Monday Night Football Fantasy Primer

The 2017 slate of Monday Night Football gets underway with a double header in Week 1, first with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. This is followed by the Denver Broncos welcoming AFC West rivals the Los Angeles Chargers to Mile High Stadium. Here’s a look at the fantasy prospects for all four teams heading into their matchups.

New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings

There are few forces in nature as consistent as Saints quarterback Drew Brees. He has thrown for at least 4,418 yards in every season since 2006, with four seasons in excess of 5,000. He hasn’t failed to hit 30 touchdown passes since 2007. He faces a difficult start to his 2017 campaign; especially considering the Vikings allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to opposition QBs in 2016. But only a fool or a hero would suggest sitting him down in this one.

On the other side of the field, Vikings QB Sam Bradford set an NFL record for single season completion percentage a year ago, with 71.6% of his passes finding a team mate. With Andrew Luck out for the Colts, Bradford offers genuine value as a streamer given the Saints recent history on defense. They allowed the 6th most fantasy points to QBs last season, giving up a league high 273.8 passing yards per game. Only five teams had fewer QB sacks than the Saints in 2016.

The revenge narrative has been beaten to death in this one, with the Vikings all time leading rusher Adrian Peterson set to make his Saints debut against his former team. He’ll be part of a three-man platoon at running back, joined by Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. Ingram rushed for a career high 1,043 yards last season, also chipping in 46 receptions for 319 yards. The Vikings were miserly against the run last season, however, and were not particularly welcoming to opposing running backs in fantasy. Ingram is probably the most likely to offer any return to his fantasy owners, as he has the most polished all-around skill set of the three, but expectations should be tempered for all Saints backs. Only eight teams allowed fewer fantasy points per game to RBs than the Vikings.

The Vikings also have a trio of backs at their disposal, with first-year rusher Dalvin Cook set to earn the lion’s share of the carries. Latavius Murray, a free agent acquisition from the Oakland Raiders, should see some goal line work for the Vikings, given that he has the 6th most carries inside the red zone of any RB in the NFL over the last two seasons, as well as the 5th most scores. Jerick McKinnon has shown some skills as a pass catcher. He reeled in 43 receptions in 2016. From Week 10 onwards, only David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and James White caught more balls than the 35 McKinnon managed. Only two teams gave up more fantasy points to running backs than the Saints last year, and despite some offensive line woes, the Vikings backs could do some damage here. Cook is the back of choice for me, given his three-down ability, but in deep PPR leagues, McKinnon offers some appeal as an RB3 or flex.
Saints wide receiver Willie Snead will miss the first three games of the season suspended, leaving former Panthers wideout Ted Ginn as the main partner for second-year stud Michael Thomas. Thomas finished his rookie season with 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns on his 92 receptions. Thomas has been going off fantasy draft boards at the end of the first round, so you’re going to start him but again temper your expectations. Fantasy WRs did not enjoy much success against the Vikings last season, with the Vikings allowed the 4th fewest points to that position.

Adam Thielen led the Vikings with 967 yards a season ago, followed by Stefon Diggs with 903. Diggs missed three games, and it set to move away from the slot position this season. This could mean fewer targets and receptions, but potentially more yards and touchdowns if he is to be utilized as a true big play threat. Diggs can be started and trusted as a solid WR3 against the Saints, with Thielen a WR4/flex option. Only five teams allowed more fantasy points per game to WRs than the Saints in 2016, and they are missing Delvin Breaux with a broken leg that was initially diagnosed as a bruise…as you do.

The Saints signed Coby Fleener to a big contract prior to the 2016 season, and it is safe to say they didn’t exactly get what they paid for. Fleener started just eight games, and while he did amass 50 receptions for 631 yards he was able to find the end zone just three times. He’s a risky start, but the Vikings were in the middle of the pack when it came to defending tight ends last season. Fleener did see 11 targets in the one game he played without Snead in 2016, finishing with seven catches for 109 yards and a score.

On the other side, Kyle Rudolph enjoyed a breakout season once former offensive coordinator Norv Turner was replaced by Pat Shurmur. Rudolph finished the year with 83 catches, 840 yards and seven touchdowns, all career highs. As one of Bradford’s favorite targets, he’s a safe TE1 option, especially given his red zone prowess. The Saints were 13th in terms of fantasy points allowed to TEs in 2016.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Phil Rivers is going up against the Broncos for the 24th time as the starting quarterback for the Chargers, but the first time as the LA Chargers. His tally of 5,304 yards and 36 touchdowns against the team are the third and second most of his career against a single team, but his 22 interceptions are also his second most. Viewed by many as a late round value this year, Rivers could hardly ask for a tougher start. The Broncos allowed the second fewest fantasy points to QBs last season, but are missing key pieces on their defense. Rivers is a solid QB2 this week.

Trevor Siemian once again won the starting QB job for the Broncos, outperforming disappointing second-year man Paxton Lynch. Siemian passed for a respectable tally of  3401 yards last season, but his 18 touchdowns were the lowest for a Broncos QB starting at least 13 games since Tim Tebow managed just 12 back in 2011. The Chargers boast one of the best pass rush duos in the game in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa and should be expected to be less generous than they were last season when they allowed the 17th most fantasy points per game to QBs.

Melvin Gordon finished as the RB8 in 2016, despite missing three games. He fell just three yards short of a 1,000-yard season, but only six RBs scored more than the ten touchdowns he managed. The Broncos allowed the 5th most rushing yards in 2016, although only two RBs managed to rush for 100 yards in a single game. He should be an RB2, given the lack of competition for snaps and targets out of the backfield.

The Broncos RB situation is far from clear behind starter C.J. Anderson. Anderson played just seven games in 2016, last season’s leading rusher Devontae Booker is out with a wrist injury, and former Kansas City Chief Jamaal Charles has played just two eight games in the last two seasons. Last season the Chargers allowed the 8th most fantasy points to RBs, but it’s hard to have much faith in any of the Broncos in this one.

The Broncos have a plethora of weapons among their wide receivers. Keenan Allen, injured in the first quarter of Week 1 in 2016 has been one of Phil Rivers favorite targets when healthy over the years. Last year’s leading receiver Tyrell Williams averaged 73 yards per game against everyone not named the Broncos in 2016. However, Williams was not the only WR to suffer at the hands of the Broncos last season, as they allowed the fewest fantasy points to the position. Allen offers a safe WR2 floor, especially in PPR formats, while Williams is more of a boom or bust WR4.

In Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos have one of the most consistent WR duos of the last few years. Since Sanders arrived in Denver before the 2014 season, Thomas has reeled in 306 passes for 4,006 yards with 22 touchdowns. Sanders has chipped in with 256 grabs with 20 scores for 3,571 yards. The Chargers secondary allowed twenty wide receivers to top 50 yards against them in 2016, although they allowed just the tenth fewest fantasy points to the position. Thomas has been nursing a groin injury for most of the preseason, although he is expected to start on Monday. Both can be trusted for WR3/Flex scoring.

In Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates, the Chargers have two options at tight end that most of the league should be envious of. In his rookie season, Henry led all TEs with eight touchdown grabs (tied with Cameron Brate) despite only catching 36 passes. As for Gates, what more needs to be said? Despite averaging less than four receptions a game for just the second time since he was a rookie, Gates still scored seven touchdowns in 2016. This marked the 11th time he has scored at least seven times in a season during his 14-year career. 11 of his 111 career touchdown grabs have come against the Broncos, a team who allowed the 16th most fantasy points to TEs in 2016. Henry will likely see more targets, but Gates touchdown upside gives him TE2 consideration.

As for the Broncos, their three main TEs Virgil Green, A.J. Derby, and Jeff Heuerman have a combined 82 career receptions, and Green has 57 of those. He’s never had more than 22 in a single season, however, and unless your league awards points for the most beige selections at the TE spot you need not consider any of these options in Week 1.

Neil Dutton | Monday Night Football Fantasy PrimerGridiron Experts

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Schematic Study: Fantasy Matchup Breakdowns in Week One

This new feature is slightly different here at Gridiron Experts, as it is a ‘start-em’ type article, but with a tactical twist. This article takes a deep look at the film and the X’s and O’s side of the game and tries to pinpoint good fantasy matchups for players in each week. This article will go beyond looking at whole defences as good or bad, and will look to predict which receivers can exploit schematic weaknesses in their opponents. It is essentially a very deep look at the tactical side of the game, which is then simplified for our readers in order to maximise your winning potential. Below is the first of many instalments of the new series.

 

Golden Tate

Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have had one of the better defences in the NFL over the last couple of seasons, but they lost a huge part of their identity in the summer as Calais Campbell joined the Jacksonville Jaguars. Arizona runs a blitz happy defence purely because Bruce Arians is the most aggressive coach in football, but Campbell was key because he meant that Arizona could still generate pressure in a three-man rush. With his departure, the Cardinals now have the cheapest defensive line in the NFL, and it will be led Robert Nkemdiche, who showed absolutely nothing as a rookie. This essentially means that Arizona will have to blitz at an immense level in week one, and the main beneficiary of this could be Golden Tate. Jim Bob Cooter is a smart offensive coordinator, and I would imagine that the Lions game plan will be conservative and based on getting the ball out quickly, just as it was last season. The Lions clearly want to air it out more than they did last year as only Alex Smith got less yards in the air last year than Matt Stafford, but this isn’t the game where they are going to expand, as it would play into Arizona’s hands. Golden Tate will get a lot of volume, and if the Lions defence gets shredded and Detroit are playing from behind, the volume could be even greater. He is a definite to score many points in week one.

Martellus Bennett

Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Martellus BennettFor the most part, people avoid playing their players against the Seattle Seahawks in fantasy, especially if they are mid round picks. The Seahawks defence is almost perfect as it generates pressure and has stifling coverage, but the one weakness the Seahawks have is that they struggle to defend tight ends. This is largely because Pete Carroll does not use a ‘big’ nickel package with a large slot corner or an oversized hybrid safety, so tight ends often slip through the cracks against the Seahawks ‘bend but don’t break’ defence. Aaron Rodgers usually performs well against Seattle, but you have to think that the Seahawks will mark his two receivers out of the game, which leaves potential for Martellus Bennett to have a big game. Many fear matchups against the Seahawks, but Bennett owners should absolutely start him as the TE1, or even as a flex in week one.

Eric Decker

Tennessee Titans vs. Oakland Raiders

Decker has missed a lot of time, but the Tennessee Titans will be hoping that he can return to being the pass catching wizard that he was while with the New York Jets, and he has a relatively friendly opening matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland are still trying to play the conservative read and react defence that Ken Norton oversaw in Seattle, but the reality is that their linebackers do not read nor react when they are on the field. In all honesty, the Oakland Raiders inside linebacker room might be the least talented positional group in the NFL, and Eric Decker should feast on them as he will do the majority of his work in the slot. The Raiders linebackers are not helped by their defensive coordinator, but they are simply not up to scratch, regardless of coaching. If you are doing DFS, then Eric Decker is an absolute must-start because he is going to get volume, and see very little resistance. Marcus Mariota may want to lean on the intermediate pass game in his first game back after his injury, and this would be great for Decker’s fantasy owners. For the record, Oakland are likely going to move Decker around, but Mike Mularkey will likely keep him in the slot vs Oakland as he will destroy them.

LeGarrette Blount

Philly Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

For the record, and to the annoyance of my Eagles’ friends, I am a LeGarrette Blount denier. He is highly overrated and is reliant on a full back, which limits the rest of the offence from a schematic point of view. The Eagles will eventually realise a Wendell Smallwood-Darren Sproles committee is the way forward, but Blount has a very favourable week one matchup. The Redskins were awful against the run last year, and their defensive line looks to be the weakest in the NFC as they let Chris Baker go, and replaced him with a variety of no-name players. One thing Washington does have is a great secondary, so when the Eagles get to the red zone, they may realise that trying to pound the ball in with a power back is the way forward. The Redskins gave up 19 touchdowns to running backs last year, which was 29th in the NFL and while many do not like to look at statistics from last year, not a lot has changed on the Redskins roster to suggest that they will improve against the run. The safeties Washington signed will help them improve against the pass, but they will still be leaky up front as DJ Swearinger is more of a coverage safety than a hard hitter. The Eagles also could very feasibly be leading late on due to their excellent defence, which means Blount will get a lot of 4th quarter volume. I’m a seller, but if you have drafted him, then absolutely start him.

