Week Two Fantasy Football: Start or Sit

 Matchups are the most important factor when it comes to choosing who to start this week in fantasy football.  The only exceptions are the s...

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Week Two Fantasy Football: Start or Sit

 Matchups are the most important factor when it comes to choosing who to start this week in fantasy football.  The only exceptions are the superstars in the league like the Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey level players.  So which players should be started or benched this week due to matchups?

Start: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, San Francisco) 

The New York Jets have a horrible defense in nearly every way possible, but their run defense is still better than people think.  They only allowed 41 yards between the Bill's two running backs, and another 57 yards to Josh Allen.  Jimmy Garoppolo isn't nearly as mobile as Allen, but their running backs are much better than Buffalo's.  The Jets should be able to slow the run game down, which means Jimmy G is going to have to throw.

After a disappointing performance in week one, the 49ers are out for blood and could very easily run up the score on this poor New York team.  Garoppolo made some horrible throws in crunch time and will be looking to recover from that in week two.  Outside of Marcus Maye, this secondary looks awful.  Brian Poole is an alright cornerback, but excels mainly in the slot.  Outside of those two, the passing game should be solid.  Kittle's injury is a little concerning, but the 49ers will still have Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jordan Reed.  Not to mention the three headed monster in the backfield consisting of Coleman, Mostert, and McKinnon (all of which are good receiving backs).  Jimmy Garoppolo could have well over 300 yards and at least two touchdowns on this Jets team. 


Sit: Ryan Tannehill (QB, Tennessee) 

The Titans had an impressive passing attack in week one against the Denver Broncos.  Tannehill threw for 250 yards on the most attempts he's had in his career in Tennessee yet.  People may look at this as a reason to start him, but this matchup is much different than the one against Denver.  Derrick Henry was held to just 3.7 yards per carry which is unusually low for him as the Broncos found a way to slow him down.  Henry still finished with 116 yards on 31 attempts, but the Jaguar's defensive front is nowhere near the level of Denver's.  The Titans will look to get back to their run heavy offense and control the pace of the game with Derrick Henry.  

On the other side of the ball, Minshew looked great last week and the Jaguars upset the Colts in a great performance.  The Colt's defense isn't as good as the Titan's defense is though.  Minshew will see much more pressure and will be playing against better cornerbacks.  If they can't put points on the board in order to keep up with the Titans, Tennessee will be in a very positive game script and will run the clock out as fast as they can.  Derrick Henry will definitely have over 100 yards and two touchdowns is not out of question for him.


Start: Leonard Fournette (RB, Tampa Bay)

The Buccaneers are coming off a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Saints in Tom Brady's debut in Tampa Bay.  In week two, the Bucs face off against the Carolina Panthers who are also coming off a loss.  Brady definitely struggled a bit in week one against the Saint's near elite defense, but the Panthers do not have even an average defense.  They allowed 34 points to the Raiders, with three touchdowns coming from Josh Jacobs near the goal line.  Leonard Fournette will be used in that same role (goal line attempts) for the Bucs and will find his way into the end zone.

Tampa Bay also has a solid defense and can hold the Panthers under 20 points without question.  The Buccaneers should get a sizable lead early on in the game and put them in a positive game script to run the ball.  Ronald Jones II will not get every carry in this offense and LeSean McCoy appears to be a non-factor early on in this season.  Fournette will get the more valuable carries inside the 10 and should find his way into the end zone at least once.  The yardage might not be there, but Fournette should make a good flex start this week.


Sit: Malcolm Brown (RB, Los Angeles)

The Rams have entered the 2020 season using a running back committee approach as no one really stood out at camp over the others.  This is good for an actual football team, but horrible for fantasy.  In week one, most of the carries were split between Malcolm Brown (18) and Cam Akers (14).  Brown definitely looked the best of the two averaging 4.4 yards per carry while Akers only had 2.8 YPC.  He also had two touchdowns against the Cowboys.  These stats all seem great, but Malcolm Brown should be benched against the Eagles.  

The Eagles have consistently had one of the best run defenses over the past couple of years and so far, this season doesn't look any different.  They allowed a total of 63 total rushing yards to the running backs (and 17 to Dwayne Haskins), which is about 2.2 YPC.  The Rams will likely be looking to pass against this team as the linebackers and secondary (outside of Darius Slay) are average at best.  They will also ride the hot hand for running backs so if Brown doesn't look great, his work load could very easily take a dip from last week.  Big touchdown performances are also difficult to repeat, especially in a committee.  This is a tough matchup for running backs and there's no guarantee in Malcolm Brown's workload.


Start: Diontae Johnson (WR, Pittsburg)

Diontae Johnson let some people down in week one if they were expecting a big game from him.  He only had 6 receptions for 57 yards, but had 10 targets in this crowded receiver room.  Big Ben obviously wants to look his way, but couldn't connect with him.  In week two, the Steelers play against the Denver Broncos who would normally be risky for a wide receiver start.  However, staring cornerback A.J. Bouye is out for a couple weeks which would leave the Bronco's CB3 or CB4 on Diontae Johnson.  

The Broncos also held Derrick Henry to just 3.7 YPC and he's much better than Benny Snell Jr. or James Conner.  Running the ball isn't entirely out of question, but this matchup favors the passing attack.  Denver should keep this game competitive so the Steeler's will likely have to throw until the end of the game to stay ahead.  Diontae Johnson will see near the same targets, if not more, and Big Ben has hopefully shaken most of the rust off by now.  One big play going for a touchdown will be enough for Johnson to at least be a flex start.


Sit: DeVante Parker (WR, Miami)

The Dolphins lost to the Patriots in week one after a let down performance by DeVante Parker.  He finished the game with just four receptions for 47 yards.  The Patriots do have an elite secondary, but the rest of their defense looks a little weak after a few opt outs.  Heading into week two, the Dolphins are going against an even better defense in the Buffalo Bills.  The Dolphins don't have really any advantage over the Bills in this matchup and will probably struggle to get much of anything going.

Aside from Jamison Crowder's 69 yards touchdown in week one, the Bill's held every receiving option on the Jets to under 50 yards.  DeVante Parker is a much better receiver than anything the Jets have, but the offensive line and quarterback situations aren't an improvement.  The defense looks slightly better than the Jet's so that should keep them in competition to some extent, but the Bills should have control over this game.  Tre'Davious White should lock Parker up all game and hold him to a similar stat line as he had in week one.


Start: Jonnu Smith (TE, Tennessee)

Although Ryan Tannehill won't have a big game, his tight end could have a great week two.  As stated earlier, the Titans face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in what should be a relatively easy victory for them.  The Titans have a great defense and an above average offense going against a below average team on both sides of the ball.  Now that A.J. Brown is out, Tannehill only has two main targets in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith.  In week one against the Broncos (a much better defense), Smith had four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown.  

