The guessing games finally ended in Week 1.
Instead of listening to or reading about which players were primed for a breakout season and which ones were about to fall off a cliff (not literally), we got to see the players in action.
As a result, all of our football IQs have improved by a few points.
Here are some lessons we learned:
Tom Brady hearts his tight ends. During his jaw-dropping 517-yard performance Monday night against Miami, Brady targeted his young tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, on more than a third of his 48 throws. Hernandez, who lines up often in the slot, caught seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, while “Gronk” finished with six catches for 86 yards a score.
Shonn Greene was overhyped — again. Why do we keep letting this guy fool us? For the second year in a row, Greene was drafted relatively highly despite no real track record of success. And for the second year in a row, he stunk in the season opener, rushing for just 26 yards on 10 carries. Perhaps Greene will come around, but at this point of his career, he has struggled more than he has excelled.
Don’t count on Donovan McNabb. Thirty-nine yards? Thirty-nine yards? At his current pace, McNabb would pass for 624 yards this season. OK, McNabb is not as bad as his stat line might indicate. But after finishing as the 21st-best fantasy QB last season, there is reason to believe he might not last the season as the Vikings’ starter.
Several other players’ roles became clearer. Colts rookie running back Delone Carter had seven carries, while veteran Joseph Addai had eight. New England wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was targeted just three times, while Deion Branch was targeted nine times. Colts wideout Austin Collie was on the field for 33 plays, while Pierre Garcon saw 56 snaps. And Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looks often for tight end Jermaine Gresham (eight targets, six catches, 58 yards, touchdown).
Ryan Chatelain is amNY’s fantasy football columnist. Follow him on Twitter @flexposition.