Welcome to Week 1 of The Docket, a weekly column that will offer strategy and advice on players that you should be targeting or avoiding.
This year I’m going to run through every game and highlight certain players that I’m loving and hating each week. I’m bringing the energy with a positive, neutral and negative charge. The home team is listed last and the point spread is listed per the home team. Oh, and if I don’t list a player (Defenses aside), it tells you what I think of them. Could they have a great game? Sure, anyone can, but I would not recommend anyone not listed here as a good play. Let’s go!
Panthers vs Broncos (+3 o/u 41.5)
- C.J. Anderson – With Manning gone, this team goes back to running the true Kubiak offense and that means using the runs as the teams’ foundation. Starting a quarterback with zero NFL starts is even more reason to feel good about Anderson. While this is a tougher matchup, he should provide RB2 value.
- Denver Defense – They lost some pieces on the front seven, but they still have enough fire power to cause havoc.
- Demaryius Thomas – Josh Norman is gone and this secondary is vulnerable, ranked dead last by PFF. That said, they were always more of a scheme-based secondary and more a sum of their parts. The short screen may not be there with Manning gone, making Thomas a preferable WR3 with upside in a game with a very low over/under.
- Emmanuel Sanders – As noted above, this secondary isn’t as scary as people perceive it to be. We just don’t know how Siemian will do in his first NFL action ever with a monster defense up front bearing down on him. Sanders should get open for a few deep shots, making him also a WR3 with upside.
- Cam Newton – The Broncos’ killed Cam in the Super Bowl and he is being listed as a sit by most outlets, but I disagree. Start your studs in Week 1, especially sine the Bronco’s lost a few players up front in free agency.
- Jonathan Stewart – It will be tough sledding and he has never caught many passes. I would be looking to avoid him if you could.
- Greg Olsen – This Denver secondary is top notch, but the did lose their best cover linebacker, Danny Trevathan, giving Olsen the best receiving matchup of any of the bunch.
- Devontae Booker – Facing a tough front 7, best to not test the waters with him just yet.
- Trevor Siemian – No chance you can start him after his horrible (and I mean horrible) college career and without taking a single snap in a NFL game.
- Virgil Green – The linebackers for the Panthers are good and fast, not the week for him just yet.
- Kelvin Benjamin – Will be on a snap count and playing the leagues best secondary, enough said.
- Ted Ginn Jr – Could he catch 2 passes for 70 yards and a TD, sure. But he could also catch no passes too.
- Devin Funchess – At least he will have the easier matchup in three wide sets, but only use if desperate.
Bills vs Ravens (-3 o/u 44.5)
- Tyrod Taylor – With Elvis Dumervil injured, Taylor should have time to throw and run. He had 568 yards and 4 TDs on the ground last season, providing him with a solid floor.
- LeSean McCoy – OC Greg Roman loves to run the ball, particularly in the redzone. While Reggie Bush and/or Jonathan Williams could steal some touches, Shady should be the foundation of this offense. Use him while he is healthy.
- Sammy Watkins – It’s all systems go for Watkins who accounted for nearly 40% of Taylor's passing yards and 44% of Taylor's touchdown throws. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith also allowed as many touchdowns in 2015 (six) as he did in his first four seasons prior.
- Robert Woods – Never someone that commands the ball, only use in deeper leagues and best left out of your lineups in DFS. He claims he was injured most of last season, so if he shows well this week, may become a sneaky early season play.
- Kamar Aiken – Should dominate touches in the short to intermediate part of the field.
- Charles Clay – The Bills defended the tight end position well last year and this won’t be a shootout.
- Joe Flacco – Coming off of knee surgery and not fully mobile yet. Best to wait a week or two especially since Bills have a decent secondary.
- Justin Forsett, Buck Allen and Terrence West – Someone on the Ravens is going to have a decent game on the ground, we just don’t know who yet. My money is on West, despite Forsett possibly starting the game. West will eventually make Forsett irrelevant.
- Steve Smith & Breshad Perriman – Both will play limited snaps if they even play at all. Against a tougher pass defense, best to look elsewhere.
- Mike Wallace – Will have a tough time against either Stephon Gilmore or Ronald Darby on the outside. They will take a few shots to him though, so standard league deep option only.
- Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta & Crocket Gillmore – I could see one of these guys scoring, maybe even twice. But which one?
Buccaneers vs Falcons (-3 o/u 47.5)
- Julio Jones – Starting a rookie at one corner and Brent Grimes at the other. Julio is the best play of the week at the position.
- Mohamed Sanu – Should take advantage of this matchup as well, especially with Julio drawing the defenses attention. A sneaky PPR play this week.
- Devonta Freeman – His PPR and redzone floor should provide him RB1 value in season long leagues in a matchup where he should be able to catch a decent numbers of passes. Despite Tampa’s tough rushing defense, Freeman racked up over 100 yards in both games last year. Off of him in DFS, especially with word that Coleman will get carries, but a must start in season long.
- Doug Martin – While the Falcons are decent on the back-end, they can be had up front.
- Charles Sims – Could catch a decent numbers of passes an averaged 4.9 a carry on the ground. If you are looking for a PPR flex play, he should provide decent value.
- Matt Ryan – I don’t trust him fully yet and has been shaky the past two years. Only start in 2QB leagues if you need him, but will likely have 35+ pass attempts.
- Tevin Coleman – They have hinted all pre-season that he is going to get more carries and will ride the hot hand, but probably not the week to use him until we see how they deploy him. This rush defense is also underrated.
- Jameis Winston – It’s a tougher passing matchup, so best used as a QB2.
- Mike Evans – Should see a lot of Desmond Trufant and this is an underrated secondary. Put up 5/61/1 against them last year. Not someone to be aggressive with playing, but he’s in your season long lineups.
- Vincent Jackson – Should benefit with the attention given to Evans and he’s fully healthy.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Cameron Brate – Not sure what is happening here just yet, Best bet is Brate will be their guy, but we have no clear indication just yet.
- Cecil Shorts - Recently signed, he should seize the slot role, which has value, but too soon to tell when that will happen.
Bengals vs Jets (+2.5 o/u 41.5)
- Matt Forte – There won’t be much running room, but in this vertical four offense, Forte will catch a ton of passes against a team that gave up 6 catches a game to running backs last year. Linebacker bad boy Vontaze Burfict is also currently suspended, which should help even more.
- A.J. Green – Will be shadowed by top CB Revis, whose play dropped off considerably last year. He claims it was due to injury, we are about to find out. While he’s not a DFS play, you can’t sit this guy in season long leagues.
- Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell – With Revis on Green, both of these guys are sneaky plays to catch some passes, but touchdowns are a total crapshoot.
- Giovani Bernard – The Bengals are not going to be able to run the ball very well against the Jets, which means we could see more of Gio. Unfortunately he only scored 2 TDs last year and doesn’t get goal line looks. The total touchdowns last year were a little fluky, down from an average of 7.5 the two years prior, but the goal line looks were not.
- Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker – Despite a decent secondary, both of these guys will get fed the ball a ton and they just lost safety Reggie Nelson. That said, it is one of their tougher matchups all year.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – They will have to throw it a ton since they can’t run, but there might not be many points scored in this game.
- Bilal Powell – Could see double-digit touches, especially with Khiry Robinson gone. A PPR flex play only though with low ceiling and floor this week.
- Andy Dalton – This team lost too many weapons, with Marvin Jones Jr and Sanu gone, and Eifert injured. With the running game going to be held in check, it’s not going to be easy for the red raider.
- Jeremy Hill – As tough a matchup as they come, and will be the case for the first three weeks of the season. Got to hope for some redzone love, so in standard leagues there is always a chance.
Raiders vs Saints (-1 o/u 51)
- Drew Brees – Despite facing a much improved Raiders Defense, this is Drew Brees at home in the dome, so he’s going to put up points. This game has the biggest over/under of the week and with just a -1 spread, this game is going to be a shoot-out. Locked and loaded with weapons and a Top 5 offensive line, start Brees with confidence in season long and DFS leagues of all shapes and sizes.
- Mark Ingram II – Ingram was the #3 running back in Fantasy before going down with an injury last year in Week 13. Even more impressive, he caught 50 passes. He’s an every down back and Brees knows how to get him in a position to win.
