latavius-murray

Football is back, and better than ever. After an offseason that felt like it lasted forever, we finally get to sit back, relax and enjoy some games that count. It seems like ages ago Cam Newton left his press conference. But here we are. For me, it means benching the wrong player at 12:59 pm. But (hopefully) you will not make any wrong decisions this year en route to that coveted fantasy title. It’s time to forget about 2015, and focus on the year ahead.

Although the mentality of Week 1 of the NFL Season in a fantasy sense means to just start the players that we drafted in order, this might not always be the case with a lot of fantasy teams. Especially for the owners that drafted Jamaal Charles in the 2nd-round. Players like Jameis Winston, Blake Bortles, Jeremy Hill, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Mike Evans, and even Jarvis Landry all have either bad or less-than-ideal matchups to kick off the NFL season. I always advocate the strategy of “never bench your studs”, however, if we can definitely upgrade at a position to maximize the upside in our starting lineup, we should go for it. Simply put, Week 1 isn’t a guarantee.

Many teams enter Sunday with high hopes for the 2016 season. But one team in particular is looking to have a season like no other in the past few years. The Oakland Raiders enter the year with great young talent, veteran leadership where it matters the most, and to capitalize on a weakened division with play from their high-powered offense.

And their running back is at the forefront of it all. So let’s get to it…
 

Start of the Week: Latavius Murray, HB, Raiders

Latavius Murray has always been solid, but not great. That has defined his career entering his 3rd year in the NFL. But now with a new standout rookie in DeAndre Washington waiting in the wings, his future as a lead back in Oakland has never been more foggy. After an up-and-down 2015 season, Murray will look to get off on the right foot to start the year. And boy, does he get a great first opportunity.

Murray gets the pleasure to open up the year at the New Orleans Saints. Last year, New Orleans finishing 2nd-worst in terms of total points allowed to HB’s, giving up an average of 29.65 pts/game, also giving up an average of 115.3 yards per game, while also finishing as the worst team defense according to Football Outsiders. Granted, most of the year the defense played under Rob Ryan, quite possibly one of the worst DC’s in the game, so how does the Saints D stack up in 2016? Well, not so good. They failed to make any significant additions in the secondary (although they did get rid of Brandon Browner, which counts for something), focusing more on the offensive side of things. Even their 12th-overall pick, Sheldon Rankins, hadsurgery with a broken fibula, and could be out for a majority of the season.

Meanwhile, the Raiders have quite possibly the 2nd-best offensive line in all of football, led by Donald Penn and newly-acquired FA Kelechi Osemele. Obviously, this bodes very well for Murray. While most people will only get excited about Derek Carr and Cooper/Crabtree in this game (and for good reason too, I think Carr is more than a fine option), Murray could benefit the most. Many see this game as a shootout, with Carr and Brees competing to see who can throw the most TD’s, but I see it differently, as a blowout by the Raiders. The Saints defense will be beat early and often, but I don’t see the same fate for the Raiders. They’ll dictate the game when it gets out of hand (quite possibly in the 3rd quarter), which means many opportunities of rushing for Latavius Murray as the Raiders will turn to chewing up clock when it gets out of hand. Fire up Murray with the most confidence you could have, sit back, and enjoy the show.

*Note* – I will be more than happy to answer specific lineup questions below, but I won’t be selecting the “obvious” plays unless I don’t think they are so obvious. Regardless of a great matchup, you won’t see names like Aaron Rodgers, Todd Gurley, Antonio Brown or Rob Gronkowski. Those are no-brainers. Fire ’em up with confidence. 
 

Quarterbacks

Start ‘Em:

Derek Carr (@ NO) – Like I mentioned with Murray above, Carr is an excellent start at QB. If Carr is available in your league, he makes a very solid play for the Brady owners (especially after Week 1) who are looking for production for the first 4 weeks. Last year on average, the Saints secondary gave up 297.2 yards per game and 2.8 TD’s per game. They gave up on average close to 3 TD’s! This game brings the feeling of a shootout (Vegas has placed a 50.5 O/U total on the game, always something to keep in mind), and Carr should have no issues attacking the Saints secondary with Cooper or Crabtree. Even Clive Walford should get his licks in.

