Welcome to FIRE and ICE . Your weekly source for who you should be FIRING up in your starting lineups and who you should be placing on ICE for the weekend. Each week I will reveal three players bound for greatness and three players who plan on spoiling fantasy players chances of getting a win. Let’s get started shall we?
Baker Mayfield, QB Cleveland
Not only does Mayfield have every weapon imaginable at his disposal Week 1, he is also playing a Tennessee team that has looked awful in the preseason. Mayfield was rock solid his last five games of 2018, throwing 11 touchdowns to only four interceptions. With the arrival of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this season, you can best believe that you’re going to be seeing much more of Mayfield in this column as the season rolls along.
Projected Stat Line – 24/33, 280 yards, 3 TD; 3 carries, 12 yards.
Chris Carson, RB Seattle
When you’re the No. 1 guy in a run heavy offense, there’s nothing more glorious to see on the Week 1 schedule than a team that finished No. 28 overall in run defense the year before. Carson has been on many fantasy owners’ radars this offseason and will be pushing for RB1 consideration when it’s all said and done. Start Carson this week with supreme confidence.
Projected Stat Line – 21 carries, 108 yards, TD; 4 receptions, 37 yards.
Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay
The best thing that could have happened to Mike Evans did in the 2019 offseason. Tampa Bay hired Bruce Arians to take over the reigns as head coach. Everywhere he goes he gets the most out of talented wide receivers. This isn’t a knock at Reggie Wayne or Larry Fitzgerald, but Evans is everything those guys are and so much more. Fortunately for Evans owners, he has a fantastic matchup Week 1. San Francisco gave up the fifth-most points on defense (27.2) and were second in touchdown passes allowed (35) in 2018. Evans’ big body and Arians’ play-calling should free him up for a monster game against San Francisco. There are no excuses not to be starting him this week.
Projected Stat Line – 9 receptions on 12 targets for 132 yards, 2 TD.
Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay
I never thought I would be in a situation where I’d be telling folks to sit the future Hall of Fame quarterback, but here we are. It’s just a bad matchup all together. The Chicago defense is the best in the league at causing turnovers. Chicago terrorized Aaron Rodgers in two matchups last season, sacking him seven times, with one forced fumble and one interception, and I fully expect the Chicago defense to pick up right where it left off in 2018. If your league penalizes the quarterback for taking sacks, throwing interceptions and coughing up fumbles, then Aaron Rodgers is the guy to avoid putting into the QB1 slot in your lineup this weekend..
Projected Stat Line – 17/38, 240 yards, TD, 2 INT, 3 sacks, fumble; 2 carries, 9 yards.
Devonta Freeman, RB Atlanta
Nothing like waking up Week 1 of the NFL season and having to face the vaunted Minnesota defense. Which is just what Devonta Freeman faces this weekend. You can bet Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer has instructed his group that it absolutely has to shut down Atlanta’s ground game and make it one dimensional. Facing tons of injuries to their defensive line in 2018, Minnesota still managed to finish in the Top 15 against the run. Now back to full health, they should return to where they were in 2017 when they finished No. 2 allowing less than 84 yards per game on the ground.
Projected Stat Line – 16 carries, 47 yards; 3 receptions, 26 yards.
Tyler Boyd, WR Cincinnati
Sometimes life just isn’t fair and for Tyler Boyd, this certainly is the case this week. Going halfway across the country to play a road game is always tough; it’s another kind of tough when you’re traveling to the majestic Pacific Northwest to play Seattle, the 12th man, and the newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney. There is a very real chance that without any other passing game threat, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll decides to try and completely take away Cincinnati’s No. 1 receiving option. Considering he has the tools on defense at his disposal to do so, Boyd is in for a long boring afternoon.
Projected Stat Line – 3 receptions on 8 targets, 36 yards.