Behind The Box Scores – Week 1

A Box Score. I have no doubt that everyone reading this right now has heard of that term before. But have you ever thought about its origination? Probably not. And neither did I until I had the idea for this weekly post.

Per NPR, the box score was invented in 1859 by Henry Chadwick because back then, “The box score was the only way of showing the game, there really was no photography. So the writer really was the person at the center between the fans and the player at the game.” That statement couldn’t be further from the truth in 2022. There are so many ways to consume every play of every game, each week in the NFL. How we consume sporting events has completely flipped since the inception of the box score, thankfully.

But sometimes, that means we don’t dive into the numbers as closely as we used to back in the newspaper days. A simple box score can tell you a lot more than you think. That’s why I have painstakingly combed through each box score from Week 1 and provided a few key numbers you may have missed in the hoopla of who scored fantasy points for your team vs who didn’t below. Because sometimes, the key is found “Behind The Box Score” (Ah he said it! He said the title of the article!)

*All snap share numbers are provided by Football Outsiders.

All box score numbers come from ESPN.

Surprising Usage Players

Curtis Samuel (WR, WAS)

I feel like everyone was only talking about this Commanders’ backfield all offseason, that we forgot about the wide receiver group. And that was a big oversight. Ron Rivera and the Washington front office inked Samuel to a 3 year, $34.5 million deal in 2021. He missed a lot of time last season with groin and hamstring injuries, but we all seemed to have ignored him during draft season.

Well, Ron Rivera did not, getting Samuel involved in the passing and running game. The former Ohio State Buckeye garnered a 27% target share (first among Washington players) and an 18% rush share among the non-QBs. This despite playing on just 71% of offensive snaps, third amongst Commanders WRs. Granted, it was against the Jaguars, who project to have a bad defense, but this type of usage can’t be ignored. At the time of this writing, he’s been scooped up off waivers by you or a league mate, but continue to monitor this situation.

Kyle Philips (WR, TEN)

Who?!? Who would have thought that the rookie WR with the highest target share in Week 1 would be Kyle Philips? Not just amongst the rookie wide receivers on his own team, but in the entire NFL? Not even me, and I had heard of him before Week 1. The 5th round pick in the 2022 draft had a massive 29% target share in Week 1, despite playing on less than half of his teams’ snaps. While this didn’t equate to a lot of fantasy points, 9 targets cannot be ignored.

We can chalk this up to Robert Woods still not being 100%, Treylon Burks still adjusting to the NFL… or maybe Philips is “a thing”. Either way, he could be worth a bench stash for now as a weekly low floor option for the WR-needy. He is most likely still available in your league, rostered in just over 1% of ESPN leagues.

Rashod Bateman (WR, BAL)

He may not be the alpha we thought he was. The target distribution amongst all Ravens wide receivers was pretty evenly split. Bateman (17%), Devin Duvernay (14%), and Demarcus Robinson (14%) may be in more of a competition for targets than we had hoped for. Bateman did lead Baltimore WRs in offensive snaps, which is promising. Would like to shoehorn in that Mark Andrews‘ target share of 24% is comforting, despite his “lackluster” fantasy performance. Better days are ahead.

Greg Dortch (WR, ARI) is another surprise player. He led the Cardinals in receptions, targets, and yards in Week 1. If Rondale Moore is to miss more time, he is worth a look to see if this usage sticks. His name is also fun to say.

A.J. Dillon (RB, GB) dominated the Packers offense in Week 1. He out-carried Aaron Jones 10 to 5, received one more target, 6 to 5, and brought in 5 receptions to Jones’ 3. Dillon also accounted for Green Bay’s only touchdown. All of this despite logging just over half of the Packers snaps, compared to Aaron Jones’ 60% snap rate. I will note that Jones was way more efficient with his carries, to the tune of 9.8 yards per rush. But this backfield may be the split we were all dreading during draft season. In order for Jones to return value, we would like to see a higher share of touches in this offense.

The Annoying Truth Of The Week

Jamaal Williams is still very involved in Detroit’s offense. This is an annoying truth D’Andre Swift managers must come to grips with. Anyone who watched “Hard Knocks” knows that Dan Campbell and his staff love Williams. But this was a lot closer to a split than Swift managers were hoping for. Williams had a 42% market share among Lions RBs and got two valuable goal line carries he turned into touchdowns. Swift was able to score as well, so that made up for the goal line transgressions. But I speak for all of us when I say we want to see the guy with the 9.6 yards/carry (Swift) over the 2.55 yards/carry (Williams) more often.

Target Hogs Of The Week

Davante Adams (WR, LV) accounted for almost half of the Raiders targets (49%) in Week 1, which was the highest league-wide. Other wideouts who changed teams this offseason with massive target shares include A.J. Brown (45%), Tyreek Hill (39%), Christian Kirk (32%), and Jarvis Landry (28%). The new shiny toys were on display Sunday.

Javonte Williams (RB, DEN) led the way for running backs in Week 1, with 12 targets against the Seahawks. While this was a game script we don’t anticipate the Broncos to be in very often, it is comforting to know that Williams seems to be the 2-minute drill running back of choice in Denver.

Pat Freiermuth (TE, PIT) & Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR) both commanded 27% of their team targets. Of this pair, I am more trusting of Freiermuth’s involvement in this offense moving forward. He was very involved last year down the stretch, while we’ve seen the Higbee story before.

Box Score Anomalies Of The Week

Ryan Tannehill targeted the tight end position on 26% of his throws in Week 1. This would be great if it wasn’t spread out amongst four different players. On the other side of the same game, the Giants didn’t target the tight end position once.

Geno Smith targeted his three tight ends on 1/3 of his passing attempts, and all of them scored more points than Kyle Pitts, despite his 22% target share.

Perfect Attendance Awards

Tyler Boyd, Cooper Kupp, Devante Parker, Robbie Anderson and D.J. Moore all played 100% of their team’s offensive snaps in Week 1. Kupp is the only unsurprising entrant on this list. Boyd is interesting if Higgins cannot go in Week 2.

Cardio Player Of The Week

This section is dedicated to the player who had the most targets without recording a single catch in Week 1. A.K.A. they did a whole lot of nothing. This week’s winner is… Breshad Perriman! He logged 3 targets, but did not record a single catch. Honorable mention to CeeDee Lamb for just 2 catches on 11 targets. Here’s to hoping for brighter days ahead.

Well that’s it! Hope you found this information useful. If there are any other categories or topics you want me to touch on, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter!

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