Running down Sunday’s fantasy movers, shakers and heartbreakers:
Texans 17, Redskins 6
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Those preseason concerns about Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense looked to be justified with only one TD and two turnovers Sunday, but of course J.J. Watt and the Texans’ defense had as little something to do with that, notching three sacks and 14 QB hits despite losing first-overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to a knee injury. RGIII completed 29-of-37 passes but only had 267 yards and three rushes for 2 yards while losing a fumble.
Extra points: After sitting out the preseason, Arian Foster logged 29 touches and finished with 120 total yards (103 rushing). … Texans’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t turn the ball over and threw for 206 yards, but 76 of them came on one his one scoring completion to WR DeAndre Hopkins (4-89). … For D.C., Alfred Morris (14-97 rushing) and Pierre Garcon (10-77 receiving) at least delivered decent yardage totals, while TE Jordan Reed (1-4) departed early in the second quarter with a hamstring issue and didn’t return.
Titans 26, Chiefs 10
Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Mo.
Jamaal Charles’ first 2014 outing looked nothing like his 2013 form as he totaled all of 34 yards on 11 touches and was outgained by former teammate Dexter McCluster (46 yards on 10 touches), who was making his debut for the Titans.
Extra points: Tennessee also came out on top in the QB comparison with Jake Locker (22-of-33, 266 yards, 2 TDs, no turnovers) outduelling Alex Smith (19-35, 202 yards, TD, 3 picks), who was without suspended top target Dwayne Bowe. Smith threw only seven interceptions all of last season. … Shonn Greene (15-71) led the Titans in rushing, while rookie Bishop Sankey, the first RB drafted in May, had only six carries for 25 yards – all in the second half. … The Titans’ Kendall Wright (6-46, TD) and K.C.’s Donnie Avery (7-84) were their teams’ fantasy receiving leaders.
Dolphins 33, Patriots 20
Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, Fla.
Lamar Miller got the start in the Miami backfield, but Knowshon Moreno finished with a Week 1-high 134 rushing yards on 24 attempts to spark the Dolphins’ 23-0 second-half rally and likely established himself as the No. 1 back going forward. Miller did accumulate 78 total yards and a receiving TD on 15 touches but lost a fumble.
Extra points: For the Pats, Tom Brady completed 29 passes for they only went for 249 yards and one TD. He also was sacked four time and lost two fumbles as New England drew a blank in the second half. … Gronk? Despite the plan to limit his snaps, the TE was targeted a team-high 11 times and finished with four catches, 40 yards and a TD. … With fellow wideout Aaron Dobson a healthy scratch, Julian Edelman led the Pats in receptions (6) and receiving yards (95) on eight targets, while Miami’s Mike Wallace accounted for seven of Ryan Tannehill’s 18 completions, 81 of his 178 passing yards and caught his other TD toss.
Jets 19, Raiders 14
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.
The Jets’ top two RBs both came through for their fantasy owners as Chris Johnson (18 touches-91 yards) and Chris Ivory (10-102 rushing) found the end zone. The bulk of Ivory’s yards, however, came on a 71-yard scoring burst in the fourth quarter.
Extra points: The Silver & Black gained only 158 total yards, but rookie QB Derek Carr wasn’t a disaster, finishing a respectable 20-of-32 for 151 yards, including TD tosses to WRs Rod Streater (5-46) and James Jones (3-34). More importantly, he second-round pick didn’t commit a turnover. … The Oakland ground game, meanwhile, went nowhere with Darren McFadden (4-15) and Maurice Jones-Drew (9-11) unable to find room against the Jets’ formidable front seven. … As expected, new No. 1 WR Eric Decker (5-74) was the top target for Geno Smith (23-28, 211 yards, TD), who showed he isn’t quite over his turnover issues, throwing an interception and losing a fumble to help keep the Raiders in the game.
Eagles 34, Jaguars 17
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
It looked as if QB Chad Henne and undrafted rookie WR Allen Hurns were going to be the story of the game – and the day — as they hooked for 34- and 21-yard scoring receptions in the first quarter to stake the underdog Jags to an early 17-0 lead, but Nick Foles overcame three turnovers – he had four all of last season – to throw for 322 yards and a pair of TDs to rally Philly to 34 unanswered points in the second half.
Extra points: WR Jeremy Maclin (4-97) and TE Zach Ertz (3-77) were on the receiving end of Foles’ TD tosses. … On the ground, LeSean McCoy (21-74 rushing, 4-97 receiving) topped 100 total yards, but it was newcomer Darren Sproles (85 yards on 15 touches) who got into the end zone on a career-long 49-yard scoring burst in the third quarter for the Eagles’ first points of the afternoon. … Without the injured Cecil Shorts (hamstring) to worry about, Philly clamped down on Hurns after his first-quarter fireworks and he finished with four receptions for 110 yards. Jacksonville newcomers Toby Gerhart (20 touches-57 yards) and Marqise Lee (6-62 on a team-high 10 targets) were unable to pick up the slack.