Kirk Cousins (vs. PIT) – Cousins comes into today with a very loaded WR corps. At his disposal, he’ll have Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, rookie Josh Doctson (if he is a go for Monday Night), Jamison Crowder, whatever Vernon Davis can contribute, and Chris Thompson out of the backfield. Considering how good his weapons look this year, he won’t have to do much to improve on his breakout season a year ago. The Pittsburgh D has slowly started to improve, but they are not anywhere they need to be after a 2015 season in which they finished the 7th-worst D/ST against QB’s, giving up an average of 291.5 and 1.8 TD’s per game.

Matthew Stafford (@ IND) – I have said this time and time again, and I’ll say it some more. The Detroit Lions offense could be one of the most efficient this year under OC Jim Bob Cooter. I am more than excited about Stafford’s weapons, especially the likes of Marvin Jones, or even Anquan Boldin (has one of the surest hands in the league). With a running game that is less than ideal led by Ameer Abdullah, Stafford could find himself throwing the ball a lot more than what is expected of him. Which isn’t a bad thing, considering that he had one of the best statistical showings in all of football last year when Cooter took over. Regardless of his specific production, Stafford will face a Colts D without Vontae Davis, a team that with him, gave up an average of 272.8 yards per game while also allowing close to 24 fpts per game last year. On the year, Stafford is easily one of my top QB’s, and he gets a great first start.

SLEEPER: Brock Osweiler (@ CHI) – Let’s face facts. Osweiler is a risky play Week 1, but once you look deeper, he’s a very fine option. I understand that the Texans will play football like any team should, by running the ball, controlling the tempo and game clock, and relying on defense. But I think HC Bill O’Brien is a very smart man, and I think he’ll realize that the way to beat Chicago is through the air. last year, the Bears gave up an average of 240 yards per game to QB’s, while also giving up an average of 23 fpts per game, while finishing as the 10th-worst D against opposing QB’s. But that’s not all. Not only have the Bears placed OLB Pernell McPhee on the PUP list to start the year, they are in danger of missing 3 of their starting defensive backs for Week 1. 3!!!! With a loaded WR corps that includes Hopkins, standout rookie Will Fuller, and Jaelen Strong, Osweiler could be the perfect streamer this week in deeper leagues for those who have starting QB’s with very tough Week 1 opponents.

Sit ‘Em:

Jameis Winston (@ ATL) – While others might disagree, I see the Bucs attacking Atlanta on the ground, not through the air, capping Winston’s upside Sunday (the only way he could generate production for fantasy is if he used his legs, which isn’t out of the ordinary). The Bucs will certainly not have any issues attacking a D that gave up an average of 90.1 yards and 1.0 TD’s per game to HB’s with Doug Martin and Charles Sims at their disposal. With Desmond Trufant returning, Winston may find himself in trouble Sunday against a secondary that last year ranked 26th-worst against the pass, or in this case, the 7th-best. He’s lost weight, built a repertoire with Mike Evans, and has a really nice 2nd-half SOS, but for Week 1, I would find someone else.

Blake Bortles (vs. GB) – Like always, the only thing going for Bortles Sunday is the fact that if the Packers get out to a cushioned lead, the Jags will abandon the run and force Bortles to throw the ball. However, the Packers defense ranked the 5th-best against the pass last year, only giving up an average of 19 fpts per game. Bortles should have his hands full with a secondary that boasts Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Sam Shields. The Jaguars as a team are looking like a dark horse pick for getting into the Playoffs, but they don’t get a nice start Sunday in Lambeau.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ CIN) – Simply put, Fitzpatrick has the weapons, but this is a Bengals D that finished only behind Denver and Seattle as the best against QB’s in 2015, and there are plenty of other options to attack Sunday.

Philip Rivers (vs. KC) – Like Fitzpatrick, Rivers definitely has the weapons, and there is no doubt in my mind that his upside in 2016 is a Top-10 QB, mostly thanks in part to returning OC Ken Wisenhunt, but there are better options on Sunday than Rivers. This is a Chiefs D that not only ranked as the 2nd overall team defense last year according to Football Outsiders, but also the 5th-best defense against the pass. I understand if you are optimistic because Justin Houston will likely be out, but Rivers has struggled against Kansas City in his career, as in the last 3 games, he has failed to throw a single TD, and in 9 of his past 11 games against the Chiefs he has failed to reach the 20 fantasy point mark.
 

