Week #1: NFL Game Match-Up Analysis
John Coooney - 9/9/2017

2017 NFL GAME MATCHUP ANALYSIS- WEEK 1

 

Thursday September 7

8:30 pm Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots

Sunday September 10

1:00 pm Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

1:00 pm Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears

1:00 pm Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

1:00 pm Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

1:00 pm New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

1:00 pm Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

1:00 pm Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

1:00 pm Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns

1:00 pm Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins (moved to week 11)

4:05 pm Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams

4:25 pm Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

4:25 pm Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

8:30 pm New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Monday September 11

7:10 pm New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings

10:20 pm Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

2016 OFFENSIVE PLAYS AND DRIVE TABLE

Ranked by total offensive plays (as of Week 16)

Team

Total

Plays

Total

Drives

Plays

p/drive

Yards

p/drive

HOU

1154

204

5.7

27.3

SD

1132

178

6.4

33.4

PHL

1130

203

5.6

28.4

BAL

1123

186

6.0

30.8

NO

1122

182

6.2

35.5

NYJ

1107

199

5.6

29.6

ATL**

1104

174

6.3

34.2

CAR

1097

198

5.5

29.9

DEN

1091

199

5.5

28.6

NE

1086

192

5.7

31.2

GB

1085

192

5.7

27.8

NYG

1085

186

5.8

32.0

IND

1079

194

5.6

26.5

CLV

1074

178

6.0

29.8

ARZ

1073

186

5.8

35.1

SEA

1066

174

6.1

34.6

CHI

1064

179

5.9

30.7

TB

1057

176

6

34.1

DET

1054

179

5.9

31

PIT

1053

190

5.5

33.3

BUF**

1043

186

5.6

31

JAX

1042

193

5.4

28.6

WSH

1041

180

5.8

31.5

OAK

1034

195

5.3

27.3

CIN

1032

182

5.7

31.2

MIN

1012

172

5.9

29.9

DAL

1001

172

5.8

31.1

SF**

996

182

5.5

26.6

MIA

993

187

5.3

28.3

TEN

992

191

5.2

26.1

KC

992

182

5.5

29.1

LAR**

951

196

4.9

24.3

** = New Offensive Co-ordinator/Play-caller in 2017

 

O-LINE PRE-SEASON INDEX: 2017

(BEST TO WORST)

2017

O-LINE

RANK

 

TEAM

PASS

BLOCK

RANK

RUN

BLOCK

RANK

2017

0-LINE

INDEX

1

DAL

3

1

4

2

OAK

1

5

6

3

ATL

4

4

8

4

ARZ

13

2

15

5

CIN

5

10

15

6

PHL

6

9

15

7

GB

2

15

17

8

NO

15

3

18

9

IND

12

7

19

10

CAR

10

12

22

11

PIT

9

13

22

12

TEN

8

16

24

13

HOU

18

8

26

14

KC

14

19

33

15

WSH

22

11

33

16

MIA

7

27

34

17

JAX

11

24

35

18

BAL

16

21

37

19

BUF

17

20

37

20

NE

32

6

38

21

CLV

24

18

42

22

MIN

25

17

42

23

CHI

29

14

43

24

NYJ

19

26

45

25

NYG

20

28

48

26

SD

23

25

48

27

DEN

28

22

50

28

DET

21

29

50

29

TB

27

23

50

30

SF

26

30

56

31

LA

30

31

61

32

SEA

31

32

63

 

KEY STATS KEY:

NOTE; 2017 WEEK 1 KEY STATS WILL DISPLAY RESULTS OF 16-WEEKS OF ACTION FROM 2016. WEEK 17 NUMBERS FROM WEEK 17 ARE NOT INCLUDED AS THIS IS OFTEN A "THROW-AWAY" GAME FOR MANY NFL CLUBS, OFFENSIVELY AND DEFENSIVELY. WEEK 2 WILL BEGIN SHOWING 2017 STATS.

For RB, WR and TE Positions:

YPC- Yards Per Carry

TDR- Touchdowns Rushing

REC- Receptions

YPR- Yards Per Reception

TDC- Touchdown Catches

 

For QB:

YPA- Yards Per Pass Attempt

C%- Completion Percentage

TD- Touchdown Passes

INT- Interceptions

SKS-Sacks

 

RED = DEFENSE STATS ALLOWED

BLACK = OFFENSIVE STATS PRODUCED

 

Thursday September 7

8:30 pm Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

KC D

4.4

9

64

7.5

4

NE RB

4.0

17

84

8.3

5

NE D

3.6

4

96

8.0

3

KC RB

4.0

5

71

9.2

2

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

KC D

6.9

58.6

21

16

28

NE QB

8.1

66.5

29

2

24

NE D

6.8

61.2

19

12

34

KC QB

7.0

66.4

17

7

32

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

KC D

209

13.1

15

NE WR

180

12.6

14

NE D

173

13.5

12

KC WR

166

10.5

10

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

KC D

55

11.6

2

NE TE

78

15.7

10

NE D

75

9.7

4

KC TE

106

11.8

5

 

CHIEFS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK x SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB A. Smith 915, RB Ware 544, WR Conley 816, TE Kelce 886

WEEK x TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TE Kelce 117, WR Hill 83, WR Maclin 76, WR Conley 69

HC Andy Reid appears to be performing the difficult juggling act of reshaping a lineup, installing a new, more aggressive passing game while keeping the team in hot pursuit of a Super Bowl berth. Yes, even reluctant QB Alex Smith will be "asked" to take shots downfield. Still, expect Smith to audible out of some of those long-stemmed pre-calls from the sideline and check down to something more comfy. And, though Coach Reid is talking up more "big plays" to his wideouts, hello Mr. Hill. Fanballers shouldn’t expect rainbow trajectories bursting from the Chiefs’ pocket. The form of aerial aggression most likely to be deployed by this offense is that of more throws, hitting the traditional West Coast Offense slants and screens, and allowing the pass-catcher to YAC it up. WR Tyreek Hill is the main subject of his coach’s big play and high target volume rhetoric. Many fantasy coaches are anticipating Hill streaking deep down-field and hauling in 50+ yard launches this season; sorry, but that’s not Hill’s forte. While he is dangerously fast and talented, Hill also remains a WR work-in-progress, especially at this level. Keep in mind that the path to the abundance of victories for the Patriots over the years has been through the erasure of the opposition’s best or most dangerous weapon. Tyreek Hill is identified as that for the Chiefs and he already wears a day-glow bright target on his back as far as the New England defensive planners are concerned. TE Travis Kelce will be busy as heck in week 1, with Hill likely bottled up and frustrated. Last season the Pats’ were among the best in the league defending TEs, allowing just 4 TDs in 15 games. Kelce should haul in 6-8 passes but see is yard capped in the 60-70 range and a score is tough to come by. WR Chris Conley is the wideout who can free up as he will see more single-man coverage. I suspect Conley is also being written into the full-season game plan much more than any of the KC coaches have let on, using the Tyreek Hill wave as a diversion for the opposition. Now, the backfield! The injury to 2016 starter Spencer Ware has created a clear-cut feature RB coming out of Kansas City for fanballers; rookie Kareem Hunt. Hunt is the hand-picked product of Coach Reid in this year’s draft, and is now thrust into full-time duty. Hunt has proven able and willing in all phases of RB play; rushing, receiving and pass-pro. And he should do well throughout the season, but in week 1 expect mistakes, rookie mistakes. Coach Belichick will surely put the rookie back in compromising situations, calling disguised blitz packages, false formations and defensive movement. LG is a potential weak-point in the Chiefs o-line, and could well be the funnel through which Patriots pressure floods into Alex Smith’s passing pocket. Smith, an athletic and mobile sort, will be moving and on the run in the 2017 kickoff event. RB Hunt is a 12-15 touch back in his debut and WR Hill will need one of his patented field-burning catch-n-go plays for a score; the targets are there but the efficiency here is probably lacking.

 

PATRIOTS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK x SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Brady 818, RB Blount 527, WR Edelman 874, TE Bennett 867

WEEK x TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Edelman 159, RB White 86, TE Bennett 73, WR Hogan 58

QB Tom Brady is as hungry for the next Lombardi trophy as he was in his NFL maiden campaign. The revamped Patriots’ offense is constructed to keep defenses off-balance with unpredictable personnel packages, interchangeable parts with multi-tasking abilities. The backfield boasts 4 ball-handlers with basically similar skills, yet each owns a unique, understated specialty of their own. RB Mike Gillislee has been propped up by fantasy folks as the beneficiary of the depart LeGarrette Blount’s rushing and scoring numbers from 2016. Gillislee does have a nose for the goal line and should lead the Patriots’ RBs in rushing scores this season. However, Coach Belichick is a master of NOT doing what seems the obvious. Coach B never tips is hand, but given the mix-n-match talents of Gillislee, James White, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead, fanballers might do well to review the stats of each of these RBs from 2016, and project essentially the same results onto the 2017 tallies. Gillislee looks to be a 9-12 carry RB, with his fantasy value coming inside the 15. James White is a Coach Bill favorite after his Super Bowl heroics and is the trusted pass-game cog out of the backfield. White is also a sneaky play for additional redzone looks with the loss WR Julian Edelman. Burkhead and Lewis chip in with 4-6 touches each in spots. TE Rob Gronkowski is a weekly go-to in any fantasy format. Even versus the TE-stingy Chiefs’ D, Gronk is in play, as is Brady. You just don’t sit greatness, regardless of matchup. New WR Brandin Cooks fits the Brady style of passing game, keen on running short-to-medium routes than streaking vertically. Cooks is a YAC-attacker. He is likely to square-off with ultra-dangerous CB Marcus Peters, but the Chiefs rarely commit Peters to shadow duty of the opposition’s top wideout, so there will be plenty of non-Peters opportunities for Cooks and Brady. Last season with the Saints, Cooks snared 7 of 9 targets versus KC, scored a TD but averaged just 8.3 YPR. Many fanballers are tabbing Chris Hogan as the heir-apparent to Edelman’s targets in the slot, but Hogan is mostly and outside receiver. Hogan is what he is and sees 4-6 targets, 4 catches and a potential TD. Cooks will see some slot action, as will RBs White and Burkhead. KC can get a heater going on the pass-rush, but Brady is quick on the trigger and knows his progressions too well to allow the rush to stunt the game-plan.

 

HOT READS:

Probably stating the obvious here, but there is no way around this; Tom Brady is set to tear open the 2017 season. His receiver group, led by Brandin Cooks, is a versatile and talented a bunch, despite the loss of slot-machine Julian Edelman. The Chiefs aggressive 3-4 D brings the rush from outside LBs Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. However, Brady counters with his assortment of pass-catching RBs tooled to turn the table on a LB-blitzing defense. The YAC derived from the RBs as well as the catch-n-go yards rolled up by Cooks and company outside add up to 300+ yards and a multi-TD performance for Tom Brady.

