Fantasy Football is finally back, and the So-Called Fantasy Experts are ready to take a look at the action with our Week 1 Game Previews!
After weeks or even months of waiting, you can finally see how your draft will pay off. This is also an extremely exciting time for DFS players, as it’s one of the most uncertain times of the year. Analyzing previous numbers will be helpful, but you will end up throwing a lot of your preconceived notions out the door after Week 1.
One important aspect to keep in mind when you have a tough decision of who to sit and who to start is to focus on the Over/Under projections. Vegas does a pretty good job at nailing that down, and this will help you plan your starters accordingly. Higher point totals mean more points.
While most games have modest projections, there are a few that are going to be feats for talented quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and tight ends.
Let’s jump right into the previews for all the games on Sunday and Monday Night Football.
Week 1 Game Previews
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Favorite: Green Bay Packers
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 10, 2015
This is projected to be one of the highest scoring games of the week, so Fantasy Football players just need to load their rosters and wait for the fireworks.
Alshon Jeffery finally returned to practice after he had sat out since August 12 with a mysterious injury. That’s a good sign for Jeffery owners, but that also means Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett will get a bump in production if Jeffery isn’t 100%.
Since Jordy Nelson is out for the year, Aaron Rodgers will have to rely heavily on Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. Fantasy Football players will also get to see if Rodgers still has a connection with James Jones, who saw 14 touchdowns as a member of the Packers in 2012. Tight end Richard Rodgers may also see an increased role.
Kansas City vs. Houston Texans
Favorite: Houston Texans
I wasn’t a believer in Jeremy Maclin and Alex Smith making a big connection, but they did seem to have a rapport during the preseason. I still believe Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles are going to see most the looks from Smith, but this is an offense that will be tough to stop when they are rolling.
If you’re looking for a sneaky defense to start in DFS in Week 1, take a look at the Chiefs. The rushing attack for Houston is weak with Alfred Blue and the committee behind him, and Brian Hoyer may be forced to air the ball out if the rushing attack stalls on him. In his last five games of the season in 2014, Hoyer threw nine interceptions. Nine!
Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets
Location: New Jersey
Favorite: New York Jets
Is there anything to be excited about for the Cleveland Browns? Isaiah Crowell received a boost in value with Terrance West being shipped off to the Tennessee Titans, and Cleveland is going to give him as much work as he can handle. The two new additions of Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe were rarely talked about during the offseason, so Week 1 will be our first chance to see who Josh McCown targets the most.
The defense for the Browns was surpassingly stingy last season, only allowing an average of 16.1 points to quarterbacks per game. I believe that Ryan Fitzpatrick can help Brandon Marshall’s Fantasy value more than Geno Smith could, as Fitzpatrick has proven in the past he can make a receiver Fantasy relevant like he did with Stevie Johnson. Look for Chris Ivory and Brandon Marshall to be the owners of the most Fantasy points in this low-scoring affair.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Favorite: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are actually only three-point favorites to win this game, so this may be a lot closer than most people think. Part of this is due to the fact that the Colts have a difficult time stopping the run, so Tyrod Taylor could go a little nuts in this game. Fantasy Football players will finally get to see how the offense for the Colts blends together with T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Philip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief and Frank Gore all in the mix.
Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Redskins
Favorite: Miami Dolphins
The oddsmakers took a conservative approach in this one, but there are going to be a lot of Miami Dolphins players who put up a ton of Fantasy points in Week 1. Last season, Washington gave up the most points to quarterbacks, the fourth-most points to wide receivers and the fifth-most points to tight ends. Washington did not improve enough during the 2015 NFL Draft or through the offseason to gain a brighter outlook for the 2015 Fantasy Football season.
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Favorite: Carolina Panthers
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fantasy players need to go all in on Allen Robinson. With Julius Thomas out until at least Week 4 and Blake Bortles recovering from his “dead arm” in 2014, Robinson should continue on his quiet, yet successful rookie campaign. When he started last season, Robinson averaged nine targets per game.
Greg Olsen should have a monster game for the Panthers. Cam Newton just doesn’t have anyone to throw to, which means you may see him use his legs to try and keep the offense moving more than he normally would. With passing touchdowns generally being worth four points and rushing touchdowns worth six in most Fantasy leagues, Newton could really do some damage on the ground.
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams
Location: St. Louis
Favorite: Seattle Seahawks
— Anthony Henderson (@TonyHendz) September 1, 2015
Sleeper favorite Brian Quick is still working his way back into the offense after a horrendous shoulder injury took away most of his 2014 season, so Kenny Britt and Jared Cook are most likely going to end up as Nick Foles’ favorite targets. There have been talks that Tavon Austin would be move involved in the game plan this season, but Fantasy players will believe it when they see it.
Most Fantasy players will keep an eye on this game to see how Jimmy Graham performs in his debut with the Seahawks. Will Russell Wilson throw the ball more, or will the addition of Graham open things up even more for Marshawn Lynch? This will be a great game featuring two stingy defenses.