Coby Fleener

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Saints’ season took another hit as Willie Snead was suspended for the first three games of the season for a DUI incident, and it caused many to re-think their strategy on Saints wideouts. Many people wrongly believe that Ted Ginn’s value goes up as a result of Snead’s suspension, but as someone who follows the Saints a lot, Snead’s injury does very little to Ginn’s value. Ginn was always going to be the WR2 and the deep threat on this offence, and he will get most of his work out of heavy sets. The man who will gain from Snead’s absence is Coby Fleener, and he should get a lot of volume against the Vikings’ tough defence. In the lone game Willie Snead missed last year, Coby Fleener had 20% of the Saints targets, and went for over 100 yards with a touchdown. The Saints will struggle to go deep against this tough Vikings secondary, so Sean Payton will likely run a short pass offence with some outside runs mixed in to try and help their injury-plagued offensive line. Fleener will probably end up as the Saints go to target in the red zone as Michael Thomas will draw a lot of coverage, and week one will be the first step in a bounce back year for Fleener. In short, the Saints will go more conservative against Minnesota, and a player like Fleener is in line to be the main beneficiary here.

Brandon LaFell vs. Baltimore- Deep Dive of the Week

No player is being more undervalued this year than Brandon LaFell, as he is the WR2 on an offence that has two other players drawing double coverage at all times. LaFell will likely line up against Marlon Humphrey, and this is why he could be a good player to start if you are struggling for a flex, or perhaps a disgruntled Odell Beckham, Jr. or Ezekiel Elliott member. Marlon Humphrey had some good college tape but he was also prone to being beaten on the deep ball, and LaFell could likely have a field day against Humphrey, as he will be able to destroy 1 v 1 coverage due to the attention given to AJ Green and Tyler Eifert. John Ross will be the guy who takes advantage of this later on in the year, but for week one, LaFell seems nailed on to gain some receptions and take advantage of Marlon Humphrey.

Other Suggested Articles

Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1 Startem Sitem Week One NFL Power Rankings Week 1 Waiver Wire Week One

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Joe Hulbert | Schematic Study: Fantasy Matchup Breakdowns in Week OneGridiron Experts

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TNF Recap: Chiefs Shock The Nation With Upset Over Patriots

Week One Thursday Night Football Recap

Football is back! The NFL regular season kicked off in memorable fashion Thursday night, allowing fantasy football, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), and other Vegas considerations to reclaim their rightful spots in our minds, sports bars, and living rooms.

The New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium for the 2017 NFL Kickoff game, with pregame festivities and the Super Bowl LI banner-raising preceding what was expected to be a relatively easy opening win for the home team. Even as Online Sportsbooks moved the line slightly towards the Chiefs, the Patriots were still 8.5-point favorites heading into kickoff, with the over-under for the game at 47.5. But a funny thing happened on the way to 19-0. In fact, several things that few of us expected:

  1. After a back-and-forth opening half of football, the Chiefs ran the Patriots out of the building in the second half, outscoring the Patriots 28-10 after halftime en route to a surprising, but convincing 42-27 victory in Foxborough.
  2. Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid, infamous for clock mismanagement, still had all three (!) of his timeouts until well after the two-minute warning at the end of the first half.
  3. Andy Reid…outcoached Bill Belichick? Reid’s game plan was inspired, particularly on offense, where several of his play calls appeared to catch Patriots’ defenders unprepared and out of position. After insisting that Andy Reid had the coaching edge over Bill Belichick on an NFL Network feature earlier in the week—and being lambasted for it—analyst Maurice Jones-Drew rightfully enjoyed a victory lap after the game last night.
  4. Alex Smith…outplayed Tom Brady? Yes, and badly. After an offseason spent looking over his shoulder and hearing the footsteps of rookie QB and 1st Round pick Patrick Mahomes, Alex Smith silenced his critics (for now) by completing 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and 4 TDs, amassing a 148.6 QB rating. Meanwhile, Brady, who at times looked erratic and occasionally overthrew his receivers, completed 16 of his 36 passes for 267 yards without a TD for an uncharacteristic 70.0 QB rating.
  5. Reid appeared to have lost a noticeable amount of weight during the offseason. For the first time in his professional coaching career, he looked almost…svelte?
Anyone slick enough to have bet Kansas City and the money line was rewarded with a +375 return on investment. Not only did the Chiefs pull off an unexpected road upset of the defending champs, but they nearly eclipsed the over-under on their own. The 69 (somewhere, Gronk just chuckled) combined points far exceeded the game’s implied total.

While the pregame speculation of fantasy players and prognosticators focused on how the New England backfield would shake out, Chiefs’ rookie RB Kareem Hunt stole the show while running roughshod over the Patriots’ defense. Though initially expected to start his NFL career in a timeshare with incumbent starter Spencer Ware, Hunt became the Chiefs’ de facto feature back and a hot fantasy commodity late in the preseason when Ware suffered a season-ending injury.

On Thursday night, Hunt rewarded his fantasy owners with 148 yards rushing, 98 yards receiving, and 3 touchdowns. While he was stuffing the stat sheet, Kareem Hunt also passed the eye test with flying colors, popping off an impressive 58-yard run and displaying Le’Veon Bell-like receiving ability on a 78-yard touchdown catch. Though the New England defense was depleted and on its heels for much of the second half, rest assured that Kareem Hunt is for real, and here to stay.

The New England backfield is a different story. After much debate, Mike Gillislee appeared to be exactly who everyone initially thought he would be when he signed with the Pats: the goal line back and short-yardage specialist – this year’s LeGarrette Blount. With 45 yards rushing on 15 carries, Gillislee didn’t wow anyone, but also did not disappoint his owners, punching in short touchdown runs of 2, 2, and 1 yard. Formal Bengal RB Rex Burkhead technically started the game for the Patriots, but disappointed with only 3 carries and 1 reception on 10 snaps, while Super Bowl LI hero James White totaled 10 rushes and 3 receptions on a team-high 43 RB snaps. As expected, the Patriots’ backfield situation likely remains fluid and bears monitoring moving forward. The timeshare could look completely different in games featuring “normal” Tom Brady performances and more positive game script for the Patriots.

Like his quarterback, WR Tyreek Hill providing a resounding response for anyone who doubted his ability to be the Chiefs’ #1 WR following the offseason departure of Jeremy Maclin. He recorded an efficient 7 catches on 8 targets, and his world-class speed was on full display on his 75-yard catch and run as he blew past Pats’ CB Stephon Gilmore late in the game.

