Purdy is More Than Capable of Supporting ALL of the 49ers Weapons. 

Everyone knows about the magical run Brock Purdy went on last season. It’s very well documented. However, there were still some questions about whether or not Purdy could carry that success into the 2023 season. After all, we have seen quarterbacks play well in their first season as a starter and then struggle in the next. It becomes a lot harder when defensive coordinators have film on you and can create a game plan designed to exploit the players weaknesses. Not to mention, Purdy also just came off major elbow surgery.

Well, Purdy proved to any doubter out there that he is going to be a starter in this league for a while. The former Cyclone finished 19/29, with 220 passing yards, two passing TDs, and led the 49ers to a dominant 30-7 win against the Steelers. According to Adam Schefter, he’s also the first quarterback in NFL history to have a passing rating of 95-or-higher in each of his first six regular season starts. While that uber impressive for him as a player, the real takeaway is how important his stellar play is for his weapons.

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey finished with 152 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Aiyuk had eight catches, 129 yards and 2 TDs. Deebo Samuel added a respectable five catches for 55 yards. The only person who didn’t have a great day was George Kittle. Kittle had just three receptions for 19 yards. However, considering he was dealing with an injury coming into the week, and the fact that Kittle had five TDs in five games with Purdy as the starter last season, I think Kittle will be just fine.

The bigger picture point I am trying to make is that CMC and Kittle have a good chance to live up to their draft capital and finish as top 5 scoring options at their respective positions. Same thing goes for Samuel and Aiyuk. Both of them could realistically finish top 20 at their position. There will probably be some dud weeks for each of them throughout the season because it’s hard to support four different guys every single week. However, over the course of the season, everything will even itself out. As a result, fantasy gamers are going to wish they had more of this Niners offense. 

Takeaway 4: Never Bet Against Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay. 

Just when you think Matthew Stafford is dust and the Rams are a 2024 No.1 overall pick betting favorite, they go out and dominate the Seahawks. This did this without their top wideout, Cooper Kupp. Matthew Stafford finished the game 24/38 with 334 passing yards. Stafford threw no passing TDs. This was because all the TDs came from the running backs inside the 10-yard line. However, Stafford appears to have benefited from a little time off and looks just as he did in their Super Bowl run.

I don’t know how Puka Nacua isn’t your first waiver wire add this week. Nacua earned 15 targets, 10 catches, and 119 yards in Week 1. Nacua is also the first wide receiver to go over 100 yards receiving in their first regular season game since Ja’Marr Chase in 2021. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Nacua and Atwell probably won’t be great plays when Kupp comes back. However, we don’t know for sure when that will be. For the time being, Stafford has to throw the ball to someone. Nacua and Atwell proved they can get the job done against a pretty decent Seattle defense. 

It will be a much tougher test against the 49ers next week. The 49ers completely shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, anything can happen against a division opponent. If the Rams do find themselves down early and are forced to try and throw their way out of a deficit, Nacua, Atwell, and Higbee are the pass catchers who will benefit the most.