New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals
Favorite: Arizona Cardinals
This game should feature a lot of action on offense, as indicated by the over/under prediction. If the Saints are really going to run the ball more, Mark Ingram should see a lot of work. C.J. Spiller is out at least for Week 1, and one of the last major weapons left on offense for Drew Brees to target is Brandin Cooks. Also keep an eye out for the name Brandon Coleman. If he’s featured heavily in the passing attack, get your claims in on waivers as quick as possible.
Head coach Bruce Arians expressed his disappointment with the health of the backfield in Arizona, and Chris Johnson was brought to motivate Andre Ellington and David Johnson. While Ellington should still see the most work, the veteran back looked like he still had something in the tank during the preseason. For the receivers, John Brown will get to test if his rapport with Carson Palmer translates into success on the field, as Brown and Palmer lived together during the offseason.
Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers
Location: San Diego
Favorite: San Diego Chargers
Can the Chargers survive while Antonio Gates serves his four-game suspension? Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Stevie Johnson could see more work in the slot until Gates’ return. This will also be the time for tight end Ladarius Green to emerge from Gates’ shadow.
Matthew Stafford was more accurate last season and only threw 12 interceptions, but he also only threw 22 touchdowns. With a healthy Calvin Johnson in the lineup and the potential emergence of dual-threat back Ameer Abdullah, Stafford may turn out to have been an undervalued option in 2015 Fantasy Football drafts. This is going to be a close game.
Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Location: Tampa Bay
Favorite: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The battle of the rookie quarterbacks. With news that Mike Evans might be a little more beat up than originally let on, keep a close eye on his status for Week 1. That not only raises Vincent Jackson’s value in daily leagues, but that also might be enough to help Tennessee gain a victory.
This matchup will feature two candidates who should bounce back from poor Fantasy performances last season: Doug Martin and Kendall Wright.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland Raiders
Favorite: Cincinnati Bengals
I wasn’t on the bandwagon for Latavius Murray at the early part of the offseason, but once the Raiders cut Trent Richardson, I started to like the young back. He may end up as a huge steal as a fourth-round pick, as he showed tremendous ability last season in limited action.
The Bengals as a whole should see an upgrade on offense with a healthy A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones back in the lineup. Andy Dalton is also a sleeper to watch, as he is only two seasons removed from scoring 35-total touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos
Favorite: Denver Broncos
New teammates. New coaches. New offense. Same Peyton Manning. http://t.co/2F9DGillF7
— NFL (@NFL) September 3, 2015
Fantasy Football fans will get a first-hand look at how the new approach of running the ball more works out for the Broncos. New coach Gary Kubiak gave Foster as many carries as he could handle during his time at Denver, and that’s promising for C.J. Anderson owners.
Justin Forsett won’t see 102 receptions like Matt Forte did under Marc Trestman, but he could see 60-80 receptions by the end of the season. His value should be higher this year in PPR leagues. With almost all of his weapons hurt or inexperienced, Joe Flacco is going to target Steve Smith Sr. early and often. The defense for the Broncos already knows this, however, so it really should be an exciting battle.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Favorite: Dallas Cowboys
If you spent a fourth-round pick on Joseph Randle early in the season, you might not want to watch this game. With the signing of Christine Michael and news that Darren McFadden may start the game, Randle owners could watch their stock in him turn into nothing if McFadden can handle the majority of the workload.
The Giants also have an interesting situation at running back with Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen. Jennings is an older back who has never really proven he could handle the responsibility of being a starter back. Williams will most likely see the goal-line carries and Vereen will handle the pass-catching opportunities, but this is all speculative until we actually see the game unfold.
Monday Night Football Preview
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
Favorite: Philadelphia Eagles
It’s time to see how Chip Kelly’s master plan comes together in Week 1. Bradford looked pretty sharp in his limited preseason action, and Jordan Matthews looked ready to step right in for Jeremy Maclin. The rushing attack will probably be a headache for a lot of DeMarco Murray owners, and it shouldn’t be surprising if you see Darren Sproles put up a lot of points for PPR owners.
The Falcons wanted to try and create more balance on offense this season with a stronger rushing attack, but with most of their backs nursing injuries, it’s a more than likely a scenario that Matt Ryan is going to have to throw the ball a ton to keep Atlanta in this game. Julio Jones should have a big night.
Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers
Location: Santa Clara
Favorite: San Francisco 49ers
What should you watch out for in the final game of Week 1? For the 49ers, Carlos Hyde owners need to pay close attention to the usage of Reggie Bush and Mike Davis. If you spent a third-round pick on Hyde, you have to hope that he does well enough to earn a starting role.
For the Vikings, how well can Teddy Bridgewater connect with deep threat Mike Wallace? Has Charles Johnson improved enough for to flirt with Top 20 numbers? Is Adrian Peterson ready to return as a Fantasy starter after almost a full year away from the game?
Check back with the So-Called Fantasy Experts every weekend for our game previews. Also, spend some time checking out the staff rankings for Week 1 of the 2015 Fantasy Football season.
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- Week 2 Waiver Wire: Top Picks Include T.J. Yeldon and Austin Ekeler - September 11, 2018