Dalvin Cook puts up more than 100 total yards and a score in his pro debut.
Cook is going to come out of the gate running and even though it’s a crowded backfield in Minnesota, he should see 20 touches in Week 1. Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon may steal some carries, but Cook will see the majority of the workload. Minnesota sees him as a three-down back with his running and pass catching skills and he has a great matchup on Monday at home against New Orleans. The New Orleans defense allowed more than 100 rushing yards per game last season and it hasn’t improved much, so look for Cook to have a strong first NFL game and put a strangle hold on the starting job.
Stay clear of the New Orleans backfield in Week 1.
The backfield duo of Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson is going to drive fantasy owners crazy all season long. They will most likely split the carries 50/50 and your guess is just as good as mine for who gets the goal line work. I don’t trust starting either one, especially on the road against a good run defense. I know it’s a revenge game for Peterson, but remember, New Orleans is a pass-happy offense. I can’t see either back getting more than 10 touches. Barring injury, each players value is a flex player at best. Stay away!
James White, RB, New England
Perhaps the player who most benefits from the Julian Edelman injury is White. Though he’s listed as a running back, New England uses him mostly as its safety valve in the pass game or in the slot. He should see an uptick in snaps and targets and has a lot of value in fantasy lineups for Week 1. Kansas City is a solid defense, but you can throw against it and I’m sure there are plenty of plays draw up for White. He’s a high-end flex play for opening night in the NFL.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia
Ertz is a big time sleeper in 2017, especially with the tight end position being scarce as usual. If he gets the targets, he will be a Top 5 player at the position this year. I think he has a fast start to the season against a Washington team that he torched in 2016. In two games against the division foe, Ertz had 18 receptions for 209 yards. He also should see more balls thrown his way with Jordan Matthews gone and the fact that Josh Norman will be focusing all of his energy on Alshon Jeffery in Week 1. He’s a must start on Sunday.
Lock of the Week
Ted Ginn Jr. ,WR, New Orleans
While I’d stay away from the New Orleans running back situation, I’m all in on Ginn Jr. Well, at least for the first three weeks while Willie Snead is suspended. Ginn Jr. along with Michael Thomas will be the main targets for Drew Brees in Week 1 and there’s a lot to like about that. I know Ginn Jr. has had his problems with drops over his career, but his speed and route running is undeniable. He’s never played with a quarterback like Drew Brees before and should be started in all formats at least for the first three weeks of the season. New Orleans will take shots down field with Ginn Jr. and all it takes is one connection to make his fantasy day complete. I expect a stat line of around five catches for 96 yards and a score for Ginn Jr. in Week 1.