CHECK DOWNS:

Coach Belichick’s M.O. on defense is eliminate the best weapon of the opposition for victory. He is usually successful in that weekly endeavor. The Chiefs’ most dangerous offensive threat is 2nd-year lightning bolt wideout Tyreek Hill. Hill will always have the potential to break off a big scoring play in any given week, including this one. But the Patriots will be focused on allowing Hill to snag as many short tosses as he can, and then shutting down his explosive YAC-ability. The KC comet may haul in 6-8 footballs in opening day action, and the yards may approach 90, but the big score that Hill butters his fantasy football bread with will be hard to find.

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

No Julian Edelman, so fanballers have been mostly assuming Chris Hogan steps into Edelman’s slot shoes. Danny Amendola is also getting FFB play as a stand-in for Edelman. Even RB James White has been touted as a fantasy filler in the slot for Edelman. But a clue is we’ve actually "heard" those names mentioned in the Edelman void. Coach Belichick doesn’t work that way. Not getting a whiff of consideration is superb router and pass-catching RB Rex Burkhead. Burkhead saw slot work with the Bengals in the 2016 pre-season, and was being considered for the position. Coach Bill raced to ink Burkhead in the off-season. There’s a plan and it does include Rex Burkhead to play a major role when the game situation calls for it... situation calling in week 1. Rex Burkhead rocks the slot in week 1; it’s the Patriot way!

Sunday September 10

1:00 pm Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

ARZ D

3.3

12

60

5.7

2

DET RB

3.7

5

85

7.7

6

DET D

4.3

5

82

7.9

2

ARZ RB

4.3

18

88

10.5

4

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

ARZ D

6.9

63.0

21

12

41

DET QB

7.2

65.5

22

9

35

DET D

7.5

72.9

29

10

25

ARZ QB

24.9

6.9

59.8

25

15

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

ARZ D

220

12.9

17

DET WR

216

12.2

15

DET D

201

11.7

17

ARZ WR

221

12.1

19

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

ARZ D

45

9.0

2

DET TE

61

11.4

1

DET D

88

9.6

10

ARZ TE

53

10.5

2

 

 

CARDINALS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Palmer 1045, RB D. Johnson 964, WR Fitzgerald 1052, TE Gresham 835

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Fitzgerald 150, RB D. Johnson 120, WR Nelson 74, WR JoBrown 73

In last 2 seasons QB Palmer has tossed 61 TDs (31 games)... Palmer won the last 2 games of 2016, both on the road (@SEA, @LAR)... ARZ cut vet RB C. Johnson, promoting Williams to RB2 behind D. Johnson... WR JoBrown is running well once again and could be a late draft steal for those who invested... last game vs DET (wk5-2015) Brown rolled up 4-73-1 TD... rookie WR Williams has cooled after a hot camp start; he’s raw... aging but still nifty WR Fitzgerald has 297 targets over last 2 seasons, netting 217 catches and over 2200 yards... Fitz TDs have come early in last 2 seasons, then the scores just evaporate... Fitz scored 11 of his 15 scores over last 2 years in first 5 games of each season; 5 TDs total in the other 22 games played in that span... fleet WR Nelson scored a TD 4 of last 5 games of 2016... RB D. Johnson on a quest for 1000-1000 rush/receiving campaign... Johnon avg’d just 3.4 YPC over last 3 games of 2016; scored 5 rushing TDs in that span... his 80-879-11.0-4 TDs receiving are slot-receiver worthy; Johnson in a FFB lineup is essentially adding another WR and a huge advantage... DET secondary gave up 8-WR TDs over last 3 games of 2016... DET D is still leaky and the pass rush is lacking... big games ahead for WR Fitzgerald in his probable farewell tour kickoff, RB Johnson vs Lions saggy RB defenders and QB Palmer.

 

LIONS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2106: QB Stafford 1037, RB Riddick 423, WR M. Jones 879, TE Enron 708

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Tate 135, WR M. Jon103, WR Boldin 95, TE Ebron 85

One would think opening vs the ARZ DBs is a non-starter for DET WRs; not quite... ARZ gave up big numbers to WRs in 2016; 4th most WR catches allowed in ’16 and 5th most TDs (17)... DET WRs snared 5th most catches in NFL last season... WR Jones got off to a hot start in ’16, but injuries nagged and his game faded badly; 0 TDs sine week 6... With CIN, Jones snared 4-60 on 9 tgts vs ARZ (wk11-’15)... look for rebound and more consistency from Jones... he and Stafford worked smoothly this pre-season... WR Tate continues to bring PPR value... Tate with at least 6 catches 5 of last 6 games in ’16... he and Jones should see more tgts with 2016 slot vet Boldin now gone... Jones has seen some redzone looks this pre-season as well, a Boldin task in ’16... ARZ is brutal to rush on, checking RBs at 3.3 YPC last season... ARZ will get rolled on at the goal line; 12 RB rushing scores in 2106 (6th most)... RB Abdullah is getting feature back play and is clearly the go-to in the backfield for 2017 in DET... RB Washington, still raw and sloppy in his footwork, has too much potential for DET coaches to ignore... he is getting goal line and some pass-down looks... RB Riddick, a PPR play, may see a cut in his numbers if Washington stays healthy... Washington runs routes and catches like a WR... QB Stafford now is the NFL’s highest paid QB in history; for now... he’s become more steady than spectacular... ARZ DBs caved in end of 2016; wks 15-16, QBs racked up 389-4 TDs and 350-4 TDs, respectively... Stafford without a TD pass 2 of last 3 games of ’16... last game vs ARZ (wk5-2015) Stafford crushed for 3 picks and just 188 yards (1 TD)... rookie WR Golladay offers some redzone luck, but his play faded as the pre-season games took on more meaning... DET will have a tough time rushing the rock, so to the air goes Stafford... short throws keep his YPA and yards passing down (7.1-ish and 240 yards)... Abdullah nets about 50-55 YFS in week 1... WR Jones hangs around 4-75 and a chance for a TD... Tate grabs 6-8 balls for 65 yards.

 

HOT READS:

If David Johnson wants his 1000-1000 yards campaign, he has to get out of the gates fast. Detroit’s defense is mushy and the fast track under the roof in Detroit is the perfect setting for Johnson’s take off. 140-150 YFS and 2 scores gets it going in fine shape for 2017.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Ameer Abdullah will have his days in 2017, just not in the opener. Arizona’s fierce D comes out fresh and rarin’ to get after the Lions offense. The Cards were one of the toughest defenses to run against in 2016, and not much has changed over the off-season that softens the ground-stopping unit. Abdullah will help his cause with a few catches, but anything over 55 YFS here is a fantasy football bonus; not a winning one, however.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

Last year the Lions’ linebackers just couldn’t handle TEs inside the 20. Detroit’s 2nd-level defensive coverage allowed 10 TE TDs in 2016. Arizona tends to shy away from the TE, opting to sneak in Larry Fitzgerald and/or David Johnson between the numbers, running pseudo-TE routes and netting more efficient results. Time for a change-up and actually let the TE make TE plays. Jermaine Gresham is a competent pass-catcher and a big target for QB Carson Palmer. Gresham could spring for 1-2 TDs here. Yes, the Lions LBs are that leaky in coverage.

 

1:00 pm Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

ATL D

4.2

11

100

8.2

5

CHI RB

4.7

10

50

9.1

1

CHI D

4.4

13

63

6.6

1

ATL RB

4.5

18

85

10.0

5

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

ATL D

6.9

65.0

29

11

32

CHI QB

7.4

62.0

18

17

26

CHI D

7.2

63.9

19

7

37

ATL QB

9.2

69.3

34

7

36

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

ATL D

204

11.3

16

CHI WR

216

13.4

12

CHI D

193

13.3

13

ATL WR

205

14.7

19

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

ATL D

83

11.4

8

CHI TE

68

9.5

5

CHI D

61

9.8

5

ATL TE

57

13.5

10

 

FALCONS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Ryan 1021, RB Freeman 604, WR Sanu 744, TE Toilolo 570

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Jones 129, WR Sanu 81, RB Freeman 65, WR Gabriel 50

Atlanta has not looked sharp in any way on offense in the pre-season... Super Bowl hangover??... CHI D is underrated; not great but able to slow some of ATL’s stars some... in his only game at CHI (2011), Ryan posted 319 yds, but 0 TDs and an INT... including the post-season, Ryan has completed over 70% of his passes in 6 straight gms... in his last 7 gms, Ryan has tossed 20 TDs and zero picks... over 330 yds 3 of his last 4 gms... WR Jones has not scored in his 2 career gms vs CHI... playoffs included, Jones has 4 TDs over last 4 gms... WR Sanu looked rusty and displayed poor hands in pre-season action... Sanu may be counted on more in 2017, but he is a limited performer, with or without volume... WR Gabriel fills the playmaker role underneath, turning in explosive YAC and sneaky redzone participation... CHI DBs allowed just 2 WR TDs over last 5 gms of 2016... new ATL OC Sarkisian has vowed to get Jones more work in the redzone; prove it first... regardless, Jones is a weekly play... more of Jones inside the 20 translates to less looks for Gabriel and Sanu there... RB Freeman suffered a concussion in pre-season but should be ready to roll... CHI run D wrecked for 8 RB TDs (6 run-2 rec) in last 3 gms of 2016... Freeman’s YPC has increased each of his 3 NFL seasons (3.8, 4.0, 4.8)... he’s produced over 1500 YFS the last 2 seasons... RB Coleman broke out 941 YFS and 11 total TDs despite playing 2nd-fiddle to Freeman... Coleman may have a bigger week 1 role depending on Freeman’s concussion status... TE Hooper is a sneaky good play; ATL TEs combined for 10-TDs in 2016... Ryan clearly looks for his big men in close and Hooper is a rising talent with the starting gig now.

 

BEARS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Barkley 412, RB Howard 654, WR Meredith 703, TE Miller 510

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Meredith 97, WR Jeffery 94, TE Miller 64, RB Howard 50

New look Bears are a work-in-progress... new QB Glennon is no stranger to the Falcons, having faced the birds 4 times with TB... started 3 games vs ATL and carries a 1-2 record... in 4 games vs ATL Glennon completes 71.6% for 683 yards, good for 7.2 YPA; tossed 6 TDs vs 0 INTs... Glennon sharpened his pre-season play as the games progressed... he had a fine connection going with now injured WR Cameron Meredith... WR Kevin White assumes WR1 duties, and is just rounding into form after several injuries killed his first 2 NFL seasons... White is best at YAC-attacks, short passes and hitches... slotWR Kendall Wright looks comfortable in this offense and had his best year under current OC Dowell Loggains (TEN)... Wright has PPR potential and also brings fine after-catch skills... CHI needs a field-stretcher just to back the DBs off the line pressing White and Wright... Deonte Thompson has some of the chops to lift the lid off a D, but Josh Bellamy may be the best bet to running clearing routes deep... keep tabs on TEN cast-off Tre McBride; darn good wideout that just needs snaps... ATLs LBs are active but shaky in coverage vs RBs and TEs... RB Howard is sure to pound the ground here and lead the CHI attack... Howard is an underrated pass-catcher and will see 3-4 catches vs ATL; he’s tough to tackle in the 2nd level with a head-of-steam... rookie RB Tarik Cohen is a darting back that can catch and go... ATL gave up over 100 catches to RBs last year, and 5 receiving TDs to RBs... RB Bennie Cunningham may also chip in on pass-downs... Cohen is the more explosive and may be worth a microwave flex play vs ATL... TE Dion Sims is taking full advantage of his chances... Sims looks the part of a redzone scorer and seems to have worked a good relationship with QB Glennon... Sims is starting material for fanballers vs ATL.

