The 12 biggest fantasy football questions answered: Falcons’ RB split to continue? Trade Tua Tagovailoa? And more


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This series answers numerous fantasy-centric questions following the Week 1 games (usually looking ahead and ‘what does this mean?’). It uses advanced metrics, analytics, game tape reviews, statistical trends, and myriad other elements. It features a variety of systems, many of which are covered in this primer article and reviewed in greater detail at

The EPA metrics detailed below are per TruMedia. Other advanced metrics outside of KC’s unique metrics are per TruMedia/PFF or Stathead, unless otherwise noted. Fantasy point totals are in PPR environments. Unless otherwise noted, statistical rankings are through the end of the Sunday night games.

The app’s dark display theme can interfere with how the tables in this article look. If you’re on the app, please switch to light mode by tapping on the Aa button at the top to properly view it.


1. Does Jordan Love have a lot more 20+ point games in his future this season?

When backup quarterbacks asked Brett Favre what the most important part of playing quarterback was, Favre would tell them long pass production is the only thing they should really worry about, because it is the true difference maker at this position.

There is some wisdom in that from a fantasy football perspective as well, as the most impactful players at this position tend to do well on vertical passes (aerials traveling 11+ air yards).

Keep that in mind when looking at Love’s 23-point Week 1 performance, as he posted 17.76 points on short passes (attempts thrown 10 or fewer yards downfield) and 4.04 points on vertical throws.

For perspective, Patrick Mahomes led the league in short PPG in 2022 with a 13.72 mark and the league average last year was 6.61 PPG, so Love is all but destined for a notable decline in this area going forward.

On the vertical pass front, a 4.04-point mark would have placed tied for 25th in that category over the course of the 2022 season, but it should be noted that this number occurred without Christian Watson in the lineup, as he was out with an injury. Don’t necessarily count on Watson fixing this area on a consistent basis, however, as Watson isn’t exactly the most durable player, having posted only 146 receptions in his five years at the collegiate and pro levels.

Merge these factors together and Love should still be seen as a risky start candidate outside of 2QB leagues.

2. Is it time to trade high on Tua Tagovailoa?

Tagovailoa deserves a ton of credit. As noted in my 2023 outliers article, Tagovailoa was one of only seven passer-rating qualified quarterbacks since 2000 to post 10+ PPG on vertical passes in a season. The only quarterback in that group to do this on more than one occasion in that span was Drew Brees, who posted 10.83 PPG in 2011 and 10.57 PPG in 2013.

Tagovailoa has already started his 2023 season at well above that pace, as his 14.28 vertical points easily led all Week 1 quarterbacks. That will drive his trade value high, but let’s not forget that the Chargers free safety, Alohi Gilman, is a coverage liability (14.5 YPT allowed on 22 targets last year). He is one of only three green-rated free safeties Miami is slated to face in the 2023 season and the next one of those matchups doesn’t occur until Week 6.

Any fantasy managers starting Tagovailoa have already accepted the risk that comes with his durability question mark and thus aren’t likely to make a trade, but the percentage play is to say that this could be a high-water mark for Tagovailoa and that trade high offers should be strongly considered.

Related: Michael Salfino’s Week 1 scouting notebook

Running backs

3. Will Tyler Allgeier be starter-caliber from here on out?

Allgeier placed fourth in points among running backs this week, as only Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, and Christian McCaffrey posted more than Allgeier’s 24.4-point total.

This was due in part to Allgeier’s breakaway ability, as he posted three carries of 12+ yards against Carolina. That is par for the course in this instance, as last year Allgeier ranked 10th in my good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) metric that measures how productive a back is when given quality run blocking.

It was also due to Bijan Robinson’s usage as a pass catching back, something evidenced by the relative snap counts between Robinson and Allgeier.

Falcons RBs, Week 1

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps











Robinson left Texas as the program’s all-time leader in running back receiving touchdowns and was third in running back receiving yards and Arthur Smith wants to fully utilize those skills. That opened the door for Allgeier to highlight his big-play ability in Week 1 and it should make Allgeier an ongoing flex candidate as well.

4. How should fantasy managers value the various Baltimore running backs going forward following J.K. Dobbins’ season-ending injury?

Fantasy managers were once again hit with a Dobbins injury, as he tore his Achilles tendon after posting three scrimmage plays in the third quarter. After that occurred the Ravens running back workload was split between Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. Here are their second half snaps counts.

Ravens backup RBs, Week 1

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps











This illustrates quite well that Baltimore views Hill and Edwards as platoon backs who can equally split pass and rush snaps. Hill did get two rushing touchdowns of two yards each, but don’t assign the goal line role to him just yet, as the Ravens gave six players two or more rushes inside the 5-yard line last year (per Pro Football Reference) and could give some of those carries to Edwards or even Melvin Gordon if they call him up from the practice squad.

What this means for fantasy managers is that Edwards and Hill (and possibly Gordon) should be high priorities on this week’s waiver list, with the expectation that they will be flex candidates in most weeks.

5. Are any of the Bears running backs starter-caliber?

As expected, Chicago operated a three-way running back committee to start the season. Here are the snap counts for each member of that trio.

Bears RBs, Week 1

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
















Johnson (17.5 points) and Herbert (11.4) fared well in this workload division against the Packers, while Foreman lagged with 4.4 points, but the key here may be that Herbert had the lead in rush snaps. It was thought that Herbert would be the de facto leader in rush attempts and this snap volume helped that pan out, as his nine carries were nearly as many as Johnson and Foreman’s 10 combined.

