2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Recap

by Jordan Schultz
2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Recap

There is so much new and conflicting information that gets thrown around after each week of the NFL season that it can be hard to sort out what the most important takeaways for your 2023 Fantasy Football teams. This is amplified even more after Week 1 when it is the first time we are seeing all of these teams play after a long offseason. I'll be here every Monday with this recap article to help you sort through all of the fluff and get down to the most important fantasy nuggets from each game and how it applies to your leagues.

While it is important not to overreact to one week of gameplay, there are things that happened on Sunday that will continue to be real things as the season goes on. You have to be open to adjusting your previously held beliefs when new data is presented or you can be too slow to pull the trigger on a move that could help you win your fantasy matchups. With all of that said, let's get to the 2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Recap.

2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Recap

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Lions 21 - Chiefs 20

David Montgomery (21-71-1TD) out-touched rookie Jahmyr Gibbs (7-42, 2-18) 21-to-9 and will likely maintain Flex value every week running behind this Lions offensive line. However, it was clear Gibbs is the more explosive option of the two and will close the gap and grow his role as the season goes on.

Rashee Rice (3-29-1TD) caught a TD in his first career game and is the WR I predict will make the biggest impact down the stretch for KC. He had the most WR snaps on the team when the Chiefs got within five yards of the end zone, and operated almost exclusively out of the slot. I was grabbing him everywhere I could at the back of the 1st/early 2nd round in rookie drafts, and he continues to be a strong buy for me in Dynasty leagues.

Ravens 25 - Texans 9

This game was a roller coaster of emotions for the Baltimore Ravens. On one hand, Zay Flowers (9-78, 2-9) looked like a legitimate day-one star as he anchored the offensive attack while the Ravens cruised to victory. On the other hand, they lost J.K. Dobbins for the season and will have to make other plans for their backfield rotation moving forward.

The Texans' offense struggled to get anything going against a solid Ravens defense all day long. C.J. Stroud (28/44-242) showed more than enough to get Texans fans excited, but it will be a bit of a process as their rookie signal caller adjusts to the NFL game.

Commanders 20 - Cardinals 16

The Sam Howell (19/31-202-1TD-1Int) era for the Commanders started off with a victory as he did just enough to squeeze it out in an ugly game against a weak Arizona team. Brian Robinson (19-59, 1-7) out-touched Antonio Gibson (3-9, 1-10) 20-4 and appears to be locked in as the preferred option out of the backfield.

There really weren’t a lot of positives to take away from the Cardinals from a fantasy perspective as their defense was 99% of the reason they were even in the game. James Conner (14-62, 5-8) is the only one here that you can feel confident starting, and ideally, you won’t need him for anything more than a flex option.

49ers 30 - Steelers 7

One of the takes I felt the strongest about this entire offseason was that Brandon Aiyuk (8-129-2TD) was going to be the clear number-one option in the passing attack in San Francisco. You never want to take a victory lap after one week, but after hauling in all eight of his targets for 129 yards and two TDs it looks like Aiyuk is primed for a monster fantasy season.

This performance from the Steelers is a perfect example of why you don’t let a few good drives in the preseason cloud the feelings you’ve held about a team the entire offseason. Kenny Pickett (31/46-232-1TD-2Int) struggled most of the way, and to make matters worse he lost his top receiving option Deontae Johnson (3-48) to a hamstring injury early in the second half. Most of this offense is a fade for me next week when they take on Cleveland.

Saints 16 - Titans 15

Chris Olave (8-112) showed that even when Michael Thomas (5-61) is healthy he is the clear number-one option in the Saints passing attack. Jamaal Williams (18-45) struggled to the tune of 2.5 yards per carry, and I’m still sending out offers to try and buy low on Kendre Miller in Dynasty leagues right now.

My biggest fear about everyone on this Titans offense was the simple fact that I don’t think Ryan Tannehill (16/34-198-0TD-3Int) is very good anymore and it’s only a matter of time before they transition to the Malik Willis/Will Levis era. His three-interception performance today definitely doesn't do anything to help me alleviate those fears.

Buccaneers 20 - Vikings 17

While he didn’t do anything spectacular today, Baker Mayfield (21/34-173-2TD) did just enough to lead Tampa Bay to a victory over the Vikings in his first start. Today’s showing gives me hope that both Mike Evans (6-66-1TD) and Chris Godwin (5-51) will maintain consistent PPR flex value this season with weeks mixed in where they explode for 20+ points.

Even though they failed to get anything going on the ground, this Vikings passing attack is going to be a huge source of fantasy production this season. Justin Jefferson (9-150), Jordan Addison (4-61-1TD), and T.J. Hockenson (8-35) all put up double-digit points in PPR leagues, while Kirk Cousins (33/44-344-2-1) remains firmly in the high-end QB2 mix for Superflex leagues.

Jaguars 31 - Colts 21

While Tank Bigsby (7-13) was definitely involved in the Jaguars offensive game plan, Travis Etienne Jr. (18-77-1TD, 5-27) is the clear RB1 in a game that was closer than the final score indicates. It looks like I may have been wrong about Calvin Ridley (8-101-1TD), as he looks every bit the part of a legit WR1 for fantasy purposes after spending a year and a half away from the game. What an awesome comeback story.

The Colts may have finally found their franchise QB in Anthony Richardson (24/37-223-1TD-1Int, 10-40-1TD). His dual-threat ability was on full display today, and despite a few plays where his inexperience showed, it’s clear that he is going to be a low-end QB1 for fantasy purposes this season. If you grabbed him with the 1.02 in Superflex rookie drafts this offseason you have to be feeling good after game one.