- Brandin Cooks – He will face-off against newly acquired CB Sean Smith who has the ability to give Cooks some fits off the line of scrimmage, but the Saints will scheme Cooks open and he has the speed to beat Smith deep and after the catch.
- Derek Carr – The Saints were a sieve on Defense last year and did very little to shore up their Defense this year except for getting rid of former DC Rob Ryan. They allowed a ton of points and touchdowns both through the air, land and sea. This is as good as it gets for Carr and the Raiders.
- Amari Cooper – He may be shadowed by emerging CB Delvin Breaux. However, per PFF, despite being ranked among the top 20 cornerbacks in yards and receptions allowed per coverage snap, his lapses led to a league-high, 10 touchdowns allowed. Look for Cooper to have a great game and is a solid play in DFS cash and GPP games as well.
- Michael Crabtree – With Breaux on Cooper, Crabtree should feast on P.J. Williams. He’s a solid option in both PPR and standard leagues and got more redzone looks inside the 10 yard line than Cooper last season (6 compared to 0).
- Latavius Murray – Despite his limitations, Murray will be running behind one of the leagues best offensive lines and the Saints allowed more points per game to running backs than any other team last year.
- DeAndre Washington – In order to keep up with the Saints the Raiders may have to air it out more than they would like. Washington is a sneaky GPP play to put up big yards on only a few plays.
- Clive Walford – Like everyone else on this team, he has a plus matchup, so if you need help, he’s worth a shot.
- Willie Snead IV, Michael Thomas, Coby Fleener – All of these guys are worth a shot if you need despite a decent secondary, the problem is that you don’t know which one will really help you out. Fleener had a very so-so camp, but towers over Snead and Cooks, while Michael Thomas may even play over Snead at times.
- C.J. Spiller – I’m buying into his resurgence after battling injuries last season, I’m just not starting him until we actually see him do something.
Bears vs Texans (-6 o/u 44)
- Brock Osweiler – Locked and loaded with weapons and the Bears have nothing on the backend except for CB Kyle Fuller. Biggest concern is his offensive line injuries, which could see Brock making some dumb decision.
- Lamar Miller – Offensive line injuries are an issue, but Miller should see plenty of volume to start the game and maybe a lot of clock killing work to end it.
- Deandre Hopkins – Rock solid WR1. While CB Fuller a decent cover corner, he was still only the 14th-highest coverage grade among corners last season per PFF.
- Will Fuller V – I could see him connecting on a few deep shots. Might as well trot him out as a deep play right out the gate,
- Alshon Jeffery – It could be tough for the Bears to find much room on the ground and negative game script means that they should have to throw. When the bullets start flying, Cutler may just pepper Jeffery with targets, but keep expectations in check playing against this top 10 secondary. Yet they don’t have any lock down corner and Alshon should square off against Kevin Johnson instead of Jonathan Joseph.
- Eddie Royal – He’s back healthy and sneaky bet to get a decent number of catches and maybe even a TD.
- Zach Miller – The Texan’s biggest weakness, if there is one, is covering the tight end. Yet they only gave up 3 TDs to the position last year. While not a great matchup due to game flow, use him if you have him in season long.
- Braxton Miller – If you are in a real pinch, could have 3 or 4 catches in a PPR league.
- Jay Cutler – The Bears line should come together eventually, but might be tough going with JJ Watt back.
- Kevin White – Hasn’t turned the corner yet after red shirting his rookie season. Against this secondary, Cutler may just go to Alshon over and over again.
- Jeremy Langford – It’s going to be a tough game for him on the ground, where he’s not very good you have to hope for a lot of screen passes and dump offs.
- Jaelen Strong – Seems to have lost his starting role to Miller and Fuller. You have to hope for a touchdown, so only viable in TD heavy leagues as a dart throw.
Packers vs Jaguars (+4.5 o/u 48)
- Aaron Rodgers – Big over/under and while the Jaguars defense should be better, they are still young going up against a Top 5 offensive line. I think Rodgers is angry this year and may play like it.
- Eddie Lacy – Jags have an improved defensive line with the addition of Malik Jackson and return of second year man Dante Fowler, but Rodgers will be able to create running lanes for Lacy. A must start in season long but not necessarily in DFS.
- Randall Cobb – With Jordy back he should put up big numbers again, even if Jordy just used as a decoy.
