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RISERS AND FALLERS: Week 1

Players on the move, either up or down that are impacted by the situations they are in.

LeSean McCoy vs. New York Jets
Buffalo has not been shy about how it figures to utilize McCoy, especially early in the season. If McCoy can get past the two remaining big time defensive linemen left on the Jets roster in Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, he should see plenty of room with which to work. With how inexperienced or flat out untalented the receiving options in Buffalo are, McCoy should challenge for the targets leader. With all of this in mind, there is the chance that the Jets key on McCoy and attempt to remove him from the game plan. Such a feat would set a blue print for the next 15 defenses up the road to force Tyrod Taylor to beat them over the top. A successful offensive outpouring against what figures to be an easy defense would help prevent any nerves from setting in for those who selected McCoy in the first round.

Jordan Howard vs. Atlanta
In our approximation, Jordan Howard figures to see the most stacked boxes out of any running back in 2017. With the loss of Cameron Meredith, the already sluggish passing game takes a further step backwards. The quarterback is well below the NFL average and the receiving corps consists of a bunch of castoffs. Atlanta’s defense is young and fast and should close up most running lanes quickly and consistently. If Atlanta chooses to force Mike Glennon to beat it over the top by eliminating Howard with success, it could very well become a weekly re-occurrence. Howard needs to come out swinging here as his value could see an immediate drop if he’s held in check.

Joe Flacco vs. Cincinnati
How much can we trust both Joe Flacco and his ailing back in 2017? He missed a considerable portion of the offseason with serious back problems. After seeing what Ryan Mallett offers, we can clearly see that Baltimore without Flacco is doing a whole lot of nothing. We need to see a healthy and effective Flacco before we can lean on guys like Mike WallaceDanny WoodheadTerrance West or Jeremy Maclin. We also need to see how Flacco reacts after taking a hit. Cincinnati certainly figures to dial up the pressure as the running game for Baltimore is not a threat as of this point. If Flacco’s back or inability to stand in the pocket look to affect his passing ability it could turn into a long wasted season for all of the options on the Baltimore roster.

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cleveland
It’s very interesting to see how many people undervalued Roethlisberger in fantasy drafts this season. It’s not often that quarterbacks who play with the best wide receiver, best receiving running back, and gets the added bonus of regaining a monster target on the outside with Martavis Bryant, slide down draft boards. The Cleveland secondary that was already below average flat out cut its best corner with the release of Joe Haden last week. Roethlisberger should be able to fire at will and pick apart the Cleveland defense. A stellar game here would send him up the Week 2 rankings quickly. The other side of that coin, though, is that if Roethlisberger struggles he could suddenly turn the Negatives Nancys into fantasy prophets.

Leonard Fournette at Houston
It’s actually a bit gross to think of how negative the Jacksonville offense looks to be when you take into consideration its individual talents throughout the roster. There may not be a sadder example of that then Leonard Fournette. From what we saw in the preseason, there doesn’t look to be a ton of push up front or many running lanes for Fournette from which to choose. Jacksonville’s offensive line is far below average while Houston’s defensive front is one of the better units in the league. Fournette could have many scratching their heads and reconsidering draft strategies if he comes out with a low yards per carry average. It’ll also be worth monitoring the other running backs usage as Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon loom in the shadows. If Chris Ivory gets deployed in the red zone with success, he could end up soaking up a very large portion of Fournette’s points potential.

Terrelle Pryor vs. Philadelphia
Let’s not pull any punches here, the Washington offense looked really bad in the preseason. From the TV viewers’ standpoints, it looked as though the new passing options simply weren’t creating separation or were on the same page as Kirk Cousins. From Kirk Cousins’ standpoint, they weren’t opening up the play book or using downfield routes in order to remain healthy for the regular season. Week 1 will offer a look into who was more accurate with their depictions, Cousins’ or the naked eye of the at home viewer. It all starts with Pryor. He should be in line for as many targets that one receiver can handle. But his hands and timing looked to be concerning in the limited amount of time we could to see him with the first team offense. Let’s hope he wrangles in somewhere around six or seven catches for 80 plus yards. Anything less against a terrible Philadelphia defense would be a big time black mark on his 2017 outlook.

About Patrick White

Have been with Sharks for seven years. Been printed and published. Have been copied by, faced off against, and beaten some of the fiercest competition and abbreviated outlets in football. If you read RnF and live by the old "If you're not first, you're last" mentality, you'll be just fine.