It’s the kickoff of the season and time for your Week One Fantasy Football Preview.
At last, it’s finally here.
You waited patiently all spring, studied all summer, and you just finished drafting the perfect team. Now all that’s left to do is kick back and let your starting lineup win you a trip to the playoffs… That’s how it works right?
Not quite. If you did your homework this summer (or if you at least crammed a bit before your draft) you should be feeling pretty good. Even if you don’t feel great about your team, that’s okay too, because Free Agents and Waiver claims are the bread and butter of a championship squad.
The old adage goes: “you can’t win a fantasy championship on draft day, but you sure can lose one.”
Week One Fantasy Football Preview
Just executing the “perfect” draft isn’t enough. In fantasy football the only constant is change; even if you own the team of your dreams, now is the time to start planning for replacements because one of your top picks is a twisted ankle away from riding the bench.
And that deep sleeper you grabbed at the back end of the draft? There’s a good chance he keeps pushing the snooze alarm. So who are you going to replace him with when you get tired of waiting?
Here are some excellent fringe players to keep an eye on heading into Week 1. They won’t all be on waivers, but they also might be easy enough to acquire via trade before their owner starts to get too attached to them.
Thursday Night Football Fantasy Football Preview
7:20ET Green Bay at Chicago is the opening Thursday Night game. See the complete schedule of Thursday Night Football games.
Marquez Valdes Scantling and Geronimo Allison – WRs
Aaron Jones is far from proven, Jimmy Graham tries to catch footballs like he has frying pans for hands, and Devante Adams can’t do it all. And when Aaron Rodgers is commanding his team against a division rival, he’s going to find a way to push that ball down the field. It’s simple physics: Aaron Rodgers wins games by connecting the ball from his hands to someone else’s; one or both of these guys is going to be a major factor in that equation.
Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel – WRs
Nobody is huge on either of these guys right now but the talent is undeniable. Miller can be the field stretcher to pair perfectly with Robinson and Gabriel looks like he has Tyreek Hill quickness at times. It might be too early to jump for either player if they have a big game Thursday night but I’d certainly keep an eye on them.
Trey Burton -TE
Two letters: T-D’s. He’s the best TE in Chicago and the TE is often the ticket to TD’s when in the Redzone. He’s a deep sleeper but if you’re looking to stream a tight end, keep an eye out for Burton.
Sunday Funday Football Fantasy Football Preview
Deebo Samuel – WR
Although listed as WR3 on the depth chart, there were some real question marks about the WR1 and WR2 status for Goodwin and Pettis as recently as last month. Deebo put together a solid preseason, has blazing speed, and good, strong hands. If he starts strong I’d expect him to stay strong.
Matt Breida – RB
Tevin Coleman is all the rage, and for good reason, but Breida has looked like the better back. Jerick Mckinnon is done for the year, so it looks like San Fran is going to be a 2-man backfield now, which clears up the murkiness a bit. Think of it this way: big floor= Coleman; big ceiling= Breida.
Peyton Barber – RB
Someone in your league owns him and they probably don’t feel great about it. And if you make them a modest trade offer they’ll probably take it. Aryans worked magic with Chris Johnson years ago and there’s at least a chance that he can bring Barber to life this season.
I say Barber and not Ronald Jones because as it sits right now Barber is the starting back. But if anyone from this backfield starts to shine (including Dare Ogunbowale) they’re shining on one of the brightest offenses in one of the most explosive divisions in the NFL. Right now Barber has the best chance to be that bright spot in Tampa’s backfield.
Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder – WRs
The Jets’ offense is going to be electric this year. Enunwa blipped on the fantasy radar a few years ago before injuries dragged him down and Crowder has always been a talented football player with real PPR power.
John Brown and Colt Beasley – WRs
Brown has never lived up to the hype. But Allen loves to air it out deep and Brown is the deep man on this squad. It just takes a few connections to make big points. On the opposite end of the spectrum: Beasley is the short play slot man that can steadily amass PPR points.
Gio Bernard – RB
No, despite what you may have heard, this will not be the year John Ross becomes fantasy relevant. But Bernard has always been a quiet factor for the Bengals, and they just signed him to a 2-year extension. Mixon is expected to leap, but Bernard will still play a complementary factor and is a decent stash in PPR leagues for a desperation play, or in the event that Mixon gets banged up.
DK Metcalf – WR
Thanks to a recent knee scope all the hype around Metcalf was quelled coming into the fantasy drafts. But the reality of the situation is that aside from Tyler Lockett there isn’t really a WR2 for the Seahawks. Metcalf was drafted to be that WR2 and he’s going to get his opportunity already in Week 1 as long as his knee is up to the task.
