10 Surprises from Week One of the New NFL Season
1. Matt Forte, Running Back, New York Jets — There were legitimate questions as to how much Matt Forte really had “left in the tank,” when the Jets signed him away from the Chicago Bears this past offseason. Going against a very underrated Cincinnati Bengals defense, Forte showed he had plenty left, putting up over 150 combined yards on 27 touches.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas — Behind the vaunted offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft seemed to be a sure-fire bet to start off the season on a high note, especially with the Cowboys trying to run the football and protect fellow rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. But, the New York Giants sealed up most of the potential running lanes for Elliott, leading to a 20 carry, 51 yard performance in Week One (averaging just over 2.5 yards per carry).
3. Tevin Coleman, Running Back, Atlanta — Fellow Falcons running back Devonta Freeman entered this year as a top 10 running back in fantasy football, but it was teammate Tevin Coleman who stole the show in Week One (from a fantasy football perspective). Coleman finished with more carries, more rushing yards, and more touches than Freeman, as the latter seemed to be used more as a third down-type running back.
4. Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Dallas — You figured that the Cowboys wouldn’t boast quite a prolific of a passing attack without Tony Romo. But Dez Bryant finishing last Sunday’s game with only one reception for eight yards seems almost unthinkable. He had only five targets thrown his way (as opposed to the 26 combined targets thrown in the direction of tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Cole Beasley).
5. Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota — Against a team that finished with only two wins last season, Adrian Peterson having a big fantasy football performance should’ve been money in the bank. But against an underrated defensive line of the Tennesee Titans (who were even more geared towards taking away Peterson since the Vikings were not nearly the same threat to throw the football), Peterson ran the football 19 times for only 31 yards. That was his lowest rushing output in a game since Week One of the 2015 NFL season.
6. Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle — For a guy who many people had pegged as a potential MVP candidate, and going against one of the more questionable secondaries in the NFL, Russell Wilson — along with the Seahawks as a whole — really struggled in Week One. He threw only had 258 yards passing and one touchdown, while turning the football over twice.
7. Jack Doyle, Tight End, Indianapolis — It seems like only the members of the Colts coaching staff, or maybe the most ardent of Colts fans, had even heard of tight end Jack Doyle heading into last Sunday’s game. Yet, he ended up finishing the week with more touchdown receptions (two) than any other tight end in the NFL.
8. Carson Wentz, Quarterback, Philadelphia — Just a few weeks ago, it looked as if Carson Wentz would have a “redshirt year” as his first season in the NFL. But, after Philadelphia traded Sam Bradford and named Wentz the starter for their season-opener against Cleveland, Wentz responded with a superb effort. His 278 yards passing and two touchdowns (along with no turnovers) was the 11th best performance among all quarterbacks last week.
9. Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Houston — The Texans drafted Will Fuller in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft to help take away some of the focus that opposing teams would devote to teammate DeAndre Hopkins. But, almost nobody could’ve predicted that it would be Fuller — and not Hopkins — who would lead the team in targets (11) and receiving yards (107) in the Texans’ season opener.
10. Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston threw only five total touchdown passes over his last four games of his rookie season in 2015. But, he started off his second season with a bang, throwing four touchdown passes against a young and talented Falcons secondary. Those four touchdown passes represented the highest total for any quarterback in Week One, and Winston’s second highest total for touchdown passes in one game.
[Analysis by NFL expert Rajan Nanavati][with ff-winners.com ]