It’s week 1. Enjoy it, for this will probably be the week in which your decisions will be the easiest. No random player has come out of nowhere yet with a huge game (think Kevin Ogletree) to make you second guess everything you ever knew about setting your fantasy line up. There also aren’t too many game-time decisions for key players as the toll of a long season isn’t yet reflected on injury lists. The bye weeks are still a month away. Basically, you’re starting the guys you drafted the highest.
However, even in week 1, you may be having an internal conflict over a flex spot, to the tune of “which of these borderline guys do I slot in there?” And if you’re not having one of those conflicts, keep reading anyway. Because we’re funny.
If you got him, start him.
RB – Frank Gore: Quick, what do Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore, and LaMichael James have in common? They’re all currently or in the recent pass have been the trendy guy to take over at running back in San Francisco when the aging Gore finally starts acting like most backs in their 30s. It’s been predicted for a couple of seasons now, which is why he was probably available way later in your draft than you anticipated, but it hasn’t happened. And it won’t happen this week against the horrid Cowboys defense either. The Niners will probably be up huge at halftime so he may not play much in the second half in an effort to preserve his body. But two first-half scores are a real possibility.
RB – Toby Gerhart: I was surprised to find a lot of people taking a wait and see approach with Adrian Peterson’s former understudy, wanting to see him have a good game or two before trusting him with a spot in their lineup. I understand that, but in addition to being huge and deceptively mobile for someone with said hugeness, he’s an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield. And Jacksonville may very well be down by three or four scores at half time, meaning they’re gonna throw it. In addition to 60-75 potential rushing yards, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Gerhart with as many as 8 catches for a similar yard total.
WR – Golden Tate: A trendy breakout pick this season as Calvin Johnson’s partner in Detroit, I have my reservations. That said, they have the Giants week 1, and a weak secondary means they may be triple covering Megatron, leaving single coverage and acres of space for Tate. You wouldn’t start him over, say, Keenan Allen, but you might consider it if it’s between him and Cecil Shorts.
TE – Zach Ertz: All on in this guy. If you look at his numbers from his rookie year, they seem ok at first blush. Now consider the meager snap total he played to accumulate those numbers. He won’t have Jimmy Graham numbers when it’s said and done, but he’ll be in the neighborhood of 900 yards and 8 scores.
If you got him, sit him.
RB – LeGarrette Blount: The aptly named bruiser in Pittsburgh’s backfield will probably pile up some gaudy touchdown numbers this year, but it won’t happen in week 1 against Cleveland’s underrated (some would go so far as to say excellent) defense.
RB – Trent Richardson: This is not because I’m buying into the “OMFG, Cleveland was right about this guy!!! He SUCKS!!!” nonsense that’s flying around. This is because it’s going to be very tough to run the ball on Denver. He’ll be a fine flex play in many weeks, this just ain’t one of them.
WR – Kenny Britt: As a Rams fan, I was greedily rubbing my hands together at the prospect of snagging him late in all my drafts. Then Sam Bradford, with whom he’d developed huge chemistry, went down. Not that I think Shaun Hill is terrible, but Britt’s value is as a downfield threat, mitigating his production with Hill under center. Beside, St. Louis will be running the ball against Minnesota anyway.
TE – Austin Sefarian-Jenkins: See the description for Toby Gerhart. A lot is being made of this guy being a red-zone target. Ok, but it may be worth remembering that Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are both HUGE, and therefore also red-zone targets already… If you have Jenkins, he’s probably not the only TE on your roster. Start the other guy.
I always enjoy doing a deep sleeper projection too, but those hardly should apply in week one. But let’s say you massively neglected wide receiver in your draft, and two of your top options are Wes Welker and Dwayne Bowe. Or in an equally unlikely scenario, you forgot that wide receiver was an actual position in your league, and now need to scrounge the waiver wire before kick off. Consider Cody Latimer, who quietly seems to have edged in front of Andre Caldwell on the depth chart in Denver. And with Welker’s suspension, it’s a decent bet he’ll be on the field.
Lastly, if you’re streaming defenses, you may consider the Bears for this week only. They project to be pretty bad, but Buffalo’s offense has looked abysmal in the pre-season, and they’ll be playing in Chicago.
That’s pretty much all! Knowing us, we’ll probably oversleep a week or two but we plan to run this feature every week, so check back for winning fantasy advice often!