2020 Week 1 Analysis: Chargers @ Bengals (By Ross Jacobs)
-Two bad teams played a game and one of them survived to win with a healthy dose of good luck. I just saved you 3 hours. This was a seriously boring game, and neither of these two teams is going to be doing much winning this year.
-Most of my notes from this game are about Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow. It was definitely a hit and miss game for him, but overall I was rather impressed. He looked comfortable and in command of the offense. On one particular play he was rushed quickly and immediately turned to his checkdown when he recognized the pressure. On another play the ball was snapped before he was ready, but Burrow didn't panic and calmly delivered a perfect pass to his receiver. He was very spotty with his deep accuracy, but I doubt that is cause for concern. When he gets time he is able to dissect the defense, but right now this line isn't giving him time. If the Bengals can improve the line the next few years Burrow can and will be the same silent assassin he was in college.
-This Bengals offensive line is utter garbage. They've been bad for a few years now, but there was some hope that the return of Jonah Williams would help alleviate the worst of the problems. That doesn't appear to be the case. Right tackle Bobby Hart is by far the worst offender in my opinion. I've bashed Hart for 3 years now, and for some reason the Bengals just refuse to replace him. This offense is going nowhere until the line is patched.
-Star RB Joe Mixon looks as smooth and athletic as ever, but again this offensive line is killing his production. There's simply nowhere to run, and Mixon is routinely surrounded by defenders as soon as he gets the ball.
-The Chargers aren't any better on offense. Their issue, however, is the opposite. QB Tyrod Taylor simply isn't good enough to generate enough points to win games consistently. Sure he won't hurt you much, he doesn't throw many interceptions or fumble, but he can't string together scoring drives. He just doesn't fit stylistically with the core skill position players. WR Keenan Allen needs an accurate rhythm passer to hit him on short timing routes, and RB Austin Ekeler needs dump passes out in space. Those type plays just aren't Taylor's forte. If I were the Chargers I'd be getting rookie Justin Herbert onto the field pronto to see what he could do.
-Speaking of Ekeler, he looks like he's put on weight and it's slowing him down. He didn't seem like he had the same bouncy spring in his step as last year. If so that's a huge problem for his production. Combined with not getting enough dump passes from Taylor he could be headed for Bust City in Fantasyland.
-Neither defense really stood out much other than Joey Bosa. The only other player I have a note on is Chargers defensive lineman Jerry Tillery. He flashed on a couple of plays.
-Chargers rookie RB Joshua Kelley looked pretty solid here. He's definitely in a split with Ekeler now. You can kiss Justin Jackson goodbye.
-The Bengals looked like the better team overall in spite of their offensive line woes. Burrow is simply a far more dangerous QB than Taylor, and I think that makes the difference. The Chargers were very lucky to come out of this with a win. Neither team is very good though.
-If you drafted Ekeler I'd get out now. He'll have moments, but this looks like a bad situation moving forward.
-Burrow might be worth a stash in deeper leagues because of his running ability, but I'd be very wary of him this year as his line is simply atrocious. Maybe next year.
-I had high hopes for Mixon in 2020, but already I'm seeing flashbacks to 2019 when he had no room to run. He somehow still finished as the 6th leading rusher last year so there is still a sliver of hope, but I'd monitor this situation very closely.
-Hunter Henry and Mike Williams might be ok filler spots on your fantasy roster, but Keenan Allen is in trouble with Taylor at QB.
-AJ Green is the clear favorite for Burrow, but he doesn't look like his old self. Might be a WR2 at best.