Steelers 30, Browns 27
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Browns nemesis Antonio Brown (5-116, TD) and Le’Veon Bell (27 touches-197 total yards) staked the Steelers to a 27-3 first-half lead, but the Browns rallied on the legs of rookie RBs Isaiah Crowell (5-32, 2 TDs) and Terrance West (16-100) after starter Ben Tate (6-41) left with a second-quarter knee issue and didn’t return.
Extra points: Ben Roethlisberger threw for 365 yards and the TD, targeting Brown, Bell and WR Markus Wheaton (6-97) with much success. … LeGarrette Blount only received four carries to Bell’s 21, but did score the Steelers’ first TD of the season on a 4-yard run in the opening quarter. … Cat-quick WR Andrew Hawkins led the Browns in targets (10), catches (8), yards (87), while TE Jordan Cameron (2-47) was in and out of action with a shoulder issue. With Johnny Manziel relegated to clipboard duty, Brian Hoyer didn’t stink it up, but he didn’t exactly light it up either, completing 19-of-31 passes for 230 yards with his lone TD toss going to WR Travis Benjamin (2-20).
Vikings 34, Rams 6
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
So let’s get this straight, the Vikes put up 34 points Sunday, and Adrian Peterson, the active leading Opening Day TD producer, didn’t account for any of them? Instead, his fantasy owners had to settle for 93 total yards on 21 touches.
Extra points: Peterson also wasn’t even his team’s leading rusher. That honor went to phenom wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, whose YouTube-worthy scoring jaunt in the third quarter accounted for 67 of his 102 game-high rushing yards. His three catches for 26 yards paled in comparison. … WR Greg Jennings (6-58) and TE Kyle Rudolph (2-16) were on the receiving end of Matt Cassel’s TD passes, but the QB threw for only 170 yards. … Those numbers still easily trumped the fantasy figures put up by the Rams, who replaced starting QB Shaun Hill (8-13, 81 yards, interception) and his thigh/leg injury with second-year Austin Davis (16-of-23, pick) to start the second half. … WR Brian Quick (7-99 on a team-high 9 targets) was the only noteworthy St. Louis position player as the Vikings’ D dominated with five sacks, two forced turnovers and a TD.
Bills 23, Bears 20 (OT)
Soldier Field, Chicago
Not many saw this coming as the underdog Bills and EJ Manuel (16-of-22, 173 yards, TD passing, TD rushing) outduelled Jay Cutler (34-of-49, 349 yards, 2 TDs, 2 picks) and the high-powered Bears.
Extra points: Bryce Brown was inactive, but Buffalo still managed to have a three-way RB logjam with Fred Jackson (120 touches-74 total yards), C.J. Spiller (18-64) and Anthony Dixon (5-60) all getting into the mix. Spiller, though, was the only one of the trio to get into the end zone. … Robert Woods (4-78) led the Bills in receiving and targets (6), while first-round pick Sammy Watkins and his sore ribs were predictably quiet with three receptions for 31 yards on four targets. … The Bears’ Matt Forte (169 total yards), Brandon Marshall (8-71, TD), Alshon Jeffery (5-71), and TE Martellus Bennett (8-70, TD) all more or less delivered for their fantasy owners. Jeffery’s late-game hamstring issue isn’t considered serious.
Bengals 23, Ravens 16
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Cincy ended a four-game losing streak in Baltimore, and the usual suspects all played key fantasy roles. The underrated Andy Dalton threw for 301 yards and a TD without a turnover, A.J. Green had six grabs for 131 yards and a TD (77 yards), and RB Giovanni Bernard put up 110 total yards). And, oh yeah, Mike Nugent booted five field goals.
Extra points: For the second straight season opener, Joe Flacco launched a career-high 62 passes, completing 35 for 345 yards, a TD and an interception. … His top targets were WR Steve Smith (7-118, TD) and TE Dennis Pitta (10-83), while Justin Forsett (11-70, TD) easily outpaced Bernard Pierce (6-14) the Ray Rice-less ground attack. … Meanwhile, Cincy RB Jeremy Hill (4-19) disappointed those fantasy GMs who were expecting bigger and better things following the rookie’s splashy preseason.
Falcons 37, Saints 34
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Many fantasy owners anticipated a shootout here, and Matt Ryan (career-high 448 passing yards, 3 TDs) and Drew Brees (333 yards, TD) delivered.
