For decades, the NFL defiantly opposed scrambling quarterbacks. Their view was that they could be effective in college, but to succeed in the NFL, you needed to be a pocket passer. There have been those that have tested that theory over the years, from Steve Young to Michael Vick to Cam Newton.
However, Lamar Jackson has shattered that notion over the last two seasons and, if Week 1 taught us anything, it’s that in a copycat league, other teams are taking notice.
On Sunday, five quarterbacks led their teams in rushing – Kyler Murray (13 carries for 91 yards and a rushing touchdown), Newton (15-75-2), Josh Allen (14-59-1), Jackson (7-45) and Russell Wilson (3-27).
They weren’t alone. Five other quarterbacks made big plays with their legs in Week 1, including Joe Burrow (8-46-1), Dak Prescott (3-30), Deshaun Watson (6-27-1), Mitchell Trubisky (3-26) and Teddy Bridgewater (4-26). Even glaciers like Kirk Cousins (4-34) and Tom Brady (a rushing TD) got in the act.
The day of telling a rushing quarterback he has to learn to be a pocket passer or change positions looks to be over. There’s a new prototype QB emerging and he uses his legs and his arm to do damage.
Here is the Week 2 Fantasy Football Market Report:
Fantasy Football Risers
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Coming off a down season in 2019 despite the Packers winning the NFC North, the fantasy disrespect shown Rodgers was shocking. In some circles, he was ranked below guys like Daniel Jones and Baker Mayfield. In most leagues, he was drafted as a No. 2 quarterback for the first time since 2007. After carving Minnesota for 364 yards and four touchdowns, owners are going to have a hard time to continue benching him.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Detroit Lions
When the Lions picked up Peterson after he was released by Washington, it was unclear what plan Detroit had for him. They had Kerryon Johnson as an incumbent and highly touted rookie D’Andre Swift. But, it was Peterson who was the main man Sunday against Chicago. He had 14 carries for 93 yards in his debut – Swift and Johnson combined for 10 carries for 22 yards. Given Swift’s critical drop at the end of the game, Peterson could again find himself as the focus in Detroit’s backfield.
Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots
Replacing a legend is never easy, but Newton silenced a lot of his doubters. He was extremely efficient passing (15 of 19 for 155 yards), but his fantasy contribution came on the ground, leading the team with 15 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns. He appears to have turned back the clock to five years ago with the Panthers. He was viewed as a backup fantasy QB at best on fantasy draft day, but made a lot of believers with how he took control of the Patriots offense and gave it a completely different look.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Everyone seemed to automatically anoint Cam Akers as the replacement for Todd Gurley as the featured back for the Rams. Apparently, Brown didn’t get the memo. He made the most of his opportunities against Dallas, rushing 18 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 31 more yards. Those who invested in Akers may have to wait to get what they want because Brown won’t be stepping aside to hand the job over without a fight.
Scotty Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Throughout training camp Tom Brady was talking up Miller, an undersized receiver who reminded Brady of guys like Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. He showed Sunday that it wasn’t just talk, as Miller caught five passes for 73 yards. While there is a slew of competition to get the ball – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate – the one player Brady seems the most comfortable with is the relatively unknown Miller, which could be a good thing for Tom’s latest Smurf receiver.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Injuries are a part of the game and Marlon Mack has had his share of them. It was the primary reason why the Colts used a second-round pick on Taylor. When Mack went down with a torn Achilles’ tendon in the season opener (he’s done for the year), Taylor’s value just spiked and should only increase as he leaves his main competition in the rearview mirror and controls his own feature back destiny.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Last season, Ingram had a career year because he was the designated red zone running back – rushing for 10 TDs and catching five more. What has to be troubling for Ingram owners isn’t that J.K. Dobbins scored two touchdowns, it was how he scored them – on runs of two and three yards. That used to be Ingram Territory, but may not be anymore.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins
What has extended Fitzmagic’s career has been his ability to be better than the guy he was supposed to be backing up. He did it with the Jets, Buccaneers and Dolphins. He seemed like the ideal guy to keep the seat warm for when Miami was ready to turn the offense over to Tua Tagovailoa. But, coming off an opener in which he looked brutal throwing for just 191 yards with no touchdowns, three picks and a passer rating of 44.6, Tua Time may be getting pushed up faster by the day.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
It’s hard to throw a guy under the bus who left a game due to injury, but this is the same thing we were seeing from Bell last year. He carried six times for just 14 yards and it seems like everything that worked for him in Pittsburgh hasn’t in New York. Frank Gore shouldn’t be viewed as a legitimate threat to his playing time, but anyone who had Bell last year made sure they didn’t have him this year for just what we saw Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings defense
The Vikings were always a popular defense to have because, under Mike Zimmer, they’ve had a penchant for sacks, turnovers and scoring defense – all the positives you look for. But, without three of their starting D-lineman from the last several years (Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen) and their top three cornerbacks (Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander), the Vikings got carved up, giving up five touchdowns and being humbled by Green Bay. The defense will get better, but that was a red flag that will have Vikings D/ST on the waiver wire this week.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
The post-Philip Rivers era began with a lackluster performance from Taylor, who barely completed 50 percent of his passes and threw for just 208 yards and no touchdowns in a game the Chargers never led against Cincinnati. The Chargers used the sixth pick of the draft to take Justin Herbert and Taylor may only have one or two more games to right the ship or he will get replaced. He needed a big Week 1 to set the tone. He set the tone, but not the one he wanted.