 

HOT READS:

Playing at home with a full tank of gas, RB Jordan Howard is set to go. The Falcons D is talented and play aggressive football, but RBs tend to have their way with the Atlanta D. Howard bangs through the LBs here for chunky ground gainers and surprises the Falcons’ LBs as a receiver, tacking on 40-50 yards through the air. 130+ YFS and a TD is a great start for this 2nd-season rusher from Chicago.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

QB Matt Ryan has not looked sharp at all in the pre-season. He hasn’t had much opportunity to show it in the fake games, but what he has produced has been rather ugly. Something just doesn’t feel right with the Falcons’ offense, and Ryan leads that unit. Super Bowl hangover... maybe? New OC? Could be. OC Sarkisian wants to pass less and run more, and the potential for less volume along with a new playbook (similar, but still new) may mean a rusty and ragged week 1 performance by Ryan and company.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

The loss of WR1 Cameron Meredith obviously opens more opportunity for both Kevin White and Kendall Wright. But another pass-catcher is making the most of the potential for new-found targets... TE Dion Sims. Sims has won the starting job over a darn good pass-catcher, Zach Miller, and a hand-picked rookie Adam Shaheen. Sims and QB Glennon have developed a sweet connection inside the 20. They work that zone to perfection this week vs an ATL D leaky covering TEs.

 

1:00 pm Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

BAL D

3.8

6

85

8.0

2

CIN RB

3.9

11

75

8.4

1

CIN D

4.5

8

83

7.3

3

BAL RB

4.0

7

110

6.3

2

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

BAL D

6.8

63.8

27

18

30

CIN QB

7.4

64.7

17

8

40

CIN D

6.8

62.9

22

15

30

BAL QB

6.5

64.6

20

14

30

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

BAL D

190

12.2

21

CIN WR

207

12.6

11

CIN D

164

12.2

12

BAL WR

198

12.8

13

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

BAL D

76

9.5

4

CIN TE

63

11.4

5

CIN D

93

11.7

7

BAL TE

99

8.5

5

 

 

RAVENS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Flacco 1111, RB West 442, WR Wallace 873, TE Pitta 810

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TE Pitta 121, WR Wallace 116, WR Smith 101, WR Perriman 66

The Ravens offense is just not ready to hit the ground running (or passing) in week 1... starting QB Joe Flacco has missed essentially all of the pre-season and has to be rusty... with little passing work in the pre-season, a vet QB like Flacco goes with what he knows... Flacco knows WR Mike Wallace... there is no substitute for veteran experience together and last year Flacco and Wallace teamed up well, even when Steve Smith was knocking around DBs in his routes... WRs Jeremy Maclin, Mike Campanaro and Breshad Perriman have had scant snaps with Flacco this year... in his last 5 gms vs CIN, Flacco has thrown 4 TDs and 6 INTs... he has avg’d 46 pass attempts in those last 5 gms, going 1-4... WR Wallace hasn’t scored a TD vs CIN since 2011... CIN held Wallace to 7-90 total in 2 gms last year... WR Perriman grabbed 5-76-1 TD in 2 gms vs CIN last season... RB Danny Woodhead will be counted on heavily as Flacco gets his gm up to speed... Woodhead is a pass-savvy back and shoud snare 6-8 passes vs CIN... BAL o-line is tattered and broken at this time... CIN should be pressuring Flacco early and often... RB Terrance West has played 5 gms vs CIN, netting just 3.7 YPC and 1 rushing TD on 54 carries... CIn LBs will get beaten by RBs in routes... RB Buck Allen will chip in catches, but not enough to be FFB worthy this week... many have by-passed the Ravens’ TEs in draft... vet Ben Watson is back and could be a true sleeper as one of the forgotten... Flacco helped now-retired TE Denis Pitta to a career year in 2016... Watson has the chops to do a Pitta thing if he stays healthy... expect lots of Flacco check-downs and short-tosses to his RB and TE... West and Woodhead are key for FFB players.

 

BENGALS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Dalton 1086, RB Hill 443, WR LaFell 1011, TE Eifert 428

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR LaFell 107, WR Green 100, WR Boyd 81, RB Bernard 51

Cincy has an offense that is poised to break it open in 2017... WR AJ Green is back and ready to roll... Green has a TD vs BAL in 5 straight gms... BAL’s secondary is a sieve and a target for fanballers in 2017... Green has topped 130 yds 3 of his last 5 gms vs BAL... prized rookie WR John Ross is inured and out this week... a forgotten one, Brandon LaFell, is going undrafted yet has an attractive matchup vs BAL’s porous secondary in week 1... LaFell grabbed 7-67 in week 17 last year vs BAL... WR Tyler Boyd runs slot and owns 4-5 catch PPR value here... Boyd lacks burst and has to get it done on volume and inside the 20... inside the 20 is TE Tyler Eifert territory... Eifert notched a TD in his last 2 gms vs BAL, and snared 10-130 total in those 2-gms... Bal has held RB Jeremy Hill to 1.75 YPC 2 of his last 3 gms... Hill relies on TDs for his FFB value; he has just 1 score in 5 gms vs BAL and avg’s 3.4 YPC in those 5 gms... RB Giovani Bernard looked solid in his pre-season work and is a go in week 1... Bernard has hit 85+ YFS 2 of his last 4 gms vs BAL... rookie RB Joe Mixon is not starting, but will mix in with Hill and Bernard early and often... Mixon is a complete RB and a true weapon... he is especially dangerous as a receiver, and BAL LBs are not great cover backers... QB Andy Dalton is 5-1 in his last 6 gms vs BAL... he’s thrown 8 TDs and 6 picks in those 6 gms, avg’g 290 yds per gm... Dalton chipped in with 4 rushing scores in that span... at home and vs a flawed Raven D, Dalton, Mixon, Green, Eifert and even LaFell offer FFB starting options.

 

HOT READS:

QB Andy Dalton has an array of aerial weapons at his disposal and is looking to come out firing after his rather disappointing 2016 note. Dalton posted a career low in TDs (18) despite topping 4000-yards for only the 2nd time in his career. Dalton gets up for his battles with Baltimore. With a returning AJ Green at wideout and the exciting power, speed and pass-catching tools of rookie RB Joe Mixon on hand, Dalton tears open the Ravens secondary and has a winning fantasy football kickoff performance.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Jeremy Hill gets the start and that’s about all the good news fanballers can expect here. Hill, who lives and dies in fantasy circles via the TD, has just 1 score in 5 career games versus the Bengals. And that "start" status is more veteran respect from Coach Lewis than meritoriously earned in the pre-season. Get out of the way, Jeremy Hill... Joe Mixon needs room to roam.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

He is the guy no one "wants" on their fantasy rosters or lineups, but at some point in the season we all look to see if he’s available. Brandon LaFell has gone undrafted in many fantasy drafts. He has a juicy matchup in week 1 versus the swiss-cheese Baltimore secondary. Flashy rookie John Ross is on the shelf, shifting snaps back to LaFell. With AJ Green back and drawing all kinds of coverage from the Ravens, LaFell roams free. Andy Dalon hasn’t forgotten about Brandon LaFell.

 

1:00 pm Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

JAX D

3.8

12

75

6.5

0

HOU RB

4.2

6

56

5.9

1

HOU D

3.9

9

66

10.0

4

JAX RB

3.6

4

75

7.2

2

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

JAX D

6.5

62.9

18

6

29

HOU QB

5.9

60.0

14

16

28

HOU D

6.6

61.1

19

10

27

JAX QB

6.2

58.6

23

16

32

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

JAX D

182

11.9

13

HOU WR

153

11.5

7

HOU D

174

11.9

12

JAX WR

187

12.6

15

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

JAX D

64

10.1

5

HOU TE

111

9.7

6

HOU D

63

8.6

3

JAX TE

81

8.7

5

 

 

JAGUARS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Bortles 1112, RB Yeldon 577, WR A. Robinson 1048, TE Thomas 450

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR A. Robinson 151, WR Lee 105, WR Hurns 76, RB Yeldon 68

QB Blake Bortles has somehow held on to his starting gig... QB Chad Henne did little to pry it away from Bortles... Henne did look good in his last pre-season gm, but it WAS against non-starters... this is still an offense that can get it going IF Bortles plays within himself... however, he has rarely done so consistently... Bortles may have lost the confidence of some key Jags’ players, like WR Allen Robinson... Robinson has not been quite as sharp as he needs to be either, dropping passes... despite playing a full-16 gms in 2016, Robinson’s TPR dropped a full 5-yds per catch, adding up to almost 600 yds lost and 8 less TDs scored... 2015 breakout WR Allen Hurns suffered from Bortles-itis and nagging injuries in 2016, flopping as badly as Robinson... 2017 starters at WR at Robinson and Marqise Lee... Lee led JAX WRs in yds last yr... Hurns has fallen down depth charts and was offered in trades during off-season... Lee has top-WR tools and may lead JAX in yds again... the offensive centerpiece is rookie RB Leonard Fournette... HC Marrone wants to be run-first; Fournette is a bruiser that can handle rugged workloads... he does have a foot-injury history and a Chris Ivory handcuff is essential... RB TJ Yeldon has missed time with a hammy, but if healthy he is the best pass-catching back in JAX... Fournette is underrated as a receiver, but once the live action begins, that part of a rookie RB’s game is a challenge... JAX o-line is lacking and Houston’s front line D, led by JJ Watt, can be fierce... QB Bortles will be pressured into poor decisions, multiple picks and kill the FFB gms of Robinson and Lee... over last 3 gms vs HOU, Bortles has 2 TDs and 4 INTs, completing just 56%... Bortles has never beaten HOU (0-6)... QB Henne has beaten HOU last 2 times he faces them (2013); has 8 TDs and 2 INTs in 6 gms vs HOU... Bortles is 6 TDs and 8 picks in 6 gms... Robinson has topped 100-yds receiving 2 of last 3 gms vs HOU, but juts 2-15-0 TDs last gm... Hurns has never topped 36 yds in 5 gms vs HOU... JAX offensive players are dependent on the arm and head of Bortles... fanballers might want to look away here.