In a somewhat surprising twist, WR Danny Amendola appeared to be the biggest beneficiary in the Patriots’ receiving corps of Julian Edelman’s absence. Unfortunately, Amendola left the game in the second half with concussion symptoms after recording 6 catches for 100 yards. New Patriot Brandin Cooks looked like a WR1, flashing his dynamic speed on 3 catches for 88 yards, and tying Amendola for the team-lead in targets (7).

Travis Kelce was mostly limited to designed shovel passes that were basically short runs, and Rob Gronkowski was very much held in check by the dynamic Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry, who, incidentally, was lost for the season due to a torn Achilles suffered late in the game. Though both tight ends had uncharacteristically quiet nights, they remain the cream of the fantasy crop at their position for the rest of the season.

The best part about the season’s first football Friday is that the 2017 NFL season is just getting started. Enjoy the opening weekend!

Matthew Foreman | TNF Recap: Chiefs Shock The Nation With Upset Over PatriotsGridiron Experts

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Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week One

Fantasy Football Sleepers Week One

Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season is approaching and it’s time to set your lineups. Hopefully, you checked out our own Phil Clark’s Week 1 Start’Em Sit’Em article from earlier in the week to help you with your decisions. However, if you’re a fantasy owner of a notable player who is injured, suspended or facing a tough matchup, you may have to mix a sleeper in with your regular starters.

If you remember back to Week 1 of the 2016 campaign, players that include Carson Wentz, Willie Snead, and Jalen Richard all scored over 15 fantasy points, generating 19.2, 23.2 and 15.5 points respectively. That’s the type of production you want from your sleeper starts.

With players that include Andrew Luck and Jarvis Landry out. Plus, Odell Beckham Jr. trending toward a game-time decision designation, there are plenty of holes to fill for this weeks slate of games. Without further ado, here are my Sleepers for Week 1 of the 2017 season.

  • Although there are no teams on a bye in Week 1, the NFL has decided to postpone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Miami Dolphins game due to Hurricane Irma. It will be played in Week 11

Quarterback Sleepers

Andy Dalton

MFL Start-Percentage: 39.44%

Andy Dalton is coming off of a 2016 season in which he threw for 4,206 yards, a career low 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions while completing 64.7 percent of his passes. However, since the Bengals were plagued by injury all over the offensive side of the football, the blame for Dalton’s lack of TD production doesn’t fall solely on himself.

Week 1 presents a favorable matchup for Dalton. The Bengals are hosting a home matchup against the division rival Ravens, who finished the 2016 campaign ranked 23rd in fantasy production allowed to opposing signal callers, yielding 15.6 FPPG. In two contests versus Baltimore last season, Dalton accumulated a mere 15.7 and 19.6 FPPG respectively. However, both games were played after Week 11. The significance? A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard were all sidelined for either one or both of those contests. In the only 2015 matchup Dalton started against the Ravens in which the before mentioned players were active, he produced a 383-3-1 stat line while adding another score on the ground, good for 38.2 fantasy points. With Jay Cutler and Jameis Winston on a surprise bye due to the storm, Dalton is a fine Week 1 spot-start.

Tyrod Taylor

MFL Start-Percentage: 22.69%

Tyrod Taylor may have fallen out of favor with the fantasy football community this offseason for reasons out of his control. Not only did the Bills lose Robert Woods to the Rams in free agency, but they also dealt away his counterpart, Sammy Watkins, to Los Angeles last month. In other words, Taylor lost both of his starting wideouts. However, Buffalo didn’t just sell-out like their Week 1 opponents, the New York Jets. They also added a new pair of weapons to Taylor’s arsenal, selecting Zay Jones in the draft and acquiring Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia on the same day they moved Watkins.

The Jets are a familiar foe for Taylor. He started the past 3-of-4 games these two teams played each other. In the last matchup Taylor started versus New York in Week 2 of the 2015 campaign, Taylor went off for 29.4 fantasy points. He threw for 297 yards, three touchdowns and one interception that day. Although both Watkins and Woods were both active, they combined for a 3-30-0 stat line and were invisible. It was also the last time we would see Watkins until Week 12.

Entering Sunday’s season opener, the Jets’ defense is expected to start two rookies in the secondary, Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams. Although both are highly-touted, Taylor may be able to score the deep ball against them in their first regular season action as pros. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Talyor made plays and found the end zone with his legs as well, showcasing his versatility. Although he is extremely boom or bust, Week 1 is a fine matchup to insert Taylor into your starting lineups. If you’re thinking of starting Carson Wentz in Washington this week, Taylor may be the way to go as an alternative. In two games versus the Redskins last season, Wentz only totaled 14.7 fantasy points.

Running Back Sleepers

Jonathan Stewart

MFL Start-Percentage: 22.83%

Although Christian McCaffrey is expected to garner the majority of the RB touches in Carolina in 2017, Jonathan Stewart remains in the fold as the team’s lead power back. He is also the favorite to vulture TDs. “Stewart? A sleeper?” The fantasy community gasps and mutters. Yes, folks, Stewart is entering a plus matchup in Week 1 at San Francisco. Their defense finished 2016 ranked No. 1 in fantasy production allowed to opposing RBs, giving up a staggering 28.1 FPPG. In fact, the 49ers’ defense allowed two running backs from an opposing team to score at least 10 fantasy points against them in a single game four times last year, which bodes well for Stewart’s Week 1 outlook.

Although Stewart hasn’t had good fortune versus San Francisco in his three career matchups facing them in the past — he only totaled 86 yards on 36 touches and no scores — he could turn it around Sunday. Consider Stewart a deep desperation play at best.

Theo Riddick

MFL Start-Percentage: 20.18%

Theo Riddick is coming off of a disappointing, injury-plagued 2016 season. In 10 games, primarily as the Lions’ featured rusher — Ameer Abdullah missed all but two games last season with a foot injury — Riddick compiled 357 yards and a touchdown on 92 carries while adding 52 receptions for 357 yards and five scores as a receiver. However, with Abdullah returning, Riddick could retreat to his role as the Lions’ primary receiver out of the backfield, which better-fits his skill set.

In their last matchup, the Lions were blown out by the Cardinals 42-17 at home back in 2015. Facing a defense similar to the current Cardinals’ unit, Riddick impressed. He caught 10 targets for 53 yards and a touchdown that day, accumulating 11.3 fantasy points in standard formats. Since the Cardinals are expected to bounce back this year, Sunday’s matchup could get out of hand early, or even turn into a shoot out if both offenses are firing on all cylinders. Riddick could be started with confidence in PPR scoring formats.

