Welcome back, everyone, and get ready for an exciting action-packed Week 1. Every year, I look forward to the start of the season and it always gets better and better. The Labor Day holiday allowed me to get in one more draft. I always prefer to have my drafts as close to the start of the season as possible. As evident by my Shark League draft back in August where I lost Jordy Nelson and have 3-4 other players that are injured. It is so hard when you draft so early to avoid some injuries in the preseason.
Let’s get off to a good start this season, so make sure your players are suiting up, pay attention to the latest depth charts and look for those matchups to exploit.
Week one is by far the hardest week to predict because we really don’t know how each team is going to play. The preseason doesn’t reveal to us which players are truly hurt or which offenses are going to start slow. For instance, Randall Cobb will play in week one but we don’t know how healthy he will be. He could go out there and land on his shoulder then miss the rest of the game. Keep an eye on the news leading up to the game.
Good Quarterback Matchups This Week:
Matt Ryan against the Eagles. This is going to be one of the highest scoring games of the week and I expect some big passing stats in this game. Last year, the Eagles ran the most plays per game at 70.7. Teams facing the Eagles averaged 69.6 plays per game. The Falcons averaged 64.7 plays per game so 5 more plays.
The Sharks projections have Ryan down for 18 fantasy points just right behind the top options. With a healthy Julio Jones and underrated Roddy White, I expect Ryan to put up one of the highest totals of the week. Don’t forget Leonard Hankerson as the #3 and the pass catching abilities of the Falcon running backs.
Sam Bradford against the Falcons. I don’t have confidence that Bradford can make it through a full season. After all, he has finished a full season just twice in his 5-year career and the Eagles will be running plays at a high clip. Sharks has him ranked 20th for Week 1 among quarterbacks but I think he can put up a 300-yard, 3-touchdown game. It all depends on whether the Falcons can hang in this game and how much the eagles plan to use the running game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Teddy Bridgewater against the 49ers. This is a different Vikings team than a year ago and also a different 49ers defense. The Vikings get back Adrian Peterson and traded for Mike Wallace. Add Charles Johnson in his 3rd season and a healthy Kyle Rudolph and you have a potent offense that can score a bunch of points. The only question is if Adrian Peterson will provide all the scoring in this game.
Good Running Back Matchups This Week:
Eddie Lacy against the Bears. Lacy is my top running back this week and the Shark projections agree. The Bears look to be a mess this year and their offense could struggle even more if Alshon Jeffery were to miss this game. The Packers will run their offense business as usual. Expect the Packers to be up big early and for Lacy to punch one in and eat up clock with a ton of carries.
Jeremy Hill against the Raiders. Hill was great last year even when Giovani Bernard returned from injury. Look for Hill to dominate in this game as the Bengals are limited with playmakers on offense after A.J. Green. The Raiders ranked in the bottom half of the league last season in run defense.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Andre Ellington against the Saints. Many were high on Ellington last season but injuries and quarterback play limited his season. Coming into this season the buzz has been minimal on Ellington. The team added Chris Johnson but Ellington is the teams’ playmaker. Look for Ellington to be over looked in Week 1 but to have a good game. The Saints last season were ranked 29th against the run.
Bad Quarterback Matchups This Week:
Nick Foles against the Seahawks. I like Foles as a sneaky sleeper pick this season but Week 1 isn’t the week for him. He starts the year facing the Seahawks who ranked #1 last season in passing defense. Foles will be without running back rookie Todd Gurly and may also be without Tre Mason in this game so the defense can focus on stopping the pass. Shark rankings have him as the 31st ranked quarterback for Week 1.
Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Browns. Its going to be Fitzpatrick versus Josh McCown in week one’s snooze fest. I expect this to be a very low scoring game. In fact, I would bet that both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston put up better passing numbers than these guys in week 1. Avoid the offense on both sides for this week.
Kirk Cousins against the Dolphins. It was a matter of time before Robert Griffin III got hurt but this time it happened before the season even began. The team took it as an opportunity to end the RGIII era and start Cousins. Though Cousins is better suited for this offense, he is prone to turnovers and bad decisions. The Dolphins were 6th last season in pass defense and oh they added Ndamukong Suh this offseason.
Bad Running Back Matchups This Week:
LeSean McCoy against the Colts. Nothing worse than when your team trades for a big name player and he gets hurt during the preseason. McCoy’s status is up in the air but right now it doesn’t look as if he will play. The team will lean on Rookie Karlos Williams if McCoy is out. The Colts were middle of the pack last season in run defense but they could be leading in this game which will force the Bills to throw the ball more.
Melvin Gordon against the Lions. Last season, the Lions finished as the best run defense allowing just 69.3 rushing yards per game with 8 touchdowns. Even though they lost Ndamukong Suh this season, they should still limit Gordon, especially if the Lions get out to an early lead.
Lamar Miller against the Redskins. Miller was an overlooked fantasy player last season as he finished ranked 9th among RBs but yet he was drafted this season as if he was in a timeshare situation. He will be a good RB 2 this season but week one will be a tough matchup. The Redskins are good defensively up front but are terrible in the secondary. This will have the Dolphins attacking the Redskins though the air.