Extra points: Steven Jackson (12-52) got the start and most touches (13) at RB, but Jacquizz Rodgers (7 touches-35 total yards) and Antone Smith (3-61) both had TDs. The high hopes for rookie Devonta Freeman (4-33) went unfulfilled. … Julio Jones led the Birds in targets (9), receptions (7) and yards (116) but fumbled and watched Ryan’s TD tosses go to Smith, Roddy White (5-72) and TE Levine Toilolo (3-19). … New Orleans second-year wideout Kenny Stills missed the contest with a quad injury, but rookie WR Brandin Cooks (7-77, TD receiving, 1-18 rushing) stepped up admirably. Meanwhile, Marques Colston (5-110, fumble) and Jimmy Graham (8-82) put up their typical big numbers, only without TD grabs. … As expected, the Saints got all three of their top RBs into the mix and all three delivered with Mark Ingram (14 touches-61 yards) scoring twice, Khiry Robinson (6-28) scoring once and Pierre Thomas (13-89) leading the trio in total yards from scrimmage.
Panthers 20, Buccaneers 14
Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
No Cam Newton, no problem for the Panthers who got a strong outing from backup Derek Anderson, who was 24-of-34 for 230 yards and pair of TD passes without a turnover in his first start since 2010. His TD tosses went to TE Greg Olsen (8-83 on 10 targets) and rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin (6-92, 8 targets).
Extra points: Nothing spectacular from the Carolina ground game with DeAngelo Williams leading the way with 72 yards on 14 carries. … The Bucs, meanwhile disappointed their fantasy owners across the board as Josh McCown (183 yards, 2 TDs, 2 interceptions), Doug Martin (10 touches-16 yards), Vincent Jackson (4-36) and Mike Evans (5-37) all were underwhelming at best. … Martin, in fact, left early with an unspecified lower-leg injury, leaving the team’s two TDs to RB Bobby Rainey (6 touches-20 yards) and WR Chris Owusu (2-20).
49ers 28, Cowboys 17
AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas
Four first-half Dallas turnovers – three Tony Romo interceptions and a DeMarco Murray fumble – is just what the Niners’ depleted defense needed as they opened up a 28-3 lead and held off the Cowboys. CB Chris Culliver returned the Murray fumble 32 yards for a TD.
Extra points: San Fran QB Colin Kaepernick threw for only 201 yards and rushed for 11 on five carries but did salvage his fantasy day with a pair of scoring strikes to TE Vernon Davis (4-44). WR Michael Crabtree played despite calf-injury concerns but caught only two passes for 25 yards on four targets, while fellow wideout Anquan Boldin (8-99) nearly caught all of his team-high nine targets. … Of course, Frank Gore (16-66) led the Niners in rushing, but it was good-looking rookie Carlos Hyde (7-50) who scored the team’s lone rushing touchdown. … For the ‘Boys, Romo finished with 281 passing yards and a TD, and usual top targets, a dehydrated Dez Bryant (4-55) and Jason Witten (2-14) were way below par. … Murray did bounce back nicely from the early fumble to roll up 143 total yards (118 rushing) and a TD, while Terrance Williams (4-50) was on the receiving end of Romo’s TD pass.
Broncos 31, Colts 24
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
It looked like 2013 all over again in the first half for the Mile High Crew and Peyton Manning, who connected with TE Julius Thomas with a trio of scoring strikes to jump out to a 24-0 lead. But the Colts tightened up after that, and Manning finished a un-Manning-like 22-of-36 for 269 yards.
Extra points: Counterpart Andrew Luck, meanwhile, scored on a 9-yard run late in the first half and carried the momentum into the second half to finish 35-of-53 for 370 yards, two scores and two picks. … Luck, in fact, just about led Indy with a mere 19 yards on five rushes, while Trent Richardson had 20 yards on six carries and 31 more on three receptions. … Veteran Reggie Wayne, who missed the final nine games a year ago with a knee injury, was welcomed back with a game-high 13 targets and finished with nine grabs for 98 yards, while T.Y. Hilton underwhelmed with five catches for 41 yards on 11 targets. TE Dwayne Allen (4-64, TD) will be a hot waiver-wire pickup this week, and teammate Coby Fleener (3-21) may get dropped as a result in a number of the same transactions. … For the Broncos, Thomas (7-104) and RB Montee Ball (23-67 rushing, 2-16 receiving) accounted for the four TDs, while WR Demaryius Thomas (4-48) dropped some passes and never seemed to get into the flow. Emmanuel Sanders got deep for one 40-yard reception, but totaled only 37 yards on his five other catches.