 

TEXANS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Osweiler 976, RB Miller 623, WR Hopkins 1085, TE Fiedorowicz 677

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Hopkins 151, WR Fuller 92, TE Fiedorowicz 89, TE Griffin 74

WR DeAndre Hopkins battled an injured hand in pre-season but is full-go for week 1... his biggest obstacle vs JAX may be his own QB, Tom Savage... Savage has actually performed well in pre-season, knows the offense well and has the endorsement of Hopkins and HC O’Brien... HOU’s WR corps is thin for the opener with Will Fuller out possibly 3-months, Jaelen Strong suspended 1-gm and Braxton Miller running dinged... 49er cast-off Bruce Ellington has shined in pre-season... Ellington is versatile and shows burst in YAC situation... bet the house TE CJ Fiedorowicz will be busy... JAX D is pretty stout, both vs pass and the run... Savage played well vs JAX last yr in week 15, completing 23-36 (64%), 260 yds and 0 INTs... 0 TDs as well... Savage has yet to toss a score in the NFL; he finds his first 2 this week... Hopkins has broken through 85+ yds 3 of last 4 gms vs JAX... a sleeper look goes to TE Stephen Anderson, 2nd year player out of CAL... Anderson played as TE/WR at CAL, and is a mismatch vs LBs for sure... HOU is likely to shift Anderson in the slot and he can make hay there... eye-up Anderson here... one Texan that will most definitely be working it is RB Lamar Miller... Miller proved he can handle a full workload last yr, but at the expense of his breakaway ability... Miller ran sluggish as the season progressed... came to camp a bit lighter and more fit for burstful rushing in 2017... in 2 gms last season vs JAX, Miller rushed 37 times for 146 yds (4.0 YPC) and 1 TD... Miller scored a TD rushing 3 of his last 4 gms last season, but was at 3.0 YPC or less 4 of last 6... he looks quicker and in more command of the offense so far... Miller is a sneaky good receiver and dangerous in space... in what may be a low-scoring contest, Miller will see volume and YFS, with a score highly probable.

 

HOT READS:

The Jaguar run D held backs to a paltry 3.3 YPC over the last 5 games of 2016, but let up 4 rushing scores in that span. Lamar Miller was kept in check as well in week 15, netting just 63 rushing yards on 22 carries, a 2.9 YPC. However, Miller scored one of those 4 TDs and added 26 yards receiving versus Jacksonville. In his efforts to bulk up some to handle the rigors of a bellcow back, Miller sacrificed his trademark getaway gear and failed to scare defenses as the 2016 season wore on. Wiser and more prepared in 2017, Miller came to camp fit and ready to not only carry the mail for Houston, but make more impactful plays as a rusher. With fresh legs and a week 1 focal point of the Texans’ offense, Miller logs a bucketful of touches, hit 120 YFS and tags a TD on the Jaguars.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

QB Blake Bortles has struggled in his 6-career starts against the Texans, going 0-6 and tossing 8 INTs versus 6 TDs. As Bortles goes, so goes Allen Robinson, and Robinson seems to have had about enough of Bortles’ "goings". Coach Marrone wants to run the rock, and run is some more. With an inefficient QB, a scaled-back passing game and slippery mitts, Allen Robinson is about to open the 2017 campaign filing complaints regarding his missing production.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

Houston’s wide receiver crew is down to DeAndre Hopkins, Bruce Ellington, a hobbled Braxton Miller and... Andy Jones? Coach O’Brien, a Bill Belichick disciple, may have something up his sleeve. That something is reserve TE Stephen Anderson. Anderson owns WR goods; he can run routes well and has excellent hands. Anderson and CJ Fiedorowicz will run 2-TE sets, with Anderson motioning into the slot in some formations and line checks by Tom Savage. As a pseudo-slot receiver, Anderson grabs 4-60 and a TD.

 

1:00 pm New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

NYJ D

4.1

10

70

7.4

5

BUF RB

5.3

22

72

7.5

2

BUF D

4.5

18

60

9.0

0

NYJ RB

4.2

10

86

7.5

2

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

NYJ D

7.6

64.6

30

7

24

BUF QB

6.9

61.2

17

6

43

BUF D

7.5

59.5

17

12

38

NYJ QB

6.6

56.0

14

25

34

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NYJ D

190

13.6

15

BUF WR

136

13.8

11

BUF D

171

13.6

14

NYJ WR

189

13.9

12

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NYJ D

72

11.1

10

BUF TE

64

10.3

4

BUF D

56

13.5

3

NYJ TE

17

9.8

0

 

 

JETS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Fitzpatrick 763, RB Powell 530, WR B. Marshall 899, TE Bostick 296

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR B. Marshall 128, WR Enunwa 105, WR Anderson 78, RB Powell 74

UGH! The battle of the fantasy football dumpster fires... both squads appear to be tanking for top picks in next year’s draft... vet QB Josh McCown gets the start, almost by default... while most fanballers are steering clear of the Jets crash n burn campaign, McCown can be productive and help his supporting cast to produce fantasy numbers as well; ask former CLV TE Gary Barnidge... NYJ added a couple of veteran wideouts to assist McCown; Jermaine Kearse (SEA) and Jeremy Kerley... this is Kerley’s 2nd go with the Jets... Kearse, who tends to play long, may cut into starter Robby Anderson’s vertical calls... Anderson is swift and long, but thinly built and fragile... rookie WR ArDarius Stewart has the opportunity to shine as a PPR star... Stewart plays tough, closer to the QB than Anderson or Kearse and has seen big-game experience while at college power Alabama... RB Bilal Powell has overtaken aging Matt Forte as the go-to RB... Powell rolled up BUF in week 17 last season, 5.6 YPC on 22 rushes and 122 yds; 3-15-1 TD receiving... week 2 of 2016, Forte powered out 30 carries for 100 yards and 3 TDs vs BUF... NYJ had a RB rush for 80+ yds 7 of the final 10 gms last season... Powell owned 3 and Forte had the other 4... BUF run D was among the worst in the NFL last season; not sure there is any improvement for 2017... by end of week 16 last season, RBs were wrecking BUF for 4.5 YPC and scored 18 ground TDs... oddly, after all the purging of veteran talent (other than Forte), the Jets do offer a few viable matchup-driven fantasy options... only for the desperate, but Josh McCown is probably going to put up 240 yds and 2 TDs... ArDarius Stewart hauls in 6-85-1 TD... RB Bilal Powell nets 80 YFS and Matt Forte rolls out 70 YFS and a TD.

 

BILLS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Taylor 969, RB McCoy 646, WR Goodwin 640, TE Clay 872

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TE Clay 87, WR Woods 76, WR Goodwin 68, RB McCoy 57

QB Tyrod Taylor passed through concussion protocol and gets the start... rookie QB Nathan Peterman is the backup... injured WR Jordan Matthews has had little on-field work with Taylor... Zay Jones, an impressive freshman wideout, looks poised and able to handle WR1 chores early... don’t dismiss a rookie receiver here as the Jets allowed 30 TD passes by end of week 16 last yr... he stands 6’2-201 and runs sharp routes, catches with sound hands... the sudden retirement of super slotter Anquan Boldin opens both inside routes and key scoring targets for Jones... not a surprise to see an 8-88-1 TD line here... TE Charles Clay actually led the Bills in targets last season... Clay, bothered by back and knee issues last year, is running well and poses a mismatch against the Jets LBs... Clay has 5 receptions 3 of last 4 gms vs NYJ... last gm vs NYJ, QB Taylor threw for 297 yds and 3 TDs... Taylor threatens with similar numbers this week, and offers fanballers a spot start option; his rushing chops add to week 1 attraction... RB LeSean McCoy is the focal point of the BUF offense... McCoy may flirt with 80-catches this season if he can stay healthy... while the Jets were decent covering RBs between the 20s, they gave up 5 TD catches to RBs... week 2 McCoy racked up 90 YFS last season, and 159 YFS in 2015... McCoy is set for 25 touches, 140 YFS and a TD in his 2017 debut.

 

HOT READS:

Gotta go with the obvious because he is just set up to monster mash in week 1. LeSean McCoy is the Bills offense in 2017, and there is no time like the opener for Shady to let it rip. New HC McDermott has stated it will be all-Shady, all-game, as much as he can handle. Fanballers need to ride the Shady -train until the track runs out... and it will.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Yes, the Jets secondary is riddled with gaping holes and a WR’s paradise, but don’t jump on Jordan Matthews just yet. Matthews may very well morph into Tyrod Taylor’s go-to, but the former Eagles’ wideout has missed most of the pre-season with Buffalo, has little on-field rapport with Taylor and, he just might not be fully healthy yet. Let Matthews prove it before playing in a fantasy lineup.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

There are 2 rookie wideouts making their NFL debuts; Buffalo’s Zay Jones and the Jets’ ArDarius Stewart. Jones has gotten some positive pub and captured the attention of many fanballers. Stewart, on the other-hand, is being over-looked or ignored due to guilt by association; he plays for the self-sinking Jets. Here’s the rub with Stewart; the Jets defense will give up points early and often. The offense will be playing in catch-up mode a majority of games and will throw a bunch. Someone is going to catch a bunch in NYC, and Stewart has the professional makeup, the rugged mentality and the style of game to be Josh McCown’s go-to, or Bryce Petty’s go-to, from the get-go. He gets it started in week 1. 7-75 and a TD, maybe 11-12 targets. Let’s see.

 

1:00 pm Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

OAK D

4.6

12

54

9.3

4

TEN RB

4.5

13

65

8.1

3

TEN D

3.9

6

66

10.2

2

OAK RB

4.7

17

90

9.0

3

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

OAK D

7.9

60.5

25

15

25

TEN QB

7.5

60.9

28

10

24

TEN D

7.3

61.7

24

12

36

OAK QB

7.0

63.7

28

6

16

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

OAK D

180

14.3

15

TEN WR

150

13.8

15

TEN D

222

12.6

16

OAK WR

213

12.2

20

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

OAK D

75

13.2

6

TEN TE

75

12.9

9

TEN D

73

11.1

5

OAK TE

54

10.3

4

 

 

RAIDERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Carr 1048, RB Murray 525, WR Cooper 997, TE Walford 702

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Crabtree 145, WR Cooper 132, WR Roberts 77, TE Walford 52

WR Amari Cooper has a bit of a knee issue but should be ready to roll... TEN secondary was PPR’d consistently by WRs, surrendering the 2nd most receptions to WRs in 2016 (238) and the most yds (3018)...TEN addressed the secondary in the draft, but that means rookies starting in key spots against Cooper and Michael Crabtree... Crabtree logged 8-102 last yr vs TEN... Crabtree is likely to see rookie CB Adoree Jackson; advantage Crabtree... OAK coaches vow to get WR Cooper more involved inside the 20... none of Cooper’s TDs last yr came in the redzone... redzone is the Carr-Crabtree connection.. 3rd WR Seth Roberts has 3 TDs in 2 gms vs TEN... Cooper, Crabtree and Roberts have each had a 100-yd gm vs TEN over the past 2 campaigns... David Carr under 230 yds passing in last 3 gms... QB Carr is back to full health... last gm vs TEN Carr completed just 60%, with 1 TD, 1 INT and 249 yds... RB Marshawn Lynch isn’t the same back as before retirement, but he can shine in spots... goal line is calling... RB DeAndre Washington will spell Lynch and do well but not enough for fanballers to utilize... Washington is a must-have for Lynch drafters... D-Wash is a fine receiver and rusher... TEN plays the run tough; Lynch may find rushing yds harder to come by... after 15 gms last yr TEN 8 total RB TDs (6 rush-2 rec)... how rusty is Lynch after sitting out a yr?... fanballers find out early.

