We’ve made it to our first Monday Recap of the season, which means we’ve made it through our first NFL Sunday of the 2022 season. It’s a glorious time. If you’re joining for the first time, this is a place where I share three of my observations from the week before giving you an update heading into Monday Night Football! So, without further ado, let’s dive into what we’ve learned from the first week of the NFL season.
Maybe pre-season reps do matter
We’ve seen an increasing trend of teams that forgo playing anyone of consequence in the pre-season. I get it, no one wants injuries. However, we’ve seen in Week 1 that sometimes those teams that come in cold aren’t quite ready. The Rams and Bengals both played sloppy, turnover-plagued affairs that resulted in home losses. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, for the second year in a row, looked lost on opening day, this time being smacked down by the Bengals. Even the Cowboys looked like they weren’t ready for Prime Time. There are other issues at play for these teams, but it’s also fair to wonder if some time honing their craft, even playing a confidence inspiring series or two, would have left them better prepared for what was to come.
Saquon Barkley is Back!
Coming into the league, there were some high hopes for Barkley, and as a rookie he didn’t disappoint. In the three years since, injuries and inefficiencies have sometimes dimmed that light. As he enters his fifth season, there was optimism that Barkley would be back with new coach Brian Daboll at the helm. Sunday in Tennessee, that looked to be the case. He rushed 18 times for 164 yards and a touchdown, catching six passes for 30 yards. It was the best Barkley has looked in a few seasons and provides optimism that he could be in for a Top 5 fantasy season.
Some backfields aren’t what was expected
If you bet on Travis Etienne and Breece Hall this off-season, you weren’t alone. Even Daemon Pierce seemed to be getting a ton of buzz prior to the season. And yet, none of them was even the top back on their own team. In Jacksonville, James Robinson appears fully back from his Achilles injury, carrying 11 times for 66 yards and a touchdown while catching a second touchdown. In New York, Michael Carter is still on top, carrying 10 times for 60 yards and catching seven passes for 40 yards, while veteran Rex Burkhead out carried Pierce 14-11 and caught four more passes in Houston. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
And now, on to Seattle!
Monday Night Preview
The Broncos head into Seattle to face off against the Seahawks to end the first week of the NFL Season. It’s also Russell Wilson’s first game as a Bronco, facing his former team. We’ve seen this revenge narrative a few times this week to unsatisfying results. Joe Flacco couldn’t get the Jets past the Ravens, nor could Baker Mayfield get the Panthers past the Browns. Can things cut differently for the Broncos?
As a fan, I hope so. I’m also weary—as noted in item one I learned this week—that the Broncos have a new quarterback, new coach and new scheme, but didn’t let starters play a single snap in the pre-season. Will it matter? We’ll find out tonight in Seattle. Wilson is surrounded by talent, including receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. All of them could have a fantasy role, and depending on how your Sunday went, you might be in need of a miracle.
But what about Seattle? Well, it was an interesting off-season, to say the least. The team added tight end Noah Fant and quarterback Drew Lock in exchange for Wilson, but it will be veteran Geno Smith starting for Seattle. The Seahawks have plenty of firepower in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at receiver, Fant and Will Dissly at tight end and Rashaad Penny in the backfield. Though the team will be without rookie running back Ken Walker III, Smith has plenty of weapons at his disposal. In addition, the Seahawks have had strong homefield advantage over the years.
So, what will it mean tonight? Hopefully a fun game and some offensive fireworks. I’m also picking the Broncos to get the win.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.