Written By: Cory Stace | @corystace
Member of Ball State Sports Link
Well last night was fun. The NFL season has officially begun! Last night the New England Patriots inevitably won over Pittsburgh 28-21. Some quick notes on fantasy relevance in last night’s game:
Tom Brady started off the season with a great performance of 288 yards with 4 touchdowns (27.6 points). Julian Edelman was targeted the most by Brady catching 11 for 97 yards and adding one rush of 9 yards (10.6 points), but it was Rob Gronkowski who stole the show with 5 receptions, 3 of them touchdowns, for 94 yards (27.4 points). Dion Lewis may be a sleeper change of pace back for the Pats, with higher value in PPR leagues.
For the Steelers, Big Ben had the yards, but they were inconsistent down by the goal line, which resulted in his only passing touchdown with 2 seconds left in the game (18 points). Who was that touchdown too? Yes, you guessed it… Antonio Brown was his typical self with 133 yards and 1 touchdown (19.3 points). Markus Wheaton disappointed as the #2 wide out with only 3 receptions.
With last night’s game behind us, we look forward to Sunday’s games, which will be even more fun for 26 other teams.
It just feels right talking about football again. Finally one game under the belts of all fans in the NFL. I will stay with the theme of yesterday but switch conferences to take a look at the NFC North and NFC East for fantasy this upcoming year.
Chicago Bears- Without Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, Alshon Jeffrey is going to be the only one getting targets in Chi-town if he stays healthy as he is missing practice with a calf injury currently. Many people are buying into Eddie Royal as a legitimate fantasy start this year, but I simply do not see it. Four of his seven touchdowns last season game in two games.
Martellus Bennett is another tight end in the Greg Olsen category where he is solid but goes unnoticed. John Fox likes to run the ball which could lead to a bigger workload for Matt Forte, but he just barely ran over 1,000 yards last season and is getting up their in age which can cause injury with a heavier workload. This could be the season we see him slip out of the top 10 running backs in fantasy with the best running days behind him.
Detroit Lions- Does everyone forget that Calvin Johnson was considered the best wide receiver in the NFL just last year before having an injury riddled season? He still is Megatron, and I think he has a bounce back year with Golden Tate on the other side providing nice fantasy numbers as well.
Matthew Stafford is someone who will throw the ball a lot but inconsistency held him back to the #15 overall QB last season. Many are excited about Joique Bell this season as a workhorse guy, but I think it will not be Bell but it will be the rookie Ameer Abdullah who receives more touches week to week by the end of the season. We all saw that cut in preseason, right?
Green Bay Packers- The curse of the preseason is real. Jordy Nelson goes down for the year, but that doesn’t mean Aaron Rodgers has less value. Rodgers will be the #2 QB this season next to Andrew Luck in an offense that has some of the best talent in the league and possibly the best quarterback in the league throwing to them.
Eddie Lacy is one of the safest options at running back this season because of the production of the offense. He gives you touchdowns and hard running which combines for a big fantasy season. Randall Cobb steps into my top 5 wide receivers with the Nelson injury.
Devante Adams is getting a lot of talk about top 15 in the wide receiver category, but with the addition of James Jones as someone Rodgers already knows, I think Adams falls into the 15-20 range this season amongst wide receivers.
Minnesota Vikings- I will only say this about one player in all of fantasy and through this preview. Adrain Peterson is not a human being! Isn’t he 30 now? Yes. Don’t running backs fall off when they are 30? Yes. Didn’t he sit out a whole season? Yes.
I don’t care about any of that. Adrain Peterson ran for over 2,000 yards after tearing his ACL off of pure motivation. Don’t you think he will be a little motivated again this season to prove some doubters? He is my #1 running back in fantasy this season.
Teddy Bridgewater quietly had a very good rookie season, and with the addition of AP for the running game as well as Mike Wallace on the outside, I think Teddy B could land in the top 12 QBs this season fantasy wise. The #1 wide out position is anyones guess at this point. I wouldn’t start any wide out from Minnesota unless they prove their is a clear #1 target within the first few weeks.
Dallas Cowboys- Dez Bryant, talent wise, is the second best wide receiver in the league only to Antonio Brown in my mind. I like Dez as a top 5 wide receiver fantasy wise as well because this offense will have to throw the ball more without DeMarco Murray.
Speaking of running backs, everyone thought the job was Joseph Randle’s until Dallas named Darren McFadden the starter and traded for Christine Michael out of Seattle. To start the season, I wouldn’t count on any of these running backs to be a starter until one guy proves to be the back. As I said, Dallas will throw the ball more which means Tony Romo could flirt with top 8 QB status this season.
New York Giants- New York’s running situation is one of the most underrated in fantasy. I like Rashad Jennings, and all the news out of camp says he looks good as the starting back. Vereen will take passing downs but Jennings is a starting running back either in the RB2 or flex role.
Odell Beckham Jr. is great, but everyone knows it now. I don’t buy people saying he will be the top fantasy wide receiver this season. I think he finishes as a low end top 5 receiver like last season. Victor Cruz is back, and he definitely deserves a roster spot in fantasy. Don’t start him in week 1, but down the line he could return to form.
Philadelphia Eagles- There is real potential fantasy wise on this offense because of the fast paced Chip Kelly. IF Sam Bradford can stay healthy he could be a reliable starting fantasy quarterback. DeMarco Murray in this situation is intriguing. Don’t expect DeMarco to get all the carries though because you have to remember they paid Ryan Matthews and kept Darren Sproles for a reason.
I like Jordan Matthews as a possible breakout candidate. Receivers simply get open in this offense with the extra confusion created. One guy I don’t like is Zach Ertz. It seems like we have been saying that he will breakout for 3 years, but yet Brent Celek remains on the roster to ruin dreams of a breakout year.
Washington Redskins- It’s safe to say I don’t like the QB situation in D.C. It also hurts the value of a wide receiver named Desean Jackson because Kirk Cousins doesn’t like to throw the deep ball as much as RGIII. Alfred Morris could suffer some as well with the lack of a running threat at quarterback, but I still like Morris to finish in the top 15 for running backs in fantasy.
Pierre Garcon is someone who actually benefits from the QB change. Garcon’s best games last season were in week 3 and 7. Who played both of those weeks? Yes, you guessed it, Kirk Cousins.
Be on the lookout tomorrow for more Fantasy Football Team-by-Team season breakdowns. Tomorrow we will take a look at the AFC South and AFC West. We will lead up to Sunday with one more drop coming on Sunday before kickoffs that will take a look at the NFC South and NFC West. Hope you enjoy!