Fantasy
Things we learned on Sunday of Week 1
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You probably could have gotten lower odds betting that United States leaders would sit down to dinner with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad than if you predicted that Terrelle Pryor and Shane Vereen would be the only runners to crack the 100-yard rushing mark on Sunday afternoon.

Even more so after Adrian Peterson, everyone's No. 1 overall draft pick, took a handoff 78 yards for a score on the Vikings first offensive play of the season.

But that's exactly what happened in 12 Sunday games.

Below are a few more things we observed.

Compiled by Thomas Harrigan, Jesse Pantuosco and Steve Schwarz.

New England at Buffalo

Bill Belichick did everything in his power to lose this game for the Patriots. His first mistake was benching Stevan Ridley after his fumble led to a 74-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. Then, instead of taking a knee to end the half, the Patriots went for it and Tom Brady ended up throwing an interception. That led to another Bills score to make it 17-14 at the break.

His final blunder came when he decided to go for it on fourth and goal late in the third quarter. Brady fumbled the snap and Buffalo ran it out to the 14-yard line. Not a great week for Mr. Cut-Off Sleeves.

Well, maybe we were a little hard on Bill in that last blurb. His decision to bench Ridley actually turned out great for New England. Backup Shane Vereen made some huge plays down the stretch and finished with 159 total yards from scrimmage. Sunday was Vereen's first 100-yard rushing performance (101 yards on 14 attempts).

Zach Sudfeld was a dud in Week 1. Gronk's replacement didn't catch a single pass against Buffalo and the one time he was targeted, he handed it over to Bills cornerback Justin Rogers for an easy interception. Maybe there's a reason this guy wasn't drafted.

Much has been made of New England's new receivers (Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson), but the star on Sunday ended up being a guy they already had. Julian Edelman was spot-on against Buffalo (seven receptions, 79 yards, two touchdowns).

There's no way around it. Danny Amendola looked EXACTLY like Wes Welker on Sunday (14 targets, 10 catches, 104 yards). If Amendola can stay healthy (he did miss a few snaps in the second quarter after tweaking his groin) he's going to have a monster season.

Turns out the running back situation in Buffalo isn't as clear-cut as we all thought. C.J. Spiller was a disaster on Sunday (17 rushes, 41 yards) while veteran Fred Jackson looked better than ever (108 total yards from scrimmage). Buffalo's rushing distribution is sure to be a topic of discussion all week heading into Sunday's game against Carolina.

A tip of the hat to E.J. Manuel for a fine debut. Playing on a bad knee, Manuel completed 18-of-27 for 150 yards passing and two touchdowns. He even mixed in a 19-yard run for good measure.

The Patriots have now won their last ten season openers. Ironically, their last loss on Opening Day came against the same Bills they were barely able to beat on Sunday.

Seattle at Carolina

No need to save this one on your DVR. I've seen sock drawers that were more exciting.

Both teams looked a little lethargic. Maybe it had something to do with the warm weather in Charlotte. It was 88 degrees at kickoff and stayed that way for much of the game.

Peyton Manning produced more passing yards (462) than Cam Newton (125) and Russell Wilson (320) combined on Sunday. At least they didn't throw any interceptions.

Beast Mode? More like "Beast Slowed." Marshawn Lynch had a very pedestrian opening week (17 carries, 43 yards, no touchdowns).

Cam Newton's first week with the captain's patch didn't go quite as planned (just 5.4 yards per attempt). It wasn't all bad for Carolina, though. The defense mostly kept Wilson in check and running back DeAngelo Williams (90 total yards) was solid. Dating back to last season, Williams has now logged 286 yards rushing in his last two contests.

Sunday may have been Doug Baldwin's coming out party. After a disappointing 2012 campaign that saw Baldwin catch just 29 passes, the former Stanford wideout totaled 91 yards on seven grabs. Baldwin's season-high in catches last season was only four.

