By Jared Clifton
Game one is in the books and now we look forward to the full slate on Sunday and two games on Monday. Like a $1 hand sanitizer bin at CVS, we’re going to go fast, so get those readers ready and let’s make like 1989 Paul Newman vehicle and Blaze.
Todd Gurley goes up against his former twice a year nemesis Seattle Seahawks for the first time in his new uniform. In nine career games, he’s only eclipsed 100 total yards twice and has been held to under 50 four times.
Devin Singletary has more competition for touches with Zach Moss in town, but in a game with the lowest total points line, 20+ touches should be a near lock. Problem is, the New York Jets are pretty good against the run (#2 in 2019), so he’s just a safe floor FLEX without a TD.
Mitch Trubisky is feeling the first notable competition since trying to wrestle the job away from Marquise Williams in Chapel Hill, so he’s a sneaky bet to start the year hot, against a Detroit Lions defense that finished the year only ahead of the Arizona Cardinals. If Kenny Golladay does miss the game, the lack of firepower for the Lions could bode well for a more controlled approach for the embattled fourth year QB.
Expect the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings to continue their relatively low scoring battles (37 and 33 total points in the two meetings last season) and with that in mind, fade the receivers outside Davante Adams and Adam Thielen this week. AJ Dillon could be in for a TD on limited touches, just to prove Matt Lafleur knew what he was doing with his 2019 draft picks.
The changing of the guard may be coming eventually between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, but it won’t start this week in a game that could mean a very conservative gameplan for the new look Patriots. Outside maybe James White and Julian Edelman, I’d be hesitant to start any other Patriots skill position players.
Antonio Gibson has generated plenty of buzz this offseason, but with a stellar Philadelphia Eagles front seven and plenty of questions surrounding usage and quality of offense, he’s a nose holding FLEX option in week 1.
While the match up between the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers may not have much in the way of real life implications, the fantasy aspect is one of the more intriguing of the week. Expect big games from both the lead RB’s, as well as must starts DJ Moore and Darren Waller, with the added bonus of a potential CEH caliber debut for Bryan Edwards.
There are storylines aplenty in the Colts/Jaguars match up, but it’s mainly what Gardner Minshew wears into the stadium and will Phillip Rivers say dadgummit on national TV. Also notable to watch, is how early and often does future superstar Jonathan Taylor get involved in the game. I’m betting on a quiet game, with a reasonable floor for the former Badger.
NFL defenses have the ability to catch up to dominant offensive schemes pretty quickly, but the Baltimore Ravens should continue to roll through the AFC North, despite the Cleveland Browns being their lone division loss last year. Expect plenty of rushing points from Lamar Jackson/Mark Ingram/JK Dobbins and good passing/receiving numbers from Baker Mayfield/Jarvis Landry/Odell Beckham Jr. in garbage time.
Joe Burrow gets his first crack at post-Heisman football and although it’s against a stingy Los Angeles Chargers defense, his weapons give him a real chance to crack the top 12 this week. Expect 200+ yards and 2 TD’s between AJ Green and Tyler Boyd with Derwin James’ injury shuffling the Chargers secondary.
Tom Brady 2.0 gets going against the New Orleans Saints this week and with Mike Evans not a lock to play, it could very well be a slow start to the media crowned Super Bowl contenders. Outside Chris Godwin, the fantasy gold will most likely come from the side wearing the black and gold.
Deandre Hopkins was certainly missed by Houston Thursday night, but with a formidable 49ers defense and new team growing pains, temper expectations for a top 5 WR finish this week and get buckled up for his big Cardinals breakout in week 2 vs. Washington.
“Offensive Genius” Sean McVay gets his chance to prove last year was a fluke, against an improved but still middling Dallas Cowboys defense. In the highest point total line of the week, we’re liable to see multiple high fantasy totals, so roll out any starting Rams or Cowboys that are going in week 1.
Ben Roethlisberger is back from his early 2019 injury and I have him as the best of the “old guy” QB’s this week, in what should be an aerial display of dominance not seen since the Battle of Britain. Against a notably depleted New York Giants secondary, Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and your blind luck choice of James Washington/Chase Claypool/Eric Ebron should easily bring in 3+ TD’s.
In what could be a ground war in the Mile High City, Derrick Henry and the combo of new Bronco Melvin Gordon and now back-up Phillip Lindsay, should get the overall rushing total over the 300 yard mark. The receiving weapons are intriguing, but this feels like a ground game type of affair.
Now hurry up and go set those lineups and we’ll check back in next week.
Jared Clifton – Dynasty/Editor
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