Week two poses an interesting matchup as C.J. Henderson could definitely lock up Corey Davis after an impressive performance against T.Y. Hilton.  Outside of Henderson, this Jacksonville defense looks really weak.  The Titans offense will run through Derrick Henry as it normally does, but Jonnu Smith could see the most targets of any receiver on this team in week two.  Six receptions on eight targets for 70 yards and a touchdown is a likely stat line for this game for Jonnu Smith.  He won't have a league winning week, but he should be in your starting lineup. 


Sit: Evan Engram (TE, New York)

  In week one, the Giants faced off against the Pittsburg Steelers who made Engram a total non-factor in this game.  Engram finished the game with two receptions for nine yards and anyone who started him was more than disappointed.  The Giants go up against the Bears in week two and this isn't any better of a matchup.  

The Bears are coming off a win over the Lions, and they looked hot in the fourth quarter of that game.  The Lions led the entire game, but the Bears had a very impressive fourth quarter comeback thanks to Mitch Trubisky and their defense.  If Chicago can continue playing at this level, Engram could be held to very few points once again.  This Bears defense let up five receptions for 56 yards to Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, whose week was saved by a touchdown.  The Lion's offense is definitely better than the Giant's offense, so they may struggle to move the ball much at all.  Evan Engram will have another weak performance and he's not worth starting.


Start: Cardinal's Defense

Arizona upset San Francisco in week one and, although their offense struggled in the first half, their defense looked much improved from last year.  The Cardinals came away with three sacks and had two dropped interceptions.  This won't show up on the stat sheet, but Arizona also had a goal line stop for four straight downs.  They held George Kittle to just four receptions for 44 yards and every receiver under 35 yards.  Outside of a couple of chunk plays from Mostert and Juszczyk, this defense held nearly everybody in check.

The 49ers were dealing with some injuries on offense, but the Washington Football Team doesn't have those weapons to begin with.  The offensive line is also much weaker in Washington than it is in San Francisco.  The Cardinals could easily finish with five (or more) sacks against Dwayne Haskins, especially after the loss of Trent Williams.  Not to mention, Haskins is a worse quarterback than Jimmy Garoppolo so at least one interception is not out of question for this defense, especially if there is constant pressure on him.  


Sit: Cowboy's Defense

Dallas goes against the Atlanta Falcons in week two of the NFL season.  This game is going to be a shoot out and neither team will really be able to stop the other.  The Cowboy's defense already didn't look all that great in week one when they faced the Rams.  They came away with just one sack and one interception and didn't really have much control over Los Angeles.  They could generate some pressure and force some incompletions, but those don't count for fantasy football.  

The Falcons on the other hand, have one of the best offenses in the league.  Matt Ryan had three receivers put up over 100 yards in week one while throwing for 450 yards himself.  Atlanta is coming off a loss to Seattle so they should be looking to put up even more points this week as Dan Quinn is on the hot seat in 2020.  The Cowboys will not be able to stop this offense and could easily allow over 30 points with just a few sacks and maybe one or two turnovers.  The yards and points scored will be enough to make this defense not startable.  



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Week One Takeaways for Fantasy Football

Week one had a ton of surprises and some breakout players, while some others struggled to get anything going.  It's never a good idea to make big changes to your fantasy roster after just one week, but some impacts are so significant that they might just set a trend for the rest of the season.  These are some of the biggest takeaways from week one that have fantasy relevance.

The Cardinals Offense is Legit
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers in San Francisco in their season opener in an exciting back and forth rally.  The 49ers were favorited in this game as they are coming off a Super Bowl appearance and have a lot of continuity on both sides of the ball.  However they were lacking some pieces on the offensive side of the ball, but that's not the offense I'm talking about today.  The Arizona Cardinal's offense looked really good this week.  They struggled to move the ball on a few drives, but it's week one after a restricted offseason so that was expected.  After they got those few hiccups out, the Kyler Murray and the rest of this offense looked good.

Let's start with the elephant in the room, Deandre Hopkins.  He had one of the best wide receiver debuts ever with 150 yards on 14 receptions and falling just inches shy of a trip to the end zone.  Hopkins could not be covered by anyone on this 49ers defense with only two incompletions thrown towards him.  The chemistry between Murray and Hopkins is already incredible and, after signing that massive extension, will only continue to get stronger.  Aside from the stellar performance by Nuk, they also had some other solid performance.

Kyler Murray had 230 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception through the air.  He also had 91 rush yards on 13 attempts and another touchdown on the ground.  Murray really utilized his speed this game and looked great doing so.  He never looked to run first aside from a couple designed run plays; he stood in the pocket looking to pass and only ran when he had to or had a great opening.  The running back duo of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds combined for 110 total yards and two total touchdowns, one of each of them.  The running game aside from Kyler Murray wasn't the most efficient, but it got the job done.  Deandre Hopkins was the only relevant receiver on this team in week one, but Kyler Murray will have to open in up even more in coming weeks and will allow other receivers (probably Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald) to become a little more fantasy relevant.
  

The Raiders Run Through Josh Jacobs
Las Vegas opened their season against the Carolina Panthers who appear to be in a rebuilding phase.  The Panther's offense is more than capable of keeping up with this offense, but their defense couldn't stop a thing.  This makes Josh Jacob's performance even more impressive as the Raiders should've been in an even more pass heavy game script as they either had a narrow lead or were trailing most of the game.

Jacobs finished week one with 139 total yards and three touchdowns.  The Raiders finally started to involve him in the passing game which is even better for fantasy purposes.  Josh Jacobs could easily out up this yardage every week if he's given 29 total touches, but the touchdowns will regress.  He'll still have big games with multiple touchdowns, especially against weaker teams like the Panthers, but he won't be putting up over 30 points every week.  The Raiders also face the Browns, Jets, Falcons, Dolphins, and Broncos who could all be great matchups for him.

Another part of Josh Jacob's success was the efficiency of the offense as a whole.  Derek Carr had over 73% pass completion while not throwing any interceptions.  He only had one touchdown pass, but he didn't need to do much more with Josh Jacobs rumbling away.  The offensive line proved to be one of the best in the league right now and should continue to do so with a relatively favorable schedule.  Josh Jacobs was great in his rookie year, but will be even better for the rest of his sophomore season.


Andy Dalton wasn't the Problem in Cincinnati 
The Bengals let go of long time starting quarterback Andy Dalton in favor of drafting rookie Joe Burrow from LSU.  Burrow is coming off one of the best seasons in college football history with 60 touchdowns and a national championship.  Although a quarterback is the most important position on a football team, there's no way a first year signal caller is going to turn around an awful franchise overnight.