Running Backs

Start ‘Em:

LeSean McCoy (@ BAL) – Simply put, McCoy is a bellcow, and he might be the only true bellcow that is left in the NFL. Sure, there are those that dominated their teams’ carries, but McCoy is the only option for the Bills with what has happened over the offseason. As much as Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins are getting their respective love across the fantasy industry, HC Rex Ryan and OC Greg Roman have always had the old-school philosophy (one that I love) of ground-and-pound football. Running the ball as much as they can, dictating the tempo of the game, and relying on a stout defense. McCoy could easily finish as a Top-10 back, especially as word has surfaced that he wasn’t truly healthy last year. Reports have surfaced that McCoy could easily finish between 20-25 touches this Sunday against the Ravens, and we should expect the old LeSean McCoy when he takes the field.

Thomas Rawls (vs. MIA) – (At this point in time, I don’t know if Rawls is starting. If he is, start him. If he isn’t, I would try to fit Christine Michael in at either the FLEX or another way.) Rawls has had a very interesting offseason. He looked like he might start off the year on the PUP or IR. At a point in time, Christine Michael, C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins have looked like they were going to start over him, and now it seems like Rawls is on the right track to start Week 1, or at least in my mind. I don’t care how many times Pete Carroll tries to motivate Thomas Rawls speak up Christine Michael, it isn’t going to change my opinion of Rawls, which is a HB that finished 1st in the entire NFL in DYAR and 2nd in DVOA according to Football Outsiders (long story short, he’s really good). Rawls will get a great first chance to define his year against the Dolphins, who ranked 20th in the NFL against the rush last year according to Football Outsiders, giving up an average of close to 30 points per game. I don’t have Rawls on any of my teams, but if I did, I would start him.

Rashad Jennings (@ DAL) – No more are the days of the Giants constantly rotating their RB’s with no clear #1 option, giving fantasy owners headaches for days. Rashad Jennings is now the true RB1 behind uncertainties like Paul Perkins, Andre Williams, and Orleans Darkwa. Jennings comes into Sunday against a Dallas D that finished as the 5th-worst defense against the rush last year, giving up an average of 102.4 yards and 0.9 TD’s per game, while also finishing as the 3rd-worst team defense against the run according to Football Outsiders. Jennings has also had much success against the ‘Boys, as in the last 3 times he has played against them, he has had at least 13 rushes, and has never finished below 10 FP per game.

SLEEPER: Spencer Ware (vs. SD) – Although I wouldn’t necessarily say that he should be a RB1 or RB2 over your studs that are facing difficult matchups, however I would not hesitate to put him in your FLEX spot. Jamaal Charles has been limited in practice all week, the coaching staff is not confident that he’ll play in Week 1 at all, and Ware is deemed to handle the rushing workload after a great preseason, not Charcandrick West. Ware gets a great first start to his 2016 campaign against a Chargers D that gave up an average of 104.5 yards, 0.8 TD’s, and 26.31 fpts per game last year, and should have their hands full all day against Ware.

Sit ‘Em:

Jay Ajayi/Arian Foster (@ SEA)*UPDATE* – According to reports, Ajayi has not traveled with Miami, and will not play Sunday  My outlook on Ajayi and Foster is not that high. Personally, I did not want anything to do with the Miami backfield during the offseason into drafts, and if I had one of the two, I would definitely stay away from them Week 1 as the Dolphins travel to Seattle. Why am I so low on Foster and Ajayi? Well, aside from the fact that this is the organization that completely wasted Lamar Miller, the new coaching regime under Adam Gase is looking like a more pass-oriented team that features the X receiver in their offense. Foster has looked average at best during the preseason, with Ajayi looking much of the same. The Dolphins will likely be down, and possibly early, forcing Gase to abandon the run, especially with C Mike Pouncey out as well. Even if they want to establish the run game, they’ll do so against a team that gave up 65 yards per game last year.

Jeremy Hill (@ NYJ) – The Jets defensive front boasts Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams. Apart from the nightmare of a matchup, the Bengals offensive outlook as a whole is very foggy under a new OC and without Tyler Eifert to begin the year, along with the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. There are plenty of other options apart from Hill.

