It was an absolutely wild Week 1 in the NFL – Dak Prescott is back with a vengeance, the “lowly” Texans were dominant, Sam Darnold is good and the Raiders pulled out a bat shit crazy victory on MNF? – so now it’s time to reflect on the performances of some of the game’s most important youngsters.
On the stat sheet: Jacksonville’s No. 1 overall selection went 28-of-51 for 332 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs vs. the supposedly-terrible Houston defense in his pro debut.
The Eye Test: It’s not encouraging that when the game was in reach earlier on, that’s when Lawrence was at his worst. Trevor tacked on some nice garbage time fantasy points late, but he opened up the game sloppy – as expected for a rookie, Trevor Lawrence or not – and like rookie head coach Urban Meyer, he put his shaky team in a real serious hole. Jacksonville had zero chance of digging out of that hole.
On the bright side, Lawrence’s seam throw TD to Chris Manhertz was a beauty, and the arm strength we all expected was there. What was missing? Trevor’s athleticism. One carry for -2 yards against the Houston D? That’s on both guys, Lawrence and Meyer.
Fantasy outlook going forward: I actually faced Lawrence in my 12-team, full-point PPR league and he ended up with 20.17 fantasy points. This was good for 13th-best in the league, which is basically where I had Trevor before the season. Some had him in the 9-11 range early on, but I still think 13 to 16 is more appropriate. Garbage time should continue to be good to the No. 1 overall pick.
Frascella’s Week 1 Grade (on performance only, not fantasy): C
On the stat sheet: New York’s No. 2 overall selection went 20-of-37 for 258 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT vs. Carolina’s aggressive young defense.
The Eye Test: Started strong, fell apart in the middle and recovered for an impressive finish late. Rookies Elijah Moore and Michael Carter didn’t help early – they looked scared, small, overmatched and had drops. It also took time for Wilson to find the preseason chemistry he had with big-money signing Corey Davis.
Wilson had a bad, rookie-looking pick – Shaq Thompson snatched an absolute gimme for Carolina – and I could tell that it got into his head shortly after. Am I really good enough for this league? Do I truly belong here? But Wilson rallied the troops late, showing the moxie that I’ve already come to expect from him. I believe in his long-term potential, but I’d like to see more trust and creativity from offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. It’s early, but this hasn’t been a fun start for guys with the last name LaFleur.
Fantasy outlook going forward: Wilson’s 18.45 fantasy points were good for 17th in the league, and as I predicted throughout the preseason, he will thoroughly outperform his QB ADP of 26-28. The loss of monster Mekhi Becton will crush New York’s running game, so LaFleur and Wilson will be passing the ball more often than initially anticipated. This showed down the stretch when Wilson was in effective, pass-happy mode. Kid has something special within him.
Frascella’s Week 1 Grade: C+
On the stat sheet: The youngster who fell all the way down to lucky New England in the draft went 29-of-39 for 1 TD and zero picks vs. Miami’s always-hungry D under Brian Flores.
The Eye Test: On any given Sunday – no exaggeration – I have roughly 200 text conversations going on. Within these 200, there are some very sharp football minds. From one of my veteran guys, “You seeing Mac Jones? Ugh…kid looks like a backup QB to me. Zero arm. Everything is a dump-off.”
Now, I’d say that’s an over-exaggeration from a Jets’ fan and anti-New England guy, but he’s also honest when someone looks sharp and good. I don’t put a ton of stock in that particular report, but it was still worth noting.
Simultaneously, I was watching two other games – Cleveland @ Kansas City and Denver @ the embarrassing Giants – so I can only speak from the post-tape I watched of Jones. I say… of course… those dump-offs aren’t a bad thing at all. Jones, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are looking to avoid early hits and crushing sacks, so the former did a good job executing the gameplan and getting the rock out quickly. Jones knows exactly what he needs to do early in his pro career – protect possessions and keep the offense moving between the 20s.
Fantasy outlook going forward: Jones’ 13.03 fantasy points left him 23rd out of QBs, and that’s about right. Again, this is gonna be a conservative attack. Mac is only a play in Superflex or 2 QB leagues. The guy who can potentially open up his game is bursty Nelson Agholor, but it’s simply too early for all that. Jones is well behind Lawrence and Wilson in fantasy formats.
Frascella’s Week 1 Grade: B-
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