Cincinnati has been struggling for years now and decided to move on from Dalton thinking he was the problem.  In reality, Andy Dalton was probably the only part of this team that worked.  Starting with the owner of the team refusing to spend any money, every part of the management is incapable of doing their jobs well.  The Bengals lost week one to the Chargers in a very disappointing fashion.  They had a touchdown ruled out then their kicker, Randy Bullock, missed a game tying field goal.  Joe Burrow definitely had his struggles in his first game (as expected), but very few of them were his fault at all.

The offensive line continues to be in absolute shambles making Burrow have to either move on every play or get rid of the ball in less than a second.  The coaching staff and play calling is still well below average, though Zac Taylor has potential to improve as it's only his second year with the Bengals.  The defense finally looked decent, but the Chargers don't have a great offense with Tyrod Taylor at the helm of it.  And finally, they need to move on from Randy Bullock.  He's never been a great kicker and there's no reason to keep him.  There are dozens of free agent kickers worth trying out and Bullock is very easily replaceable.  The Cincinnati Bengals have been a mess of an organization and will continue to be one until the owner sells the team or he wakes up and decides to make big changes.
  

Cam Newton is Back
The New England Patriots lost the greatest quarterback of all time to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, so they replaced him with a polar opposite style quarterback.  Tom Brady has never been one to move around much, let alone take off with the ball.  Cam Newton looks to do that if his first two reads aren't open, sometimes even having designed runs.  The last time we saw Cam Newton, he looked beat up and broken down.  Now that he's had tons of time to heal up, he looks amazing in a Patriots uniform so far.

I know it's only one game but he outperformed everyones expectations, which weren't very high to begin with.  Cam finished the game with 155 passing yards on 15 for 19 passing, with an additional 75 yards on the ground with two rushing touchdowns.  In just one game as a Patriot, he broke the single game quarterback rushing record of the franchise which is pretty impressive looking back to how he played last season.  Now it may be a bit of a stretch to say his is totally back to normal, but Newton looked good and played above everyone's expectations which is exciting to say the least.  Everyone had some week one struggles, Cam included, so he could definitely return to his former self once he gets the last of the rust off.  This is going to be an exciting season for Cam Newton and the Patriots.


It's Time for Adam Gase to go
The New York Jets continue to be the model of mediocrity.  Mediocrity may even be a compliment in comparison to how they actually played this weekend.  Not to discredit the Bills dominating victory, but the Jets couldn't do anything.  They looked out of sync, unscripted, and unconfident in any of their decisions.  The only passes Sam Darnold completed to start the game were shovel passes or dump offs.  The Bills absolutely obliterated anything the Jets think they had going for them.  Yes they had some injuries as well, but this was just straight up incompetence.  

Adam Gase doesn't know how to play call and get the ball to his playmakers.  The offensive line continues to struggle, but Adam Gase insists on calling plays that take a little bit of time to develop.  Or he runs Le'Veon Bell between the tackles where he can't find a hole (because there is no hole).  The front office needs to do a better job on getting the right personnel, but Gase needs to utilize what he has much better than he currently is.  I felt like I was watching the 2019 Jets all over again with how inefficient this team was and how they were completely unable to move the ball.  The New York Jets should enter a rebuild instead of just being at the bottom of the league for years to come.  They can keep Joe Douglass, but everyone else has got to go.
 

Washington's Defense is Great
The Eagles were dominant in the first half of this game and were up 17-0 nearly until half time.  Once Dwayne Haskins threw that touchdown to Logan Thomas, this game took a massive turn in the other direction.  The Washington Football Team started to dominate this game, putting up 27 unanswered points.  Most of this turn around can be credited to this team's defense.  The offense struggled early on and finally got in stride, but the defense (specifically the defensive line) looked incredible.  

The Washington Football Team finished week one with eight total sacks and three fumble recoveries.  Carson Wentz and the Eagles had absolutely no answer for what this defense was throwing at them.  To be fair, the right side of the offensive line was undrafted rookies as well as a couple of injuries on the right side.  The Eagles also went into the game without Miles Sanders and lost Boston Scott during the game.  Philadelphia should be used to these types of injuries by now, but they couldn't overcome it this time around.  Carson Wentz was under pressure seemingly every single play and couldn't get any momentum in the second half.  

In the next few weeks, the Football Team faces some below average offensive lines like the Cardinals, Giants, Browns, Lions, and Bengals which should allow them to feast again.  The Cardinals have a much better and healthier team than the Eagles do so it will be a more difficult task, but with a mix of Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan, Daron Payne, you name it, they will get pressure on every single quarterback they face.  Even later in the season, they face the Panthers, Seahawks, and the Eagles again, they should be a startable defense for the entire year barring injuries.  Any time one your players goes up against Washington, you may have to think twice about starting them if it's not Christian McCaffrey or Russell Wilson.


Lamar Jackson Picked up Right Where he Left Off
The Baltimore Ravens started their season with a very favorable matchup against the Cleveland Browns who have (once again) started their season off with a loss.  The Ravens were absolutely dominant and Lamar Jackson could not be slowed down let alone stopped.  Jackson had an 80% completion percentage and threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns.  He was also the team's leading rusher, but it was only for 45 yards on the ground.  Coming off a playoff loss, following his MVP season, Lamar Jackson is looking to win and will not be stopped this season.

Lamar Jackson will be looking to have another MVP level season, although he probably won't win it as the NFL loves a breakout player.  Unless the Steelers bounce back with Big Ben (assuming he's healthy), the Ravens have this division locked up for the 2020 season.  The Browns were held to just six points following Baker Mayfield's struggles against this elite defense.  If this is any indication of how the Brown's season is going to go, they can already be written out.  The same goes for the Bengals.  They lost in a nail biter against the Chargers who had a horrible offensive performance under Tyrod Taylor.  Joe Burrow didn't look incredible, but the rest of that team is horrible.

The Steelers are the only real competition for the Ravens this year and that's only if Big Ben can return to his former self.  Lamar will be a weekly starter for the entire season no matter the matchup.  His rushing baseline makes up for any challenging secondary, and his passing looked even more improved from last season.  Quarterbacks rarely finish as the number one fantasy quarterback two seasons in a row but if anyone is going to do it, it's Lamar.  The defense is amazing, but the offense is even better.  Baltimore has a relatively easy schedule with a few difficult games in there (Steelers, Patriots, Chiefs, Texans), but the last stretch of the season looks really nice.  Lamar Jackson will win people leagues come fantasy playoffs.


The Steelers are Back
Although they faced a weak Giants team, Pittsburg looked pretty good last night.  In 2019, they had every piece they needed to get to the playoffs except for a quality starting quarterback.  Even without one, the Steelers still finished 8-8 and had the seventh seed, which would've put them in the playoffs this season.  Big Ben looked healthy as he threw the ball 32 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns.  James Conner went down (again) and Benny Snell Jr. filled in nicely, rushing for 113 yards on only 19 carries.  The player who gained the most from Big Ben's return is Juju Smith-Schuster.