DK Metcalf Highlights Video
Mecole Hardman – WR
Drafted to potentially be Tyreek Hill’s replacement, the Chiefs went for another speedy WR to challenge opposing defenses. The Chiefs boast the fastest group of wideouts in the NFL and it remains to be seen how defenses plan to handle the plethora of threats.
Hardman’s potential isn’t just in his own speed, but in the simple truth that defenses will have to first defend against the blazing Hill and Watkins, as well as the hulking Kelce, which could leave Hardman as the odd man out.
LeSean McCoy – RB
Some of the nicest things about LeSean McCoy is that he has been conditioning himself to be a lead back all offseason and preseason, was cut because of the regime in buffalo and not because of a lack of skill or ability, and is reunited with his old head coach Andy Reid who originally unlocked McCoy’s abilities.
It is a crowded backfield but McCoy can play any down and has the most experience out of all the backs. He’s also “sharp” as Reid puts it and will pick up the playbook quickly. He could become very instrumental in the most dangerous offense in the NFL.
James Washington – WR
Someone is going to scoop up a lot of targets left behind by Antonio Brown. The official bet is on Donte Moncrief, but James Washington is the sleeper. The Steelers drafted Washington and the Steelers traditionally have been excellent at drafting exceptional WRs. This could be the year he makes the leap.
James White – RB
It might take some real bait to get this trade done, but it could be very worth it. The Patriots always have uncertainty surrounding their RB situation, so no owner is going to be totally in love with their Patriot RB. But all things considered, White has been generally pretty safe to start in PPR leagues because of how effective he is at catching passes and running routes out of the backfield. He’s been trending upwards for at least 3 seasons.
Justice Hill – RB
Watch a highlight reel of this guy and if you don’t get excited watching him run then there’s something wrong with you. Mark Ingram was excellent when paired with Kamara in New Orleans and it wouldn’t surprise me to see something similar in Baltimore given how good Hill has looked in the preseason.
The Ravens plan to run the ball a lot this season and Ingram is going to start the season as the workhorse but eventually will cede touches to Hill because Hill is just that good.
Jordan Howard – RB
People are down on Howard because they seem to have forgotten that he averages over 1000 yards a season and is on a very talented Eagles team that has stated they have full confidence in him. He could be an RB2 or a solid flex on the floor alone.
Michael Gallup – WR
Amari Cooper is working on a sore foot, Elliot may or may not be around in the early games this season, and Beasley is in Buffalo. That means Dak needs to find a new mouth to feed, and Gallup certainly looks like he’s hungry for his chance to make something of himself this year. Expect him to make the leap in year 2. He’s already owned in your league but trading for him early before his stock rises too much could be a great move.
Justin Jackson – RB
Melvin Gordon is still holding out. In theory, he could back at any moment, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen soon. Austin Ekeler is a competent backup, but he’s not an every-down back or a great goal-line threat. Justin Jackson is likely to poach some goalline carries and also be active spelling Ekeler.
Monday Night Football Fantasy Preview
7:10ET Houston at New Orleans
10:20ET Denver at Oakland
Kenny Stills – WR
It will take a little time for Kenny to get acquainted with his new team. But, he’s walking into a dream situation thanks to the recent trade between the Dolphins and the Texans. He’s never been on a team as good as the Texans or had a QB as talented as Watson so his ceiling is undefined.
At best he’s currently only the WR4 on the depth chart. However, the two WRs directly above him (Fuller and Coutee) are no strangers to injury.
Tyrell Williams – WR
Derek Carr is a step down from Philip Rivers, but Williams is now playing next to Antonio Brown. Brown will command the attention of defenses and Williams will get a golden opportunity this year to benefit from it.
Dan Carlson – K
He started the season so poorly for the Vikings last year he was cut less than two weeks into the season. He then signed with Oakland and has been perfect since. If he starts the season hot, it would be foolish not to own a kicker with 100% accuracy since becoming a Raider.
And So It Begins
With NFL action on Thursday, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday Night Football, fantasy kicks off with a big splash. Be ready for the action, as early games will sometimes dictate how the rest of the season may shape up. Stars may come out early. Be that league owner who is opportunistic!
— Red Zone Rick
Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and Red Zone Rick? Ok, Rick’s on-field game management may not be as strong as these two coaching greats. But, have they ever prepared a fantasy football cheat sheet that rocks?
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