Week 1 of the USFL was interesting, to say the least. It kicked off with a game that almost went into overtime and ended with a blowout. What we learned almost immediately was these teams could have used more than a three-week camp to get on the same page. There were miscues early on, as expected, but there were exciting plays as well. Overall gameplay should improve as the players continue to get their feet wet. Through all of the good and the bad, here is what we learned from USFL Week 1.
What We Learned: NJ Generals vs. BHAM Stallions
New Jersey Generals (0-1)
- WR Randy Satterfield might actually be a thing. The receiver finished the game with an even 100 yards, 5 receptions, and 1 touchdown.
- QBs Luis Perez and De’Andre Johnson will be sharing the rock going forward. Perez’s arm and Johnson’s legs kept the Stallion’s defense on their toes. Perez tossed 2 TD passes and Johnson ran wild for 98 and a TD of his own.
- RB Trey Williams looks like a three-down back. While his 54 rushing yards fell short of running mate Darius Victor’s 66, the former was able to also tack on five catches for an additional 54 yards.
- Safety Shalom Luani looks like a player to watch on this defense. He recorded a team-high eight tackles and intercepted an errant Alex McGough pass.
Birmingham Stallions (1-0)
- QB Alex McGough is not very good. He was benched after back-to-back drives where he showed an inability to protect the football. The ball slipped out of his hands on an attempted pass and was recovered by the defense. On the next drive, he took his gloves off and proceeded to overthrow his receiver for an INT.
- We may be looking at a shared backfield. Running backs CJ Marable and Tony Brooks-James virtually split carries (7 and 8 respectively). But it was Marable who was able to fall into the end zone for six.
- While WR Osirus Mitchell had the better game (5 rec, 96 yds, 1TD), it was plain to see that this team wanted to get WR Victor Bolden Jr. the ball. He led the team with eight targets and also got the ball on a designed run.
- Victor Bolden Jr. will have a KR/PR for a TD, it is inevitable.
- Just in time for Easter, replacement QB J’Mar Smith resurrected his team’s chances to win. Look for Smith to start under center when the Stallions match up against the Gamblers.
— USFL (@USFL) April 17, 2022
What We Learned: HOU Gamblers vs. MICH Panthers
Houston Gamblers (1-0)
- This front seven on defense is mean! In the first half, they dominated the line of scrimmage. They forced four fumbles, one of which was returned for a TD by Reggie Northrup.
- TE Brandon Barnes got blanketed in this matchup but was targeted twice in the end zone. However, both passes were late and broken up.
- This is a true lightning and thunder backfield. Dalyn Dawkins provides the juice, while Mark Thompson brings all of the broken tackles to the party.
- “Oregon” means one, “Texas” means two. The Panthers were broadcasting their snap count to the defense the entire game, no wonder the Panther’s QB was always under immediate pressure.
- JoJo Ward is going to be a reception monster. Ward caught the 1st two catches of the game and then went on to rack up 7 catches.
Michigan Panthers (0-1)
- They do not have a quarterback that they can trust. Shea Patterson started the game and was quickly replaced by Paxton Lynch after displaying ball security issues. Lynch did not do any better as he coughed up the ball himself and later threw an interception.
- Don’t start Quincy Adeboyejo in DFS. The 2second most expensive WR on the slate was a no-call no-show in this game. Even after WR Jeff Badet left the game with an apparent hamstring injury, the receiver couldn’t find the field.
- The offensive line struggled mightily in this matchup, giving up more pressures than can be counted and three sacks.
- We’re officially on Joe Walker watch. The WR (who QB, Shea Patterson personally requested be a part of the team) returned a punt for a TD, but it was called back due to an illegal blindside block.
- Hot hand backfield? RB Stevie Scott led the backfield with 18 carries, 72 yards and a TD. Cameron Scarlett was almost as productive with 15 carries for 66 yards.
What We Learned: PHI Stars vs. NO Breakers
Philadelphia Stars (0-1)
- WR, Chris Rowland was an early favorite target of QB, Bryan Scott. Rowland finished with 7 catches for 74 yards. At times it seems that Scott only had eyes for Rowland, often trusting him in contested catch situations.
- The RBs will be targeted out of the backfield. Matt Colburn caught 7 of 7 targets while Darnell Holland went 4 for 4.
- The rumors that TE, Bug Howard, and Bryan Scott had an early rapport in camp proved true with his 3 catches and a TD.
- Although he tossed a pick-6 early, Bryan Scott looks capable of putting up the stats needed to make his weapons relevant in fantasy football. It must be noted that Scott is dealing with a hand injury that he was able to play through.
New Orleans Breakers (1-0)
- This offense gets its juice through RB T.J. Logan, who ran the fastest RB 40-yard dash in the 2017 NFL Combine (4.37). His 96 scrimmage yards and a TD helped lead his team to their first win.
- RB Jordan Ellis is no slouch on the ground either, he ran for 89 yards and a TD on 18 carries.
- QB Kyle Sloter looked extremely rusty in his USFL debut. He completed a measly 17 of 27 passes for only 150 yards and an interception, no TDs. His leading receiver TE Sal Cannella was only able to muster 58 yards on 6 catches.
- The defense has a chance to be special. They recorded 6 sacks, a TD (pick-6), one blocked kick, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a safety. With the D filling the stat sheets like this, they should be a popular pick in next week’s matchup.
👀👓 @Diggsy13 saw it coming the whole way
— USFL (@USFL) April 17, 2022
What We Learned: TB Bandits vs. PIT Maulers
Tampa Bay Bandits (1-0)
- Tampa Bay is the team to beat!
- QB Jordan Ta’amu is the real deal. He has earned his popularity in DFS lineups. This offense looks like the most capable in the league.
- For now, this backfield belongs to B.J. Emmons. He scored an early touchdown and was even used as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
- If Ta’amu is Mahomes, then TE Cheyenne O’Grady is Travis Kelce. O’Grady was an early favorite target, reeling in 3 catches in the first 2 drives.
Pittsburgh Maulers (0-1)
- Don’t let the name fool you, this team didn’t get any push on either side of the ball.
- What we learned about HC Kirby Wilson is that his commitment to the run game may lead to him being committed to a mental facility.
- They’re going to live and die (likely die) by the run game. Eight straight runs to start the game and then ran it again on a 3rd and 8.
- Haven’t chosen a QB yet. Neither Kyle Lauletta nor Josh Love had an inspiring performance. So look for this competition to continue into next week.
- Bad punts constantly put the defense in terrible starting field position, best to avoid this defense in fantasy.
- Although talented, WR Jeff Thomas can’t seem to get the ball in his hands, other than punt returns.