Last season, the third string quarterback play was not enough to sustain a quality receiver, but Juju also had struggles with injuries.  Rookie receiver Diontae Johnson was outplaying him last season and everyone started to count him out.  To open up this season, Juju caught all six passes that were targeted at him with two of them going for touchdowns.  The yardage wasn't there as he only had 69 receiving yards, but he didn't have to do much with how well the ball was being spread around.  Those two touchdowns really helped Juju Smith-Schuster regain his confidence and he should continue to be a regular start in fantasy.

The big question now comes in the running game.  Is James Conner healthy?  Will Benny Snell Jr. earn the starting role?  It may be time to move on from Conner if he has to miss even more time in his career.  He was a great comeback story after beating cancer and making his way to the NFL, but he's detrimental to the team with his injuries.  Benny Snell Jr. looked incredible last night and couldn't be stopped.  

Their defense picked up right where it left off as well.  They allowed nearly 300 passing yards, but came away with two interceptions and three sacks.  The real story of this game is that run defense.  They held Saquon Barkley six yards on the ground.  Off 15 attempts.  This is in part due to the horrible run blocking offensive line, but the Steelers were there on every single play.  Bud Dupree and Cam Heyward were destroying this offensive line on every play.  T.J. Watt had a great game too, coming away with an interception.  This entire team will have fantasy production in 2020, but James Conner should probably be benched until he proves he can stay healthy (which has yet to happen).  








 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Players Who Will have a Quietly Great Week One

 Week one is unpredictable and every year, unexpected players have great weeks for fantasy football.  This year already, Sammy Watkins had a great week with over 80 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown.  He seems to do this every season, but it's still unexpected as he could easily finish as a WR1 after this performance.  What other players could have a quiet, but great week one?

John Brown (WR, Buffalo)

The Bills traded for star wideout Stefon Diggs from the Vikings this offseason, and they gave up a lot of draft capital for him.  Last season, Buffalo had John Brown as their number one receiver, who is kind of like Stefon Diggs-lite.  John Brown is nowhere near the level of receiver Diggs is, but he is a fast, deep ball receiver with a similar skill set.  This move makes it look like the Bills want Josh Allen to really air the ball out in 2020 and with Brown as the WR2 on the team now, he'll face much easier coverage.

Diggs will line up against the Jets number one corner in Pierre Desir and will definitely draw safety help from Marcus Maye.  With Diggs being double teamed most of the game, John Brown should see a lot of single coverage from either Bless Austin or Brian Poole.  Neither of these players are great cornerbacks or as fast as John Brown.  To have a good week, Josh Allen really just needs to connect with John Brown on a deep ball for a touchdown.  One route is all it takes.  I'm not saying John Brown will finish as a WR1 this week, but he could very easily be startable against this horrid Jets secondary.  Five receptions, 65 yards, and a touchdown is a very reasonable stat line for John Brown and would place him as a high end WR2 in this first week of fantasy football.


Chase Edmonds (RB, Arizona)

The Arizona Cardinals enter the 2020 season as one of the most hyped up teams, yet still have some very underrated players on this squad.  Chase Edmonds is one of those players.  Kenyan Drake (the starting running back) has been sidelined from practice, and even in a walking boot, for much of this training camp.  The Cardinals announced this was precautionary, but they wouldn't sideline him for this long if there wasn't some serious concern.  Heading into week one Drake is currently not on the injury report, but could still be limited.

Next in line at the position in Chase Edmonds.  In 2019, Edmonds had one really great game against the Giants but still put up some decent stats in other games.  He is a smaller running back standing at only 5'9" and only 205 pounds, Edmonds makes for a great scat back.  With Kenyan Drake seeing less action than a full time starter normally would, Edmonds will get the rest of that work.  8-10 touches is not out of reason in this fast paced offense, with three or four of those touches being receptions.  If Edmonds can slip his way into the end zone off a screen pass, he could have a mid to high end RB2 week.  60 total yards and a touchdown is not out of reason and would definitely be worth starting over other running backs who don't score.


Boston Scott (RB, Philadelphia)

This running back situation is very similar to the one listed above in Arizona.  Miles Sanders is the starting running back and will get the workload when healthy.  The only problem is that he's been banged up for some of training camp as well.  Next in line is another similar back to Chase Edmonds, Boston Scott.  He is a smaller back with great receiving ability and is very shifty in the open field.  Once he started to see action close to the end of last season, Scott was inside the top 10 at his position for a couple weeks (in PPR format).

The Eagles have also been dealing with injuries all of their offense.  Wide receivers, offensive line, and the tight end positions have dealt with injuries.  Without Jalen Reagor or Alshon Jeffery, and Dallas Goedert's hairline fracture, the Eagles have very limited receiving options, leaving the running backs to see more volume either on the ground or through the air.  If Miles Sanders isn't 100% healthy, he should be limited entering week one and Boston Scott will see the rest of that work.  A similar stat line to Chase Edmonds would be expected with around 60 total yards and a touchdown, once again finishing as a mid tier RB2.


Danny Amendola (WR, Detroit)

Matthew Stafford is an amazing quarterback and will continue to be one until proven otherwise.  He can very easily support two startable wide receivers, and did so a few times last season with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.  Heading into week one, Kenny Golladay is listed as 'doubtful' after suffering an injury just a couple days ago.  This will allow former Patriot Danny Amendola to step up into the WR2 role on the team.

This offense will be passing a lot against the Chicago Bears.  They have a complicated back field with Adrian Peterson, D'Andre Swift, and Kerryon Johnson, but none of those guys should be very productive against this Bears defensive front.  The weakest part on this defense is the CB2 and that is where the Lions should be targeting for most of this game.  With Marvin Jones Jr. taking the CB1 and probably some safety help at times, this could leave Danny Amendola in single coverage.  Anywhere from 50 to 70 yards and a touchdown is plausible for Amendola and could put him as a low end WR2 or even as a flex for week one.


Jordan Reed (TE, San Francisco)

The 49ers have superstar tight end George Kittle as their number one tight end and target.  Heading into week one, the options behind him are currently very limited due to injury.  Deebo Samuel has been ruled out, Brandon Aiyuk is questionable, leaving Reed, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne.  Trent Taylor is a slot receiver and Kendrick Bourne (though really good) is a possession receiver.  Jordan Reed is the next best playmaker on this team as long as he can stay healthy.

In 2019, the Cardinals were the worst team at covering the tight end position allowing 17 touchdowns and the second most yards.  Although they have improved that aspect of the defense with De'Vondre Campbell and Isaiah Simmons, it may not be enough to stop two great tight ends.  The main focus will be on George Kittle and he will be at least double team most of the game.  This will leave Jordan Reed more open and they will need to pass in order to keep pace with the Cardinals explosive offense. 80 yards and a touchdown are well within reason for Reed and could easily have him in the top 10 tight ends, if not higher.


