With summer winding down and those delicious Labor Day BBQs behind us, the time is now! As your eyes scroll up and down judiciously reviewing your drafted team with a feeling of optimism, you realize it is getting close to finally locking that lineup in for the first week of the NFL season. With several intriguing battles kicking off the season including Chicago hosting Green Bay, and Pittsburgh visiting Foxboro to battle defending Super Bowl champion New England to name just a couple, Week 1 will not disappoint.
As author of the “The Dive,” my objective is to help you with those tough lineup decisions. You will not see “The Dive” recommend any fantasy studs, but rather players who could be considered a potential start or sit as they are on the “fringe.” We will review factors including trends, matchup history, home/away splits, weather, workload changes, etc to guide us week to week. “The Dive” is an even more valuable resource for managers in deep leagues and can even translated to daily formats.
Let’s take a dive as we bite into Week 1 with a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and defense/special teams that may help you hit the ground running and begin the season 1-0! Weather shouldn’t be a factor in Week 1, but keep an eye on any games affected by Hurricane Dorian though the projected path does not put it in harms way of the NFL. Good luck this week!
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota
Will Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2019? With Gary Kubiak hired to serve as assistant head coach and Offensive Advisor as well as star running back Dalvin Cook appearing back at full speed, Cousins is teed-up for a career year. With elite wideouts Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs also healthy to begin the season, the sky is the limit for Cousins. Although owners may criticize his consistency week-to-week or playoff performances, note that Cousins posted career highs in Passing Yards, Touchdowns, Completion Percentage and Quarterback Rating last season. Minnesota opens up the season welcoming Atlanta, who allowed the most points to opposing quarterbacks last season. To commemorate Cousins’ notorious post-game rant to reporters from 2015, “You like that?!!!”
Week 1 Projection: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
Phillip Lindsay, Denver
Denver has not received nearly as much press or buzz as many other NFL teams this preseason. With veteran quarterback Joe Flacco now running the offense, there should be more opportunity for second-year running back Phillip Lindsay. Although Denver’s offense never reached full steam last season, Lindsay was a rare bright spot with more than 1,000 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games. With a Monday night road matchup against division rival Oakland, who surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season, look for Lindsay to break out in Week 1. In fact, he averaged more than 6 yards per carry last season in his bouts against Oakland.
Week 1 Projection: 100 total yards, TD
Will Fuller, Houston
Houston wide receiver Will Fuller has shown flashes of glory over last three seasons and was on pace for career highs in 2018. Unfortunately, Fuller’s season was cut short to seven games after a torn ACL. However, coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that his receiver is ready to go for Week 1 and even complimented his training camp. With a potential shootout in a road matchup against New Orleans, who gave up the most points to wideouts in 2018, look for Fuller to continue where he left off last season.
Week 1 Projection: 100 receiving yards, TD
Will Dissly, Seattle
If you failed to draft a solid TE1 or TE2, then welcome to the plug-and-play strategy! If you are looking to start a tight end with a solid matchup this weekend, then consider Will Dissly. Although he only played four games last season, he did show “big-play” potential with touchdown catches of 34 and 66 yards. The sample size is extremely small, but a decent bet if you are desperate. Dissly will battle Cincinnati, who allowed the most touchdowns and third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Week 1 Projection: 50 receiving yards, TD
Detroit is not projected to be a great defense to own or even stream this year. However, Detroit will visit Arizona, led by a brand new coach and rookie quarterback. Detroit’s defense was “middle of the road” in most metrics last season, but this could be a juicy matchup until Arizona finds its rhythm. Detroit’s head coach Matt Patricia certainly has experience strategizing against rookie quarterbacks so look for Kyler Murray receiving pressure all game from Detroit’s defense.
Week 1 Projection: 11 points
Good luck this season and hope you earn a victory in Week 1!