Wide Receiver Sleepers

Rishard Matthews

MFL Start-Percentage: 41.56%

Perhaps the most perplexing player regressions amongst the fantasy experts in the industry this offseason for me is Rishard Matthews. Despite finishing the 2016 season ranked 14th in fantasy scoring at his position with 146.5 points, he maintained a 10th round ADP in August, likely because the Titans added Corey Davis and Eric Decker to their wide receiver depth chart this offseason. However, of the trio, only Matthews played on the team last year and already has the trust of Marcus Mariota.

Rishard Matthews FantasyEntering Week 1’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders, Davis is nursing a hamstring injury, which sidelined him for most of the preseason and training camp. Although he is not expected to be on a snap count, he also may not be heavily involved in the gameplan, which bodes well for Matthews’ target-share. Only Decker and Delanie Walker should contest Matthews for ample targets. Moreover, Oakland’s defense finished last season ranked 14th in fantasy production allowed to WRs surrendering 23.5 FPPG —  they allowed the ninth-most yards passing and 10th-most touchdowns passing in 2016. In what could be a high-scoring affair, Matthews is a solid WR3/ Flex start in Week 1.

Brandon Marshall

MFL Start-Percentage: 59.95%

Brandon Marshall signed with the New York Giants this offseason to compliment Odell Beckham. Formerly a fantasy WR1, Marshall’s stock has dropped after a dreadful 2016 campaign with the Jets which was plagued by small, nagging injuries and inconsistent play on the field. However, the onus for Marshall’s subpar season shouldn’t fall solely on the veteran wideout’s shoulders, poor quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick certainly didn’t help his cause. With the Giants, Marshall will be paired with, who perhaps may be the best signal caller he’s ever played with in his 11-year career, Eli Manning. With an elite receiver on the other side and a potential future Hall of Fame signal caller under center, Marshall is poised for a bounce-back year.

In Week 1, Marshall has an outstanding matchup on Sunday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas secondary was the handicap of their defense last year, and because they lost three starters from the unit in free agency this offseason, it will once again be their defensive impairment in 2017. With Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll and Orlando Scandrick slated as starters at cornerback for Dallas, Marshall could be in line for a huge debut game with his new club, especially if Beckham, who is nursing an ankle injury, is limited or ruled out for the matchup. The Cowboys’ secondary could be toast in the season opener if the Giants’ passing game comes out aggressive and firing. I’d feel comfortable starting Marshall over T.Y. Hilton as he struggles without Andrew Luck in the lineup.

Tight End Sleepers

Jason Witten

MFL Start-Percentage: 50.77%

Although Jason Witten is regarded as one of the most productive tight ends of all-time, he is not getting any younger. Entering his 15th year as a pro, the 35-year-old has regressed over the years from a fantasy perspective. Once one of the top TEs off the board, he’s fallen into the double digit rounds of fantasy drafts and is even going undrafted. However, he still holds a ton of fantasy value, especially in PPR scoring formats. Although the touchdown production isn’t there, he’s caught at least 64 targets for 673 yards in each of the past three seasons. Adding in his 11 total TDs in that time span, and that’s quality TE2 numbers.

In Sunday night’s matchup, Witten is facing the NFC East division-rival Giants. A team that he’s chewed up and spit out throughout his career. In 29 games versus New York, Witten’s accumulated a 153-1,570-13 stat line while averaging 10.26 YPC. Tight end is also a position of weakness for the Giants’ defense in recent memory. In 2016, they finished the year ranked 13th in fantasy points surrendered to TEs, allowing 7.6 FPPG to the position. Furthermore, against a very similar Giants’ defense, Witten caught nine targets for 66 yards in last year’s season opener, which also fell on a Sunday night. Witten should be started with confidence in a game that Dak Prescott could be on the run if the Giants’ fierce pass rush wins enough battles at the line of scrimmage. In that scenario, Prescott could be forced to check down to Witten on short and intermediate routes, which could result in a strong PPR performance.

Charles Clay

MFL Start-Percentage: 42.06 %

Charles Clay is entering a favorable matchup against the Jets in the season opener. Not only was New York overly-welcoming to opposing TEs last season — they allowed 9.2 FPPG to the position in 2016 — but the Bills lack offensive weapons. Buffalo moved on from both Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods this offseason, and despite the additions of Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews, the Bills are desperate for pass-catchers, especially in the red zone. Not only is Clay’s opportunity-share expected to rise, but he is coming into 2017 hot. In the final four games of 2016, Clay accumulated 21 receptions for 229 yards and four TDs. He was fantasy’s TE3 in that time span. Facing a Jets defense that will likely regress from a dismal 2016 campaign, Clay could flourish in Week 1.

Two Deep Sleepers If You’re Desperate

Kendall Wright

MFL Start-Percentage: 22.86%

Since losing Cameron Meredith for the year to a gruesome knee injury in the preseason, the Bears are depleted at wide receiver. They also cut ties with Victor Cruz during final roster cuts. Let’s face it, if Cruz couldn’t make this club, how much does he really have left?

Entering Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, the Bears are fully expected to get blown out. As a result, Mike Glennon will likely be dropping back to pass a lot, which is great for Wright’s fantasy outlook (yes, he actually has one). With Kevin White listed as the Bears’ WR1, Wright is at the WR2 spot. He is expected to line up primarily in the slot. Since White has issues staying on the field, Wright could very well lead the Bears in targets this week and could get a lucky trip to the end zone in garbage time by default. He is a desperation deep league start for Week 1.

Chris Thompson

MFL Start-Percentage: 13.61%

The Washington Redskins are hosting the Philadelphia Eagles, a team finished the 2016 season ranked 20th in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs, surrendering 16.7 FPPG. In their last matchup, Chris Thompson only received three carries for 38 yards rushing, but he converted one of those attempts into a touchdown. Slated as the Redskins’ RB2/ primary receiver out of the backfield, Thompson is not expected to see enough opportunities to garner a serious look from fantasy owners. However, in a tough spot, Thompson could be inserted into the Flex spot in deeper league PPR formats.

Thank you for reading about my sleepers for Week 1. I hope you enjoyed it! Want more? Mike Hauff and I debate fantasy football news, notes and yes, sleepers, on our show, the Faceoff, a Gridiron Experts podcast. Check it out.