Derek Carr (QB, Las Vegas)

The Raiders face off against the Panthers in week one who have arguably the worst defense in the NFL.  They lost a lot of key pieces on that side of the ball last season and spent every draft pick on defensive players.  With such a young defense and a new head coach, this defense is going to struggle early on in the season especially in week one.

On the Raider's side of things, they have a lot of continuity on the offense.  They have one of the most underrated offensive lines, a stud tight end in Darren Waller, a young receiving corps, and a very accurate quarterback in Derek Carr.  The Panther's offense should be able to score as they have some solid pieces so the Raiders will be trying to keep pace with them and outscore them.  This game could very easily turn into a shootout and Derek Carr will be the man to lead it.  Carr could have over 250 yards and three touchdowns through the air.  This wouldn't make him a top tier quarterback, but those stats would already put him over Deshaun Watson on the week.


Others to watch out for:

Jordan Howard (RB, Miami)

Will Dissly (TE, Seattle)

Eric Ebron (TE, Pittsburg)

Steven Sims (WR, Washington)

Jerry Jeudy (WR, Denver)

Malcom Brown (RB, Los Angeles)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

7 Week One Predictions for Fantasy Football

Week one of the National Football League 2020 season is finally upon us! With everything going on in the world, football is one of a few great escapes from reality for the time being.  The build up for this season has been absolutely incredible and it will be everything we've been waiting for, and hopefully more.  That being said, some players come out firing on all cylinders in week one.  In 2019, players like Sammy Watkins and John Ross had incredible games that they could not repeat for the rest of the season.  Which players will come out hot this season? And who could struggle to get going in week one?

1. The Bears Blowout the Lions

The Lions and the Bears have struggled in recent years, even though the Bears have either been in or just outside of the playoffs.  Detroit has an a solid offense when Matthew Stafford is healthy, but he hasn't been able to stay on the field for the last two seasons.  Their defense is still lack luster, but isn't the worst in the league.  The Bears on the other hand have had a near elite defense for the last few years but have struggled to get their offense going under Mitch Trubisky.  Well that's going to change week one this season.

Chicago is going to have a field day against their division rival and it's difficult to even type this, but they're going to be led by Mitch Trubisky.  The Bear's signal caller will be a top 15 quarterback week one and could be started in a pinch, and here's why.  Trubisky has always been good against the Lions. Last season he threw for a combined 511 yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception against Detroit.  For some reason the Lions cannot stop him from having a good game.  Aside from his consistency against the team, Trubisky has also won the starting over former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.  Reports in camp have stated that Foles is being conservative with the ball and not really stretching the field.  Trubisky on the other hand has been throwing deep and hitting his targets regularly.  I know this is just practice, but Trubisky finally sounds like he looks good.  He's got solid weapons in Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet going up against an average at best Lions defense.  Mitch Trubsiky will have a fantasy relevant week against Detroit and get everyone's hopes up once again.


2. Rookie Receivers Show Out
 

Young players typically take a couple of seasons to start producing in the NFL.  With this shortened offseason, you'd expect it to take even longer.  Well this past wide receiver class has the potential to go down as one of the best ever.  The talent in this class, even into the fourth and fifth rounds of the draft, is absolutely insane.  There are a few prospects in this class that could have a big week one of their rookie season just based on their matchups.  The rookies that come to mind are Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Chase Claypool.

Jerry Jeudy is already a near elite route runner with reliable hands and great speed.  He was arguably the best in this class and was drafted to the Denver Broncos in the first round.  Drew Lock has shown flashes in his very limited time starting and can definitely support two fantasy receivers.  The Broncos face off against the Titans in week one who have a solid defense, but nothing Drew Lock can't handle.  Denver played some great defenses when Lock took over last season like the Chargers and Chiefs, and he played pretty well.  Tennessee, although pretty good, does not have as good of a defense as those two teams.  With Von Miller going down, they take a big hit to their defense and could be playing from behind, making it a positive game script for Lock and Jeudy.

Henry Ruggs III is a pretty easy explanation.  Ruggs is debatably the WR1 on this team and was taken as the first receiver in this draft.  He has blazing speed and a solid route tree.  With comparisons to Tyreek Hill, this speedster should be in for a big week one against a poor Panthers defense.

Chase Claypool is literally a tight end playing receiver.  He is in a slightly crowded offense with Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington, but the Steelers will be looking to air it out against the Giants.  James Conner constantly struggles with injuries and the strength of this Giants horrid defense is on the interior of the defensive line.  Claypool would not draw the number one or maybe even the number two cornerback on this team, and there's no way a CB3 or safety is stopping this monster of a man.  All of these rookies could have a big week one.


3. Indy Runs Over Jacksonville

The Colts have the best offensive line in the NFL going up against the worst defense in the league.  The strength will be the pass rush in K'lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen, but that's nearly all they have.  The interior of the defensive line is garbage, the secondary is empty, and the linebackers are below average aside from Joe Schobert.  Meanwhile, Indianapolis has a great backfield with Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor.  This offense is led by Philip Rivers (who may have lost a step), but will focus on running the ball.  

The big debate in this backfield is who will be starting in week one.  The answer to this question is: it doesn't matter.  The Colts will be in a positive game script for the running backs as they should be leading most of the game.  Mack and Taylor will probably split carries, but both could see 12-15 a piece.  With how bad this defense is, the Colts could push for nearly five yards per carry.  Mack and Taylor both have big play ability and deep speed, meaning both have the potential to score on nearly any given play.  Both of these backs could realistically have over 75 yards and a touchdown.  These may not be the best games, but both would serve as great RB2s on a team for week one.


4. Jets Get Shut Down in Buffalo 

  The Buffalo Bills are looking like the best defense in the league at the moment.  Tre'davious White leads one of the best secondaries in the league, Tremaine Edmonds anchors the linebackers, and Ed Oliver is becoming a great defensive linemen.  Meanwhile the Jets have one of the most concerning offenses coming into the 2020 season.  They have injuries throughout their receiving corps, the offensive line is still well below average, and they still have Adam Gase as a head coach.  The prediction here is that not one player on the New York Jets finishes in the top 15 at their respective positions.  

Sam Darnold is a solid quarterback, but can't put up numbers without weapons.  Jamison Crowder doesn't get the yardage needed to finish that high.  Le'Veon Bell can't carry this weak offense, and Chris Herndon has been out of the offense for so long, it's going to take some time to get back into it.  All of these problems and the offensive line is still bottom five in the league.  The Jets do not have enough fire power or raw talent to compete against this elite defense.  This game should be pretty one sided and an easy win for the Bills.


