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BOLD PREDICTIONS: Week 1

Jameis Winston will throw for over 400 passing yards with four touchdown passes and finish as a top three fantasy quarterback against San Francisco this week. 

My thinking: No team in the NFL allowed more touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks last season than Tampa Bay’s Week 1 opponent. The San Francisco defense that allowed a whopping 35 touchdown passes in 2018 (32nd in the NFL) and also ranked 26th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

Jameis Winston played incredibly well against this same San Francisco defense in Week 12 of 2018, completing 29-of-38 passes for 312 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in a 27-9 victory. With three elite (yes, elite!) offensive weapons at his disposal in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard, expect Winston to have a career season in 2019 under the tutelage of new Head Coach Bruce Arians. Starting in Week 1, be ready for an onslaught of offensive production from a Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense that is going to put the entire league on notice right from the start.

 

Dalvin Cook will have 75 rushing yards, eight receptions, 80 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown against Atlanta this week.

My thinking: A popular player to make the jump into the upper echelon of Running Backs this season, Dalvin Cook is primed to start the season on a high note against a mediocre Atlanta Falcons defense. Last season, the Atlanta defense allowed the most receptions (122), most receiving yards (976), and fourth-most fantasy points per game (29.1) to opposing running backs. Sure, getting Deion Jones back will undoubtedly help the Atlanta defense, but people in the fantasy community seem to forget or not realize that Dalvin Cook is an above-average pass-catcher out of the backfield. Similar to how Ezekiel Elliott became a valuable receiver out of the backfield last season, expect Dalvin Cook to do the exact same thing this season. On top of that, the addition of Gary Kubiak to the coaching staff is going to directly benefit Cook and the running game. Kubiak has been long-known for his ability to transform a team’s running game, and will play a big part in making sure the Minnesota offense runs through Cook. Cook’s explosiveness will be on full display this week when he turns a few check-down passes into long gains. He also makes for a sneaky-good DFS play, if that’s your cup of coffee (I don’t like tea).

 

Kerryon Johnson will have 175 total yards and two touchdowns against Arizona this week.

My thinking: Death, taxes, and opposing running backs running wild against the Arizona Cardinals defense. No team in the NFL allowed more fantasy points per game (30.8), rushing yards per game (136.4), or rushing touchdowns (20) than the Arizona defense in 2018. Kerryon Johnson played in 10 games in his rookie season last year. When he ran for at least 70 rushing yards, the Lions were 4-0. When he ran for less than 70 rushing yards, the Lions were 0-6. If Matt Patricia wants to win more than six games this season, he needs to make it a priority to run the entire offense through Kerryon Johnson. He has all the tools you look for in a workhorse running back and is more than capable of handling a full workload. If we see C.J. Anderson getting a significant amount of touches, we’ll know the Detroit offense is doomed. Sure, he was a nice flash-in-the-pan last season for the Los Angeles Rams, but he’s not anywhere close to as talented as Johnson is. On the road in Week 1, expect Johnson to hit the ground running against what was an anemic Arizona offense in 2018.

 

Will Fuller will have nine receptions for 140 receiving yards and two touchdowns against New Orleans this week.

My thinking: It’s stat time! 2019 will be Will Fuller’s third season playing with Deshaun Watson. Here are Fuller’s stats for the first two games of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

2017 Week 4 (Fuller’s first game of that season) – Six targets, four receptions, 35 receiving yards, two touchdowns.

2017 Week 5 – Three targets, two receptions, 57 receiving yards, two touchdowns.

2018 Week 2 – Nine targets, eight receptions, 113 receiving yards, one touchdown.

2018 Week 3 – 11 targets, five receptions, 101 receiving yards, one touchdown.

In Fuller’s rookie season in 2016 (with Brock stinkin’ Osweiler at Quarterback) he combined for 18 targets, nine receptions, 205 receiving yards, and one touchdown in Weeks 1 and 2 of 2016.

It’s no secret that when he’s on the field, Will Fuller produces big numbers. The problem is, he’s missed 19 games in his first three seasons in the league. However, as of this moment, Fuller is fully healthy and ready to tear it up in Week 1 against a New Orleans Saints defense than ranked 32nd in fantasy points allowed per game (43.8), 31st in receptions allowed per game (15.2), and 32nd in receiving yards allowed per game (209.1) to opposing wide receivers in 2018. It’s also noteworthy to point out that Keke Coutee (Houston’s number three wide receiver) is dealing with an ankle injury and could miss this matchup against New Orleans. As a result, expect Fuller to receive a significant portion of targets from Deshaun Watson and for the entire Houston offense to put on a clinic in what should be a back-and-forth, high scoring affair between two of the premier teams in the NFL.

About Evan Reardon

An avid Boston sports fan, Evan has been a Patriots and NFL fan since the 1990's. Fantasy football runs in his family. He grew up in the 90's watching his father and uncles play in a 6-team, Touchdown-only league. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000's and has been writing fantasy sports content since 2014.