The Engel Eye: Week One Game Breakdowns and Lineup Tips
The King's Fantasy Game Capsules for Week One
Buffalo at Baltimore: LeSean McCoy is aiming for his third game in a row with a rushing TD vs. the Ravens, but the odds seem long here. Still, he should get enough volume to be an adequate PPR RB2. Kelvin Benjamin does have a bit of promise as a catch-up target. Alex Collins can post RB1 numbers as the run will again be the best way to attack the Buffalo defense. He had six rushing TDs in the final seven games of 2017. This game may not produce too many points as Buffalo’s secondary does deserve respect vs. a middling Baltimore WR crew. John Brown could be good for a score, though, and is a nifty DFS play if you are gutsy.
Start and Smile: Alex Collins
Watch and Worry: There may not be much statistical promise for Michael Crabtree this week.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: At time of publish, there were major weather concerns about this game. I saw reports of wind speeds speculating anywhere from 18 to 40 miles per hour plus rain. This could make both defenses worth streaming if you can add them Sunday morning. You will have to monitor reports leading up to game time. James Conner and Carlos Hyde can still be used as RB2 types. You never bench Antonio Brown in any conditions, as he could conceivably take a screen pass for a big play with defenders slipping and sliding. But everyone else in both passing games is an obvious big risk.
Start and Smile: Pittsburgh and Cleveland defenses
Watch and Worry: Ju-Ju Smith Schuster, Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry
Cincinnati at Indianapolis: Andy Dalton has six TD passes with no INTs in four career meetings with the Colts, and he is a widely popular play vs. what may be the AFC’s worst defense. A.J. Green could be the best Fantasy WR of the week and Tyler Eifert is a strong bet for a score. Joe Mixon should look like a RB1 this week and John Ross is worth the DFS tournament risk. Andrew Luck will live on quick hitters here and post adequate totals, as Jack Doyle is one of his best targets and could catch as many as eight balls.
Start and Smile: Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, Jack Doyle
Watch and Worry: Jordan Wilkins should get the start, but it’s a lost to ask of him to take pressure off Luck in his pro debut.
Tennessee at Miami: Marcus Mariota will have to be careful vs. a solid Miami secondary, but can attack with frequent strikes to Delanie Walker over the middle. Most notably, the Tennessee RBs are both viable RB2 plays vs. a weak Miami LB crew. Derrick Henry will Lynch the Fins LBs for a score or two, and some sizable gains. Dion Lewis will also make the most of his touches, especially as a pass-catcher. Ryan Tannehill has no promise vs. a tough Tennessee pass defense, and Kenny Stills may be curtailed from any big plays. Danny Amendola can deliver decent PPR totals and Kenyan Drake will see a lot of volume as a runner and receiver.
Start and Smile: Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, Delanie Walker, Titans defense
Watch and Worry: Kenny Stills. Corey Davis has yet to show he has developed a true connection with Mariota.
San Francisco at Minnesota: Where is Jimmy Garropolo going to go with the ball? Both Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon have tough draws vs, the Minnesota CBs. Alfred Morris will get volume, but may not finish with more than 60 rushing yards. It should be a big Stefon Diggs day, as Inside Injuries has indicated Adam Thielen could be playing through an undisclosed injury, and the Niners will do a pretty good job of preventing Kyle Rudolph from producing big numbers. Frisco is looking thin at LB, so there should be some excitement for Dalvin Cook owners in Week One.
Start and Smile: Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook
Watch and Worry: Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon.
Houston at New England: Deshaun Watson passed for 301 yards and two TDs when these teams met last year and he will be connecting with DeAndre Hopkins regularly in what could be a prolific AFC Championship Game early preview. Lamar Miller will be very busy as both a runner and receiver and should score at least once. Bruce Ellington is a DFS Flier with Will Fuller possibly out and is worth a waiver add now if Fuller continues to battle injuries. Tom Brady passed for 378 yards and five TDs last time he saw the Texans, but the defensive front is healthy and hungry this time around. He will work to James White often, and the NE RB could stack up a lot of touches this week. Rob Gronkowski has three TD catches in four career games vs. Houston. Screens and flat passes to White should work well, and there may be some of the same to Cordarelle Patterson, a super sneaky DFS play.
Start and Smile: Lamar Miller, James White
Watch and Worry: Will Fuller’s hamstring issues should make you consider an alternative option.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Running behind Peyton Barber seems to be Tampa Bay’s best option to keep the game close, as Mike Evans was held to six catches for 68 yards in two games vs, the Saints last year. Barber should get a heavy amount of touches but does not figure to post anything better than adequate numbers. Michael Thomas is one of the top plays of the week vs. a very vulnerable secondary, but it remains to be seen who else will emerge in the New Orleans passing game. Keep a watch on rookie Tre’Quan Smith.
