By: Billy Finn
With the NFL season this weekend and fantasy teams assembled, it’s just about time for kickoff. For this week, I am going to give a player at each position who I believe will have a big week, and another player that will have an off week. For the players that you may want to start, I’m going to try and stay away from players like Cam Newton, Todd Gurley and Julio Jones. I’m looking for guys that may have slid on into your fantasy draft and have good value for this weekend.
At quarterback, my starter for this week is Derek Carr from the Oakland Raiders. Carr has a lot going for him this year with a second year Amari Cooper, a healthy Latavius Murray and a much weaker AFC west with the Broncos’ loss of hall of famer Peyton Manning. In week one, Carr is going against the very weak secondary of the New Orleans Saints. This should be a very favorable matchup for Carr and Cooper, and with Carr hungry for success after his very solid rookie year, this looks like a great start for his fantasy owners. On the other end of the spectrum, a good player that I see having an “off” week is Andy Dalton. On paper this looks like a pretty favorable matchup for Dalton, however with his favorite target, AJ Green, nursing a knee injury and Marvin Jones leaving for Detroit, Dalton may struggle to find his way in week one. I would look to sit Dalton if possible this Sunday.
The running back position is very hard to predict because of many teams running a two or three running back system. But the guy that I would start this week is DeAngelo Williams from the Pittsburg Steelers. With Le’veon Bell suspended for the first couple of games and the Steelers usually giving the number one on the depth chart most of the touches, Williams is a must start this week in deep leagues. The Steelers are always able to get running backs in the end zone with their offensive line. And with Le’veon Bell having a history of injuries, Williams is someone I would hang on to for the rest of the year. Melvin Gordon is a sit for me. After last year’s pitiful rookie year with zero touchdowns, he has not shown anything to me that would suggest solid play this week against a good Chiefs defense. Although Gordon did look good in the preseason, I see it as a pretty big risk to start this week, and if he is a must start, I would put him in as a flex.
Finally, the wide receivers. Although there are many receivers one could choose to start this weekend, I have to go with Marvin Jones of the Detroit Lions. Jones did not get much shine being AJ Green’s sidekick in Cincinnati, but that may change as he is now the replacement for the lions after the retirement of Calvin Johnson. And with the Lions playing a rather poor secondary and Vontae Davis sidelined with injury, Jones may be poised for a big week and a breakout performance. Finally, a must sit for this week is Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings. Since Teddy Bridgewater has gone down with a devastating knee injury, the Vikings are not in a good place. With either Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill starting, expect the Vikings offense to be stagnant and very run-heavy. Diggs has shown signs of potential and he looked like he was poised for a big year, but that breakout year may have to wait until next year, because the Vikings offense is in a bad position right now.
This year in fantasy looks to be very interesting considering all of the preseason injuries, suspensions and great young stars on the rise. So, no matter whether you have a great fantasy team or a not-so-great fantasy team, I think we can all agree on one thing, we are ready for the 2016 season kickoff to start!