 

TITANS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Mariota 964, RB Murray 862, WR Sharpe 787, TE Walker 709

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Matthews 108, TE Walker 102, WR Sharpe 83, RB Murray 67

QB Marcus Mariota has played OAK twice, completing a meager 48.6%, avg’g 216 yds and tossing 3 TDs to 4 INTs... WR Eric Decker has a TD in 4 of his last 6 gms vs OAK... rookie WR Corey Davis missed practically all of the pre-season but is set to play week 1... TEN suddenly has a crowded WR unit with Decker, Davis, Rishard Matthews and rookie Taywan Taylor... Taylor has impressed with YAC and effective sweeps, but is nursing a bruised calf... last season’s TEN lead WR Matthews sits atop the depth charts and is under-appreciated by fanballers... OAK checked Matthews last yr, holding him to 3-32-0 TDs... Matthews scored 9 TDs and fell 55 yds short of 1000 in 2016; broke 100-yds 2 of his last 3 gms... last gm vs OAK (2015) TE Delanie Walker tallied 6-91-0 TDs... Walker has topped 100 targets in 3-straight seasons, and hit 800 or more yds in that span... RB DeMarco Murray avg’d 7.1 YPC last yr vs OAK, scoring a TD on 16 carries... he added 5-41 receiving in that one... Murray has 4 rushing TDs in 2 career gms vs OAK... RB Derrick Henry is poised for more work in spelling Murray, but Murray "wants" the rock and is still the go-to... WR Decker may be limited for redzone duty early in the season... eyes on rookie WR Taylor.

 

HOT READS:

New football seasons are the perfect time for veteran RBs to crank out fantasy-friendly numbers, and that is exactly what to expect from DeMarco Murray. Murray is a touch-machine, able on the ground and through the air. Oakland’s rush D is nothing to write home about, allowing 4.6 YPC to backs last year and letting up 16 RB scores (12 rushing- 4 receiving). DeMarco Murray wants the rock, gets the rock and rocks the Raiders in week 1.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch is expected to bang home scores in tight this year. He runs with the anger and power needed to get those last, tough yards for 6. But he runs into a few layers of resistance in his 1st game back from retirement. Rust is one of the factors he’ll need to overcome. The Titans’ stout run D is another. Tennessee allowed just 6 rushing scores by RBs over the 16-game schedule last season. Lynch may be a beast, but the Titans have shown able to conquer beasts.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

The Titans have a beast of their own in RB Derrick Henry. DeMarco Murray will once again dominate the touches, but Henry lines up this week in proximity of the goal line versus Oakland and notches a pair of sixers. He’ll rumble well in his 10-or-so carries as well, netting over 4.5 YPC.

 

1:00 pm Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

PHL D

4.3

9

80

7.0

2

WSH RB

4.8

13

64

7.3

3

WSH D

4.6

15

70

7.7

4

PHL RB

4.3

13

75

8.5

3

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

PHL D

7.4

60.5

24

14

31

WSH QB

8.1

67.3

24

10

19

WSH D

7.5

65.8

22

13

37

PHL QB

6.3

62.4

14

14

31

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

PHL D

190

15.2

17

WSH WR

210

13.9

14

WSH D

194

13.3

14

PHL WR

161

10.7

8

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

PHL D

44

9.2

4

WSH TE

107

11.4

7

WSH D

105

10.3

4

PHL TE

110

10.1

3

 

 

EAGLES WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Wentz 1125, RB Sproles 509, WR Agholor 882, TE Ertz 849

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Matthews 117, TE Ertz 106, WR Green-Beckham 74, RB Sproles 71

This gm is tailor-made for TE Zach Ertz.... Ertz and QB Carson Wentz have built great chemistry... Ertz is running routes with extreme fluidity and confidence, and shows great hands... with slotWR Jordan Matthews gone, the range between the hash marks belongs to Ertz... WSH was one of the NFL’s worst TE-defending defenses in 2016 (109 catches was 2nd most- 1130 yds 3rd most)... Ertz has 10 or more receptions and 112 yds plus 3 of his last 5 gms vs WSH... he has yet to score a TD in 8-gms vs WSH... QB Wentz is 0-2 vs WSH, but hit 314 yds and 69.6% passing last gm... in 3-career gms vs WSH, WR Alshon Jeffery has 92, 107 and 105 yds receiving, with 1 TD... last gm vs WSH (2015-NE), RB LeGarrette Blount rolled out 129 yds on 4.5 YPC and a TD... Blount has 2 TDs in 3 career gms vs WSH... HC Pederson says Eagles will use RBBC, but Blount is the hammer that can eat clock and score in close for Philly... RB Wendell Smallwood should see 5-7 touches... RB Darren Sproles is playing in his last season, has had modest success vs WSH... Sproles remains the lead receiving back for PHL... WR Torrey Smith is a shot in the dark FFB play; deep strike or not much else... Jeffery draws the attention of top CB Josh Norman; tough going for Jeffery but he is still worth a week 1 start... this gm has solid point potential; Wentz and Ertz lead the way... Blount has potential to net a score as WSH gave up 16 RB ground scores in 2016, 3rd most.

 

REDSKINS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Cousins 1060, RB Thompson 487, WR Garcon 807, TE Davis 672

WEEK X TARGETS: TNA WEEK 2

2016: WR Garcon 114, WR Jackson 100, WR Crowder 99, TE Reed 89

In what could be a points-fest, QB Kirk Cousins is primed for a winning FFB opener... Cousins has thrown 8 TDs in his last 3 gms vs PHL... PHL secondary isn’t air-tight, but did well to keep QBs in check last season... Cousins has a changing WR unit for 2017; gone are WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon... in comes Terrelle Pryor, a 6’4 size/speed weapon that D-Jax or Pierre were not... with CLV last yr, Pryor managed just 3-68-0 TDs vs PHL... PHL bottled up WR Jamison Crowder last gm for 2-37-0 TDs... Crowder did post 3-52-1 TD in the other 2016 contest vs PHL... Crowder’s role has grown and expanded beyond his slot type-casting... he can get downfield, run inside and out... WR Josh Doctson has had a spotty pre-season due to continued leg woes... Docston shines as a dangerous slant router in this offense IF he can hurdle the nagging injuries; so far, still nagging... TE Jordan Reed also continues to deal with nagging ailments... Reed is tentatively set to play in week 1, but fellow TE Vernon Davis is more than able to chip in... Davis may actually be the better play as he is fully healthy and willing... both TEs run into a PHL D that shuts down TEs well... RB Rob Kelley has held onto his starting gig by merit... Kelley totaled 88 YFS and a TD last gm vs PHL (63 rush-25 receiving)... rookie Samaje Perine practically fumbled his way to a reserve role... PHL run D looks to be better for 2017, and the unit wasn’t that bad last season slowing RBs... RB Chris Thompson is always a threat out of the backfield, but rarely produces winning FFB numbers.

 

HOT READS:

Eagles’ TE Zach Ertz appears to enjoy the company of the Redskins. The talented TE has broken 110 yards 3 of his last 5 games versus Washington. 2017 looks to be the year Ertz and Carson Wentz take it to a whole new level. Ertz and Wentz have a game in week 1.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

TE Jordan Reed is as good as any when he’s right. Problem is he’s often not right, heath-wise. Reed has been dinged throughout camp and the pre-season, and may not be fully ready in week 1. Add to his opening day hurdle is the Eagles D, stout versus TEs. Check on Reed’s injury status, but even if he suits up, Philly has other ideas of how Reed’s day will go.

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

LeGarrette Blount has had a quiet, if not disappointing pre-season. Some guys just are not good practice players; Blount fits the mold. Blount also fits nicely into what beats the Redskins on defense. Washington’s ground stoppers are more like speed-bumps than barricades. Philly will be at the door knocking often in week 1, and Blount is the one who comes through the 6-point door.

 

1:00 pm Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

PIT D

4.1

13

78

9.9

5

CLV RB

4.6

8

93

9.1

0

CLV D

4.6

17

63

8.0

2

PIT RB

4.6

10

91

7.9

3

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

PIT D

7.1

64.0

18

12

34

CLV QB

6.6

58.1

13

13

53

CLV D

7.7

63.8

33

9

22

PIT QB

7.3

63.3

27

12

17

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

PIT D

197

11.4

9

CLV WR

149

12.5

10

CLV D

168

14.3

18

PIT WR

193

13.3

21

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

PIT D

77

11.6

4

CLV TE

67

11.2

3

CLV D

92

10.8

13

PIT TE

73

11.3

6

 

 

STEELERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Roethlisberger 921, RB Bell 781, WR Brown 975, TE James 855

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Brown 154, RB Bell 94, WR Rogers 66, TE James 60

The Browns have all those draft picks and, when the live games begin, little to show for it... last gm at CLV QB Ben Roethlisberger was just not good; 167 yds and 0 TDs... in 2 gms prior vs CLV Roethlisberger combined for 728 yds and 6 TDs against 2 INTS... WR Antonio Brown has at least 116 yds 4 of last 5 gms vs CLV, with 4 TDs in that span... big play WR Martavis Bryant is back; 6-178-1 TD in 2015 gm vs CLV... slot WR Eli Rogers netted 6-61-0 last gm vs CLV... RB LeVeon Bell is back in uniform; how ready is he???... Bell racked up over 190 YFS 2 of last 3 gms vs CLV, scoring 2 TDs... this is one of the easiest FFB gms to project for potential points... Roethlisberger, Bell, Brown and Bryant as all must starts... looking for a sneaky WR3? Eli Rogers.

 

BROWNS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Kessler 349, RB Crowell 568, WR Pryor 900, TE Barnidge 968

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

Rookie DeShone Kizer gets the start; no surprise really... Kizer is big, still raw and flawed, but athletic enough to make plays... PIT D is not the best D for a rookie QB to receiver his pro baptism... despite lacking a pressuring pass rush, PIT limited QBs to 18 TDs after 15 games last season, taking away 12 passes... Kizer’s top WR targets are Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman... Britt’s game is mostly linear and one-dimensional... Coleman can get behind a secondary, but tends to tip off defenses at the lien with certain body language, allowing for pre-snap adjustments by the D... Coleman snared 9-79-0 TDs in 2 gms vs PIT last yr... that’s a sad 8.8 YPR... RB Isaiah Crowell rumbled for a stunning 152 yds on 19 carries in wk17 vs PIT; ah, week 17!!... RB Duke Johnson is promised a bigger role in 2017, touted as a pseudo-slot receiver for CLV... Johnson may flirt with 90 catches this season... Crowell will have a fine 2017 behind a potentially stout o-line, but not in week 1 vs a fired up and fresh Steelers’ D... led by a rookie making his 1st NFL start, CLV skills players will be mostly kept in check... RB Johnson has 80 YFS potential as a slot receiver and in mismatches vs LBs.

