Week 1 of the NFL season is finally here and I can’t wait to get started. This week will be filled with overlay, fish? and hopefully some extra money in our pockets. This slate is going to be interesting to see how ownership falls. There are some clear good and bad plays and seeing just how the field handles them will be very interesting. Roster construction will be interesting, but I will be playing almost 100% of RB’s in the flex where I can, simply due to value. The WR options are slightly more scarce, but there are still some options in all different tiers.
My favorite top tier QB is probably Drew Brees. Brees gets a great matchup against a bad TB secondary that he should be able to destroy. The main concern with Brees is the passing game being shut down early. The main reason that I don’t feel as nervous about that is the fact that Kamara should be on the field a lot. The Saints will not want to run him 26 times in this game and they won’t have to if they just continue to pass. We have seen the Saints not really give up in these types of games and I think they trust Brees to complete passes and limit turnovers if they pass with the lead.
The other 2 guys at the top are from the Patriots Vs. Texans game. I prefer Brees with the discount, but both of these guys can post big numbers. The Texans secondary is old and the Patriots are going to have to throw to move the ball. The Texans should also be able to move the ball vs. the Pats bend but don’t break style.
The most interesting cheaper QB is Andy Dalton. This game is projected to be a shootout compared to most games and Dalton is in a great situation. Dalton faces a weak Colts’ defense that struggles to get pressure on the QB and struggles to cover receivers downfield. The Bengals offense should be better with another year of experience for John Ross and Joe Mixon and I expect them to be much more dynamic this season than they were last.
The top-tier is littered with talent, so I’m just going to talk about my favorite two. Of course, David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott are talented and great plays. I am using Melvin Gordon and Christian McCaffrey as much as about anyone this week. Melvin Gordon played every week last season and was a solid producer. There are 2 signs that lead me to believe it should only get better this season. Melvin Gordon played 6 games while on the injury report. If you take out those games, he was a better fantasy producer than Le’Veon Bell. That’s good.
Anthony Lynn said that the biggest regret of his first year was not getting Gordon involved as much in the passing game. All I heard there is that Melvin Gordon will be getting even more fantasy points. McCaffrey should be a beast this year and I will be overweight until A. proven completely wrong B. he’s a top 5 priced RB or C. the season ends. I am scared for B much more than I am the other 2 because I don’t know how I will react. CMC should be able to own the Cowboys’ defense and get a massive amount of touches.
James Conner is the chalk and I won’t be going away from it unless we get new news. James Conner is very talented and should get a lot of work if Bell doesn’t show up. He is simply too cheap and if the field was efficient, he would be like 75% owned. He won’t be that high-owned, so I’ll just be over the field. The other cheap options seem like Rex Burkhead and James White. If we know Sony Michel is out and Burkhead is a full-go, I like Burkhead to get off of a little Conner. In GPP’s, White is the better ownership and upside play. I want the 6 reception and 2 TD upside to try and top Conner if I get off of him at all.
My favorite receivers on the slate are Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown. Thomas plays a terrible TB secondary in a game where the Saints should score plenty. Thomas is a massive part of that offense and will produce to some degree. He’s a fantastic cash game play on this slate. Antonio Brown is the GPP play on this slate. His splits without Bell are fantastic and now he plays the Browns. Browns’ market share goes way up without Bell and he should be able to eat against a young, Gregg Williams coached defense.
Emmanuel Sanders and Chris Hogan are the 2 mid-range guys that stand out to me this week. Hogan stands out as a guy that has clear TD upside. The Pats are in the highest projected total of the week and they lack a true goal-line RB and they are without a lot of reliable options. We know Brady loves to target Hogan in the end zone and this is a great spot to look for a 2 TD game out of Hogan. Emmanuel Sanders is going to be good this year.
Last season, he was hurt basically all year with a terrible QB throwing to him. Now, Case Keenum joins the Broncos to set up a pretty good receiving group. Sanders has been pegged as the guy with the most chemistry with Keenum and that may have come with his slight position change. The Broncos are now lining up Sutton on the outside and have Sanders playing the slot a lot more. This results in Sanders getting typically worse coverage than he used to. Keenum also loved throwing to the slot in Minnesota and I think that will translate here.
Rob Gronkowski is clearly the best target on this slate at the TE position. He is a freak athlete and has the ability to break a slate at any time. In this matchup last year, Gronk got 10 targets for 89 yards and a TD. Now, they get the matchup without Brandin Cooks, Amendola, or Dion Lewis, who accounted for over 180 yards in this matchup last season. I could see 13 targets and 2 TDs easily for Gronk this week.
SO. Jordan Reed is “healthy.” I mean, I’ll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, I’ll pray that he can stay on the field for just one game. Reed is a physical beast and capable of doing a lot of things very well. The only thing he can’t do is stay on the field. Hopefully, he can hold on for at least one game. The transition to Alex Smith should really be good for Reed. Smith is much more comfortable with short completions and throwing to the TE than most QB’s. Smith may look towards Reed early in the season and if he does, I want to be there.