Carlos Hyde (@ LA) – He’s currently battling concussions, so there is a very likely chance that he will not get the go against L.A.. Even if he does, it won’t be a good matchup at all, as not only did the Rams finish as the 7th-best D against the run last year according to Football Outsiders, they only gave up an average of 96 yards per game and 0.4 TD’s. Hyde has struggled greatly against the Rams in his career, only averaging 2.9 fpts per game last year against them. There are plenty of better options instead of Hyde, even if he’ll be a featured back in a Chip Kelly offense.
 

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em:

DeSean Jackson (vs. PIT) – DeSean Jackson is not the sexiest of names, but he certainly gets quite possibly the sexiest matchups in all of Week 1. The Steelers D is slowly starting to build under DC Keith Butler, however it remains to be seen that the Steelers secondary has made any strives towards improving. Last year, according to Football Outsiders, the Steelers secondary ranked 13th in the NFL against the pass, however, they still gave up an average of 193.8 yards and 1.2 TD’s per game to the WR position. This game is setting up to be a shootout, as Vegas has placed a total O/U of 50.5 on the game, with two prolific offenses facing off against each other with sub-par defenses behind them. I believe Kirk Cousins will have a very nice game, and aside from Jordan Reed, Jackson is at the forefront of it all.

Sammy Watkins (@ BAL) – I did mention Greg Roman and Rex Ryan’s tendencies as play-callers and coaches in why I think McCoy is a great play Sunday against the Ravens. However, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I left out the fact that Watkins will not only be a target hound for the Bills with only Robert Woods, Dezmin Lewis, and Charles Clay behind him, he’ll be facing a Ravens secondary that ranked 25th in the NFL against the pass last year according to Football Outsiders, giving up an average of 165.4 yards and 1.6 TD’s per game. Aside from FS Eric Weddle, the Ravens failed to improve their secondary over the offseason, electing to stick with the inconsistent Kyle Arrington and Jimmy Smith, who gave up a career-high 6 TD’s in 2015. Watkins is a favorite of one of my colleagues, Tehol Beddict, so I’d be remiss not to throw in a “TAKE HEED!” for a great option Sunday.

Marvin Jones (@ IND) – Words cannot describe how much I love Marvin Jones this year. Over the offseason, the Lions brought in Marvin Jones from Cincinnati, who, when healthy, is a very reliable target, playing 85% of total snaps last year, and finishing out his campaign with 65/814/4, averaging close to 6.5 targets per game with a 63% catch rate and with 12.5 YPC. Reports in training camp have pointed to Jones as the WR1 in the very effecient Jim Bob Cooter offense. Jones will get a great first start to 2016 against and Indianapolis secondary (ranked 12th last year according to Football Outsiders) that will not be with Vontae Davis. I am definitely starting him with all the confidence in the world in my teams, and I suggest you should too.

SLEEPER: Tavon Austin (vs. SF) – Back in late July, I wrote up Tavon Austin as a sleeper, and I still like his outlook in 2016 now in early September. Not only did the Rams pay him over the offseason, HC Jeff Fisher loves him some Tavon Austin, where not only has he stated that he believes he can get Austin to 100 catches, but some reports, led by beat writer Myles Simmons, suggest that the entire offense has been redesigned to get Austin more looks and more touches of said football. 100 catches may be unrealistic, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Austin is getting praise, and the Coaching Staff wants to get him as involved as possible. He’ll get a great first start against a weak SF Secondary that ranked 30th against the pass, giving up an average of 179.4 yards and 0.8 TD’s per game.

Sit ‘Em:

Jarvis Landry (@ SEA) – It’s never easy playing against the Leigon of Boom, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier playing in Seattle. He garners some PPR interest if DeVante Parker doesn’t play (hasn’t been officially ruled out, but hasn’t practiced all week), but I would only use him if you absolutely can not do without him.

Julian Edelman (@ ARI) – Simply put, no Pats players instill confidence in me against a very tough Arizona Cardinals defense with Jimmy G taking the helm, especially if Gronk won’t play. I want to like Edelman, but I can’t trust him against a secondary that will have Tyrann Mathieu and ranked 6th in the NFL against the opposing #1 WR, according to Pro Football Focus.