Oh, and before I forget, we will answer your questions on our show! All you have to do is Tweet us with your question @FFfaceoff.

 

Anthony Cervino | Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week OneGridiron Experts

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Fantasy Football Buy Low/Sell High: Week 1

Buy Low Sell High: Week 1

Football is back! We haven’t seen a meaningful NFL snap since the Falcons’ historical collapse in Super Bowl LI, and after 214 days of waiting, hand-wringing, over-analyzing football in shorts, and dissecting our fantasy drafts, Week 1 will finally kick off Thursday night as the Chiefs visit the Patriots in Foxborough to kick off the 2017 season.

In addition to our weekly Tradespotting podcast, we will provide weekly buy low/sell high recommendations throughout the season. Below, you’ll find players to target while they’re still affordable, or whose stock we expect to rise moving forward (“buy low”) — and others to consider trading away while we feel their values are either near their high points or soon to trend in the wrong direction (“sell high”).

Other Suggested Articles and Features

Martavis Bryant

WR | Steelers

Martavis Bryant was my #1 draft target this season, and I believe he’ll be the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year for 2017. If you targeted Martavis this offseason, recency bias worked in your favor, because for many, he was out of sight, out of mind following his season-long suspension. When we last saw Bryant on the field (in 2015), he was WR15 in fantasy PPG, and he’s been a nearly touchdown-per-game player during his brief career.

Now that he’s been fully reinstated and has a clear path to success in one of the league’s best offenses, I suspect his stock is only going to rise after the season begins and he makes a few eye-popping plays. The Steelers play two of their first three games against the Browns and the Bears, so it’s hard to imagine Bryant keeping quiet for long. If you want him, move aggressively to get him now…it may be your last chance. – Matt Foreman

Stefon Diggs

WR | Vikings

All signs point towards Stefon Diggs as this year’s’ breakthrough elite WR talent. An argument could be made that he would have ascended last season, if not for lagging injury problems that severely limited his effectiveness. Diggs only missed 3 games throughout the season, but his play was affected by the groin, knee, and hip problems that caused him to miss those games. Before his groin injury occurred in Week 4 against the Giants, Diggs was dominant. Between recovering from the groin injury and injuring his knee in Week 11, Diggs was dominant. Clearly, durability is a concern, but Diggs himself has taken responsibility for his nagging injuries and has taken the steps to correct it. With Minnesota facing the 4th easiest Passing Defense Efficiency schedule through the first 8 weeks according to Sharp Football Stats, Diggs should start out white hot this season, and I don’t think it will stop. Buy now before his owners become too attached to the NFL’s newest WR1. – Hunter Gibbon

Andrew Luck

QB | Colts

This one’s tricky. We know Luck will be out for this week’s opening game against the Rams, and we also know the Colts opted against placing him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which would have prevented him from playing (or practicing) during the first six weeks of the regular season. Beyond that, we don’t know much, except that the timetable for Luck’s return is uncertain. But when he does play, Andrew Luck is an elite fantasy QB. If you have the roster flexibility to stash him for a few weeks, Luck is the type of fantasy difference-maker who can you win games later in the season. – Matt Foreman

Danny Woodhead

RB | Ravens

My love for Danny Woodhead has no limits. The most underrated pass-catching back in the NFL has gone from a trendy early-4th round pick to forgotten late-5th rounder over the last two weeks. A minor hamstring injury held him out of the “all-important” Week 3 preseason game, and fantasy drafters panicked. Do not be one of those fantasy owners. The hamstring issue is behind him, considering he has already returned to practice in preparation for Week 1. In 2016, Joe Flacco targeted his running backs 142 times and Dennis Pitta 121 times, or 263 short-to-intermediate targets. Lingering offensive line concerns and a lack of between-the-tackles talent in that backfield (sorry, but not sorry Terrance West) should force the Ravens to continue their pass-happy ways. Woodhead is the perfect option to pick up 100+ of those vacated targets and rack up weekly PPR points. Use this market downturn to buy in on a player with proven PPR RB1 upside. – Hunter Gibbon

Jordan Howard

RB | Bears

I think Jordan Howard is a very good player on a very bad team. After his Pro Bowl rookie season, opposing defenses were already likely to gameplan around stopping Howard this year. When you consider the loss of the team’s #1 WR Cameron Meredith for the season, a Bears’ offense piloted by either Mike Glennon or rookie Mitch Trubisky, with no real weapons in the passing game, will surely fail to command respect from defensive coordinators. I expect stacked defensive fronts and fantasy regression for Howard this season. Multiple members of our staff picked him as their Bust RB of 2017. If you can find a trade partner willing to pay for his ADP as a top 10 fantasy RB, make a deal. – Matt Foreman

Tyreek Hill

WR | Chiefs

Since the departure of Jeremy Maclin, analysts have touted Tyreek Hill as the Chiefs WR1. Some have claimed that he has an Antonio Brown skill set. Playing for an inconsistent offense at best, the evidence does not support those claims. No one will argue against Tyreek Hill’s speed, explosiveness, or inherent big play ability, however his history of production leaves much to be desired. Hill has never been the number one receiver on his team, dating back to college. For players attending major programs with elite competition, college production is less important (see Martavis Bryant). Hill is a different story. He spent his final college season at West Alabama, not exactly a premiere program. His 2016 production was propped up by unrepeatable big play frequency, which is sure to regress in 2017, despite an increased target share. If Hill proves to not be up to the new role in the first few weeks of the season, his value will plummet. Sell now, before TyFreak is revealed to be TyFluke. – Hunter Gibbon

Lamar Miller

RB | Texans

Overall, I actually prefer the fantasy outlook for the Texans’ skill position players with either Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson at the helm over Brock Osweiler. Unfortunately, I’m just not a big believer in Lamar Miller. In 2016, Miller rushed for over 1,000 yards for the 2nd time in his career. But it took him 52 more carries than it did the first time, and his yards per carry average was the lowest of his career. In March, Texans’ Head Coach Bill O’Brien expressed interest in cutting down on Miller’s workload. In April, the team drafted rookie RB D’Onta Foreman in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Foreman may not become the Texans’ RB1 as a rookie, but he can contribute immediately, and will almost certainly eat into Miller’s goalline work. It’s time to trade Miller while there are still people out there who believe he will be the bell cow of the Houston offense. – Matt Foreman