 

HOT READS:

QB Ben Roithlisberger has been contemplating retirement this off-season, but he’s back. Thinking this may be it, Big Ben comes out with guns blazing and torches the always leaky Browns DBs for 300-yards and 3 TDs.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Bet folks are excited about Isaiah Crowell’s week 1 chances versus Pittsburgh after Crowell ripped the Steelers for 152 yards in the last game of the 2016 campaign. Uh, week 17 produces quite a lot of false readings, gang. This is not a defense that packed it in for the post-season.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

The Steelers have an abundance of "name" offensive weapons that fanballers flock to. But in week 1, a name NOT being bandied about is slot wideout Eli Rogers. Rogers snared 6 passes for 61 yards last year versus these Browns. With the attention going to Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers roams free and fun.

4:05 pm Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

IND D

4.7

10

76

9.0

6

LAR RB

3.3

6

58

7.4

0

LAR D

4.0

9

72

7.6

5

IND RB

3.8

10

80

7.0

5

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

IND D

7.6

65.0

26

8

31

LAR QB

6.2

58.1

14

18

42

LAR D

6.8

65.9

29

8

30

IND QB

7.6

63.6

28

12

40

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

IND D

192

12.6

14

LAR WR

178

12.2

11

LAR D

225

11.3

19

IND WR

163

14.7

15

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

IND D

83

12.1

5

LAR TE

59

9.7

3

LAR D

58

10.1

5

IND TE

103

11.9

10

 

 

COLTS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Luck 1013, RB Gore 650, WR Hilton 948, TE Doyle 750

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TY Hilton 155, TE Doyle 75, WR Dorsett 59, WR Moncrief 56

QB Andrew Luck is not quite living up to his name; injured shoulder finds him pined for opening day... IND traded for Patriot QB3 Jacoby Brissett, but he is nowhere near ready to take Colt snaps; playbook needs studying... Scott Tolzien takes the opening game snaps... Tolzien avg’d 5.8 YPA in his only full gm last yr (wk 12)... he is the ultimate dinker... Wk 12 WR TY Hilton snared 3 balls for 54 yds... WR Donte Moncrief did score the TD from Tolzien in that one, but gained 7.5 YPR on 6 catches; 11 tgts... LAR fielded one of the NFL’s leakiest WR defenses in 2016... WRs hauled in a whopping 225 passes and 19 TDs by end of wk 16... WR Chester Rogers is OUT this wk, Kamar Aiken jumps to more FFB prominence... Aiken’s gm is suitable for Tolzien’s arm talent, able to work short and make gains after the catch... with Tolzien at the helm, Hilton’s speedy routing is nullified... TE Jack Doyle should be busy providing Tolzien with check-down looks... ancient warrior RB Frank Gore once again leads the way... Gore scored 8 total TDs last year, including 4 receiving (that’s a career high for Gore)... Gore failed to notch a rushing TD since wk 9 of last season... at 33, Gore showed plenty of juice in his battle-tested legs in 2016; age 34 is a stiffer challenge... rookie RB Marlon Mack has gotten hype, but does have flaws in his gm... no Doubt Mack will be seeing increasing snaps as the season goes... don’t dismiss RB Robert Turbin; showed up at camp rocked up and ready... Turbin scored 7 rushing TDs on just 47 runs; added TD catch as well... Rams are no paper tigers stopping the run; they can play... with a short-tossing QB leading the charge, IND skills guys are hurting their FFB coaches... Gore will be his freshest right now; use him if ya got him.

 

RAMS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Keenum 596, RB Gurley 742, WR Britt 786, TE Kendricks 827

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Britt 111, WR Austin 106, TE Kendricks 87, WR Quick 77

Rams new HC Sean McVay is young, creative and aggressive... Rams have some surprises for fanballers other than RB Todd Gurley... QB Jared Goff is maligned for his lack of arm zip and pocket nuance... the O-line as poor in 2016, and looks improved for the new season... Goff now has a chance to develop, and McVay is just right for the 2nd-yr passer... IND is NOT a pressure defense and Goff will have time... McVay worked wonders in WSH with QB Kirk Cousins... WR Sammy Watkins is projected as the lead ball-hawk... Watkins is all about his foot health; if he’s healthy, he’s a viable WR2 in FFB... lost in the Watkins’ glow is WR Robert Woods... Woods is a savvy router, with good hands and a receiver a young QB like Goff can latch onto... he has redzone dimensions at 6’2-200, and knows how to work in tight; catches well in a crowd... after racking up nine-100 yd gms and 15 TDs in his first 2 seasons, Watkins mustered just a single 100-yd performance and 2 TDs in 2016... check on injury status, but you already knew that... rookie WR Cooper Kupp starred in pre-season but nagging injuries have cooled his roll... RB Todd Gurley is the centerpiece of the Rams’ O... RB rocked the Colts for 4.7 YPC and 10 rushing TDs after 15 gms in 2016... Gurley avg’d under 3.0 YPC last 3 gms of 2016... with an improved line, better wideouts and a true offensive play-caller, Gurley has room for big up-tick in 2017, starting in wk 1... WR Tavon Austin is mis-cast as a deep baller; he is a gadget guy and his wk1 projection is not FFB start-worthy in wk 1.

 

HOT READS:

It’s the Todd Gurley show. The Colts run D is simply brutal. Gurley is fresh-legged, powerful and fast, has an improved o-line to open lanes and a play-caller that will move the football.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

OK, it’s a cheapy but just in case some are not paying attention, Andrew Luck is NOT playing. Scott Tolzien is. I said Scott... Tolzien... IS!!

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

HE’s old, mostly unwanted in fantasy circles and will be playing without his play-making QB, but Frank Gore doesn’t care. Gore is at his best right now because he is not season-worn yet. The Rams are missing stout DT Aaron Donald and Gore is fresh-legged. The warrior opens with a solid 70-80 yards and a score.

 

4:25 pm Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

CAR D

3.8

8

100

7.5

1

SF RB

4.1

9

63

7.9

6

SF D

5.0

23

58

7.9

3

CAR RB

3.9

10

43

8.4

1

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

CAR D

7.6

67.4

26

16

44

SF QB

6.3

57.6

20

10

42

SF D

7.7

61.9

29

10

31

CAR QB

7.0

54.2

20

16

33

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

CAR D

212

12.8

13

SF WR

148

11.1

8

SF D

174

14.2

21

CAR WR

157

13.8

15

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

CAR D

77

11.7

12

SF TE

58

14.3

6

SF D

67

11.3

5

CAR TE

88

13.6

4

 

 

PANTHERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Newton 1023, RB Stewart 565, WR Benjamin 802, TE Olsen 1033

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TE Olsen 129, WR Benjamin 118, WR Ginn 95, WR Funchess 58

QB Cam Newton hardly threw in pre-season with a bum passing shoulder... the new offensive thought is for Cam to get the ball out quickly, negating his tendency to take off and keep Newton on the field in one piece... rookie RB Christian McCaffrey’s job is to catch the shorties and turn them into chunkies... WR/RB Curtis Samuel, also a rook, has the same assignment once he is able; he’s been camp-dinged... SF run D was flat-out abysmal in 2016, allowing RBs 5.0 YPC; YIKES!!!... get McCaffrey and vet Jonathan Stewart up and ready to roll in FFB lineups, NOW!!.. SF made a few off-season moves to close the flood-gates, but nothing points to a dramatic turn-around vs the run in SF... by wk17 of 2016, SF had allowed 29 TD passes; 21 to WRs... WR Kelvin Benjamin rocked SF for 7-108-2 TDs last yr... WR Devin Funchess wasn’t productive but managed to score a TD as well... TE Greg Olsen destroyed the seams of SF for 5-122-1 TD in 2016 gm... QB Newton made it all happen in the early season gm, throwing for 353 yds, rushing for another 37 and tossing 4 TDs... in his 2 previous gms vs SF, Newton combined for 1 TD and 3 picks; went 4 TDs and 1 INT last gm vs SF... RB Stewart will share time with McCaffrey; goal liners are sure to come for Stewart... until SF proves the defense is better, target the unit.

 

49ERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Kaepernick 691, RB Hyde 537, WR Kerley 791, TE Celek 607

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Kerley 115, WR Patton 63, TE Celek 50, WR Smith 79

While SF’s defense may not be much improved over 2016, the offense should show significant positive strides under new HC Kyle Shanahan... QB Brian Hoyer’s fragility is the only thing keeping him from being a household FFB QB... with the Bears in 2016, Hoyer tossed for over 300-yds in all 4 of his starts played in-full... in those 4-gms Hoyer avg’d 329.5 yds passing a gm... he completed 68.4% and avg’d 7.4 YPA... CAR got to opposing QBs 44 times by wk 17, with 16 INTs; but QBs completed over 67%... Hoyer throws to a group of veteran but inspired WRs... WR Pierre Garcon runs the "x" routes in the Shanny offense; that’s target-rice territory... Garcon has never been the clear go-to in a pass attack, but he is here, and carries a terrific WR-SOS with him... close to 90-catches and a 1000+ yds ahead... fleet WR Marquise Goodwin has won the WR2 role... Goodwin actually led the Bills in WR snaps last yr... injuries and team conditions have kept Goodwin from breaking out, but Coach Shanahan is ready to make it happen for Goodwin... again, prime SOS for this WR... where the Panthers are truly weak at in the pass defenses is at TE... TEs flagged down 12 TDs on CAR LBs in 2016... rookie TE George Kittle has impressed some in camp, but he’s not running full go with a hammy... Garrett Celek should be the snap-getter and has some goal line appeal... RB Carlos Hyde ahs worked hard to "fit" Coach Shanny’s zone scheme... Hyde looked good in pre-season... Hyde was mushy vs CAR last yr, going 2.4 YPC on 14 runs (34 yds)... rookie Matt Breida won the RB2 job, a surprise... Breida is a solid receiving back, but runs stiff as a rusher and lacks durability... CAR was extremely soft covering RBs last season... look for crafty play-caller Shanahan to move versatile WR Goodwin around, even in some RB "looks" to take advantage of the mismatch coverages to be had... many fanballers looked the other way when coming across 49ers on draft day; best to take a look back and see what gold is still left... eyes on rookie WR Kendrick Bourne. Nice college tape... just sayin’!

 

HOT READS:

QB Brian Hoyer tossed for over 300-yards in all 4 of the 2016 starts he was able to finish. Think about it... that was with the Bears. Hoyer is a sharp passer and a leader on the field. He just needs to stay healthy. This is the first time he has been given the keys to the machine without contention. Hoyer makes the most of it under new HC Kyle Shanahan. Carolina’s D isn’t what it once was.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

RB Carlos Hyde worked diligently to get into shape and then show his new coach he can fit the zone-blocking scheme and one-cut his way for big gainers. Hyde looked pretty good at times in the pre-season. However, the Panthers D shut Hyde sown under 2.5 YPC last year, and they get after the big back once again.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

While Hoyer gets his shot to start without a battle, his fast and furious wideout Marquise Goodwin receives the same opportunity. Goodwin was named a starter almost instantly and had a terrific camp. He handles the ball in various ways, and that only enhances his soeedy chances for fantasy points. Goodwin is off to the races in week 1.