Mike Evans (vs. ATL) – Like I mentioned with Jameis above, I see the Bucs attacking Atlanta on the ground, not through the air, capping Evans’ upside Sunday. With Desmond Trufant returning (who should be on Evans most of the day), Evans may find himself in trouble Sunday against a secondary that last year that only finished behind Denver in fantasy points allowed to WR’s. In a lot of cases, owners may not be able to bench him due to the fact that he is many’s WR1 on the year, but I wouldn’t expect much from Evans come Sunday.
 

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em:

Coby Fleener (vs. OAK) – It has yet to be seen if Fleener will live up to his hype in 2016 after signing his 5-year $36 million contract over the offseason, and looking mediocre in the preseason. There has been worries that he won’t adjust well to the Saints offensive schemes, but he has the backing of the Coaching Staff, and most importantly, Drew Brees has spoken highly of the 27-year old. Speaking of age, if Ben Watson can put up career numbers in the same Saints offense at the age of 35, I don’t have any doubt Fleener will be very efficient. He comes into Sunday against a Raiders team that has certainly improved, but has looked iffy against TE’s in the past, giving up an average of 15.33 points per game. At this point, you can’t be afraid to start Fleener with worries that he won’t fit in well. Don’t make that mistake.

Dwyane Allen (vs. DET) – Allen should have a nice year in 2016, and he gets a great first start against the Lions. Allen is set to receive a very nice workload without former teammate Coby Fleener competing for workload in 2 TE-sets. Allen has a very nice floor for 2016, but his upside has yet to be determined. Regardless, he shouldn’t have cost you much in drafts to begin with, and he’ll kick off the year against a Lions defense that ranks as the 7th-worst against TE’s, giving up an average of 5/53/0.8 per game last year.

SLEEPER: Jason Witten (vs. NYG) – The old saying that rookie Quarterbacks rely on their TE’s has been proven time after time. And the future HOF Witten has been one of the most consistent TE’s in the NFL for a good while. It also helps that the Giants gave up the 2nd-most points to the TE position in 2015. Witten has also had a nice history against the G-Men, as in 2015 as a whole he only scored 3 TD’s, with two of those coming against the Giants last year.

Sit ‘Em:

Antonio Gates (vs. KC) – As much as I like Gates for the 2016 as a whole, you just cannot play him against the Chiefs. He’ll be facing a very good defense that only gave up an average of 9.1 fpts/game last year, best in the NFL.

Zach Ertz (vs. CLE) – Like Witten, there is always the fact that rookie QB’s rely on their TE, but unlike Prescott, Carson Wentz has not looked nearly as good over the offseason and preseason. Plus, not only has Ertz struggled to see the endzone his entire career (something that is vital for most fantasy TE’s), the Eagles will be facing an underrated D that ranked as the 6th-best against TE’s last year, giving up an average of 38 yards per game.
 

Kickers

Start ‘Em:

Dan Bailey (vs. NYG) – Although I mentioned Dak Prescott as a nice sleeper or streaming option Sunday against the Giants, there is a realistic chance that he could struggle. If it gets to a point where Ezekiel Elliot can only lead them so far, I see Bailey having to be called on in capping off drives with multiple FG’s to his name.

Sit ‘Em:

Steven Hauschka (vs. MIA) – Make no mistake, Hauschka is a very fine kicker. But this game is shaping up to be one where the only production Hauschka gets is a few XP’s to his name. I highly doubt the Seattle offense will have any issues capitalizing on drives Sunday.
 

Defense and Special Team’s

Start ‘Em:

Minnesota Vikings (@ TEN) – The Vikings D/ST might be my favorite team defense to have this year. The Vikings offense might not do them any favors against an underrated Titans D, but it won’t matter. With unproven weapons for Mariota on the Tennessee offense (besides Delaine Walker), and a stout rush defense led by Brian Robinson and Sharrif Floyd, Minnesota should have no issues containing DeMarco and Derrick Henry. Plus, there is always a chance Corderrelle Patterson takes a kickoff or punt return to the house.

Sit ‘Em:

New England Patriots (@ ARI) – It might be a long evening for the Patriots D Sunday Night against the Cardinals. Not only will they be without Ninkovich for the evening and the first four games (good news for David Johnson), the secondary will have to deal with Floyd. Brown, Fitzgerald and even the speedy J.J. Nelson. The Pats D will get plenty of juicy matchups throughout the year, but this will not be one of them.