Jameis Winston

QB | Buccaneers

The hype train started early for Winston this offseason and has not stopped rolling since. His final ADP was QB8, above players like Cam Newton, Kirk Cousins, and Ben Roethlisberger. Newton has an overall QB1 performance on his resume. Cousins has back to back top-6 finishes to his name. Big Ben pilots the most explosive offense in the NFL. Jameis Winston has finished QB13 and QB16 in his first two NFL seasons. One of those things is not like the others. Yes, the Buccaneers invested in DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard over the offseason, a sign that they could move to a more pass-first approach. However, assuming they will make that shift immediately is purely speculative. Tampa Bay found success in the second half of 2016 when they rededicated to running the football and pulled in the reins on Winston. There is no doubt that he can make every throw in the book, but his decision-making has often been highly questionable. There is no indicator that the coaching staff will change the game plan that worked for them in late 2016. Sell Winston for one of the QBs below him in ADP plus a productive WR or RB, before the market realizes he will not rise above the QB middle class. – Hunter Gibbon

Matthew Foreman | Fantasy Football Buy Low/Sell High: Week 1Gridiron Experts

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DraftKings NFL Picks Week 1

DraftKings NFL Lineup Advice

DraftKings NFL Picks Week 1Your drafts have now come and gone. While you may be married to the roster you drafted in your home leagues, DraftKings is proof that there are plenty of fish in the sea. DFS allows you the chance to not only create a new team for yourself but an opportunity to play the best possible matchups on a week to week basis. The point of this weekly article is to suggest to you some players that you may want to start in a given week. Some of these options may eat into your balance while others will be bargains. Regardless of their price tag, these are players that can help you win some serious cash.

Quarterback

Russell Wilson

DraftKings Price: $6,900

In week 1, the Seattle Seahawks will head to Green Bay to do battle with the Packers. For Russell Wilson, the Seahawks signal caller will be looking for redemption. Last season when the Seahawks played in Green Bay, Wilson would throw for a career high 5 interceptions. While that game took place in week 13, Wilson would have a slow start in 2016 which was due in large part to nagging injuries. Don’t count on history repeating itself as Wilson is now injury free and will be facing a Packers defense that allowed the 7th most points to quarterbacks in DK formats. The Seahawks running game will be searching for an identity during the early part of 2017 and that will allow for Wilson owners to cash in on some big numbers in the first half of the year.

Carson Wentz

DraftKings Price: $5,300

In week 1, the sophomore signal caller in Philadelphia represents one of the better quarterback values. Wentz will kick off his 2017 season in Washington against a Redskins defense that allowed the 11th most points to quarterbacks in DK formats. While Wentz didn’t have eye popping numbers last season, one of his four 300 yard performances came against the Redskins. Washington routinely has had a hard time against the tight end so expect Wentz to take advantage of that on his way to a big week one.

Running back

Kareem Hunt

DraftKings Price: $5,800

With the excitement of a full slate of games this weekend, it is important to remember that we do have a game coming on Thursday. In just a couple of days, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots will usher in the regular season. While most people will be consumed by the pomp and circumstance of the Patriots hanging another Super Bowl banner, Kareem Hunt will be ready to make a big first impression on national television. With the injury to Spencer Ware, Hunt has found himself thrust into the role of featured back in an Andy Reid offense. Hunt will be used on the ground and in the air and represents a way to surge up your Draft Kings leader board early.

 

 

Christian McCaffrey

DraftKings Price: $5,400

The talk is finally over! His biggest supporters are over the moon to finally see McCaffrey in regular season action. His critics can’t wait to say that they told you so. Well, those critics may need to hold off for an extra week as the Panthers have a nice matchup against the 49ers. While the 49ers front seven has looked good in the preseason, it is so difficult to forget just how abysmal their defense was in 2016. In Draft Kings formats, the 49ers defense would allow the most points to the running back position. The second worst team allowed 75 points less than the 49ers. They were also the only team in football to allow 20 or more rushing scores to running backs. Stewart could serve as a touchdown vulture but make no mistake, the Panthers will look to get the ball in McCaffrey’s hands.

Todd Gurley

DraftKings Price: $6,000

I spoke of redemption early on when talking about Russell Wilson. There may be no player looking for redemption this season more than Todd Gurley. He has a great opportunity to get this season off on the right foot with the Indianapolis Colts coming to town. It has already been announced that Andrew Luck will miss week 1 and that plays right into Gurley’s hands. No Andrew Luck means that in all likelihood, the Rams will not be in a position to play catch up. This will give the Rams and Gurley the ability to slow the game down and run the ball. Expect Gurley to get 20+ carries and to have his first 100-yard rushing performance since December 13 of 2015.

Wide Receiver

Pierre Garcon

DraftKings Price: $5,300

While they may not be Super Bowl contenders in 2017, optimism in the 49ers locker room is as high as it has been since the days of Jim Harbaugh. The Kyle Shanahan offense will be on full display against the visiting Panthers. While Carolina may have given up the 7th most points to wide receivers in DK formats, there was also a lot of negative vibes within their Super Bowl hangover. Expect their defense to be better this time around but also expect Hoyer to target Garcon early and often.

Hoyer and Garcon had quite the connection during the 49ers third preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. Hoyer may not have much of a choice but to throw the ball as the 49ers secondary may force the 49ers offense to play catch up. Garcon will be looking to replicate his 2013 season under Shanahan when he hauled in 113 receptions and that starts this Sunday. You’re paying less than $5,500 for a wide receiver at the top of his team’s depth chart. What more do you need?

Danny Amendola

DraftKings Price: $4,300

The Patriots will have a hard time going over the top on the Chiefs defense this Thursday. They will need to scratch and claw for the yards and touchdowns that they do get. It is games such as this that Tom Brady loves to just slice and dice. When Brady looks to get the ball out quick, it won’t be the deeper threats of Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan that will be benefiting, it’ll be Amendola. His style of play is best suited for an Edelman role and Brady has already mentioned the trust that he has in Amendola. Trust goes a long way in games like this that have a big fight feel. The Patriots offense will always be a bit of an enigma for fantasy football enthusiasts but this week, trust in Amendola.

Tight End

Lock of the Week

Zach Ertz

DraftKings Price: $3,500

It would make sense that if I nominated the Eagles quarterback, I would nominate one of his targets. A lot of the tight ends above Ertz have some tough matchups. Ertz is almost like a hidden value as he costs less than even Jack Doyle. Last season, the Redskins stood as just one of three teams to allow 100 receptions and 1,000 yards to the tight end position. Feel free to look at the top tight ends on the board, you’ll keep coming back to Ertz.

