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Week 1: The Launch Pad

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Welcome to “The Dive.” In the case that this is your first time reading “The Dive,” let me introduce you to my article. “The Dive” focuses on one player (or team) at each position in a standard fantasy league, which would include quarterback, running back, tight end, wide receiver and defense/special teams. Variables and other support data including health status, matchup factors, split statistics, workload, performance history, recent trends, weather constraints and other analytics are used to help predict performance.

This article will not tell you to start
Adrian Peterson
or
Aaron Rodgers
each week. Obviously, you will always lock your studs and early round picks into your starting roster. However, you will find the most value in my article for deep leagues and identifying substitutes or trade targets during bye weeks and injuries.

Let’s get started!

QB –
Terrelle Pryor

Most managers likely drafted a Top 10-15 quarterback who will be a must-start. Other “creative” managers may have waited a very long time and potentially snagged two quarterbacks in order to play the better matchup. Although I personally do not recommend starting
Terrelle Pryor
over the Top 15-20 quarterbacks, I would certainly give him attention if you are in a very deep league. Pryor was named the starter over
Matt Flynn
this week and will be leading a rather uninspiring offense. With that being said, Oakland does have a few speedy receivers, a healthy Darren McFadden, and will be playing against an average pass defense in Indianapolis.


Week 1 Forecast: 200 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, TD


RB –
Isaac Redman

Redman may have gone undrafted in some leagues. If your starting running back is limited or has a difficult matchup, Redman may be worth a “plug and play” against Tennessee, whose defense ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed per game last year. Redman will receive the bulk of the carries and torched the Titans for 105 receiving yards last season. Although a few other backs will see carries, expect Redman to hit paydirt and have a solid game.

Week 1 Forecast: 100 total yards, TD


WR –
Riley Cooper

Cooper should not receive any attention from fantasy owners except for deep leagues. His embarrassing offseason antics should not be ignored, but either should his situation in Philadelphia. After an injury to Jeremy Maclin, Cooper finds himself opposite DeSean Jackson.
Jason Avant
has been unimpressive, therefore opportunity is knocking for Cooper especially in Week 1’s matchup against the Washington Redskins, who allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers last season. Cooper’s best game last season came against Washington and he should be on the field for quite a few more snaps this time around.

Week 1 Forecast: 80 yards

TE –
Brent Celek

The Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end has shown a few glimpses of stardom over the years, but is generally only fantasy relevant in deeper leagues. With tight end being rather shallow, 2013 may be a breakout season for Celek with a new spread offense designed by Chip Kelly and a season-ending injury to Jeremy Maclin. In Week 1, Celek battles the Washington Redskins, who allowed more catches and receiving yards to tight ends last season than any other team. His numbers against Washington were relatively average, but his new situation appears to attractive to ignore.

Week 1 Forecast: 75 yards, TD


D/ST- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It has been several seasons since Tampa Bay was a defense that you were proud to own. Although I do not believe the Buccaneers are a “must own” in standard 10- or 12-team leagues, they do have a tasty matchup in Week 1. The Buccaneers allowed the least amount of yards per game on the ground last year, so hopefully this trend will continue. With
Mark Sanchez
rumored to be sidelined,
Geno Smith
will have to be dominant through the air, which seems unlikely to happen.

Week 1 Forecast: 13 points

Good luck in Week 1. Get your team off to a great start!

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