 

Thanks for sticking around to the end for what is shaping up to be a great first week of the NFL season. As always, if you agree or disagree with a player above, or have a general question or comment about your team, please do not hesitate to leave one below.

Best of luck, and I’ll talk to you guys next week as we try to get your team to 2-0 on the season.

 

 

You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.

  1. The Chain Gang says:
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    Great stuff Zachariah, thanks for the between the lines kind of info. One quickie….are you bearish enough on Evans to start Will Fuller ahead of him? Or just expect 3-5 points and be happy with it.

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @The Chain Gang: Thanks man!

      I probably should have listed Evans as a BEWARE-type option, instead of a full sit. Fuller is definitely a nice sleeper option, or a “what the heck” FLEX as Sigmund Bloom calls it, but I don’t think you should bench Evans. Just keep expectations low.

  2. Adam says:
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    Mike Evans or Marvin jones this week?
    Christine Michael or demarco Murray this week ?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Adam: Like I mentioned above, I don’t think you should bench Evans. However, Jones has a fantastic matchup this week, and I would try to find a way to work him in.

      As much as other people would tell you Michael due to possible volume in a nice matchup, I prefer Murray. He’ll be a lock for 20-25 touches probably each week, as that’s how Malarkey plays football. Pound the ball, beat you up physically, and rely on the Defense. Murray will have a great year, even if his Week 1 matchup is less than ideal.

  3. Adam says:
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    Thanks
    I am starting deangelo Williams and Demarco Murray at Rb
    Spencer ware at flex ( over C Michael and Marvin jones)… Tough choice here
    Wr. Antonio brown and mike Evans
    QB Russell Wilson
    TE. Reed
    Dst Panthers
    K haushka

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Adam: Yeah, those are all the right decisions. Got a nice squad for yourself…

  4. PEDs3 says:
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    Rashad Jennings, Jordan Matthews, or Willie Snead for my flex? 0.5 point PPR

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @PEDs3: Rashad Jennings by far. Snead may eventually carve out a nice role for himself in that offense, but we need to see it happen first.

  5. Only played fantasy football one year says:
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    Good stuff.

    Auction keeper league with standard scoring and slightly deeper benches. I amassed a lot of depth guys and upside plays who all seem sort of interchangeable. Was hoping to wait a week or two to see how things shake out. Unfortunately, with Gronk not playing, I need to drop someone to pick up Walford. Who?

    Rivers $6
    Bortles $3
    Matt Jones $17
    Christine Michael $3
    Charles Sims $1
    Danny Woodhead $3
    Tavon Austin $1
    Larry Fitzgerald $5
    Corey Coleman $4

    The rest of my team is:
    L. Bell $9
    DeAngelo Williams $4
    Gronk $29
    Antonio Brown $30
    Golden Tate $17
    NE Kicker $3
    Carolina DST $3

    Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

      • Zach

        Zach says:
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        @Only played fantasy football one year: Although he has some upside this year, I would drop Rivers. Your team is really deep, and with no one being worth dropping, you can roll with Bortles until his bye week to add a replacement. Bortles is a more than fine QB1

        • Zach

          Zach says:
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          @Zach: I completely did not see Corey Coleman. That’s my bad. I would drop Coleman to pick up Walford.

  6. G says:
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    I have Landry as my WR3, with options for woodhead, Riddick, Simms, and Austin for my Flex. Would you keep Landry in the WR3 slot despite being on your sit em, and replace him with Austin. Who would you put as my flex. I guess the short question is who should I start in my WR3 and Flex position. Thanks

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @G: I would only start Woodhead, and then Sims in your FLEX in a PPR league. Aside from the fact that Landry will see a lot of Sherman, resulting in not many passes thrown his way, I would still prefer him over Theo Riddick.

      I’m torn on Landry versus Austin in PPR with having Woodhead and then Sims as FLEX plays. Do with what makes you comfortable; it’s a toss-up.

      However, if you are in a Standard league, I would roll with Landry and Tavon Austin, I don’t think Sims or Woodhead are options in Standard Leagues this week.

  7. Jay

    Jay says:
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    You need a new avatar. I throw up in my mouth a little whenever I see it.

    • William Hung says:
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      @Jay: I agree – perhaps #manningface or #coughlinface

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Jay: I am 75% sure you’re not even a Padres fan.