5. Arizona Supports Players at Every Position

The Cardinals are building an amazing offense, especially after trading for Deandre Hopkins this offseason.  They open their season against the 49ers in San Francisco which may not seem like a great start to the season, but these teams played each other to the last minute in both games last season.  This prediction is really just the opposite of the Jets one; the Cardinals will have a player in the top 15 at each position.  

Kyler Murray's rushing baseline nearly guarantees him to be a top 10 quarterback in most games this season.  Even without his rushing, Murray has one of the most talented arms in the league.  Deandre Hopkins should matchup great against this defense as he's a near elite route runner and has incredible hands.  Nuk should be able find his way open between zones and make some big plays over Sherman and others in this secondary.  Kenyan Drake is a little more in question due to the level of talent on the 49ers on the defensive line, but their strength is mainly in pass rush.  Bosa and Armstead take the edge while Kinlaw and either Jones or Thomas take the interior.  Losing Deforest Buckner hurts their run stopping ability and the Cardinals could exploit that.  The boldest part about this prediction is the tight end position.  Arizona has a couple of tight ends that could do it whether it's Maxx Williams or Dan Arnold.  Being a top 15 isn't that difficult however.  If Williams or Arnold has 30 yards and a touchdown, that should be enough a TE1.  


6. Thursday Night Shootout

In a repeat of the 2019 AFC divisional round, the season opens with Houston versus Kansas City.  Mahomes versus Watson.  The two highest paid quarterbacks are going head to head in an epic rematch to open this long awaited season.  Deshaun Watson will be looking for revenge on the Chiefs while Patrick Mahomes will be looking to keep their winning streak alive and beat the Texans.  The Chiefs defense will look a little weaker with Bashaud Breeland and the Texans defense may not be able to stop a fired up Mahomes and company.  My prediction for this game is that Mahomes, Watson, Hill, and Fuller combine for over 100 fantasy points.  

This isn't ridiculously out of reach as all of these players could be in for big games.  Patrick Mahomes is always a threat for 400 yards and three touchdowns while Tyreek Hill can easily get over 100 yards and two of the scores.  The same goes for Deshaun Watson but with a slightly better rushing baseline so he could even run one in on his own.  Will Fuller V is a little more difficult to predict due to his injury history, but he almost always has one huge game in the beginning of the season.  Fuller could get over 100 yards on just a few receptions and could easily find his way into the end zone over these back up cornerbacks.  This game is going to have a lot of fantasy points scored by everyone, but these four should put a lot of points and outperform their respective projections by a significant margin.


7. 
 Scary Terry

The Washington Football Team struggled to get much of anything going on offense last season.  They've been plagued by injures, offseason drama, and confusion on the depth chart so this offense looks like it'll continue to struggle.  The one bright side they had last season was their standout rookie receiver Scary Terry McLaurin.  Dwayne Haskins definitely has his struggles, but he started to look a little better by the end of last season.  If he can continue to improve to even just slightly above average, he can support Terry McLaurin and make him a near elite fantasy option.  My prediction is that Terry McLaurin finishes as a top five wideout in week one.

The matchup isn't the easiest as the Football Team faces off against their division rival.  Philadelphia has a decent defense, but they have no linebackers whatsoever.  The secondary is average, but Darius Slay is a very near elite cornerback.  The defensive line is solid, but could struggle to get consistent pressure on Haskins.  McLaurin has an incredible combination of speed, size, hands, strength, and football IQ.  Dare I make this comparison, he reminds me an unproven Julio Jones.  If Haskins can learn to rely on and trust McLaurin, this duo could be deadly.  He will learn to do this week one against the Eagles and McLaurin will have well over 100 yards and at least one touchdown, finishing inside the top five at the position.




Saturday, September 5, 2020

5 Bold Predictions for the 2020 Fantasy Football Season

Every season is unpredictable.  There are always breakout players who surprise everyone and disappointing players who ruin people's seasons.  No matter the scenario, saying it before the season almost sounds stupid.  No one believed Chris Godwin would finish as high as he did, Terry McLaurin went undrafted in tons of leagues, and Todd Gurley was an utter disappointment yet drafted relatively high.  Here are some of the bold predictions that could realistically happen in 2020:

D.J. Moore will finish as a top five fantasy receiver
The Carolina Panthers are in a rebuilding year, but they have a few pieces that will give them some success.  One of those pieces is third year wideout D.J. Moore.  He broke out in the 2019 season with 1,175 yards and four touchdowns, finishing as the WR18.  Moore did all of this with absolutely terrible quarterback play between an injured Cam Newton and Kyle Allen.  Heading into the 2020 season, the Panthers are continuing their rebuild and signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in addition to new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady.  Both Rhule and Brady are fresh from college teams and will probably run a similar type offense, given their personnel as well.

D.J. Moore ran a lot of slant routes in 2019 which will work to the strengths of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.  This may have been because Kyle Allen was incapable of throwing deep accurately, but it also seems to have helped Moore find success.  Although Bridegwater doesn't throw deep often, he is one of the most accurate deep ball passers in the league.  This should not only allow Moore to run some deeper routes, but open up some room underneath for him with other deep threats in Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel.  

The offense will continue to run through Christian McCaffrey, but the passing game will look for Moore as their primary target.  He had 135 low quality targets from Kyle Allen, and only caught 87 of those.  If Moore gets the same volume but the targets are significantly better, he could easily be a 100 catch receiver and break that 1200 yard mark.  The red zone work is where the volume needs to come from.  Moore only had 12 red zone targets in 2019 as McCaffrey was the primary option inside the 20 yard line.  With a viable quarterback in Bridgewater, this volume will go up and so will D.J. Moore's touchdowns.  Moore has a high ceiling in this offense and Bridgewater is the perfect quarterback to play to his strengths.  


Aaron Jones will finish outside the top 12 running backs
The Green Bay Packers had a great offense in 2019 that was centered around running back Aaron Jones.  They utilized him in both the running game and passing game and he finished the season with over 1500 total yards and 19 touchdowns.  This made Jones finish as the second best running back in fantasy football last season.  These numbers will come down in 2020 and here's why.

The Packers spent a second round pick on A.J. Dillon.  I do not expect Dillon to get many carries between the 20s but he will be used in the red zone, especially on the goal line.  Jones scored a nearly unrepeatable 19 touchdowns in this offense on 34 red zone attempts and 12 more red zone targets.  Aaron Jones led in the NFL in red zone attempts through week 10.  These carries will come down with A.J. Dillon getting the load closer to the end zone.  Aaron Jones losing these carries alone will drop him from 19 touchdowns down to barely double digits.  

The loss of touchdowns isn't the only reason Aaron Jones will finish outside the top 12.  The yardage will also come down in this offense.  Although the Packers didn't draft a wide receiver in this past draft, they will be looking to pass more to the wideouts more.  Rodgers seems to trust Allen Lazard as he went to him on a lot of difficult passes in 2019.  Between Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and the Packers trying to incorporate Jace Sternberger more, the opportunities for Aaron Jones will drop significantly.  Aaron Jones will still be draftable, but he will finish as an RB2.


