It’s that time of year again, open up your fantasy app, fire up the TV, and start scouring to find your players' stats. Yes, it is WEEK 1 of Fantasy Football… oh, and the NFL season too. It’s when all fantasy players suddenly become math experts and can calculate how many points their guys accumulated at the drop of a hat.
Every week in this space, I’ll be here to help you out with your team. I will write about which players I like, and which I don’t. Hopefully, your team has more of the do than the don’ts.
That said, here are the week 1 picks:
Start these guys!
QB – Drew Brees vs Tampa Bay: Last season, the Saints offense turned more to the run game with the breakout year of Mark ingram and a huge rookie year form Alvin Kamara. At the start of the year, Ingram will be serving a suspension, and this will put the ball more in Brees’ hands. I expect him to torch the Bucs defense. Brees will have a resurgent season, and he probably could be drafted in the later rounds.
RB – Todd Gurley vs Oakland: I know, I know, nothing really shocking here. But the Raiders are in flux. They traded away their best player (Khalil Mack) who also happens to be one of the best defensive players in football. The team is reeling, and I see the Rams beating down the Raiders. Gurley should see lots of touches and bless your squad.
WR – Stefon Diggs vs San Francisco: With Adam Theilen getting some extra time in the slot, Diggs should be the big play threat that Kirk Cousins will rely on. Richard Sherman has been banged up all year, and I see Diggs taking advantage of the matchup.
TE – Jack Doyle vs Cincinnati: This is more of an indictment of Andrew Luck. He just can’t throw the ball down field. Doyle will be the beneficiary of this. I expect to see a bunch of crosses and dump offs. 10 catches is not out of the question for Doyle against a Bengals team that will be missing some players on defense.
Beware of these guys!
QB – Jimmy Garoppolo vs Minnesota: I know this is blasphemous, but I do not like this matchup for Jimmy G. The Vikings are out to prove something this season and they have one of the best defenses in the game. They have ball hawks in the secondary, and I see a long day in Garoppolo’s future.
RB – Le'Veon Bell vs Cleveland: Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender, and still has not been in camp for the Steelers. That’s… not ideal. I just think it is too late in the week for Bell to go, plus the Hard Knocks darlings have a stout defense. As tough as it would be to do, I’d sit Bell this week.
WR – Keenan Allen vs Kansas City: Allen was a complete beast last season, and I am a huge fan. I just think this week will be a tough matchup. The Chiefs had the luxury of trading Marcus Peters because their secondary was so deep. Allen will get his, but I don’t expect a big day. Chiefs will lay the lumber on Rivers as well that will make it tough to get the ball downfield.
TE – Jimmy Graham vs Chicago: Aaron Rodgers’ shiny new weapon will have a tough match-up in week 1, especially if we see Khalil Mack on the field. Graham has lost a step from his days in New Orleans, and while he is still a red zone threat, I don’t see him racking up many yards against a young, fiery Bears defense.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int'l games excluded.