The day we’ve been waiting for finally arrived, but it didn’t exactly live up to the hype. The night began with a nearly hour-long weather delay that was a bit of a buzzkill. When the game finally kicked off, the excitement level didn’t increase much. The Falcons looked strong early with two extended drives, but they came away with just three points as the Eagles defense stepped up. The first-half featured a heavy dose of WR Julio Jones and not much else as the Falcons took a 6-3 lead into the break.
After barely seeing the field in the first-half, the Eagles finally put RB Jay Ajayi to work in the second-half and he scored the first touchdown of the NFL season, giving the Eagles the lead for the first time in the game.
Quarterback play on both sides was atrocious all night long as the Falcons took advantage of a bobbled ball that turned into an interception and put Atlanta in scoring position. RB Tevin Coleman finished off the short drive and gave his team the lead, but a missed extra point loomed large as Philly got the ball back down 12-10. A late-game drive for the Eagles, led by their backfield committee, including big plays from veteran Darren Sproles, second-year man Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi, who scored his second touchdown of the game. That score, along with the two-point conversion by Ajayi, gave the Eagles a 18-12 lead, which was good enough for the win.
The Falcons put together a final drive that was reminiscent of last year’s NFC divisional game and just like that game, Atlanta came up short despite a trip to the red zone.
Fantasy owners should feel good about Julio Jones, who saw all the targets he could handle, at least until the Falcons entered the red zone, where he was sometimes pulled to the sidelines. Jones finished with a 10/169 stat line, even after having a 52-yard reception ruled incomplete.
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QB Matt Ryan looked terrible and while it’s just one game, there were few positives to build on moving forward. Both RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman struggled for most of the game, though each got some work in the passing game to pad their fantasy stats. Freeman also suffered a fourth-quarter knee injury that put him out of the game.
Wentz Not Ready
A pre-game report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport suggested Eagles star QB Carson Wentz is not as close to returning to the field as many assumed. In fact, Wentz is now expected to be out of action for several more weeks as the Eagles plan to be very cautious with their franchise QB. This is obviously a major blow to the Eagles as to fantasy owners. Rotoworld’s own Evan Silva suggested Wentz was not worth a roster spot in typical seasonal leagues following this news.
More Bell Blues
RapSheet was busy yesterday. He also had multiple reports on the latest in the Le’Veon Bell story. Early in the day, rumors began to circulate that the team would simply rescind Bell’s Franchise Tag, making him a free agent, and also eligible for a new long-term contract with the team. That seems unlikely though and the Steelers will not be making that move.
Later in the day, Rapoport reported that the Steelers “guess” Bell will be reporting to the team on Saturday. This would mean Bell would get paid but wouldn’t actually suit up for the game on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. At this point, it is a near certainty that we won’t see Bell in Week One, though all other options are possible beyond that.
With Bell away from the team, second-year RB James Conner has been the talk of the fantasy football community, with late seasonal league drafters moving him quickly up their boards.
Raiders veteran RB Marshawn Lynch was limited in practice, though he is still expected to play Monday. … As expected, WR Alshon Jeffery was inactive for the Eagles season-opener as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. … The Eagles also placed second-year WR Mack Hollins on the injured reserve list. … Chargers DE Joey Bosa did not practice Thursday and is now in danger of missing the team’s first game with a foot injury. Bosa hasn’t practiced in nearly a month. … The Patriots placed CB Duke Dawson on the IR and promoted rookie WR Riley McCarron to the active roster. New England hopes to bring Dawson back later in the season. … Texans WR Will Fuller, battling a hamstring injury, remains limited in practice…Rookie RB Sony Michel (knee) of the Patriots got in a limited practice. He’s iffy to play this week. … Jets WR Jermaine Kearse missed Thursday’s practice and is not expected to play this week. … Steelers TE Vance McDonald also missed practice. … Colts RB Marlon Mack return to practice, though in limited fashion. Mack is a long-shot to play in the opener. … Chiefs DB Eric Berry sat out his second straight day of practice and is in danger of missing this week’s game. … The Falcons defense was hit hard with injuries during last night’s contest, especially S Keanu Neal, who was forced from the game with a knee injury and quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Mychal Kendricks pled guilty to insider trading and could face up to 25 years in prison. He’ll be sentenced in December and it is safe to say his NFL career is over. … The Raiders are expected to keep WR Seth Roberts as their primary slot man, despite multiple attempts to address the position and the hope that WR Amari Cooper could see some action in the middle of the field. … The Lions surprisingly waived DE Anthony Zettel earlier in the week and he was claimed by the Browns. … The Patriots signed former Texans TE Stephen Anderson just as the two teams are set to face off this week. … The Panthers signed former Raiders QB Conner Cook to their practice squad. … Browns HC Hue Jackson suggested WR Josh Gordon will be on a “pitch count” for the team’s opener. … Veteran TE Antonio Gates is optimistic that he will play this week, despite just re-signing with the Chargers last week…Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot reported the team would check back in with veteran free agent WR Dez Bryant following Week One.
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