      Or at least not anymore…

  8. Richie says:
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    In regards to Arian Foster, it doesn’t matter if the Dolphins abandon the run. Arian is a very good pass catching RB and always gets a good chunk of yardage in the passing game. Plus, Ajayi is a healthy scratch so Arian is going to get very heavy usage. He doesn’t have to be terribly efficient, he just needs to get a little lucky to pay off with a guaranteed workload like that.

    • William Hung says:
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      @Richie: i wish i refreshed my browser to see this instead of posting the same exact thing 5 mins. later

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Richie: That’s a fair analysis.

  9. Toby says:
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    I have Forte starting at RB2 and Ware at Flex. Would you swap either for Christine Michael who is currently on my bench? Help!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Toby: I would keep it at Ware and Forte. Michael draws a nice matchup, however Forte should catch a lot of the balls out of the backfield and even lining up as a receiver. Meanwhile, Ware is as a must as anyone could be Sunday.

  10. William Hung says:
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    I’ve been debating between Foster and Matt Jones all week – but I think with Ajayi chilling at home, Foster should have decent value in .5 PPR leagues in W1. There’s nobody backing him up and the volume will be there until his legs fall off.

    I’m in a more tenuous position with both Bortles and Allen Robinson – unfortunately i have nobody else other than Bortles – I might be regretting choosing Bortles over Stafford tomorrow

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @William Hung: Do what makes you feel comfortable and confident with your starting lineup, but I would prefer Stafford any day of the week and I would want you too, but it’s your team.

      I think Jones is a better play just due to matchup and sheer volume, but he’s only a FLEX play at the most. But I understand your reasoning behind it.

  11. TTRA1N says:
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    PPR Flex. M.Floyd, R.Jennings, or C.Mike?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @TTRA1N: Rashad Jennings without a doubt

  12. Johnny Wishbone says:
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    Moncrief, MJones, Jeffrey – which two?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Johnny Wishbone: Alshon and you don’t think twice about it. Top-10 WR this week.

      • Johnny Wishbone says:
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        @Zach: Thx. But Jones or Moncrief? Seems close

        • Zach

          Zach says:
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          @Johnny Wishbone: I would take Marvin and feel really confident in doing so.

  13. Jerry says:
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    Hey, Zach! Michael Floyd or Landry in a full point ppr league? Also, Ware or Jennings full point ppr? Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Jerry: ‘Sup Jerry!

      Belichick has a habit of shutting down a team’s #1 WR. The reason why I would prefer Landry is because he’s the only option aside from Kenny Stills, as it’s looking like DeVante Parker won’t play. Meanwhile, if Floyd is shut down, Palmer will have no issues going to John Brown, Fitz, or even J.J. Nelson once in a while.

      Ware and Jennings are both fantastic options, but Ware’s situation is the most favorable without Jamaal Charles in a run-heavy offense against a very weak Chargers Rush D.

      Good luck this week!

      • Jerry says:
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        @Zach: Thanks for the help, Zach! I also have DeMarco too. Would you still go Ware over him?

        • Zach

          Zach says:
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          @Jerry: No problem, thanks for the comment!

          It’s close, but I would have DeMarco is this situation. And I am a DeMarco owner, and I’m feeling really confident about this matchup and situation he’s in…

  14. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    don’t start gronk, it became obvious likely after you wrote above.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: i wouldn’t trust much of anything fisher says, he’s been saying austin “will be made sure to get targets and use in the offense” many many times over last 3 or so years. UNLESS the owner made sure to not get austin much work during those years personally in order to make sure Rams would leave STL (he’s pretty much a fruit-male version of the owner from Major League, but she was at least attractive); he did many other things to tank them last few years, both team-personel wise and PR-wise.

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Zach: it is entirely possible that now that the Rams moved to where owner wanted them to he no longer tanks on purpose and does actually use austin (in like his 4th year?)

          • Zach

            Zach says:
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            @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: I disagree with the fact that they only used him like they did in STL, not to win games or try to make the playoffs, but to secure a new location for the team. Especially when they just signed him to a new contract over this offseason.

            • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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              @Zach: those 2 things aren’t contradictory at all, in fact they go quite well together:
              1. owner wants to tank and certainly wants team moved (there is clear evidence of this that doesn’t involve austin at all), which could include not using austin most of his career before now.