Matt Ryan will finish as a top five quarterback
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the best offenses in the NFL, specifically when it comes to the receiving game.  Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Todd Gurley will all make for great weapons for Matt Ryan in 2020.  Not only is it a trend for Matt Ryan to be in and out of the top ten every other year, there are many reasons that support a bounce back season for him once again.  

Julio Jones is nearly a lock for 1400 yards every season and somebody has to supply those yards.  Where Julio lacks in touchdowns, Calvin Ridley will pick up the slack as he has 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons.  Hayden Hurst will also pick up right where Austin Hooper left off, who also had six touchdowns last season.  The Falcons offensive line is still below average, but Todd Gurley is a great receiving back that the Rams failed to utilize last season.  As long as Gurley's knee can stay healthy, he could easily produce 400+ yards through the air and a few touchdowns.  Not to mention another year of Russel Gage in this offense and the acquisition of former first round pick Laquon Treadwell. 

Atlanta's defense is also a bottom ten unit in the NFL.  They will let up a lot of yards and points.  This will put the Falcon's in a pass heavy game plan to either catch up or keep up with the opposing offense.  Matt Ryan will have a great season and will use each and every weapon to their absolute ceiling.  This Falcons offense will be tough to stop.


Neither Travis Kelce or George Kittle finish as the TE1
Both George Kittle and Travis Kelce finished with the same PPG, but Kelce finished as the best overall tight end as Kittle missed a couple of games.  These two tight ends are the undisputed best tight ends in the game, but the 2020 season will see a new player emerge and take over that title.  There are really only two other tight ends that could do it, so which one will it be?

Mark Andrews has an incredibly high ceiling.  In 2019, he finished as the fifth best tight end in fantasy football on very limited volume.  Andrews was only on the field 41% of the time, sharing time with Hayden Hurst.  When he was on the field, he finished fifth in targets at the tight end position but 35th in snaps.  With Hurst gone, Mark Andrew's snap percentage will inevitably go up.  Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will be looking to pass a little more with a healthy Marquise Brown.  This means that Andrew's targets will go up as well and he will probably get most, if not all of Hayden Hursts targets as well.  Andrews is a very talented tight end and is Lamar's favorite target.  The volume and play time will increase in 2020 making it a perfect opportunity to nab that number one spot from Travis Kelce.

The next potential number one tight end is Zack Ertz.  He is less likely to do it, but has the chance in PPR formats.  Starting with the obvious, Philadelphia's wide receivers are all made of glass and will get injured at some point this season.  DeSean Jackson is only good for a few games, Alshon Jeffery is already expected to miss the first few weeks, Jalen Reagor just got injured in practice, and even Dallas Goedert suffered a hairline fracture in his thumb.  As long as Carson Wentz stays healthy, Ertz will continue to be the number one option in that offense and will see the required volume to be the number one tight end.  The touchdowns need to increase and he'll need to hit 1000 yards, but both of those are likely with all of the current injury concerns.  


The Los Angeles Chargers will finish with the number one defense
This isn't extremely bold, but a lot of people lean towards the Steelers, 49ers, Ravens, or even the Bills to be the best defense next season.  The Chargers have everything they need on the defensive side of the ball to be the best fantasy defense, even after the loss of Derwin James.  

They have arguably the best secondary with Casey Hayward, Chris Harris Jr., Desmond King, and Nasir Adderley.  The three corners can all lock down a receiver with Adderley over the top to help if needed.  The linebacker corps is the worst part about this defense and even that's solid.  They have Kyzer White, Drue Tranquill, and rookie Kenneth Murray.  Tranquill is average at best, but Kenneth Murray looks very promising coming out of Oklahoma.  

The strength of this defense will come from the defensive line however, making the secondary look even better.  Possibly the best defensive end duo in the league, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will get pressure on nearly every down and create matchup problems for most offensive linemen.  The interior of this line is anchored by Linval Joseph, but they also have Justin Jones and second year tackle Jerry Tillery.  All of these guys are good run stuffers but can also bring some pass rush alongside Bosa and Ingram.  Sacks and turnovers are the strength of fantasy defenses and this unit will get a lot sacks.  This should lead to a few forced fumbles and force some bad throws to lead to interceptions.  This defense will be elite in 2020 and has all the talent they need to finish as the number one defense.   



Other predictions that just missed the cut:
Jonnu Smith and Noah Fant both finish as a top 12 tight end
Juju Smith-Schuster fails to finish as a top 20 wide receiver
Terry McLaurin finishes as a top 10 wide receiver
Garnder Minshew will have three top five weeks
Le'Veon Bell struggles in New York again and finishes as a mid tier RB2
Joe Mixon has four weeks as the best running back, finishes top five
Patriots lost too much on defense, finish outside the top 10
No Dolphins player (except Parker) finishes as a top 15 at their position




Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Week One Starts

Players like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, and Michael Thomas are every week starters and will continue to be until proven otherwise.  Other players, even some stars in the league, can't be started every week if the match up isn't in their favor.  Last season, quarterbacks were unable to be started against the Patriots defense and running backs really couldn't produce against the Buccaneers defense.  Sometimes the players you draft to be starters may have to be benched in favor of a back up or a weekly streamer.  Every team plays in week one, so which players (that aren't weekly starters) will have the best week one?

Quarterbacks:

Derek Carr has a great matchup in week one.  Carr and the Raiders are going to Carolina to face the Panthers, which is possibly the best team to face in week one.  The Panthers have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator.  In such a weird and shortened offseason, the team may take a couple of weeks to get into gear.  The offense could struggle to move the ball and potentially stall out on multiple drives.  This would give the ball right back to the Raiders and allow Derek Carr to really go off.

Carr has also said he's tired of being disrespected so he feels like he has a lot to prove this season.  With new weapons like Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, and Lynn Bowden, he should improve as a passer.  The Raiders quietly had one of the better offensive lines last season which is a huge improvement from where it was in 2019.  Not to mention they still have Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, and Josh Jacobs as pass catching options.  This is a pretty loaded offense lining up against a young and inexperienced defense.  Derek Carr could have his way with the Panthers in week one and really make people regret not playing him.


Ben Roethlisberger is another starting worthy quarterback who probably won't be in many people's lineups week one.  The injury is a little concerning, but the news coming from camp sounds positive about his throwing ability.  The Steelers have a plethora of weapons like Juju Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Eric Ebron to name a few.  They also still have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.  They're matched up against the Giants who, aside from the interior of their defensive line, don't have a ton on that side of the ball.

Daniel Jones will be going against one of the best defenses in the league and may struggle as it's only his second season in the league.  The offense should be able to move the ball, but that doesn't mean this elite defense won't force turnovers.  Big Ben will get the ball in his hands for more than half of the game and will light up this lack luster secondary.  It'll be a great comeback story for him and the Pittsburg Steelers.

