The anticipation of the very first game of the NFL season was apparent. Me and my kids made sure to have everything done in the house before the game came on and they even got to watch a little before going to bed. But I’m sure that it was the same for many longing for the return of football. We got to see the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football. And while that was the main draw, fantasy managers may have had their eyes on a different part of the game as did NFL betting enthusiasts in Michigan.
Dynasty managers in particular had their eyes on two rookies during this Week 1 matchup. Both Lions rookies, running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta, were on the minds of dynasty managers as they hoped to see some glimpse of promise in their investments. I have to say for myself, it was indeed a glimpse but it was promising nonetheless. In regards to Jahmyr Gibbs, the second running back selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, showed why he was drafted that high.
Gibbs didn’t get a ton of work in his first game of the regular season. Gibbs saw just 11 snaps in the first half as David Montgomery would fill the lead role for the Lions backfield in this game.
Lions halftime HB snap count
David Montgomery 28
Jahmyr Gibbs 11
Out of 37 plays
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 8, 2023
Jahmyr Gibbs would play behind Montgomery the rest of the night, ending the game with just 19 offensive snaps.
David Montgomery – 54 offensive snaps
Jahmyr Gibbs – 19 offensive snaps
— Kate Magdziuk (@katemagdziuk) September 8, 2023
This is more of a shocking development considering the buzz for Gibbs coming into the game especially when you consider the comments made by Lions OC Ben Johnson earlier in the week. Johnson told reporters,” We might use Gibbs in some ways that people don’t quite think we might…” Well, if he meant “barely” then he succeeded much to the disappointment of fantasy managers. But the night wasn’t all bad.
Gibbs had a couple of solid, tough runs that showcased cutting and speed as well as his tough running. This one was one of my favorite runs of the night for Gibbs.
Jahmyr Gibbs didn't get a ton of work tonight in his first NFL game but he had a couple of nice runs.
7 carries for 42 yards (6.0 y/a), 2 for 2 w/ 18 yards in the air. But one of his best runs of the night to me was this one 👇 pic.twitter.com/4wPAmVwBHK
— William Spencer III (@hype_phinest) September 8, 2023
All in all, Gibbs finished with just 42 yards on the night with just seven carries. He did averaged six yards per attempt and caught two passes for 18 yards. Maybe the Lions should attempt to get Gibbs on the field more moving forward in order to help the passing game out. Jared Goff finished with 253 passing yards on 22/35 attempts with a 94.1 passer rating. Gibbs catching passes as a receiving back and using his speed and shiftiness in the open field may be something the Lions want to explore moving forward this season.
Sam LaPorta actually had a solid game though he should’ve gotten a bit more work too. LaPorta was used as a blocker for a good portion of the contest but when he did get out there he was able to showcase his hands and his ability to get open.
For fantasy, I'm watching Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta on the Lions side. Usage and targets will be interesting for those two.
The Chiefs, Skyy Moore is on my radar. Will the Chiefs really use him and be involved like they've been talking about. Same thing for Toney… pic.twitter.com/GVbjNiRdGR
— William Spencer III (@hype_phinest) September 7, 2023
LaPorta was a person of interest as it wasn’t clear how much the Lions would actually use him. He finished the game with 39 receiving yards on five receptions on five targets. Imagine having a 100% catch rate in your very first NFL career game, that’s impressive, to say the least. One of the reasons fantasy managers should be taking a long look at Sam LaPorta is that, at least for the next 5-6 weeks, the Lions are going to have to use what they have to stimulate the passing game.
Jameson Williams won’t be back for another five games as he was suspended for gambling at the Lions facility. Until then, Josh Reynolds (4/7, 80 yards) and Marvin Jones (2/6, 8 yards) will have to hold down the fort until Williams is off suspension. The Lions’ number one receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had a solid night going 6/9 for 71 yards and a touchdown. If Goff is going to be asked to throw the ball close to 35 times a game, LaPorta should be able to carve out a nice workload as a reliable target for Jared Goff. Last season, T.J. Hockenson was just that. Hockenson had 42 targets over seven games with the Lions in 2022 before being traded to division-rival Minnesota Vikings. That kind of workload is still floating up in the air as the Lions are still looking to have a rhythm heading into these games.
Both rookies were able to provide fantasy managers with just enough to leave a good taste in their mouths. Over the next few weeks, we’ll get to see what the Detroit Lions do with the rookies as the likelihood of an increased workload is sure to come for one, if not both players as the season goes on.
Thank you for checking out my article! Be sure to stay locked in for more articles like these over at the Dynastyfootballfactory.com. If you liked this article, follow me on Twitter @Hype_Phinest, and if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter! Make sure to follow the whole DFF team @DFF_Dynasty. Until the next article!