Green Bay 22 New England 11
In the preseason, you never want to leave your starters in a game for too long. Injuries are common in football, and you never want to see a starter go down in a meaningless game, especially the first one. That’s why it was surprising to see the Green Bay offense in the game the entire first quarter. The offense looked good at times, but was out of sorts the majority of the time, which is acceptable considering this is the first game of the season.
Aaron Rodgers played like it was his first action of the season. While Rodgers was able to move up in the pocket and connect with his favorite targets like Randall Cobb & Jordy Nelson, Rodgers missed on routine throws when trying to connect with Davante Adams. Rodgers missed a deep pass to Adams on the first drive of the game after Adams beat Malcolm Butler by a step. Rodgers also slightly missed Adams in the end zone, as Adams once again got seperation from Butler. Rodgers final numbers (11-19, 117) don’t look bad, but Rodgers certainly wishes he had a couple throws back. Rodgers will certainly get it going, as he’s just too good to stay down for too long. Rodgers’ should be the first QB off the board in fantasy drafts this year.
Speaking of Adams, the second year receiver is expected to a have a large role in the offense this season. Rodgers looked Adams way early and often, and Adams didnt dissapoint. As mentioned, Adams had his way with Malcolm Butler, beating the Super Bowl hero on numerous occasions. Adams caught a short pass to open the game, and then beat Butler on a go route that Rodgers uncharacteristically missed. Later in the drive, Adams caught a slant for a first down. Rodgers missed Adams in the end zone, and Green Bay wasn’t able to score. On the next drive Adams was open in the end zone but dropped the pass. All in all it was a solid night for Adams, and he is certainly a sleeper who should be rostered in every league this year.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb each were involved. Nelson (2-25) and Cobb (1-16) looked good in the opener. Nelson had a nice comeback route to get a first down on the first drive, while Cobb showed his trademark explosiveness on his sole reception. Each receiver shouldn’t last past the third round in most fantasy drafts.
Andrew Quarless was the starting tight end for the Packers and had a few catches. Packers’ tight ends are as unpredictable as they come, as they are usually the fourth or fifth option in the passing game. Still, it’s telling that Quarless was the starter over Richard Rodgers, a second year tight end from Cal expected to step up this season.
Jeff Janis caught a touchdown in the second quarter with the backups. If any receiver gets injured for the Packers, pick up Janis immediately, as he has been nearly uncoverable thus far in camp.
For New England, all the talk this offseason has been about Tom Brady. The superstar passer was suspended the first 4 games of the season for playing with unregulated game balls. No one knew if Brady was going to even play tonight. Alas, Brady posted on Facebook before the game that he’d be out there, and Brady was the starting quarterback when the Patriots offense took the field. Brady didn’t do much, missing high on a pass to Josh Boyce for his only attempt of the first half. His second series wasn’t much better, as he only had one completion, albeit a first down to Brandon Gibson. Brady (1-4, 10) looked out of sync with his wide outs, but he has proven numerous times not to doubt him. Brady’s fantasy outlook is dependent on his appeals hearing, but Brady should still be a top 10 fantasy QB this year.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this game is the reemergence of Jonas Gray. The one time fantasy superstar has had a fantastic training camp, showing up in great shape and earning the starting running back job while LeGarrette Blount deals with a strained MCL as well as a one game suspension. Gray played like an extremely motivated player, breaking multiple tackles while also showing great vision finding cutback lanes. Gray scored the first touchdown of the game, breaking off a 55 yard score. Gray showed surprising burst on the play, as he outran the entire Packers’ starting defense. It’s early, but if Gray keeps playing like this, he could regain his starting job.
Bill Belichick started Josh Boyce & Danny Amendola at wide receiver with Julian Edelman & Brandon LaFellnot playing. Boyce had a pass thrown to him by Brady on the first drive, and while the throw was high, Boyce got both hands on the ball and should have made the catch. Boyce has dissapointed thus far in his NFL career, and he may be fighting for a roster spot. Brandon Gibson caught Brady’s sole completion, a slant route he was able to take for a first down. Gibson has had a nice training camp, but he has proven throughout his career to be injury prone. Edelman & LaFell are the only receivers New England has that are worth owning in fantasy.
Jimmy Garoppolo will be the Patriots starting quarterback if Brady’s suspension is upheld, and Garoppolo didn’t look like he was ready for the occasion. Garoppolo stared down receivers and checked down far too frequently. Garoppolo (20-30, 159, 1 INT) will have to play better than he did tonight if Brady has to miss time, or else New England could be in trouble, as word out of camp is that Garoppolo hasn’t necessarily played well.
A couple Patriot defenders of note. Darryl Roberts was the starting cornerback opposite of Malcolm Butler, and Trey Flowers had an impressive sack on Aaron Rodgers. Flowers was injured later in the game and sustained a concussion. Roberts also had a hand injury.