              2. now that they did move austin gets good contract. i’m sure owner wants to win now. not so much the last 8 or so years. he’s VERY good and running teams in multiple sports into the ground too, see COL in NHL, Nuggets in NBA.
              it was THIS offseason, right, with the contract, as you said, not like it was LAST offseason.
              he was used much more last year than previous years as well (but he was almost NEVER used in previous years to 2015)

              • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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                @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: i certainly do applaud you for using good info sites like outsiders (and that you quote it). other writers round here last year used some spurious stuff that wasn’t adjusted based on strength of schedule etc.

  15. Wacha wacha says:
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    Which 1 qb and 1 RB should I sit this week in my 2 qb league?
    QBs Mariota, Winston, M Ryan
    RB L Murray, L McCoy, D williams

    Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Wacha wacha: Sit Mariota and Latavius. I like Murray a lot, but McCoy and Williams should out-produce him

  16. Nightpandas says:
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    .5 ppr need 2 (one has to be an rb) would you go Abdullah, Snead, Lockett, T West or J White?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Nightpandas: Definitely Abdullah, and then Snead

  17. Nightpandas says:
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    .5 ppr, 6 Pt Td pass, roll with Winston or Bortles or grab Fitz off the wire?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Nightpandas: Definitely Winston.

  18. P says:
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    Thanks for the article! Who would you Start, Palmer or Tyrod in a 10-team league? I think J and T here both have Tyrod ranked higher for this week, though the ECR rankings have Palmer. Any advice would help. Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @P: No problem, P! Thanks for the comment!

      I understand that you are torn due to the fact that Tyrod is facing a overall better matchup than Palmer is against New England (Brady or no Brady, this defense is not a push-over). However, not only do I apply the saying “never bench your studs” here, I also want to point out that Palmer will have David Johnson out of the backfield, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, and J.J. Nelson as a deep threat. It’s hard to consider him anything less than a QB1 due to his weapons.

      Think of it this way, who had a better matchup going into Thursday Night? Cam or Tyrod? And look what happened. Yes, Taylor may outscore Cam (or even Palmer) this week, but you’re getting too cute with your lineup if you try to do too much. Just win.

      Thanks again for the comment P!

      • P says:
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        @Zach: haha, thank you for the response, appreciate it!!!

  19. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    mccoy ONLY bellcow left? gurley isn’t? l.bell isn’t (when not suspended), that dude gets like 60-65% of PLAYS from scrimmage sometimes (including passing). hyde isn’t (when healthy)? d.johnson wasn’t last year (at least as much as mccoy for sure) once he got the job? i can’t think of any more though.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: i say this agreeing that i love mccoy’s ADP this year for sure, and own him all over.

      • Zach

        Zach says:
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        @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: That’s a fair analysis. However, I was trying to make the point that all of those backs don’t have the possibility of producing 2014 DeMarco-like numbers, except (in my eyes) Shady, as there is no one behind him except for Reggie Bush, and I would be shocked if he got more than five carries per game

        • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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          @Zach: i haven’t looked this up, but hasn’t l.bell put up better stats when he plays than demarco 2014, or at least nearly the same (more caught yards of course and catches, less rushing yards)

  20. Ryan says:
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    Looking for a Gronk replacement. Should I start Jimmy Graham who I have on my bench or pick up Jesse James, Jordan Cameron, Kyle Rudolph, or Austin Seferian-Jenkins?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Ryan: I’d take Rudolph here.

  21. PaulZone says:
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    Antonio Brown or OBJ if you can only pick one this week? No PPR. Is Norman on Antonio?

    Ware or Michael? Hearing Rawls isn’t going to play much but also now hearing KC may rotate backs…

    Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Ryan: @PaulZone: If I had to pick one, it’s AB.

      Ware EASILY. I don’t think KC will rotate backs…

  22. Johnny_lu says:
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    I’m WR heavy, with Brown, Jeffery, Fitzgerald.. Crabtree is my flex..

    wondering if I should roll with Crabtree at flex, or go with Langford.

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Johnny_lu: I think you roll with Crabtree. Crabtree is going to go off, my man. Amari Cooper will see a lot of Delvin Breaux today, while Crabtree should see subpar corners at best. I would easily roll with him over Langford, who will be facing a tough Houston D.

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