You have five seconds; let out all the pent-up emotion. Yes, the NFL season is here. Go ahead; jump around. I will wait.
You done now?
Because as you look at your fantasy team, I want you to know something.
You know nothing.
You got that Jon Snow? You know nothing.
As of writing this, Le’Veon Bell hasn’t even reported to Pittsburgh. He was a first-round pick in most fantasy drafts. I know the only people who are hoping he doesn’t show are James Conner owners.
We don’t know if the Eagles used up all of their power-ups last season. Was the young New Orleans defense a one-off or a serious contender?
Who really knows? I don’t. I can only guess what happens since there is really no sample to be taken from. So with that, here we go down the rabbit hole.
A quick glance at the projected points this week brings up the first proper surprise of the season. Sitting at QB2, firmly sandwiched between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, is Tyrod Taylor. Yes, the Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The same Tyrod Taylor that is criminally underrated, but now stuck in Cleveland. Is he a good option to fill your bench? Yes. Will he get the 19 points ESPN predicts him to get this week against Pittsburgh? No.
The biggest mover in the quarterback market this last offseason was Kirk Cousins. How he does in a system that won’t get into shootouts and won’t get opportunities to pick up garbage time points is yet to be determined. One thing that is certain is he will have the chance to pick up big points this week. The Vikings host San Francisco, who gave up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season.
The Atlanta backs offer up a difficult choice this week. On one hand, the trip to Philadelphia in front of a crowd celebrating a Super Bowl victory is a difficult prospect. The Eagles’ defensive line will be feeding off that energy, but enter the game a little beat up with starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan out. The forecast is calling for a 50 percent chance of rain, which could mean more touches for Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Consider all variables and other options before inserting these two into the lineup.
An outlying stat from last season was the fact that the Los Angeles Rams gave up the third most points to running backs. That number would mean that playing their opposition backs, in this case Marshawn Lynch, would be a good idea, even with Aaron Donald on the Rams’ line. To help correct that stat, the Rams brought in Ndamukong Suh. It will take a monstrous amount of Skittles for Lynch to be playable this week.
One guy who was missed in the draft special of this column was Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. Having Tom Brady at quarterback is always a win. Then added on to that the suspension of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola heading to Miami, Brandin Cooks being traded to the Rams and Eric Decker’s retirement, Hogan has a lot going for him. But I would be ashamed if I didn’t mention that he did play lacrosse in college because you always have to say that when talking about Hogan.
As for Allen Robinson, a combination of a high floor and an expansive ceiling made him a good pick in the draft. The former Jaguar moves to Chicago and will be the top receiver there. In a brutal NFC North, points will be at a premium, and expect the Bears to have to play from behind often. Mitchell Trubisky’s progression will be what limits Robinson, but an opening week trip to Lambeau Field provides a good platform for a fast start.
The single most frustrating tight end competition from a fantasy perspective is in Tampa Bay. Second-year tight end O.J. Howard is the guy for the future, but Cameron Brate has been a solid player. Howard ran a route on 41 percent of his snaps last season, but Brate provided better overall fantasy numbers. At this point, just like late last season, both do a better job of tripping up fantasy owners than helping them. Stay away until one becomes the clear-cut number one or someone gets injured.
Now, this usually isn’t an issue in the first week. Pretty much any defense you drafted will be good to go this week. That is unless you drafted the Texans, who will be great for the other 15 weeks. This week is the week out, as a trip to New England stands on the horizon. If possible, pick up Baltimore because they face Bills starting quarterback Nathan Peterman this week. Need I say more?