- Jared Cook – With Jordy coming along slowly, Cook could have a huge game. Lock and load him this week in season long and DFS. Should be your DFS anchor at tight end.
- Blake Bortles – As Rich Hribar from Rotoworld mentioned, last season when trailing in the 4th quarter, Bortles threw 13 TDs, tied for the most ever in a season for a quarterback with Eli Manning in 2011. Well guess what? The Jaguars should be trailing, in this game; Bortles is back to his 2015 version of garbage time production.
- Allen Robinson – The Packers have a rock solid secondary with cover corner Shields, but Robinson is too good to be shut down, he can handle anyone. Start him with confidence in a game where Jags will have to keep up.
- Packers Defense – Bortles could be playing catch-up, so while there should be a lot of points scored, sacks, interceptions and points off turn overs a real possibility.
- Julius Thomas – Packers have good linebacker and safety’s, so not the best matchup, but the Jags are going to have to try and keep up.
- T.J. Yeldon – The Jags are going to have to throw more than run, making this a Yeldon game. Ivory is nicked up too.
- Jordy Nelson – No work during the pre-season games and barley a full go during practices. Tough to trust him right out of the gate and may be on a snap count.
- Davante Adams – He’s just not very good, so tough to rely on him.
- Allen Hurns – While he had 10 TDs he only had 65 catches and that was without Lee and Thomas. I’m not buying him against this tougher secondary.
- Marqise Lee – I actually think he is a better bet to put up points than Hurns this week, but still too risky.
- Chris Ivory – If you are just counting on a cheap TD, sure. But may not have many yards in this RBBC.
- James Starks – Too early in the season to start relying on a teams backup running back. Better defensive line should also slow down this run game a bit.
Vikings vs Titans (+2.5 o/u 41)
- Adrian Peterson – With Shaun Hill taking over this week at QB, Peterson should be even more busy than usual. This is going to be a run based game for both teams. Great GPP play because people fading this offense.
- DeMarco Murray – Looked great this pre-season, and while the Vikings have a good defensive line, Mariota’s run ability should keep defenses honest and Murray should catch a number of passes as well.
- Delanie Walker – The Titans top receiver who is essentially matchup proof and Mariota loves him.
- Stefon Diggs – Looked great all pre-season and this is a solid matchup. Look for OC Norv Turner to scheme plays to get the ball in his hands.
- Marcus Mariota – Tough matchup against a team that holds opposing QBs in check. He has looked good and playing at home makes him viable in two QB leagues.
- Derrick Henry – He will get carries as well and maybe the ones that count. Looks dominant this pre-season, but the Vikings have a stout defense.
- Jerick McKinnon – Wait and see how he is used. Could see a handful of touches.
- Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe – Tough matchup, but both viable WR4’s in deeper leagues. Little upside though.
- Charles Johnson, Laquon Treadwell, Kyle Rudolph – Can’t expect much with Hill at the helm.
- Andre Johnson – Has looked good, but you are just hoping for a cheap TD.
Chargers vs Chiefs (-7 o/u 44.5)
- Keenan Allen – He should see double digit targets and is a great contrarian play in DFS. With CB Sean Smith gone, they don’t have anyone that can lock him down. I think he’s also on that Antonio Brown path where it doesn’t even really matter.
- Danny Woodhead – I see this more as a Woodhead game than a Gordon game, against a tough front 7.
- Spencer Ware – With Charles out or hobbled, with West hobbled and behind Ware, and against this run defense, Ware going to crush. Fire him up; he’s a special talent against a very poor run defense.
- Alex Smith – 73% completion rate against them last year and always plays better at home. Nothing scary about this matchup for him, so high floor and capped ceiling as always.
- Travis Kelce – Chargers lost Eric Weddle who was their best safety in coverage against tight ends last year. Kelce should be what he is … Never a monster in fantasy, but if you drafted him, this matchup is fine for him.
- Philip Rivers – This matchup might now be as brutal as it looks at first glance since the Chiefs are without Justin Houston, Tamba Hali is a part time player right now from injury, Eric Berry reported to camp in late August after holding out and they lost starting CB Sean Smith to Oakland. So this may not be the shut down group people think they are, at least to start the season. Rivers is a fine start this week with all his weapons healthy and was a Top 5 QB with Keenan Allen last year. He’s not someone to be aggressive with this week playing in a noisy Arrowhead against a division rival, but it’s not a prohibitive matchup.
