Instead of the traditional fantasy football start ’em sit ’em Week 1 list, I’m going to focus on recent changes on NFL teams and players’ stocks. Don’ worry, for future start ’em sit ’em lists, I will be coming out with more in-depth lists.
With the 2015 fantasy football season approaching, you should have your starters on your fantasy team set already. Your starters should be the players you drafted first at each position, but we all know injuries happen, a suspension might occur or a player you selected didn’t live up to preseason expectations and was demoted to the bench. So, you’re left to scramble to find a replacement for that all-so-pivotal Week 1 matchup.
A fast start to your fantasy season increases your odds of making the playoffs, so your Week 1 matchup is a difference maker. What I will do this week is highlight some guys that I think you can plug into your starting lineup for guys that have taken a potential hit when you drafted them. Let’s begin. . .
2015 Fantasy Football Preview for Week 1
When you drafted Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton you were probably thinking you got a steal with one of your middle round picks, then wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin went down and so did your fantasy aspirations. Fear not though! A good replacement for Cam this week and going forward is Sam Bradford. He has a good matchup this week against the Atlanta Falcons who last year were ranked dead last in passing yards allowed/game. The Falcons really did nothing to address their weak secondary in the offseason and I foresee coach Chip Kelly trying to prove all the naysayers that Bradford can lead this team.
Another intriguing play this week is Eli Manning, who will square off against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium Sunday night. In 10 career games at AT&T Stadium, he has averaged 283 yards a contest and has thrown for 300 yards in half of those games. In his last four contests against the Cowboys he has thrown for 400 yards twice to go along with nine touchdowns. He should keep the productivity up and reward fantasy owners with a top 10 finish for the week.
If you’re in a deep league or a dual-QB league, Tyrod Taylor makes for a sneaky start this week. The Bills face the Colts in Buffalo in a game where Taylor is likely to throw the ball a bit in the fourth quarter to catch up to the Colts. His rushing stats should be a nice bonus for your fantasy matchup this week as well.
You already knew when drafting Le’Veon Bell that he would miss the first two weeks of the season, but you probably didn’t know who to start in his place. Well, I got a name that has flown up the fantasy charts this preseason who should start in his place Week 1: Doug Martin. That’s right, Martin has looked really good all preseason and that chatter that OC Dirk Koetter preached about Martin in the offseason might actually start to hold some water. Against a Tennessee Titans team that allowed the third most rushing touchdowns (17) last season, I’ll take a chance that the Muscle Hamster makes a return and hits pay dirt, breaking the century mark.
A guy that I have drafted in multiple leagues and am high on is Chris Ivory. He has no one to take carries away from him, the new coaching staff loves him and he’s facing the Cleveland Browns who gave up 141 rushing yards/game last season. Need I say more?
If you’re looking for a nice matchup to take advantage of this week, it’s starting Jonathan Stewart, who finally has the backfield all to his self. He’ll look to take advantage of the sixth worst run defense last season in the Jaguars, who made no significant upgrades on that side of the ball.
A lot of fantasy teams’ seasons came to an end when word got out that Jordy Nelson tore his ACL; just ask the guy who drafted Jordy in our Fantasy Couch league. But fear not as some of the guys I’m about to mention may not have been drafted yet, which means you still have time to have them join your lineup. I’m loving me some Eddie Royal right now with the uncertainty surrounding number one wide receiver Alshon Jeffery’s strained calf injury. Royal has an already established rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler from their days with the Broncos. If you have him in a PPR league you may like your return on investment this weekend.
What happens when you’re playing with the best quarterback you have played with in your entire career, the team’s starting tight end gets suspended for four games, and the backup tight end that was set to replace the suspended starting tight end has a concussion? You have Stevie Johnson being fantasy relevant again. Jarvis Landry looks to get off to a fast start against a woeful Washington defense that allowed the most passing touchdowns last year. If you’re in a 14-man league and want to take a flier on someone, why not the guy that just returned to his former team, James Jones. He is a few years removed from leading the league in touchdown receptions and faces a Bears defense that last year were ranked 30th against the pass.
Due to a torn tendon in his finger, Jacksonville Jaguar Julius Thomas will miss approximately 3-4 weeks. I’ll give you some players that are sneaky plays this week. I see Kyle Rudolph making a splash for this upcoming Monday Night Football game. The 49er defense was decimated with key losses at linebacker (Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Chris Borland) and none of the replacements will be able to keep up with this pass catcher. Sunday night’s game looks to have some appeal for Larry Donnell and Jason Witten owners as the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys. This game will feature some of the worst secondaries in the league last year. Revenge might be in order when Denver Broncos tight end Owen Daniels faces off against his former Baltimore team. Former Raven offensive coordinator and now head coach of the Broncos, Gary Kubiak, will come up with some plays to get Daniels in the end zone and stick it to their former organization.
Stay tuned to Fantasy Couch, as we will continue to come out with our weekly waiver wire pickups and the weekly start ’em sit ’em so you crush your competition and win your league.