 

4:25 pm Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

SEA D

3.5

10

64

8.3

0

GB RB

4.3

6

74

7.1

2

GB D

4.1

10

73

8.1

1

SEA RB

3.8

10

70

8.3

2

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

SEA D

7.1

61.0

15

11

37

GB QB

7.1

64.7

36

8

34

GB D

8.0

64.9

30

16

38

SEA QB

7.8

65.2

22

12

40

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

SEA D

189

12.9

13

GB WR

243

12.4

31

GB D

194

14.3

24

SEA WR

196

12.9

12

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

SEA D

61

11.4

2

GB TE

59

10.4

3

GB D

81

11.6

5

SEA TE

77

13.1

6

 

 

SEAHAWKS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Wilson 1008, RB Michael 340, WR Baldwin 897, TE Graham 790

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Baldwin 125, TE Graham 95, WR Kearse 89, WR Lockett 66

Week 14 at GB couldn’t have gone worse for QB Russell Wilson; 1 TD, 5 INTs, 56.4% complete, 38-10 loss... Wilson was hampered and hobbled by injuries but toughed it out in 2016... his play suffered, rendered mostly immobile and unable to bail out his failing o-line... in last 3 gms vs GB Wilson chucked 4 TDs and suffered 10 picks... after week 16 was played, GB pass D gave up 30 TDs and gave up YPA at 8.0... Wilson is back to full health, is moving like the Wilson of old and will play in a more aerial aggressive scheme this yr... WR Doug Baldwin has produced WR1 numbers over last 2 seasons; 172 catches, almost 2200 yds and 21 TDs... Baldwin has at least 6 catches in last 3 gms vs GB, going over 90 yds in 2 of the 3 and scoring 1 TD... WR Tyler Lockett looks like he’ll play but his rustiness has to show after sitting out the pre-season... talented but fragile WR Paul Richardson won the WR3 role and vet Jermaine Kearse was dealt to the Jets... Richardson flashed in the last few gms of 2016, including the post-season... GB DBs were burned for 24 WRs scores and 14.3 YPR in 2016... TE Jimmy Graham is now back to more of a receiver role as SEA coaches realize he is being wasted kept in to block... GB is decent blanketing TEs, and as a Seahawk Graham has just 2- 27-0 total in 2 gms vs GB... RB Thomas Rawls is back after nursing an ankle in pre-season... Eddie Lacy’s health, conditioning and his role are still all in question... if Rawls is truly done with the ankle woes, he’s the better FFB option... Rawls rumbled for 67 yds on 12 rushes vs GB last yr (5.6 YPC)... Lacy faces his old mates, and not sure that he can bring enough fire to burn them... Seattle gets to throwing more than anticipated.... the WR crew is geared for more voluminous and explosive play calls in 2017.

 

PACKERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Rodgers 1064, RB Montgomery 391, WR Nelson 1013, TE Rodgers 604

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Nelson 152, WR Adams 121, WR Cobb 84, RB Montgomery 56

QB Aaron Rodgers will face a fired up and dangerous D in wk 1 vs SEA... Rodges is 5-0 in his career at home vs SEA.. threw for 5 TDs vs 0 INTs last 2 gms vs SEA, completing 76.8%... SEA allowed just 15 TD passes by week 17 last yr; Rodgers owned 3 of them... in GB, and it being Rodgers, fanballers have to look past raw numbers here... WR Jordy Nelson held under 10 YPR 3 of last 4 gms vs SEA, but scored 2 TDs last gm... away from CB Richard Sherman, WR Davante Adams blew up for 4-104-1 TD last gm vs SEA... slotWR Randall Cobb sees much of S Earl Thomas; tough start for Cobb... just 33 yds receiving 2 of last 3 gms vs SEA, and 7 in the other... RB Ty Montgomery combined for 86 YFS and a TD rushing last gm vs SEA (2016)... SEA is a rugged D and the D-line now with Sheldon Richardson is daunting for all RBs this season... TE Martellus Bennett broke over 100 yds vs SEA, snaring 7 passes last yr for NE... SEA allowed just 2 TE scores in 2016... fanballers have a few tough decisions here as GB can score on anyone, but SEA’s fortified front-7 can also shut down anyone... best to play for the TDs over the performances with Packer skill guys... Rodgers is a 2-TD QB in wk 1, but 240 yds might be the ceiling... Nelson is redzone dangerous and should always be in lineups... Montgomery is YFS capable even against the stifling Seahawks.

 

HOT READS:

Russell Wilson is fully healthy and has been on fire in the pre-season. He is moving with urgency and throwing the ball with impressive velocity and accuracy. The Packers best chance to slow Wilson in week 1 is to pressure the QB, but that’s when Wilson becomes even more dangerous. He’s struggled mightily against Green Bay in the recent past; Wilson put the recent past into long-gone memories in the opener.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Davante Adams has a truly breakout campaign in 2016. His 12-TD receptions led NFL wideouts. However, Adams also left a few scores on the field due to slippery hands and too many key drops. Facing this fierce D in week 1. Adams literally drops the ball for his fantasy coaches.

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

He’s oft-injured, but if anyone is paying attention, Seahawk WR Paul Richardson is blossoming and about to hit full bloom. He is not built for rugged play, but he possesses big-play chops and has been flashing since the end run of 2016. Richardson has his coaches convinced as Seattle shipped veteran and starting WR Jermaine Kearse to the Jets. With Packer eyes on Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson, the clear WR2 of the Seahawks, soars to his best pro game of his career.

8:30 pm New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

NYG D

3.7

10

77

7.0

0

DAL RB

4.8

18

49

9.7

1

DAL D

4.1

7

84

7.5

2

NYG RB

3.7

5

81

7.6

1

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

NYG D

6.7

58.3

14

15

31

DAL QB

8.0

68.1

24

4

25

DAL D

7.0

67.5

23

9

34

NYG QB

6.7

63.0

26

16

21

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NYG D

187

13.0

11

DAL WR

180

13.3

19

DAL D

213

11.6

15

NYG WR

204

13.1

22

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NYG D

82

11.7

3

DAL TE

77

9.8

4

DAL D

101

10.1

6

NYG TE

75

7.5

3

 

 

GIANTS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Manning 1062, RB Jennings 443, WR Shepard 1006, TE Tye 681

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Beckham 169, WR Shepard 105, WR Cruz 72, TE Tye 70

QB Eli Manning threw exactly 28 times in both gms vs DAL last season... Manning won both starts vs DAL... Manning avg’d just 200 yds in the 2 gms against DAL in 2016, but tossed 4 TDs against 2 INTs and completed 64%... the YPA was disappointingly low at 7.1... oddly, in his last 4 gms AT DAL, Manning has thrown 10 TDs, with 3 gms of 3 -4 TDs... Manning under 200 yds passing 3 of last 4 gms vs DAL... WR Odell Beckham is likely going to sit this one out with a high ankle sprain... Beckham has just 1 TD in his last 4 gms vs DAL... WR Brandon Marshall hasn’t scored a TD in his last 3 gms vs DAL... Marshall has a shoulder ailment and he looked to be shielding it throughout pre-season... fanballers need to keep an eye on Marshall’s body language; he may have his TV future in mind a bit more than the football at-hand... drops and loss of wanting to make that tough catch may be lingering... WR Sterling Shepard steps in for Beckham in the first gm or 2... Shepard snared 7 passes in 2 gms vs DAL last yr, scoring a TD... rookie TE Evan Engram will be darn busy... Engram is essentially a big WR; impossible to cover by a LB... DAL gave up 101 catches to TEs prior to week 17 last seasonRB Shane Vereen has 60 or more YFS in his last 3 gms vs DALRB... Paul Perkins logged just 3.0 YPC in his 1 gm against DAL last season; he saw 14 carries... rookie RB Wayne Gallman failed to impress in the pre-season... RB Orleans Darkwa however, did impress his coaches... DAL held RBs to just 7 rushing scores after 15 gms last season... RB Vereen is the Big Blue back to start, especially in a PPR setting... TE Engram is set for a grand opening to his soon to be productive pro career.

 

COWBOYS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Prescott 1011, RB Elliott 713, WR Williams 746, TE Witten 1016

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Beasley 98, WR Bryant 96, TE Witten 95, WR Williams 61

QB Dak Prescott had a terrific rookie season, but lost both his gms vs NYG... Prescott completed just 46% of his throws vs NYG, 1 TD and 2 INTs in his 2 gms... WR Dez Bryant snared just 2 of his 14 targets in 2016 against the Giants... Bryant has scored a TD (2) in just 1 of his last 10 gms opposite the NYG... WR Terrance Williams hit 70-yds 2 of last 3 gms vs NYG; 5-76-1TD last gm... RB Ezekiel Elliott lost his league appeal of suspension but won a court injunction to contest the suspension; Elliott plays until further notice... Elliott notched his 1st NFL TD against the Giants... rushed for 107 yds next gm against Big Blue... Giants are the only D to cap Elliott under 3.0 YPC (wk 1)... NYG pass D allowed just 14 TDs and intercepted 15 after 16 weeks of action last year... wideouts only logged 11 scores on the Giants secondary in 2016 before week 17... TE Jason Witten continues to roll along and offer good PPR value in the opener... age and a decline in overall YAC ability have caused fanballers to look past Witten, but he is still nifty around the goal line and knows where the open seams are... QB Prescott connected just 51% vs NYG, and in 2017 Giants D is just as formidable... RB Elliott may be rusty and not ready or in true game shape; beware... RB Darren McFadden is likely to see more action in the first gm than expected... these clubs locked up for low-scoring affairs in 2016; ffb points out of DAL may be disappointing.

 

HOT READS:

Giants’ rookie TE (WR?) Evan Engram is as athletic as they come at the position. The Cowboys are as leaky as they come covering TEs. With Odell Beckham either out or hobbled, and Brandon Marshall looking like retirement is on his mind, Engram is thrust into a prominent opening day role. The matchup is perfect.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

2 of this games’ biggest stars might not be worth the fantasy play in week 1. Odell Beckham might try to game this one on a bum ankle; that will severely hamper his aerial fireworks. Dallas RB Zeke Elliott may not be in the best condition to roll out a big workload, and the Giants D is stout. Beware the brightness of these stars, and don’t be blinded by their fantasy shine if conditions are not right.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

He gets no fantasy football love, but Terrance Williams does enough in the right spots to help fanballers out. Williams fared better against these Giant than star WR Dez Bryant. Bryant will garner all the secondary attention, leaving the deep-routing and under-appreciated Williams in single-man. Terrance Williams has hit 70 yards 2 of his last 3 games against the Giants, and scored a TD last outing.

