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NFL Today: Week One Notes

September 6, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Sam Howell is now the starting quarterback for the Washington Commanders.
Sam Howell has a great opportunity this season. (Sports Illustrated)

After months of waiting, the 2023 NFL season finally gets underway on Thursday. Let’s get you prepped for Week One with a few storylines we’re following.

Sam Howell as a Streamer

When we projected Sam Howell as one of the top five quarterback prospects in the 2022 draft, we didn’t expect him to be starting as a rookie. And he didn’t… until the season finale.

But now that Howell enters the 2023 season as the starter for the Washington Commanders, we need to update our expectations and at the very least consider him a very viable streaming option — especially with such a tasty matchup in Week One vs. Arizona.

The former Tar Heel has a lot of pressure to step up and prove he has what it takes this year, but he gave us a decent preview in his lone game action last year, completing 11-of-19 for 169 yards, a perfectly utilitarian performance. For what it’s worth, Joe Theismann was impressed by Howell’s work in the preseason but is justifiably concerned about him hitting the rookie wall. Consider Howell a solid mid-range QB2 for Week One with room to grow over time thanks to his mobility.

Not Your Father’s Packers

We all know that the Green Bay Packers’ rivalry with the Chicago Bears has been rather one-sided for the last dozen years, with the Pack holding a 23-3 edge over that stretch (including eight straight wins in Green Bay).

But with the teams meeting in Chicago in Week One, this really is a brand new chapter in their storied history. For starters, these are not your father’s Packers. Hell, they’re not even your older brother’s team. At +4000 to win the Super Bowl according to FanDuel sportsbook, Green Bay is the definition of a middling team, at least in terms of projections.

For what it’s worth, the Packers looked good in preseason play, and their early season schedule is favourable with the first six games all against non-playoff teams. Seeking a sleeper on this squad? Try rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed, who should plenty of action as the team’s new slot man. He may not put up major numbers out of the gate, but given how quickly he’s connected with Jordan Love, we are super bullish on his chances of emerging with value as the season progresses, so consider Reed a nice weekly flex option.

Tampa Bay’s Rush Attack

After averaging just 75.6 rushing yards per game last season, there’s literally only one way to go but up for Tampa Bay’s rush attack in 2023.

In 2022, the Bucs were led by Leonard Fournette, but he was extremely disappointing with under 700 yards and just three TDs. Rookie Rachaad White was only slightly more efficient (3.7 YPC), totaling 481 yards with just one score. Only one other back even managed to top 50 yards for the season.


Tampa Bay opted against re-signing Fournette (in fact, no one has signed him), leaving the lead back role to sophomore White, the team’s third round pick from last year. The Bucs’ running game hinges upon White’s ability to step up with a larger role, and we think he’s capable (we should get a good idea in Week One with a projected big workload). Expect him to be a low-end RB2 overall, with upside on Sunday.

New backup Chase Edmonds has potential to be a useful in-season waiver wire pickup depending on how things develop. If we see the version that played well down the stretch for the Broncos (as opposed to the rancid version for the first half of the season in Miami), we could be onto something here. Edmonds has long been one of the those backs that flirted with Fantasy greatness if he could only get a bigger role. Backing up a fairly unproven youngster could provide that opportunity. Or not, given how Edmonds’ career has played out so far.

He’s the ultimate Fantasy tease, but if he plays a role in the passing game similar to what he did in Arizona in 2020 (and this possibility has been hinted at by the coaching staff), then he’s got sleeper potential.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Late ’60s/early ’70s American pop band Gary Puckett and the Union Gap weren’t around long, but managed to churn out a few hits. Here’s their cover of the Beatles‘ tune “Lady Madonna,” from the compilation Somethin’ Else Again and originally released in 1968 on their second album, Young Girl.

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