Honorable Mentions: Jared Goff (LAR), Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)

Running Backs:

David Johnson disappointed many in 2019 as he struggled through injuries and eventually got replaced by Kenyan Drake.  He was traded to Houston, who was in desperate need of a running back, where he hopes to revive his career.  Bill O'Brien didn't trade away a superstar receiver for a running back he didn't plan on utilizing as much as he possibly can.  David Johnson will see a valuable amount of work in 2020, and week one could be the start of a comeback season for him.  

The Texans face off against the Chiefs, who they blew a massive lead in the playoffs to.  Deshaun Watson will be looking for revenge and will need help from the run game.  Chris Jones is an amazing pass rushing defensive tackle, but is nearly a liability in the run game.  The Chiefs defense took a 180 after their bye week in 2019, but still struggled against the run come playoff time.  The defense has improved and will continue to get better, especially with the fact that they brought back so many starters, but they are built to stop a passing offense.  If David Johnson can stay healthy, Bill O'Brien will revive his career in week one of the 2020 season.  

The Cleveland Browns have the best running back duo in the league with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.  Chubb has earned his role as the starter on this team, but Kareem Hunt will be more involved than some people believe.  The Browns face off against the Baltimore Ravens in week one which is a negative match up at nearly every position.  The Ravens have a great secondary, even without Earl Thomas, a near elite linebacking corps, and above average defensive line.  The receivers and tight ends will be tested and probably have very limited production, but the offense has to run through somebody, which leaves the running backs.

Nick Chubb is going to be started in every league, but Kareem Hunt won't and he deserves to be.  The Browns will want Baker to pass the ball against the Ravens as they will probably be trailing at some point in this game.  Chubb isn't a bad receiving back, but Kareem Hunt is one of the best in the league.  Hunt will get the snaps when trailing and will get the targets on screens and dump offs when OBJ, Jarvis Landry, and Austin Hooper are locked down.  Kareem Hunt will be worth a start in PPR for sure, but will be less valuable in a standard scoring league.  


Honorable Mentions: Matt Breida (MIA), Melvin Gordon (TEN)

Wide Receivers:   

The Pittsburg Steelers have one of the best match ups to start this season against the New York Giants.  Juju Smith-Schuster will definitely be started in nearly every league already, but his counterpart in Diontae Johnson may be on some people's bench.  Johnson should be started in week one against the Giants.  The secondary is depleted with Deandre Baker gone and Sam Beal opting out for 2020, the Giants only have Julian Love, Xavier McKinney, and Jabril Peppers.  The rest of the team, and defense as a whole really isn't that great.

The strength of this defense is the interior of the defensive line and stopping the run.  The Steelers could use this to their advantage with Big Ben returning and pass the ball a lot.  Diontae Johnson has great downfield speed and showed that he was a solid route runner in just his rookie season.  If Johnson can keep creating the same separation as last season, he should have a great start to his sophomore year.  Assuming Juju takes the number one corner in James Bradberry, this leaves Diontae Johnson on what should be a third or fourth string cornerback (either Grant Haley or Corey Ballentine) and he could absolutely torch them.  Look for Diontae Johnson to have one of the best games of his young career in week one.


The 49ers have a solid receiving corps, when they're healthy.  With injuries to Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Richie James Jr., and J.J. Nelson, there aren't many options past George Kittle in the receiving game.  Although they are a run heavy team, Jimmy Garoppolo had two of his best games last season against their week one opponent, the Arizona Cardinals.  This could make Kendrick Bourne very valuable for week one.  

Bourne is a great possession receiver and is utilized mainly to get first downs and in the red zone but without Samuel or Aiyuk, he could easily see more action.  Jimmy G will have to throw the ball in this game as the Cardinals will not be an easy win for them as they weren't last season.  George Kittle, who is also dealing with an injury, can't take every single target for them.  Kendrick Bourne will see targets in week one and could see enough to be worth a start.  The Cardinals secondary, although better than last season, still has some holes in it and may struggle to start the season.  Bourne will not be a WR1, but could easily be a WR2 or a good flex start for a team lacking some depth.  

Honorable Mentions: John Brow (BUF), Hunter Renfrow (LV)

Tight End:

The Dallas Cowboys take on the Los Angeles Rams in week one, and they have one of the most loaded offenses in the league.  The Rams have an above average defense, but they are lacking at linebacker after losing Corey Littleton.  They also are a little young at safety with Taylor Rapp and John Johnson III, which could be very beneficial for Blake Jarwin.  The Rams have Jalen Ramsey to take on Amari Cooper and could throw Troy Hill or either safety on Michael Gallup and Ceedee Lamb.  With arguably the best player in football in Aaron Donald, the running game may take a little to get going as well.  

The lack of a great coverage linebacker and the need for safety help on all of those talented receivers leaves a great opportunity for Blake Jarwin to step up.  Jason Witten is now in Las Vegas making Jarwin the number one tight end on the Cowboys.  Although the yards may not come as the secondary is full of good tacklers, the receptions in the second level of the defense should be enough to make him worth a start (in half or full PPR).  Experts all over the NFL are predicting Blake Jarwin to have a great season and it could very easily start in week one.  If you don't draft one of the top five or six tight ends, Blake Jarwin will be worth a stream in to start your season.


Honorable Mentions: Irv Smith Jr. (MIN), Eric Ebron (PIT) 

Defense:

I almost never draft a defense (unless the league requires it then I do it in the last round), so I typically stream defenses week to week based on matchups.  One defense that WILL be available after a draft is the Las Vegas Raiders.  They have a solid match up against the Carolina Panthers in week one and could have an outstanding week.  The Panthers offensive line is well below average after trading Trai Turner for Russel Okung.  The Raiders have a good pass rush between two second year players in Cleilen Ferrel and Maxx Crosby.  

Their defense has no real holes in it, but they are lacking stars.  The two starting linebackers (Corey Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski) have both proven to be good in coverage, and the secondary isn't too bad either.  Though they are very young, Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen should both be average cornerbacks at the very least.  Demarious Randall and Johnathan Abram make up a decent safety duo as well.  The biggest weakness on this defense is on the interior of the defensive line, and even that's not too bad.  Both Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins can stop the run at a decent level of skill, but there isn't a ton of pass rush created between the two of them.  

The Panthers have a new quarterback, coach, and offensive coordinator in the worst offseason to do try to rebuild in.  Carolina will take a couple weeks to really get up to speed and will probably have their worst week early on.  There are definitely better defenses to start (like Pittsburg or San Francisco), but those are going to be drafted.  The Raiders should make a great streaming defense a couple times throughout the season, but week one could be their best week.  


Honorable Mentions: Bengals (vs LAC), Washington (vs PHI)