Finally you can stop dwelling on last season’s misfortune in fantasy football and move on to the 2015 system. Week 1 is the land of the unknown. Obviously you’re starting your proven studs this week, but questions surround young players or those coming off disappointing seasons. You also have players on new teams and the thought that some defenses will be better or worse than last year. You have to trust your information as best you can this week and enjoy watching every game. It’s a long season and the fun starts now. I’m not here to tell you to start your studs or bench your duds. What I’m here to provide is some guys who’ll exceed expectations this week or some stars you should be cautious about starting.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Sam Bradford (QB – PHI)
Bet you didn’t think last year that you’d be investing you fantasy football season in Sam Bradford after he tore his ACL. The move to Philadelphia has little a fire under Bradford as he now looks as good as he did in his days at Oklahoma. I’d play like that too if I was going from the Rams’ weapons and mundane offense to those of the Eagles. Chip Kelly has that ability as last year Eagles’ quarterbacks averaged the 14th most fantasy points per game. If the preseason is any indication, Bradford should light up a Falcons’ secondary which allowed 16 fantasy points to QBs per game last year.
Tevin Coleman (RB – ATL)
On the other side if the field, Atlanta has decided to give the running back reins to Coleman. Both he and Devonta Freeman were hurt for a large part of the preseason, but Coleman rounded into form first and is the new big thing after the Falcons drafted him in May. April. The Falcons will need to keep up with the Eagles this week and they should be able to for the most part with their offense. Coleman will see opportunity for red zone scores along with plenty of work between the 20s as a runner and a receiver. Atlanta will likely focus on running the ball a healthy amount to keep their defense fresh against Philadelphia’s quick-moving offense. 20 touched and a touchdown can be had for Coleman on Sunday.
Doug Martin (RB – TB)
It’s amazing the motivation a contract year has on a player. Doug Martin looked rather dead the last two years, but has shown up this year looking like he’s back in the form that had him excel as a rookie. The backups in town don’t have the quality to challenge Martin for the job, so it’s his to lose. Tampa Bay’s ability to pass the ball with Jameis Winston and quality receivers makes life easier for Martin since defenses can’t stack the box. The Titans allowed the second most points per game to running backs last year that didn’t get better. Tennessee certainly doesn’t have the offense to pull away from the Buccaneers anytime soon. We’ll see plenty of Martin and the volume should lead to some nice numbers.
Allen Robinson (WR – JAX)
Robinson is poised to have a monster year. When someone has a profile comparable to Dez Bryant, it gets your attention right away. Robinson was targeted nine times a game last year before getting injured and saw plenty of targets this preseason. As Blake Bortles continues to look better, Robinson will elevate his game as well. The coaching staff said Robinson will be a focus in the red zone with Julius Thomas out, so that opens up more opportunities for him. This should be the beginning of a breakout campaign.
Eddie Royal (WR – DEN)
Royal put up very strong numbers as a rookie with Jay Cutler and has been reunited with his old signal-caller this year. The departure of Brandon Marshall makes Royal the #2 wide receiver in Chicago and their #1, Alshon Jeffrey, is already banged up. The Bears will be throwing as they try to keep up with the high-powered Green Bay offense, so there will be a lot of opportunity for Royal to succeed. If you’re looking for someone slightly off the radar this week, Royal is your guy.
Jordan Reed (TE – WSH)
This wasn’t looking to be a good season for Jordan Reed when training camp started because of the emergence of Niles Paul and Reed’s constant injury history. Then Paul got hurt and Reed found himself as the only healthy tight end who understands the offense. Kirk Cousins doesn’t have a strong arm, so Reed will become a primary option over the middle as the Redskins look to keep up with the high-tempo offense of the Dolphins. Reed has flashed promise when healthy and offers a low buy-in cost for season-long and DFS.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
I think Wilson will have a solid season this year, but the first week presents an opportunity to sit him on the sidelines if you have better options. Seattle should dispose of St. Louis easily as the Rams have a bad offensive line, injuries to their running backs, and a quarterback who has struggled with turnovers recently. As Seattle scores and pulls away, they’ll concentrate more on running the ball and not play high risk football with Wilson. Vegas has the game as one of the lowest over/unders of the week, so there won’t be too many points for Wilson to put up.
Alfred Morris (RB – WSH)
The decision to bench Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins doesn’t bode well for Morris. He ran for 4.84 yards per carry in RG3 starts, but only 3.59 when RG3 was not behind center. (h/t Rotoworld’s Evan Silva). That’s because Washington ran less read-option without RG3 and the read-option made things easier for Morris. The new coaching staff in Washington also drafted Matt Jones in the offseason and love the way he’s running. Jones will be the passing-back, so Morris could find himself more often than not if Miami gets out to an early lead.
Melvin Gordon (RB – SD)
There was initial shock when Ndamukong Suh left Detroit for Miami, but Detroit recovered pretty well when they signed Haloti Ngata to replace him. Other than finding defensive tackles with hard names to spell, Detroit was really good against the run last year. Suh’s loss will hurt, but Ngata is very able against the run himself. Gordon will run at that Lions’ defense behind a bad offensive line. He’ll also give up passing down work to Danny Woodhead, so his total touches might not reach 20. It’s a perilous situation and one worth avoiding if you have better options.
Torrey Smith (WR – SF)
The arm of Joe Flacco is something Smith will come to miss as he’s enjoying his larger paychecks. His new QB, Colin Kaepernick, just isn’t as good throwing the deep ball as Flacco is. It won’t help matters that Smith goes against Xavier Rhodes, an emerging cover corner. He’ll blanket Smith and when he won’t, Kaepernick likely won’t be good enough to make the throw. It’ll be a long day for Smith.
Sammy Watkins (WR – BUF)
The Bills’ offense is a work in progress with LeSean McCoy banged up and Tyrod Taylor starting at quarterback. That will mean a long day for Sammy Watkins as he goes up against Vontae Davis. The Colts could even shade coverage towards Watkins since the Percy Harvin hasn’t been a thing for some time now. Use the nice alternatives in Week 1 to look elsewhere.
Dwayne Allen (TE – IND)
There are plenty of options for Andrew Luck this year and most of them are on the outside. Dwyane Allen caught eight touchdowns last year, but only surpassed 50 yards in three games. The yardage will likely go down with the additions at wide receiver and depending on red zone touchdowns is too risky. Besides, can’t you see Luck feeding Andre Johnson with some red zone looks after how few he saw in recent years?