It was good to have football back this past weekend, and now we can finally see how teams are going to be using their players. Don’t throw your whole draft rankings out the window because of one bad game, but do pay attention if there was some big shift in the game plan of that player’s team from last year.
Carlos Hyde appears to be a guy the Niners are going to lean on hard, and that changes things for the rest of the Niners offense. The Rams look like they are still going to have a preference for running the ball first, which should mean good things for Todd Gurley when he’s healthy and playing. Denver looks to be turning Peyton Manning into a game manager as the sun sets on his career, and that will drop the value of the Denver receivers a bit (he is still Peyton Manning after all). These are things that were talked about in the preseason but now we’ve actually seen it unfold in a game. It’s just one week, but if a new coach is there, how you thought your player was going to be used and how they are actually being used could be different. Now on to the calls for the week.
Last Week, I told you to start Carson Palmer and it paid off with 307 passing yards and three touchdowns. This week, I’m telling you to start him again. Fans are now remembering that Carson Palmer is a good quarterback. Before Palmer went down last year, he had at least two touchdowns in every one of his games, and at least 250 passing yards to go with it. He continued that streak in Week 1. This week Palmer gets a nice matchup with Chicago who allowed Aaron Rodgers to complete 82-percent of his passes and throw for three touchdowns. I expect this game to be closer with Chicago than they were last week with Green Bay, and that should lead to lots of points for Carson Palmer.
The pace of the Eagles offense helps you out if you own Sam Bradford. More plays means more passing and more passing means more fantasy points. Last week, Bradford attempted over 50 passes. He has only done that three other times in his career. Two of those three times he threw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns. The one other time was his very first game as a rookie. This week’s matchup with Dallas is not a tough one, and you can bet Dallas won’t be able to get a huge lead and keep it with their run game. If you’ve got Bradford, it would be a good call to start him.
Russell Wilson is a bad call this week. Seattle goes to Green Bay and the game script is probably going to be “run Marshawn Lynch and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.” Wilson played Green Bay twice last year and averaged 200 yards passing, a touchdown and a half and two interceptions in those two games. Meanwhile, Lynch averaged twenty-two and a half carries in those games. This is just a bad game to own Wilson and it would be a big mistake to start him.
As I said above, running Marshawn Lynch and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field should be the game plan for Seattle. It worked in the two games last year with Seattle winning both of those games against one of the best teams in the NFL. In those two games, Lynch ran for an average of 133.5 rushing yards, and scored a total of three touchdowns. That added up to well over twenty fantasy points in both games. Lynch should have no problem running over the Green Bay defense again and will get tons of chances to do so in this game. Starting Lynch would be a good call.
Mark Ingram usually needs twenty carries to be an effective fantasy running back. Ingram has had five games where he got more than twenty carries and had over 100 yards in four of them. This week he should get that many. His matchup with Tampa Bay looks like a heavy win for New Orleans, and that should mean lots of second half running for Ingram. The Tampa offense didn’t look good last week with their rookie quarterback, so even though the Saints are just as bad on defense, I expect the Saints to get out to an early lead and give Ingram the work to keep it.
Doug Martin is exactly the opposite in the New Orleans versus Tampa Bay game. Martin is not a pass-catching running back and won’t get enough carries to be worth playing in this game. Martin hasn’t had more than nineteen carries since Week 4 of the 2013 season. Martin played the Saints twice last year and averaged seventy-five rushing yards and failed to score. Thinking he’s going to be better this time around is poor judgment. Starting Martin would be a bad call.