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Roundtable Week 1 - Footballguys

Our panelists share their personal post-training camp lovefests and concerns, bold predictions, and the impending waiver wire madness. 

Let's examine what we think of players with the preseason over and the season ahead.

Let's roll...

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Matt Waldman: Give us one bold prediction that could dramatically alter the 2018 fantasy landscape. It can be a player, unit, a team, or a coach.

Chad Parsons: The Bears are NOT the huge uptick NFL offense of 2018. The middle ground expectation is Chicago will mirror the 2017 Rams, rising from the ashes across the board with fantasy viability. It hinges on Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game which has its key pieces as Allen Robinson (free agent recovering from injury), Anthony Miller (rookie), Kevin White (small NFL small size due to injury), and Trey Burton (ancillary tight end in Philadelphia). Add those what-ifs to a presumed leap by Trubisky in Year 1 propelling the entire machine forward a few tiers in the NFL offensive hierarchy and there are plenty of variables to hesitate on anointing Chicago before Week 1.

Daniel Simpkins: I’m going to disagree with Chad and predict that the Bears will be much improved. While I don't think we’ll see a turnaround on the scale of the Rams, I do not think it’s unreasonable to believe we’ll see the major players (particularly Trubisky, Robinson, and Burton) be very fantasy relevant options. I am a big believer in coaching staffs that play to the strengths of their personnel and that is what the Bears have in Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich.

Trubisky will get to operate in an offense that mirrors what he was comfortable with in college, with spread concepts that will allow him to throw on the run and scramble for yards when defenses give him lanes. As a side note, if Adam Shaheen can get back quickly from his injury, we’ll also get to see some fun usage of 12 personnel (two-tight end sets) that will leave opposing defenses in real binds. If you want to read more about why I believe Trubisky and the Bears can have a great season, check out this piece I wrote back in June.

Jason Wood: The Chargers will run away with the AFC West because the other three teams are potential train wrecks. In Kansas City, the Chiefs are faced with a gunslinger first-year starter who will surely turn the ball over a ton (even if he's also a highlight reel). Combined with a defense that's fallen on hard times, this will lead to awful game scripts for Kansas City.

In Oakland, Jon Gruden is in Year 1 of a 10-year deal and has made head-scratching move after head-scratching move. Who takes over a franchise and actively turns it into the oldest roster in the NFL? Gruden, that's who. And in Denver, the search for the next quarterback continues because Case Keenum will turn back into the pumpkin he was before last year's miracle season in Minnesota.

Jeff Haseley: I am on board with Jason's call of the Chargers running away with the AFC West. It makes sense and it's a take that hasn't grown legs yet.

My pick is Larry Fitzgerald. My forecast is that his production will fall due to a new coaching regime in Arizona. Mike McCoy is the offensive coordinator, but the team is run by defensive-minded Steve Wilks. Fitzgerald received default targets when Bruce Arians called the shots.

Will the same ring true without his offensive play calling? I'm not so sure.

The best chance for Fitzgerald to thrive is if Sam Bradford remains under center and plays like he did in the first few games with Minnesota last season. Even if Bradford performs beyond expectation, I'm not confident that Fitzgerald can come close to his previous three seasons of 100+ receptions. I think 80 receptions for 940 yards and 6-8 touchdowns is more realistic. It's not bad, but not elite.

Andy Hicks: The leading rusher for Buffalo and San Francisco is not on the roster right now. Just like Alex Collins last year, there are runners on the waiver wire good enough to play and contribute immediately in the NFL. While Collins is the upside argument for any of these players, almost all are useful at some stage of the fantasy season.

I fully expect LeSean McCoy to be suspended at some stage this season when the NFL has their ducks in order and has enough circumstantial proof to put him on the commissioner's exempt list. Chris Ivory or Marcus Murphy likely will be given a shot, but pay attention to waiver moves made by Buffalo, or any player who joins a weak group.

The 49ers are another situation to monitor carefully. Jerick McKinnon is gone for the year and while for the early part of the year Alfred Morris should dominate the carries and Matt Breida will be the change of pace, third down back, I expect this to be short-term only and for San Francisco to take players off the waiver wire.

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