Browns 24 - Bengals 3

Nick Chubb (18-106, 4-21) put the Browns’ offense on his back in a game and led them to an inter-state victory against the Bengals. Deshaun Watson (16/29-154-1TD-1Int, 5-45-1TD) salvaged his fantasy day with 9.5 points coming on the ground, but this game was played in horrible weather so I’m not putting a ton of stock into his lack of production as a passer yet.

In perhaps the shocker of the day, Joe Burrow (14/31-82) had one of the worst days in his professional career and had no answers for the Browns defense. I don’t think there is a lot to take away from this game, to be honest. The Bengals have gotten off to slow starts the last few seasons, add that to the fact Joe Burrow is coming back from a preseason calf injury and I think better days are ahead for everyone on this offense.

Falcons 24 - Panthers 10

While I wasn’t expecting him to lead the team in touches, I’ve said Tyler Allegier (15-75-2TD, 3-19) is the most important handcuff in fantasy since the Falcons selected Bijan Robinson (10-56, 6-27-1TD) last April. I think there is a very realistic chance that both of these RBs are going to be weekly fantasy starters for the rest of this season.

Miles Sanders (18-72, 4-26) is the only player in this Panthers offense I feel comfortable starting until we see a big improvement from rookie QB Bryce Young (20/38, 146, 1TD, 2INT). Sanders was given a workhorse RB role and responded with 98 total yards. If he can continue that level of production and find the end zone 6-8 times this season he will flirt with high-end RB2 production.

Packers 38 - Bears 20

The post-Aaron Rodgers era for the Packers got off to a hot start, riding Jordan Love’s (15/25-245-3TD) impressive performance in his first career start as the unquestioned starter in Green Bay. Aaron Jones (9-41-1TD, 2-86-1TD) had a monster performance before exiting the game with a hamstring injury he sustained on his final TD run.

DJ Moore (2-25) didn’t have the start a lot of us hoped for, but he only got two targets on the day so more opportunities should be coming his way soon. Justin Fields (24/37-216-1TD-1Int) led the team in rushing with 59 yards on 9 carries, as it looks like the Bears will run with a true RB-by-committee, with all three RBs on the active roster getting at least five carries.

Raiders 17 - Broncos 16

Jimmy Garoppolo (20/26-200-2TD-1INT) leaned heavily on Jakobi Meyers (9-81-2TD) in a hard-fought victory over their division rivals in Denver. Josh Jacobs (19-48, 2-23) was ineffective today, finishing with 2.5 yards per carry. He got a large amount of work despite a late start to his preseason with his contract holdout. I’m not panicked and am still treating him as a solid RB1 moving forward.

Javonte Williams (13-52, 4-5) looked decent in his 17 touches considering how recently removed he is from a major knee injury. Samaje Perine (8-41, 4-27) was more efficient in fewer touches, so I don’t think we will see Williams resume a 20+ touch per game role until the second half of this season.  Perine will remain a solid deep-league flex-play with upside.

Dolphins 36 - Chargers 34

In what was easily the most exciting game in the afternoon slate, Tua Tagovailoa (28/45-466-3TD-1Int) showed that when he’s healthy he’s a guy who is going to consistently be in the MVP conversation. Tyreek Hill (11-215-2TD) and Jaylen Waddle (4-78) both had big days in what will be a regular occurrence this season.

Those out there who were banking on TD regression coming for Austin Ekeler (16-117-1TD, 4-47) will have to wait at least another week as he found the end zone and showed he is still a top-2 RB in the fantasy with Kellen Moore calling plays. Joshua Kelley (16-91-1TD) earned a bigger slice of the pie than I expected and is the clear handcuff in case anything were to happen to Ekeler.

Rams 30 - Seahawks 13

Even though they weren’t able to find the end zone, the Rams' passing game looked strong against the Seahawks' shaky secondary. Tutu Atwell (6-119) and Puka Nacua (10-119) did a great job of filling in for the injured Cooper Kupp and should continue to see the majority of the passing game targets for at least the first four weeks of the season.

The Geno Smith (16/26-112-1TD) we started to see toward the end of last season came out again today, as he largely struggled to get anything going through the air. Kenneth Walker III (12-64, 4-3) out-touched Zach Charbonnet (3-11) 16-3 and will continue to provide high-end RB2 value even as Charbonnet adjusts to the NFL game and settles into a larger role.

Eagles 25 - Patriots 20

The Patriots' defense is usually solid week in and week out and today was no different. The Eagles' offense struggled to get going and did just enough to squeeze out the win. The biggest fantasy takeaway to monitor was the fact that Kenneth Gainwell (14-54, 4-20) operated as the clear RB1 out of the backfield, as no other RB on the team got more than two touches.

Rhamondre Stevenson (12-25, 6-64) wasn’t 100% coming into the game as he was battling an illness, and his lack of impact was definitely felt. Mac Jones (33/54-316-3TD-1Int) did everything he could to keep the Patriots in it against one of the best defenses in the league. I’m not sure that I’m buying it yet, but if Jones can keep up this level of performance he could prove to be a low-end QB2 that you acquired for QB3 prices in superflex leagues all offseason.

Cowboys 40 - Giants 0

Tony Pollard (14-70-2TD, 2-12) is going to have a monster season as the lead back for the Cowboys. Even in a blowout that saw the Cowboys build a big lead early with a TD on special teams and defense, Pollard still secured 16 total touches for 82 yards and 2 TDs. Additionally, if you play in a league with D/ST Dallas is in the conversation for number one overall at the position.

It’s hard to come away with any real fantasy-relevant takeaways in a game like this for the Giants. It got away from them early and it was clear they had to try to play catch-up before the game even hit halftime. Saquon Barkley (12-51, 3-12) and Darren Waller (3-36) are the only players I am comfortable starting until we see someone else separate themselves in the WR group.

MNF Prediction: Bills 28, Jets 27

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