Start and Smile: Drew Brees
Watch and Worry: Mike Evans
Jacksonville at New York Giants: Leonard Fournette will get his volume, but Giants NT Damon Harrison is a run-stopping force that could cap his statistical ceiling. We will have to see who steps forward at WR for Jacksonville, and Keenan Cole is a popular bet after averaging 17.8 yards per catch last season. But Bortles may take a liking to veteran Donte Moncrief, a good deep league play. Saquon Barkley may get a lot of work as a receiver. Don’t assume Odell Beckham Jr. gets locked down by Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars star CB may not travel with Beckham, who should still do some damage in the slot.
Start and Smile: Donte Moncrief
Watch and Worry: The Giants are always vulnerable to the TE, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins is coming off a core muscle problem, and Bortles may elect to work to other targets in mid-range passing situations.
Kansas City at San Diego: This could be a high-scoring affair, as Patrick Mahomes is going to have to gun it to keep up with Philip Rivers, who is one of the best QB plays of the week vs. a very shaky Chiefs secondary. Tyreek Hill is a big TD threat and Travis Kelce is looking to score for the third consecutive time vs. the Bolts. Kareem Hunt had 398 scrimmage yards and three TDs in two meetings vs, the Chargers last year. Melvin Gordon has scored in three consecutive games vs. K.C. and while Keenan Allen is an obvious play, Tyrell Williams is a sneaky one.
Start and Smile: Outside of the obvious, Tyrell Williams
Watch and Worry: The Chargers defense might allow more points than you might expect.
Washington at Arizona: Alex Smith is a decent play as he starts to discover his connection with Jamison Crowder. Jordan Reed has five TDs in his past six road games and is actually healthy to start the season. Not sensing an Adrian Peterson Revenge Game here as he was likely grateful to Arizona for acquiring him last year. Larry Fitzgerald is a top start who should flourish in the slot this week. Ricky Seals-Jones iis underrated coming into the season and could have a very good opener.
Start and Smile: Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Ricky Seals-Jones
Watch and Worry: Paul Richardson is not going to be as much of a presence in Washington as he was in Seattle, where he made his name on broken plays and 50/50 balls. He will see less of that from Smith.
Dallas at Carolina: Ezekiel Eliiott will start showing more involvement in the passing game, and Carolina is more vulnerable to him without Thomas Davis. Dak Prescott has won six of his past seven road starts with nine TD passes and two interceptions. Cole Beasley will be his favored target. He did catch 75 passes from Prescott two years ago. Christian McCaffery may see limited running room with Sean Lee healthy, but he will still be very effective as a pass-catcher. Greg Olsen should also be productive and may cut into the potential production of Devin Funchess.
Start and Smile: Greg Olsen
Watch and Worry: Devin Funchess
Seattle at Denver: Chris Carson may have trouble finding much running room this week, but Russell Wilson will still get his, because Doug Baldwin won’t get completely shut down, and Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown can be wild card playmakers. Brandon Marshall would like to score against his original team. Keep an eye on him and Brown as possible waiver adds going forward. Case Keenum should have a good outing, working mainly to Emmanuel Sanders, and rookie Courtland Sutton is a sleeper threat on the outside vs, inexperienced CB Tre Flowers. Royce Freeman will find the Seattle front still solid, but should finish a scoring drive with a TD.
Start and Smile: Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton
Watch and Worry: Chris Carson. Also, it’s not a good sign for Seattle this year that Brandon Marshall’s teams have never made the postseason in his career.
Chicago at Green Bay: This will be all about the RBs and TEs for the Bears. Jordan Howard will try to be the key to ball control and keeping pressure off Mitch Trubisky, and Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton will take advantage of the Green Bay LBs in coverage. Cohen is also a factor if the Bears have to play catch-up. I am not expecting too much from Jamaal Williams on a pass-first offense vs. a very good Chicago defense, and with Jimmy Graham as a prime threat near the goal line.
Start and Smile: Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton
Watch and Worry: Jamaal Williams
New York Jets at Detroit: Bilal Powell is a solid start as he gets a lot of work as both a runner and receiver. Sam Darnold will do a good job of taking what the defense gives him and Quincy Enunwa may be a favored target. Robby Anderson is a boom-or-bust play, as there is hope for him if the Jets move him around to avoid Dre Bly. Matthew Stafford should be good for at least two TD passes, and Golden Tate is going to roll up big numbers from the slot. Kenny Golladay will score even if his yardage is limited.
Start and Smile: Bilal Powell, Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate
Watch and Worry: Anderson has a ceiling, but no floor this week.
Raiders at Rams: New Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson was the Rams QB coach and could help the Raiders find some strategic advantages here. If Marshawn Lynch’s groin proves not to be an issue in pregame warmups, he should be in for a solid outing, and you cannot assume Amari Cooper will be silent even though the Rams CBs present an obviously daunting matchup. Cooper Kupp is going to shine brightly in this matchup and Brandin Cooks caught six passes for 149 yards and a TD vs. the Raiders last year.
Start and Smile: Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks
Watch and Worry: Jordy Nelson
Cooper Kupp Featured Image: (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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