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THE DIVE: Week 1 “WTF 2020?”

So…how about that 2020?  With our nation suffering from a deadly pandemic, social injustice, record unemployment, political division, and many other challenging circumstances, it has been tough to find positive and “glass half-full” optimism lately.  Although the return of the NFL will not miraculously heal our current environment, it does have the opportunity to give fans a break from the negative in order to celebrate one of our country’s favorite pastimes and most entertaining sports to watch.  Are you ready for some football?

With several stars like Tom Brady, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Todd Gurley, and David Johnson joining new teams along with the Raiders debuting in their new Las Vegas home, there are more than enough intriguing storylines to watch this season.  “The Dive” is an ideal resource for managers in leagues with 12 or more competitors as it focuses on those “maybe” starters that could be on the fringe but primed for a breakout performance.  I will not waste your time convincing you to start Patrick Mahomes or Julio Jones as these are “no brainer” studs that you always start.  “The Dive” will review one player at each position and a defense (QB, RB, WR, TE and D/ST) with supporting research including opponent matchup, recent trends, workload, depth chart changes, track record versus opponent, weather, and other potential variables.   Let’s take a dive into Week 1!

Cam Newton, QB, New England

Many arguments can be made against starting Cam Newton in a fantasy lineup this weekend.  Is he fully healthy? Will he be rusty? How much chemistry has he built with new receiving corps given minimal training camp?  These are all valid points.  However, Cam has proven enough to both Head Coach Bill Belichick and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels that he is their future, he is healthy, and he will lead the team to another successful season in lieu of Tom Brady’s departure.  With his debut against the Miami Dolphins’ secondary which allowed the 2nd most fantasy points and most passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in 2019, look for the Patriots’ new signal caller to start hot!

Week 1 Forecast: 250 passing yards; 25 rushing yards; 2 TDs

Sony Michel, RB, New England

Although Sony Michel struggled most of 2019 and never topped 100-rushing yards in a game, he continues to be touted as the Patriots’ starting running back.  With Lamar Miller released, Damien Harris on injured reserve, Michel along with veterans Rex Burkhead and James White will split the workload.  Look for Michel to receive at least 15-20 carries, but most of the goal-line work which can prove valuable for owners. Consider Michel has an RB3 or Flex, but with a high-floor and low-ceiling yet still opportunity to rebound

Week 1 Forecast: 75 total yards; 1 TD

Will Fuller, WR, Houston

Although Houston Texans’ wideout Will Fuller can be considered one of the most exciting young receivers in the NFL, he has also been one of the most volatile injury risks. Fuller has never played a full season and has failed to top 11 games over the last three seasons even once.  Although it was difficult to depend on Fuller last season, it is important to note that he exploded for 140 yard and 217 yard receiving performances last season.  Additionally, he totaled at least 101 receiving yards in three of his seven starts in 2018. With DeAndre Hopkins traded to Arizona and Brandin Cooks questionable for Week 1, opportunity is knocking loudly for a monster primetime performance this Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week 1 Forecast: 100 receiving yards; 1 TD

Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons’ new tight end is ready to make a big first impression.  Although Hurst had glimpses of success with the Baltimore Ravens over the last two seasons, his impact was limited due to so many tight ends in the mix.  Hurst will be a key receiving option for Matt Ryan in Atlanta’s potent pass-friendly offense. Hurst’s first test will be a favorable home matchup against the Seattle Seahawks who allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Start Hurst as a low-end TE2 with high upside.

Week 1 Forecast: 60 receiving yards; 1 TD

D/ST Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts will be visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars’ for an attractive matchup against their divisional rivals.  The Jags have experienced several key departures over the last month and seem to be weaker now than several weeks ago.  Although the Colts’ were ranked “middle of the road” in most defensive categories in 2019, they should be a solid play against Jacksonville who have minimal firepower begin the season.

Week 1 Forecast: 12 points

Good luck in Week 1!

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.