Cincinnati at Chicago

Both of these teams finished 10-6 last season so you knew this was going to be a close game. Chicago got the "W" thanks to 242 passing yards from Vanderbilt alum Jay Cutler (2 TD, 1 INT).

Brandon Marshall entered the season with health concerns. Eight receptions and a game-winning touchdown later, I think it's safe to say Marshall's health is just fine.

So much for Jermaine Gresham being the Bengals' "blocking" tight end. He was targeted five times on Sunday and caught all five of them. Sadly, he wasn't able to create much separation after the catch. His longest catch of the day went for only 12 yards.

Chicago's "D" was up to its usual tricks. Peanut Tillman came away with two interceptions while Pro Bowler Tim Jennings recovered Cincinnati's only lost fumble of the day.

Here at The Sports Network, we're willing to admit our mistakes. Calvin Johnson topped our site's Week 1 wide receiver ranks with A.J. Green at No. 2. Our bad. Green (nine receptions, 162 yards, two TD) had a much better week than Megatron (four catches, 37 yards). Sorry for doubting you, A.J.

Oakland at Indianapolis

Andrew Luck didn't light it up against the Raiders, but he finished an efficient 18-of-23 for 178 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 38 yards and a score. Luck's longest pass of the day was a 25-yarder. Under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, that might become the norm.

Reggie Wayne accounted for a large chunk of Luck's passing yardage with 96 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.

Vick Ballard's presence could limit Ahmad Bradshaw's fantasy value, but fantasy owners shouldn't expect Ballard to run for 4.8 yards per carry against non- Raiders opponents.

Terrelle Pryor is not exactly a polished passer and plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, but at least he makes the Raiders somewhat interesting. He threw for 217 yards, a touchdown and two picks and rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries.

Pryor is worth adding in two-QB leagues or as a backup in standard formats for his rushing production, but I still wouldn't want any receiver tied to Oakland's passing offense. Denarius Moore caught the touchdown from Pryor Sunday, while Rod Streater led the Raiders with 70 yards.

Miami at Cleveland

Jordan Cameron plus Norv Turner should continue to equal fantasy gold. Cameron caught nine passes (team-high 13 targets) for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Trent Richardson had just 13 carries while Brandon Weeden threw 53 passes in what was a one-score game for the first 53 minutes.

It's a bad sign for Lamar Miller owners and the Dolphins when Daniel Thomas is the leading rusher ... with 14 yards. Thomas also scored a one-yard touchdown. Miller tied with Ryan Tannehill for second on the team with three yards.

One of the top perks of Mike Wallace's contract with the Dolphins is that he only has to face Joe Haden once this season. Wallace had one catch for 15 yards on five targets while Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson combined for 25 targets, 16 receptions, 191 yards and a touchdown.

Minnesota at Detroit

The Lions might just unleash the player Reggie Bush was supposed to be when he joined the NFL. Bush had 21 carries for 90 yards and added four catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He also had two touchdowns that were overturned by review at the one-yard line.

Mikel Leshoure was a healthy inactive, leaving Joique Bell as the goal-line back. Bell found the end zone twice and also caught five passes for 67 yards. He could emerge as a solid flex play in standard leagues and a RB2 in PPR formats.

Adrian Peterson's first carry: 78 yards for a touchdown. Adrian Peterson's next 17 carries: 15 yards. He did add a second TD on the ground and one through the air, however.

Kyle Rudolph scored nine touchdowns last year, but he also had plenty of duds like the one he put up Sunday.

Jerome Simpson's seven catches and 140 yards were one catch and 70 yards more than Rudolph, Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson combined.

Kansas City at Jacksonville

Yes, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looked very comfortable in his new Andy Reid-designed offense. Fortunately, Reid uses a west coast offense similar to what Smith knew from San Francisco. Smith threw two first quarter touchdowns to get Kansas City off to a quick start. That being said, he's still a game manager and not a fantasy stud.