- Travis Benjamin – Rivers should take some shots, if you need him, no problem using him since the defense will be keyed on Gates and Allen. Better standard league play or contrarian DFS reach.
- Jamaal Charles – If he plays, he won’t play a lot.
- Charcandrick West – Spencer Ware has passed him up, even in the passing game. He will probably get some touches, but not worth using.
- Jeremy Maclin – Jason Verett shut him down twice last year and is slowly becoming a corner to shy away from. I love Maclin, but if you have better options, a good week to use them. If you need him, at least he has the talent.
- Melvin Gordon III – Tough front 7 and unless he gets a big hole, he’s not doing much.
- Antonio Gates – Eric Berry is a shutdown tight end killer, but he reported late and Gates fully healthy. Travis Benjamin clearing out the field should also help because he has to be accounted for.
- Tyrell Williams – Best to wait a week to see how much he is actually used.
Browns vs Eagles (-4 o/u 41)
- Ryan Mathews – The Browns are weak up front and with a rookie QB, look for the Eagles to run the ball a lot with new HC Pederson installing a Chiefs style offense that he brings over from Kansas City. He’s a great play in all formats and finished second in rushing points per carry last season.
- Eagles Defense - An underrated unit that is down right nasty up front. Expect RG3 to take a number of sacks and throw a few picks.
- Darren Sproles – Could catch a number of passes as the safety blanket for Wentz.
- Zach Ertz – Great matchup against a team that gave up a ton of production to the tight end position. Wentz drops him from a Positive to a Neutral play.
- Isaiah Crowell – Despite a strong defensive front, the Eagles gave up a ton of production to opposing running backs last year.
- Terrelle Pryor – Total long shot, but RG3 will take a few deep shots to Pryor and he seems to be connecting with them.
- Robert Griffin III III – Throws a great deep ball, but takes a lot of sacks, doesn’t see the whole field and tough to trust Week 1.
- Corey Coleman - Coleman is still raw as a route runner, can’t expect much out of the gate.
- Gary Barnidge - The Eagles are one of the top defenses against tight ends in the league, and he also did far better with Josh McCown at the helm, RG3 is not McCown.
- Jordan Mathews, Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor – Mathews is the best of the bunch, but no idea what to expect with a rookie starting at QB.
Dolphins vs Seahawks (-10.5 o/u 44)
- Russell Wilson – The Dolphins have the worst back seven in the league and very little pass rush besides Suh. This is going to be a massacre and Wilson will put up numbers in the air and on the ground.
- Seattle Defense – The best defense to use this week against a Miami team that looked bad in the preseason with an offensive line that is starting four left tackles.
- Christine Michael – Seattle should run the ball a lot and with a lot of success. He was catching passes in the pre-season too. A great DFS and season long play with Rawls not needing to carry the load.
- Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett – Wilson may only need to throw 20 times so I prefer both of these guys as WR3’s because you don’t know who will get the touchdowns, but both can do a lot with very little.
- Thomas Rawls – Will see some carries as he recovers from ankle surgery, but won’t need to carry more than 10 times, capping his upside.
- Jarvis Landry – Could see 15 targets and will probably catch most of them. Underrated PPR play in Draft Kings since everyone will be off this team.
- Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson Jr – If you are in a standard league that is all about touchdowns, even Richardson could come through for you, while Kearse may out snap Lockett.
- Ryan Tannehill – Wouldn’t even attempt to play him this week. The Seahawks rarely have allowed quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns and per Rich Hribar at Rotoworld, Seattle allowed a passing touchdown just once every 39.1 attempts last season, best in the league.
- Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster – Foster averaged less than a yard per carry in the pre-season and Ajayi couldn’t beat him out. Now they face the Seahawks in Seattle. Yes Foster will catch some passes, but he won’t have many yards. You should use someone with more upside.
- Kenny Stills and Devante Parker – Both of these guys are bench fodder until prove otherwise.
- Jordan Cameron – He may be cut next year.