Defense

Falcons DST

DraftKings Price: $3,300

Looking to save some cash on your defense? Take a look at last years NFC champions as they head to the windy city to take on the Bears. They may prove to have their hands full with Jordan Howard but the rest of Bears offense will be a complete liability in 2017. If the Falcons do end up with a Super Bowl hangover, you won’t be able to notice it in week 1. It is an easy way to avoid the top defense on the board and save $600 in the process.

Awesome Reads to Checkout 

Michael Hauff | DraftKings NFL Picks Week 1Gridiron Experts

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Thursday Night Football Preview: New England vs. Kansas City

Thursday Night Football Preview

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Patriots – 9.5 | Over/Under 49

The NFL Kickoff festivities are finally upon us as fans count down to the start of the 2017 NFL Season. Before I get into this game preview, make sure to check out all of Gridiron Experts NFL Picks here for week one here.

Fun Fact: Since 2004, the Super Bowl champion has hosted the Thursday night season opener. Only twice has the defending champion lost in these previous thirteen years. Yet, one of those two losses was Baltimore when they had to give up the home field when the Baltimore Orioles would not share the parking lot.

New England Patriots

Thursday Night Football Preview

There is an excellent chance that Tom Brady is going to finish this season within the top three among quarterbacks in fantasy points. Brady is not prone to mistakes, and the Patriots have built this offense to cater to the way he plays. He is not mobile, but the Patriots surround him with slot receivers, tight ends and pass catching running backs. Brady started with 270+ yards in six of the first seven games of 2016 but did slow to only one game over 280 yards over his last five. Still, he will not cost you points with interceptions, even against the tough Kansas City Chiefs defense. Brady will have a strong day with the home crowd and the celebration going on around him.

Brady will be bolstered by some additions in the backfield. The Patriots picked up Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in the offseason. These are now the two highest paid running backs on the roster. After seeing how James White could dominate the Super Bowl as a pass catcher, the Patriots loaded up. In terms of your fantasy team, they loaded up too much. There is no way to know who will get the ball most or who will get the most snaps. Gillislee is the likely leader in the clubhouse. Expect that White’s spectacular season and postseason mean nothing to the Patriots this season. The Patriots only live in the now.

The biggest news of the offseason was the trade for Brandin Cooks. This trade was accented when Julian Edelman went down with a torn ACL. Despite the way Tom Brady spreads the ball around, Edelman finished third in the NFL in targets (159). He turned that into 98 catches while bringing in 61.6% of his targets. Of the returning players, only James White had more than 38 targets (Martellus Bennett and Michael Floyd are gone). Cooks turned 117 targets into 78 catches last year, falling behind Michael Thomas in New Orleans. He could be in for a fabulous season. Cooks will start off with a tough test against the Chiefs defense, but should still provide WR1 numbers this week.

The Patriots could very well try to balance the attack and use Cooks to draw the defense. Chris Hogan has some value as a Flex with good upside. Hogan has been more the deep threat though, averaging 17.9 yards per reception last year.

Kansas City Chiefs

Thursday Night Football Preview

Alex Smith provides stability and does not hurt his team with negative plays. Still, in fantasy, you are only starting him in the deepest of leagues or 2QB leagues. Smith saw Jeremy Maclin drive off to Baltimore this offseason, leaving Tyreek Hill as the big weapon in the passing game and Chris Conley supporting him.

Hill is the interesting x-factor here, as he has big play ability but is very raw and is unproven as an every down wide receiver. Andy Reid used him in the slot, out wide and in the backfield last year. Hill had 860 yards between receiving and rushing with nine touchdowns. He added scores in the return game as well. Furthermore, Hill had more targets than Maclin last year. Increase that number and should see some strong numbers. Andy Reid is one of the few who knows how to get move someone like Hill around. Reid will need to do this because the Patriots cornerbacks are very good.

The lead target monster in this offense is still Travis Kelce. The Patriots obviously know the value of a tight end and they will want to focus on Kelce. The Patriots are well known for taking away your primary weapon, Kelce is generally considered the prime weapon. If you have Kelce on your fantasy roster, you are starting him (because there is no way you have a suitable backup), but count on a possible down week for him.

Just like the Patriots, the Chiefs had a serious knee injury. Spencer Ware went down and now Kareem Hunt is stepping into the starting role. The young rookie will get his chance to prove himself on a tough stage. There are good days ahead for Hunt, but this should be a solid start without huge fanfare. Expect Hill to get some of the carries and Charcandrick West to step in now and then. Still, Hunt will lead the way and should get significant carries. He would generally be a low-end RB1, but he will be more of a high-end RB2 this week.

The Game

Expect the Patriots to control this game. These are two good defenses. The Patriots led the NFL in scoring defense 2016, where the Chiefs were seventh in 2016. The edge in this game will be on the momentum of the defending champs and the stronger offense. Expect this to be a somewhat low scoring matchup, but the Patriots offense will too multifaceted to be kept from the end zone.

Jonathan Barnett | Thursday Night Football Preview: New England vs. Kansas CityGridiron Experts

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Fantasy Football Staff Rankings Week 1

2017 Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1

The 2017 NFL season hasn’t even started and yet fantasy football owners are having to make massive lineup adjustments early. Nobody planned for a week one bye for the Mami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, yet if you want to win your week, you’re going to have to adjust. Our very own Jason Willan had an article on Fantasy Football Streaming for Week One go live this morning, the article offers you some tips for waiver wire QB and DEF pickups that should help if you replace lost starters from the Bucs and Dolphins game that is being pushed back to week 11.

The table below is Gridiron Experts staff Fantasy Football rankings for week one. Each individual staff writer contributes their rankings which create an average that we use for our overall consensus rankings. You can sort by each writer simply by clicking on the date below the writer’s name and/or re-sorting to the staff consensus rankings by clicking on the number sign or hash top left in the table. If you have a question for our staff writers, click on their name and a new tab will open up their twitter page.

Fantasy Football Rankings will be constantly updated throughout the week, so make sure to bookmark Gridiron Experts today or signup for our newsletter here

 

Good luck this week!

 

 

Gridiron Experts | Fantasy Football Staff Rankings Week 1Gridiron Experts

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