In the first half the Jacksonville offense looked as bad as fantasy owners have suspected. They totaled just 49 yards and zero points. The Jaguars finished with 142 yards. Fantasy worthy starters Maurice Jones-Drew managed 45 yards on the ground and nothing through the air and wideout Cecil Shorts didn't get on the board until the second half and finished with three catches for 40 yards.

If Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is going to continue to start games, fantasy owners should install the opposing defense in their lineup every Sunday ... without exception. The line for claiming next week's defense, the Oakland Raiders, starts on the right.

Atlanta at New Orleans

Wide receiver Roddy White (2-19) did play, but obviously wasn't at 100 percent and mostly played the role of decoy for Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez.

With most of the defensive attention on Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham, rookie Kenny Stills roamed free in the Falcons secondary on more than one occasion, though he finished with just two catches for 86 yards.

Both the Saints and Falcons secondary were vulnerable to the onslaught from Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. The pair combined for 357 yards passing in the first half and 661 for the game.

Steven Jackson was involved in both the running game (11-77) and the passing game (5-45), but couldn't catch the ball at the goal line with the game on the line in the final minute. Still, he seems to fit this Falcons offense.

Darren Sproles combined for 110 yards from scrimmage, doing most of his work on short passes as usual.

Tampa Bay at New York Jets

Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson continues to grow in this offense, posting seven catches for 154 yards.

For some unknown reason, running back Doug Martin was not productive in the passing game (two receptions, -1 yard). Fantasy owners are expecting big things from him both on the ground and in the air, so this fact has to be troubling.

The additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson have improved a much-abused secondary from 2012-13. Even so, they gave up 256 passing yards to a rookie in his first career start.

Geno Smith looked and played like the rookie he is. He did, however, find Kellen Winslow for a late second quarter score and with the help of a timely fourth quarter penalty led his team to the game-winning field goal.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh

Jackie Battle's second quarter score from 3-yards out is an ugly sign for fantasy owners of Chris Johnson. Now both Battle and Shonn Greene figure to be ahead of Johnson in goal line pecking order. Johnson better start running them in from long distance or his TD total is going to be microscopic.

Same old Jake Locker ... means no Titans' wide receiver is start worthy.

The Steelers managed just four yards on the ground to go along with 94 unimpressive passing yards from Ben Roethlisberger in the first half and their only score was a late game pass from Big Ben to Jerricho Cotchery. This has the look of an truly ugly offense. Hopefully when rookie Le'Veon Bell returns they will get better.

Green Bay at San Francisco

Eddie Lacy will have to be much better than what he showed in Week 1 if he's to be the "answer" to a better Packers' running game. However, after a slow start including a fumble, he did manage to post double-digit fantasy points.

Greg Jennings who? Aaron Rodgers and the passing game didn't skip a beat even against a tough 49ers' defense. Jordy Nelson (7-130-1) and Randall Cobb (7-108-1) were excellent and given a bigger role in the offense, Jermichael Finley showed up for a change.

Colin Kaepernick is as elusive as any quarterback, but on Sunday he did most of his running behind the line of scrimmage while waiting for his receivers to get open. He finished with 412 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Perhaps Anquan Boldin, at age 32 and in his 11th season, isn't dead yet. He did everything for the 49ers except cook up the post-game meal and finished the day with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a score.

Tight end Vernon Davis was pretty good too (6-98-2). If he can keep up this level of production we will be talking about him with the same flowery praise we do Graham and Gronkowski.

Arizona at St. Louis

Carson Palmer is still the same "mad bomber" he was in Oakland - he just has better receivers so his numbers should be improved. He threw for 204 yards and a score in the first half and finished with 327 yards and two TDs.

Larry Fitzgerald and his fantasy owners have to be smiling today after "Fitz" posted his first multi-TD game since November 2011 against Philadelphia. There will be more to follow.

The Cardinals running game continues to reduce backs to mediocrity. Come on down Rashard Mendenhall.

As we have proclaimed all preseason, the Rams' best pass catcher is tight end Jared Cook and he proved us right with a big game on Sunday (7-141-2).




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.