- Jimmy Graham – They won’t overuse him this week and won’t need to.
Giants vs Cowboys (0 o/u 46)
- Ezekiel Elliot – Behind this offensive line and with a rookie starting at quarterback, the Cowboys are going to want to control the clock and run the ball a lot. The Giants beefed up their defensive front, but Zeke should dominate in this one.
- Dez Bryant – They are going to want to limit the number of passes Dak throws, but a good amount of them will go to Dez.
- Jason Witten – The Giants gave up the most receptions at the tight end position last season and Witten has historically played well against the Giants. He should be Dak’s safety blanket with his solid route running and sure hands.
- Odell Beckham Jr Jr. – A lot of concern after Dallas controlled the clock last year and the Giants barley ran any plays, that is the only thing that can stop ODB from beating up on this defense.
- Rashad Jennings – With all the suspensions and injuries to this defense, Jennings’s should have a solid game as the teams true feature back. They also beefed up their offensive line and Andre Williams is gone.
- Giants Defense – The Giant’s pass rush and secondary are much improved; they should also confuse Dak with a bunch of different looks and disguises.
- Dak Prescott – He is this weeks DFS darling, and it’s hard to argue with that given his cheap cost and his running ability. In season long leagues, it might be tougher going facing a much improved Giants defense that will be scheming and disguising coverages.
- Alfred Morris – Could steal some goal line looks and should get 7-10 touches as they run the ball more than usual with Romo out.
- Sterling Shepard –I love the talent and he’s a viable option as your WR3 in PPR leagues, but could see a lot of Orlando Scandrick, making it a tougher matchup for him.
- Victor Cruz and Shane Vereen – Best to see how these guys are used before starting them. Vereen viable as a deep flex in PPR leagues if you need.
- Larry Donnell and Will Tye – Not sure which one will get the passing downs, but wouldn’t be shocked if one of them scored.
Lions vs Colts (-3.5 o.u 50.5)
- Matthew Stafford – No foundation run game, playing in a projected high scoring game with the Colts missing shit down corner Vontae Davis and having no semblance of a pass rush. Stafford came on big time after new OC Jim Bob Cooter took over last season (19tds and only 2ints), finishing as the leagues number five QB from Week 10 on. He was also lethal passing in the redzone, with a 75% completion percentage inside the 10 yard line.
- Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr & Anquan Bolden – Start them all, even Bolden in deep PPR leagues. He’s a sneaky GPP play.
- Andrew Luck – The Lions do have a decent front 7, decent secondary and the Colts have a horrible offensive line, yet, this is going to be a high scoring game that will be all about the pass. I would fade him in DFS, but he should be more than fine in season long leagues.
- T.Y. Hilton, Dante Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett – Start all of these guys, only concern is who Darius Slay covers, my bet is Hilton, which means he has slightly less upside. Play these guys as you drafted them.
- Lions Defense – A sneaky bet to put up some points if points against don’t kill you.
- Ameer Abduallah – They want him to be the guy, and indoors against this defense, he should finally get things going. Huge upside this week.
- Theo Riddick – A good bet to get 3-5 catches. Won’t offer much on the ground.
- Eric Ebron – Looks like he is ready to return fro severe ankle injury. Could have a breakout game if he is truly healthy.
- Frank Gore – The offensive line woes hurt him the most as per PFF, the Lions surrendered a league-low 3.51 yards per carry in sub-package defenses last year. Fortunately for Gore, in their base defense, they gave up big yards. He has a safe PPR floor and is an every down player.
- Dwayne Allen – He may be asked to block the whole game. I would fade him.
Patriots vs Cardinals (-6 o/u 47.5)
- Rob Gronkowski – You can’t sit Gronk and the Cardinal’s have struggled against tight ends.
- David Johnson – It’s a tough matchup, so fade in DFS, but you aren’t sitting him either.
- Larry Fitzgerald – Has the best matchup despite seeing his targets drop after the addition of David Johnson added to the lineup. Should have a good PPR game out of the slot.
- Cardinals Defense – Jimmy G could be severely confused by the looks this Defense gives him. Not the best way to start your first game.
- James White – Easier to throw than run on the Cardinals.
- Martellus Bennett – He's a big target and should see favorable coverage with Gronk taking coverage his way.