 

Monday September 11

7:10 pm New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

NO D

4.0

17

79

9.9

4

MIN RB

3.1

7

76

6.8

1

MIN D

4.1

6

74

7.7

3

NO RB

4.4

12

118

7.1

9

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

NO D

7.8

64.3

23

9

29

MIN QB

7.0

70.2

17

4

38

MIN D

6.6

60.4

21

12

39

NO QB

7.9

71.0

36

14

25

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NO D

204

13.0

14

MIN WR

229

11.2

10

MIN D

172

11.7

14

NO WR

258

12.8

23

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

NO D

68

12.0

5

MIN TE

83

9.5

6

MIN D

70

12.4

4

NO TE

67

11.6

4

 

 

SAINTS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Brees 1154, RB Ingram 532, WR Cooks 883, TE Fleener 664

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Thomas 121, WR Cooks 117, WR Snead 104, TE Fleener 81

WR Willie Snead tossed in a surprise for fantasy coaches by getting suspended for 3-games... WR Ted Ginn has been talked up by Coach Payton as soon as he inked with the Saints... Payton has touted Ginn as the Saints’ WR2 even before the Snead suspension... MIN boasts a tight-covering secondary assisted by the active pass-rush up-front... last gm vs MIN (2016 w/CAR), Ginn snared 3 balls for a 20.7 YPR... MIN held WRs to a low 11.7 YPR last season, and just 14 TDs by wk16... WR Michael Thomas scored 4 TDs over last 5 gms in his rookie season... at 6’3-215, he is the big tgt for QB Drew Brees that has been missing since Marques Colston retired... Thomas avg’d 12.4 YPR in 2016, a tad low for a play-making wideout... yr 2 for talented WRs is potential rise and shine time; Thomas has that opportunity with Brandin Cooks out of the picture... and Snead sitting... the RBBC may be in full-effect with Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara... Ingram should be the lead in this one... Peterson faces his old team right off the bat; go figure those NFL schedule-makers... Peterson has not looked spry in the past 2 seasons and father time may have already come calling... MIN allowed a paltry 6 rushing TDs as of week 16 last season... RBs did score 3 times receiving vs MIN; that’s Kamara’s gig there... what to expect from Kamara?... 4-5 catches for 45-50 yds... TE Coby Fleener should be more involved with Snead out... Fleener has shagged 50 or more passes 4 seasons straight... he has just 1 TD in his last 11 gms... MIN is sharp covering TEs... again, RB Kamara may be more appealing and open for Brees... last time in MIN (2011) Brees launched 5 TDs and 412 yds over the Vikings... this MIN D is much better... Brees hit for 350+ yds in his last 2 road games last season, throwing 6 TDs and 1 INT (@ARZ and @ATL)... Brees has 1111 yds in his last 3 opening day gms.

 

VIKINGS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Bradford 979, RB McKinnon 511, WR Thielen 787, TE Rudolph 970

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: TE Rudolph 132, WR Diggs 112, WR Thielen 92, WR Patterson 70

QB Sam Bradford set an all-time QB record for completion % in a season last yr... not bad for a QB learning the system on the fly... Bradford has command of this playbook now and may be a 2017 winner for fanballers; his QB-SOS is excellent... last gm vs NO (2015-w/PHL) Bradford completed 71.1%, threw for 333 yds and 2 TDs (and 2 INTs)... many view Bradford as a gm-checker and dinker, but the play logs show enough down-field shots to cast that notion aside... Bradford avg’d 303 yds over last 4 gms last season... NO defense overall is traditionally leaky and soft, and a FFB target for skill positions... this may be a shootout under a dome; Bradford is a go... so is WR Stefon Diggs... Diggs vows to be better prepped for the long haul of an NFL season... soft-tissue injuries slowed his roll in 2016, yet his still hauled in 84 passes in 13 gms... the 10.8 YPR is a bit disappointing and that is sure to increase with better conditioning... WR Adam Thielen moves into more slot snaps this season... he has the route chops and sticky hands to excel there, but his somewhat thin frame may not handle the pounding inside... anticipate Diggs and Thielen flipping slot-to-outside roles throughout the campaign... 2016 rookie flop Laquan Treadwell is running WR3 routes... he has size and hands, but just cannot separate... NO secondary was not all that porous as many think in 2016... after week 16 WRs caught 14 TDs vs NO; that is as many as the vaunted MIN DBs allowed in that span... rookie RB Dalvin Cook gets the start... NO allowed 17 rushing scores by week 17 in 2016; 4 more receiving... Cook is a dual-threat back with breakaway wheels and good route skills... RB Latavius Murray missed much of camp with an ankle... he may be limited to short yds calls and some goal line duty... RB Jerick McKinnon looks like he’ll spell Cook and return kick offs... TE Kyle Rudolph led MIN in tgts last season... Rudolph is a redzone beast and could shine with 2 scores in the opener... this might be a points bonanza for fanballers; get your purple in there.

 

HOT READS:

The Saints rush defense is historically awful. Rookie RB Dalvin Cook appears ready to have at it in his pro debut. Cook just might gain a little extra incentive to show after the record-setting performance of Chiefs’ rookie back Kareem Hunt. Dalvin gets cookin’ in week 1.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Saints impressive 2nd-year WR Michael Thomas will have his share of footballs thrown his way here. But with Willie Snead out, the stingy Vikings DBs can throw a bigger blanket on Thomas and try to deny the big wideout the football. Thomas has 6-8 PPR value, but the YAC may lack.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

With Michael Thomas getting doubled, fleet veteran playmaker Ted Ginn goes off. Yeah, he’ll drop on eor two and leave yards (and scores?) on the field, but he’ll also load up on the ones he holds onto. Coach Payton seems quietly excited and creative about Ginn’s role in the offense this season. Be-it receiving, rushing or even returning the football, Ginn gets it and so does his fantasy coaches in week 1.

 

10:20 pm Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

 

KEY STATS: Position Defense vs Position Offense

RUNNING BACK:

TEAM

YPC

TDR

REC

YPR

TDC

LAC D

3.9

16

94

7.4

3

DEN RB

3.8

10

59

8.4

2

DEN D

4.0

9

66

10.0

2

LAC RB

3.8

10

71

9.1

3

 

QUARTERBACK:

TEAM

YPA

C%

TD

INT

SKS

LAC D

7.2

62.1

19

17

34

DEN QB

6.8

59.3

18

10

40

DEN D

5.8

55.0

12

13

40

LAC QB

7.6

60.3

31

19

36

 

WIDE RECEIVER:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

LAC D

175

13.7

12

DEN WR

215

12.4

15

DEN D

135

10.8

6

LAC WR

174

14.5

15

 

TIGHT END:

TEAM

REC

YPR

TD

LAC D

74

11.6

4

DEN TE

48

11.5

1

DEN D

85

10.7

4

LAC TE

82

11.7

13

 

 

CHARGERS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Rivers 1060, RB Gordon 658, WR Inman 958, TE Gates 585

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Williams 119, WR Inman 97, TE Gates 93, WR Benjamin 75

Rookie WR and #1 Charger pick WR Mike Williams doesn’t appear to be ready to go... WR Keenan Allen is ready however... despite these teams meeting twice a season, Allen hasn’t faced DEN since 2014; injuries... Allen has 5 TDs in his last 4 gms vs DEN; 2-gms of 2 TDs... DEN handled 2016 breakout WR Tyrell Williams well last yr; 4-32-0 TDs combined... WR Travis Benjamin’s speed beats the Bronco CBs on occasion... Benjamin scored a TD vs DEN last season, and racked up 9-117 in 2015 w/CLV... DEN allowed just 6 WR scores by wk 16 last season... QB Philip Rivers has been held under 235 yds passing 4 of alst 5 gms vs DEN, with 6 TDs and 7 INTs in that span... Rivers is 1-6 in last 7 gms vs DEN... RB Melvin Gordon rushed for 94 and 111 yds in his 2 gms vs DEN last yr... Gordon has yet to score vs DEN... shifty Branden Oliver spells Gordon and is a neat pass-catcher with some wiggle... TEs Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry play key roles this wk... in his first gm vs DEN, Henry hauled in 6-83-1 TD... Gates has 5 TDs in his last 6 gms vs DEN... QB Rivers always struggles vs the Broncs and is not the best FFB option to kickoff your season... WR Allen is healthy and has had some success vs DEN. But is obviously reliant on Rivers’ play... TEs Gates and Henry look to be the prime tgts for Rivers and both are start option in FFB action.

 

BRONCOS WEEK 1 OUTLOOK:

WEEK X SNAPS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: QB Siemian 899, RB Booker 493, WR Thomas 885, WR Sanders 865

WEEK X TARGETS: TBA WEEK 2

2016: WR Thomas 144, WR Sanders 137, RB Booker 45, TE Green 37

QB Trevor Siemian has won the QB derby in DEN, and it was by merit... Siemian looks smoother and much surer of his play in this offense... he spins a terrific ball and has plenty of juice on his throws; decisions making is improved as well... WR Demaryius Thomas is running off a hamstring and needs to be watched... QB Paxton Lynch is out and Brock Osweiler is back to back-up duty... in 2 gms vs LAC last yr, Siemian tossed just 1 TD and had 1 INT... Thomas has broken 100-yds and scored a TD 3 of his last 6 gms vs LAC... Thomas has just 1 TD over his last 9 gms... WR Emmanuel Sanders has 2 TDs over his last 5 gms, with 2 gms over 100 yds... in last 6 gms vs LAC, Sanders scored in just 1 (3-TDs back in 2014)... CJ Anderson earned the RB1 job with a strong camp and pre-season... Anderson tallied 71 YFS in his gm vs LAC last yr... Chargers held RBs to 4.0 YPC last season, but as of week 17 gave up 16 rushing TDs to backs and 94 receptions with 3 receiving TDs as well... Anderson has a nose for the stripe and is a fine receiver out of the backfield... former KC star Jamaal Charles made the 53-man squad and may play a receiving role... Charles is running on delicate knees and fanballers must be wary how much hand-cuff investment to make... rookie De’Angelo Henderson shined in the pre-season, but pass-pro may be his snaps-killer... 2nd-yr RB Devontae Booker is still on the shelf but making headway for a return... Booker is the best handcuff bet in the long-run... he’ll come back with fresh legs and a better idea of how to run like a pro back... LAC secondary is solid and could clamp down on the Bronco pass gm... RB Anderson and Charles will get YFS, with Anderson keying the gm #1 offense.

 

HOT READS:

CJ Anderson is the RB fanballers kind of draft while holding their noses. Well, let it go; Anderson is prepped and ready to play a huge roll in the Bronco offense. The Chargers are a stingy cover defense, but soft defending the run. The Chargers’ LBs are not very good covering RBs in routes, either. Anderson is a fine route runner and will pile up YFS as well as visit the endzone. 125 YFS and a score is a nice start.

 

CHECK DOWNS:

Philip Rivers just doesn’t do well against the Denver secondary. Not many QBs do. Sit this one out, Phil.

 

FANTASY AUDIBLE:

Something new; something old. That’s the theme of the Chargers’ TE duo of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. Both TEs will see plenty of snaps and targets in week 1 as the Broncos’ DBs shift down the L.A. wideouts. A TD or two is possible, with Henry being more likely to get the yards. Gates gets the redzoners.

 

End.

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Week #10: Players to Acquire & Players to Trade
Saturday, November 11th, 2017

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