This means Herbert should still retain flex value for the foreseeable future. The path to starting isn’t as clear for Johnson, as all but one of his seven receptions occurred after Chicago was down 24-7 in the third quarter. That places him on the sit side of the ledger until he gets a more consistent path to scrimmage plays, while Foreman remains a risky flex candidate.

6. Was Javonte Williams on a snap count?

Fantasy managers were rightfully concerned when Sean Payton indicated that Javonte Williams could be on a snap count this week, but Payton caveated that by saying that he hadn’t really formulated what that count would be.

It may turn out that this was just another way of saying that there is going to be a platoon division between Williams and Samaje Perine. Here are their respective Week 1 snap counts as evidence.

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
Javonte Williams 28 15 13 12 3
Samaje Perine 26 18 8 17 1

If this doesn’t say platoon, nothing does. Williams actually generated more scrimmage plays, with 13 rushes and four passes versus eight rushes and four passes for Perine, so the snap counts led directly to corresponding work levels.

Add it up and it looks like Williams’ snap count might be a mirage, so keep him as one of your prime flex candidates.

7. Should fantasy managers be concerned about Jahmyr Gibbs’ subpar production against Kansas City?

Gibbs was a splashy draft selection and has a ton of talent, but word out of Lions camp was that Detroit may use Gibbs in a pass catching role that might limit his carry volume.

The reality of Week 1 was even more limiting. Check out the snap counts between Gibbs and David Montgomery.

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
David Montgomery 54 28 26 19 9
Jahmyr Gibbs 19 9 10 9 0

Montgomery had more than three times as many pass snaps and almost triple the amount of rush snaps, which are paces that make this a lead/alternate setup. To be fair, Gibbs caught two passes and Montgomery wasn’t even targeted, and Gibbs also wasn’t that far behind in points (13.4 for Montgomery, 8.0 for Gibbs), but this still looks like a Montgomery backfield.

The most likely scenario here is that Montgomery will mimic what Jamaal Williams did in this backfield last year and Gibbs will be the D’Andre Swift of that example. That’s not a bad place for Gibbs to be in, as Swift ranked 16th in RB PPG last season, so don’t give up on Gibbs yet.

8. Has Joshua Kelley already moved to weekly flex status?

Prior to the 2022 season, Austin Ekeler said publicly that he wanted the Jaguars to reduce his rushing workload. That didn’t happen last year, but it may be on pace to occur this year, as shown by the Week 1 snap counts of Ekeler and Joshua Kelley.

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
Austin Ekeler 41 23 18 23 0
Joshua Kelley 34 16 18 16 0

Ekeler is finally getting his wish and it didn’t negatively impact his fantasy production at all, as his 26.4 points was the 14th highest single-game mark of Ekeler’s illustrious career.

The benefit to fantasy managers is that it may have moved Kelley into the strong flex start tier and it makes him a priority waiver add this week.

9. Is Kyren Williams now the Rams lead back?

The Week 1 snap counts point in that direction.

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
Kyren Williams 52 35 17 29 6
Cam Akers 26 4 22 3 1

Akers ended up with 22 rushes versus Williams’ 15, and Williams was only targeted twice despite the huge route running total, but this certainly looks like a platoon setup from a rush volume perspective and Williams having a total lock on the third-down back role.

Even if future weeks end up with a somewhat different workload trend, right now it looks like Akers will be on the risky side of the flex tier and Williams will be on the plus side of that comparison.

10. Is it already time to start considering dropping Antonio Gibson?

There is a strong case to be made for this, as Gibson lost a fumble in the Cardinals red zone in the middle of the second quarter and scored only .9 points.

One might think that the former was the cause of the latter, especially in Gibson’s case since he lost his lead back role after the 2021 season due in large to his fumbling issues, but the snap counts tell a different story.

Player Off snaps Pass snaps Rush snaps Routes Pass blk snaps
Brian Robinson 38 18 20 16 2
Antonio Gibson 24 21 3 17 4
Chris Rodriguez 3 0 3 0 0

Gibson still got plenty of work as a third-down back and thus wasn’t phased out of the Commanders game plan because of the fumble.

The takeaway here is that Gibson should be benched until the work starts turning into fantasy points, but it’s still way too early to drop him from most rosters.

Wide receivers

11. Is Christian Kirk already a sit candidate?

That’s a tough call to make after only one game, but Kirk’s only catch occurred in the first quarter and he saw only three targets in the entire contest, all of which were on short passes.

As Kirk’s fantasy managers feared, Calvin Ridley dominated this receiving corps, with Zay Jones and Evan Engram both vying for the secondary role. That left Kirk battling for last place, and it resulted in his posting only 1.9 points, which is the seventh lowest single-game total of his career and his lowest since Week 4 of the 2021 season.

Being a distant fourth on the Jaguars passing target priority list means that Kirk should be considered a sit candidate unless or until he shows that this was an anomaly.

12. Is Rashid Shaheed the real deal?

Shaheed is the Gabe Davis of the Saints offense, as last year he ranked 13th in stretch vertical PPG (production on throws 20+ yards downfield). He also was a tremendous fantasy asset down the stretch, as from Weeks 13-17 Shaheed posted a WR2-caliber scoring pace.

This combined well with the addition of Derek Carr, who was fourth in stretch vertical PPG last year and that combo is why Shaheed caught two passes for 63 yards on stretch vertical passes against Tennessee. The resulting 6.3 points ranked seventh among wide receivers and was key to Shaheed generating 19 points.

Shaheed does not have a red-rated cornerback on his 2023 schedule and seems to be on par with Michael Thomas in terms of target priority in this passing game. Merge that with the downfield prowess and it means Shaheed is the real deal and should be rostered in a vastly higher number of leagues.

(Top photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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