- Carson Palmer – The Patriots have the 2nd rated secondary and the 11th rated defensive front per PFF. Palmer hasn’t looked the same in a while so it might be good to temper expectations despite all his weapons. Still a solid season long play if you have him.
- Michael Floyd – Should see a lot of CB Logan Ryan, but puts up a big numbers with Palmer. Like him as a WR3 with upside.
- John Brown – Will see a lot of CB Malcolm Butler and may not even play his full compliment of snaps. Might be a fade this week.
- Jimmy Garoppolo – Too risky to start against this team.
- LaGarrette Blount – It’s a James White game.
- Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola – The Cardinal’s secondary is rock solid and Jimmy G the QB.
- Chris Johnson – Could see a handful of touches, but this is a tougher matchup.
- Troy Nikklas – Someone to monitor closely. Could emerge.
Steelers vs Redskins (+3 o/u 50)
- Antonio Brown – Tougher matchup, but he doesn’t care, neither should you.
- DeAngelo Williams – An every week RB1 while Bell is out. Get him in your DFS lineups too.
- Kirk Cousins – This team will pass more than throw and he has a full compliment of weapons.
- DeSean Jackson – In a contract year, he’s healthy and ready to rock in a great matchup.
- Jordan Reed – He’s a must start and unstoppable.
- Ben Roethlisberger – Much better at home than away splits and missing Martavis Bryant, Lev Bell, while Sammie Coates Jr hasn’t stepped up. The Redskins field a top-notch secondary making Big Ben a solid, but not great play.
- Eli Rogers – With Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland covering the outside, Rogers could see a decent number of passes in the slot.
- Jesse James – Will need a touchdown to come through on this secondary, but just might get one. A cheap DFS play if you want to punt on the position.
- Pierre Garcon – Despite the lack of hype
- Chris Thompson – If the team goes down, his targets and playing time goes up. Should see 3 or 4 targets and a few carries. Only worth a deep flex start in PPR leagues until we see if Matt Jones face plants or not. He will at least put up a few points if desperate.
- Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates Jr - Redskins have a Top 10 secondary with corners Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland each taking a side. While Brown can work his way open, it might be tougher sledding for the rest of the receivers.
- Matt Jones – Coming off of a shoulder injury, best used as a flex and could fumble away his big chance.
- Rob Kelley – Wouldn’t shock me to see him takeover mid-way through Week 1.
- Jamison Crowder – Lots of mouths to feed here, so only a backend PPR play.
- Josh Doctson – May be inactive on game day coming off of injury.
Rams vs 49ers (+2.5 o/u 43.5)
- Todd Gurley – Weak defense and he should get all the carries he can handle.
- Tavon Austin – Last season he saw 86 targets and went 52/473/5 through the air adding an additional 52/434/4 on the ground. With teams focusing on Todd Gurley, Austin’s number could certainly improve this season making him a viable WR3 with some upside. Had nearly 50% of the teams passing touchdowns last season.
- Carlos Hyde – Positive game script should see him get a ton of carries. Chip likes to run as much as to pass and Hyde has experience running his inside zone running scheme and he thrives running out of the shotgun, averaging almost 2 yards per carry more (5.1). He's one of the league's true feature backs that will push 20 touches every game due to the 49ers up-tempo style of play even if game flow restricts his touches in the 4th quarter. Chip Kelly is not someone that abandons his scheme easily, even when behind, and due to the up-tempo nature of his offense, he doesn't often rotate when they are in attack mode, keeping Hyde in the game. He also finished last season as the top rated running back in PFF's elusive rating.
- Rams Defense – This team has nothing outside of Hyde and Gabbert has looked bad.
- Torrey Smith – Even though Chip is great at scheming wide receivers open, Smith still has to play with Kaepernick or Gabbert and doesn't truly command the ball. I’m not buying a huge bounce back to where he can regularly be relied on in fantasy beyond your WR3. One beat writer projected him to not even catch 60 passes.
- Vance McDonald – The 49ers only other pass catcher.
- Case Keenum – You can’t use him, but just might throw 2 or 3 touchdowns against this horrible defense.
- Blaine Gabbert – Please don’t.
- Shaun Draughn – Not his time just yet, and hopefully it won’t be all season.
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