2022 Week 1: Eagles 38, Lions 35 (Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis Game Report)
Previous to this game rewatch/study, I re-watched NE-MIA…and in that game it was two really bad teams, with bad QBs, hoping to catch a break or two to beat the other. In the PHI-DET re-watch, it was two really good teams with really good QBs throwing haymakers at each other until one of them was left standing.
The Eagles are really good and are going to win the NFC East easily.
The Lions are pretty good and are going to fight for a wild card…they’re not ready for the big boys of the NFC North just yet…but they soon could be.
This was an entertaining, well-played game. Kudos to both these teams.
I’m going to go through my players notes, next section, from the most impressive thing/player I saw and descend from there.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Jalen Hurts (18-32 for 243 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 17-90-1) should wind up in the MVP discussion but probably won’t be -- because he was not supposed to be one of the best QBs in the NFL. In fact, the football intelligentsia has been trying to replace him in Philly via trade/draft for two years running…but in reality, he’s one of the 5-7 best QBs in the NFL now…and has a good shot to be the #1 FF QB in 4pts passing TD leagues.
*And let me just note, in the same way they’ve been SURE Hurts stinks and needed to be replaced with every free agent or rookie QB in the draft, they are doing the same thing to Trey Lance…trying to tear him down for every little thing…as they all still sleep on how awful THEIR Trevor Lawrence, generation QB, is…much less how bad THEIR Tua, their Mac, THEIR Justin, THEIR Dan Jones (now all fixed because of a Week 1 win), THEIR Darnold are but they went years protecting…while trying to kill off Goff, Cousins, Carr, Hurts among others.
The football intelligentsia is almost always wrong about everything. It’s breathtaking to behold.
Hurts’ running ability is so exquisite that the Lions had to start overcommitting to him tearing them apart on scrambles, which then opened up all kinds of room for the passing game. You pick your poison facing Hurts.
His running ability is so good, in part, because he is built like a running back, so he can take a few hits and not miss a beat. He’s getting comfortable as a passer and a runner…he’s the best mobile QB in the game.
If I could do my 4pts pass TD redrafts over again, I would build it around drafting Hurts every time, not just some of the time.
-- Lost in this game was a super-impressive performance by Jared Goff (22-37 for 215 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT). A totally energized, very good Eagles defense was swarming but Goff hung in the pocket and was firing the ball all around. Teams and sometimes QBs tend to take on the personality of their coaches -- Dan Campbell has turned Goff’s grittiness up to 9-10. Goff is becoming nails as an NFL QB.
Of course, the media hates Goff too…and they’ve been trying to replace him for 2+ years and celebrated their scalping of him out of L.A., but I hate to inform them -- Jared Goff is better than Matt Stafford, he’s just on a lesser team (right now). In 2021, the trade, in the transition, maybe Goff was too soft…from his coaching in L.A. -- but now Goff got what he needed, a heart transplant. I saw some of the rebirth of Goff late last year, he’s even better to start this year.
I look forward to the media trying to deny that Goff is better than Stafford in the coming year/s. But LAR got a Super Bowl out of it…so, they can’t complain.
You might be looking at his stat line and wondering how I am glowing about Goff…note, he lost at least 3 completions for 50+ yards due to flat-out drops or perfectly thrown balls this game…and probably lost 5 completions for 70+ yards on catchable balls total. Had the Lions WRs caught these passes…they might have won this game.
-- Jalen Hurts’ superior running ability forced Detroit to try and make a blockade along the line of scrimmage, which then just gave Hurts unfettered time in the pocket to throw to wide-open A.J. Brown (10-155-0/13).
I blew it on the AJB call for 2022. I thought Hurts’ big run game/lower volume passing would lead to lower volume spread around to multiple receiving options and that AJB would be good/slightly disappointing-not-as-great for FF. The reality is: AJB is Hurts’ ‘Davante Adams (for Carr/Rodgers)’…the guy he looks at every throw…and it’s hard to cover AJB when Hurts is unpressured/getting longer time in the pocket to let Brown run his routes.
I thought DeVonta Smith (0-0-0/4) would pull some targeting forcing Brown into sharing the targets…but that is not close to the case. I’m tied in total catches in the NFL after Week 1 with the possessor of the greatest single WR season in college football history/a Heisman Trophy winner.
Smith is going to be a wasted 1st-round pick they’ll look to trade in 2023, because DeVonta will be so unhappy.
-- D’Andre Swift (15-144-1, 3-31-0/3) was terrific here. Explosive, confident…and exposing the Eagles defensive weakness -- the front seven. BUT also capitalizing on the Lions strength…their O-Line. I forgot to mention it in the Goff section…the Lions pass protection was fantastic, thus allowing Goff to be a passing assassin. Their run blocking was really good too.
Jamaal Williams (11-28-2, 1-2-0/2) is the spiritual leader of the team…and he’ll get some tough carries where they don’t trust Swift fully to be a hammer -- but Swift is 2x better than Williams, as a talent. The 60/40 split of last year will probably melt towards 75/25…if Swift can stay healthy. That’s what they fear on Swift…gets nicked up too much, can be indecisive as a runner against tougher run defenses/clogged conditions. This game, Swift just blasted through wide-open holes to a 100+ yard effort.
-- Amon-Ra St. Brown (8-64-1/12) is not sexy, he’s just super-efficient…and if Goff is good+ with great protection, ARSB is going to continue to prosper.
D.J. Chark (4-52-1/8) went to war with Darius Slay and Slay won a bunch…but DJC had his moments. DJC dropped his first target, then ran a different route than Goff thought on an easy second target of the game…then there was a lull…then DJC started fighting back and getting rolling. Had DJC caught his easy first pass and not run the wrong route on his 2nd chance…a 6-70-1 game would have come our way and then we’d love the DJC gamble even more. Instead, we have a bit of a side eye of his week.
DJC gets WSH-MIN-SEA the next three weeks…that has real promise in this much improved passing game.
-- In light of Hurts being a star in this game, the other Eagles RBs were all just ‘there’…secondary actors. Miles Sanders (13-96-1, 2-9-0/2) was the lead and Boston Scott (4-10-1) filtered in time-to-time, including running the game out late when it was still tight.
Scott is just a handcuff, and Sanders is an RB2-3 here.
-- Philly new starting SAF Marcus Epps (10 tackles 1 TFL) was terrific here. He’s definitely headed towards DB1 status this year, it appears.
-- What happened to the vaunted/hopeful Philly defense? Five things stood out…
1) First, the Eagles secondary was on fire and the defense was pretty solid overall…especially early on. They are not bad…and they did get a pick-six.
2) That revamped front line because of Jordan Davis…I don’t know that Davis is the player everyone hopes he is.
3) The Lions O-Line may have been the cause, and this Eagles D will roll against lesser teams.
4) Jared Goff is way better than THEY give him credit for.
5) I tried to tell you in the summer that Detroit has a much better offense in 2022, one more to be respected than target as a ‘good matchup’.
Philly has a tough matchup with MIN Week 2…then Wentz-Trevor-Kyler-Cooper Rush the next 4 games. The Eagles have a nice schedule run from Week’s 3-11, aside from a Week 7 bye…then a nice schedule finish for Weeks 14-18.
The Eagles will work OK most of the DST season, but you’ll need to cover them Weeks 2, 7, 12-13.
Snap Counts of Interest:
46 = D. Swift
23 = Jamaal W
74 = DeVonta (74 snaps…zero catches)
67 = A.J. Brown
41 = Quez
40 = Sanders
23 = Gainwell
14 = Scott