If anyone ever tells you they have all the answers, press the skeptical button immediately. Unplug the trust cord. Turn off the credible-source light. Then leave the room.
These people don’t know what they’re talking about, particularly when discussing fantasy forecasts. The NFL is as unpredictable in the short-term and long-term as any sport. The best anyone can do is give their best guess, lean on history and probability, then observe and react as reality unfolds.
Thus, heading into Week 1 of the season, you want to monitor those biggest questions for which the forecasts are the most, umm, questionable.
Like the Chiefs’ running back situation. How much will LeSean McCoy get used? What role will Damien Williams play? If this week is the most we see from Williams, expecting McCoy to get more playing time as he catches up to the playbook, what does that say about the future?
If you’re a Williams drafter, you want him to dominate the workload. And he might. Even so, it doesn’t guarantee that treatment will continue, but at least there’s hope. If he starts by sharing the workload, however, that does not bode well for his prospects.
Rams All-Pro RB Todd Gurley was at an enormous discount this draft season — based on splitting time and the decline in his production late last season and in the playoffs while playing hurt. If he had sat out instead, he likely would not have been discounted this draft season. We want to see a healthy workload Sunday. If he shares significant carries, then the discount likely was warranted.
The Bills’ running backs have seen a shakeup with McCoy being jettisoned. That creates uncertainty regarding who will get what portion of the work. Frank Gore is the presumed primary runner, but also is 500 years old. Rookie Devin Singletary is the upside option. Fantasy owners should root for significant touches for him. But we worry T.J. Yeldon might steal carries from either or both. Hope for a decent amount of work for Singletary, but don’t rely upon him yet if it isn’t there immediately.
In Arizona, there is a rookie college coach, with a rookie quarterback, with a gimmick college offensive scheme, playing behind a putrid offensive line. Could this possibly work? Can Kyler Murray be a fantasy contributor despite these hurdles? What of David Johnson? Will Larry Fitzgerald need a walker to run routes? Can any of the young receivers blossom?
We find this entire situation scary. It could be an epic disaster. But we love fantasy points, so the Madman is hoping Week 1 hints that we’re wrong.
Similarly, we want to see how the new Tampa Bay offense performs. We are interested in seeing just how bad the Dolphins are, and if either Kenyan Drake or Kalen Ballage is worth a roster spot. How will the Eagles divide carries between rookie Miles Sanders and free-agent addition Jordan Howard? How will the Chargers use Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in Melvin Gordon’s absence?
And we want confirmation from the Titans they will stick to the effective plan for Derrick Henry they were using at the end of last season.
Hopefully, we get answers we like. At least it provides hope our initial thoughts are still valid.
Kirk Cousins QB, Vikings, vs. Falcons (FanDuel $&,400/DK $5,500)
The Falcons haven’t defended well against opposing fantasy passers recently. They also do a poor job of defending pass-catching running backs, so fire up Dalvin Cook in DFS.
Austin Ekeler RB, Chargers, vs. Colts (FD $6,400, DK $5,500)
Yeah, we’re a bit concerned Justin Jackson will inherit a significant portion of Melvin Gordon’s workload. But Ekeler still will get plenty, and in PPR formats, is a safer play with more upside.
Tyler Boyd WR, Bengals, at Seahawks (FD $6,900/DK $5,800)
No A.J. Green. Game flow could put the Bengals behind, meaning more reliance on the passing game. Byrd has a favorable matchup with corner Ugo Amadi.
Delanie Walker TE, Titans, at Browns (FD $5,400/DK $3,500)
Largely forgotten after being injured much of last season. At least five grabs in his past seven starts, averaging more than 50 yards with two total TDs.
Sam Darnold QB, Jets, vs. Bills (FD $6,700/DK $5,100)
Buffalo was the league’s stingiest defense against opposing fantasy QBs last season. We don’t expect much of a drop-off. Likely will take time for Darnold to get completely comfortable in a new offense. Tough way to start.
David Carr QB, Raiders, vs. Broncos (FD $6,600/DK $5,400)
It’s the Antonio Brown Clown Show. With limited preseason work, he likely will be more disruptive to offensive flow as the team tries to feed him the ball despite limited reps. Oh, and the Broncos were one of the six toughest against fantasy QBs last season.
Stefon Diggs WR, Vikings, vs. Falcons (FD $7,200/DK $6,700)
He doesn’t have a strong history producing while banged up. Uh-oh … he’s questionable with a hamstring injury.
Sammy Watkins WR, Chiefs, at Jaguars (FD $6,300/DK $5,000)
Jags’ secondary is one of the best in the league. Matchup primarily against A.J. Bouye doesn’t make it any easier.
Tweet of the week
“Is there anything more overblown than the #Bears kicker situation? My God….one kicker missed one kick and its as if they have had Ray Finkle for the last decade….so weird”
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