What is up everybody! Got your seatbelts fastened? Masks on? Wallet emptied? Let’s head out on this fantasy football journey together!
This fantasy football season, I’ll be priming the pump for your fantasy football week and then doing game recaps of the Sunday and Monday night games. Feel free to drop any questions you’ve got below, and catch either me or DT on Sunday mornings to get your lineups in order. On with the good words!
Fantasy Football Tools
First and foremost: you like us, right? I mean, not in a loving sense. OK, maybe you love DT. After all, he’s a sharp-witted donkey that dances to Smash Mouth unironically. But, you enjoy the work we [waves arms at Razzball friends] do and the community we build and the knowledge we share? Then please support us with a premium subscription to our fantasy football tools. You get Rudy’s ridiculously detailed prognostications for about $1/week, and you can go ad-free to support us even more (trust me, the website experience is so much better without the ads). If you’re into DFS, grab the DFS Fantasy Football Tools and take advantage of the optimizer that will return you the most bang for your buck. If you’re into DFS, you know that overhead cuts away from ROI, and Razzball has one of the most affordable, feature-packed optimizers out there.
Quick: why does the above matter? The truth is: Razzball provides the highest quality tools for the price of any website in the industry. I’m not trying to start a fight or debate; our numbers are researched, updated constantly, and you can download them and manipulate them and load up 100 DFS lineups and and and…and it’s all at a price that is accessible to just about anybody. By supporting us, you keep the lights on and show us that you care about our work. If you don’t have the means to do a premium subscription right now, then help us out by recommending our articles and dropping a comment to let us know you’re thinking about us. Cool? On with the show!
Week 1 Highlights
To help everybody get ready for the first week of fantasy football, I’ll be putting the training wheels for some of you and highlight unexpected players that you might want to trade/acquire/start/sit based on projection data, and we’ll get you to the head of your fantasy league like the boss that you are.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: You may have drafted Fitzmagic as your backup QB, or he may be sitting on the waiver wire in your league right now. Did anybody take him as QB1? Just me? OK! Rudy’s seeing him as having over 280 yards passing potential, which is sixth-best in the league for the first week. Major sportsbooks are agreeing, giving the odds-on favorites for Fitzpatrick’s passing yards to be around 270 and 2 touchdowns, which are basically Dak Prescott-levels of production. If you need a QB to go for week 1 — either because you did the QB free fall or are wondering about your Superflex starter — then Fitzmagic is your man this week. Fitz will likely be a streaming QB for most of the year, but he’ll be the cheapo Disney+ streaming package, so keep an eye on him on waivers when you need a fill-in.
Damien Harris: Rudy’s got him for 15 carries this week, which is 6th most among running backs. Personally, I was stunned — Harris was being drafted as RB 25-30 in the pre-season, and I think a lot of people got caught up in the Rhamondre Stevenson hype. Harris is -130 at DraftKings Sportsbook to go for over 13.5 rush attempts in week 1, meaning it’s “smart money” to start Harris. Rookie Mac Jones will need to adjust to the Patriots system, and the Patriots DEF should hold off the Miami offense well enough to keep the Patriots running. At the time of writing, the Patriots/Dolphins game is favored to be under a 43 point total, meaning we’ll likely see a lot of rushing on both sides. With Harris expected to top 80 yards from scrimmage by many betting houses — and similarly projected by Rudy’s weekly fantasy football projections — we’re looking at an RB that you should acquire before the rest of the public sentiment comes up. If he flops in the future, that’s no big deal because his cost is cheap right now. I mean, he’s basically drafted as an RB3 for your teams right now. Are you breaking the bank to acquire Duke Johnson or Ty Johnson or…that’s strange, I can’t think of anymore Johnsons. Wait! D’Ernest! ENYWHEY. Current Razzball projection models — backed by a surprising number of sportsbooks — are seeing Harris having top-5 rushing attempts on the year, which will be extraordinary for your team if it comes to fruition. Also, if you can make a Najee Harris/Damien Harris backfield win your league, I’ll send you DT’s Kerryon Johnson FatHead. Hey, I found another Johnson!
Corey Davis: Here’s a guy who’s off the radar. Davis had a great 2020 under the Titans’ system and he parlayed that success into a contract with the rebuilding New York Jets. [sigh] Imagine working your butt off and your agent comes out to say, “Guess what, I got you a job with the Jets!” OK, there’s a regime change there under new head coach Robert Saleh, and he brought along former 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LeFleur to be the new offensive coordinator. LeFleur was the passing game coordinator for the 49ers’ 2019 Super Bowl run (13th in the league in passing yards) as well as last year’s injury-riddled season, where the 49ers surprisingly finished 12th in the league in passing yards despite having one of the worst quarterback situations in the league [nervously awaits the attack of the Nick Mullens fanbois]. Corey Davis enters that passing game situation in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers in a matchup that’s favored to go over 44 total points. Rudy’s projections show Davis as a candidate to finish week 1 in the top 30 targets, ahead of receivers like Mike Evans, DeVonta Smith, and Adam Thielen. Sportsbooks are off Davis and aren’t even looking at him at the time of writing. If you need a sleeper WR, grab Davis and see what he does in week 1.
Evan Engram, Austin Hooper, Cole Kmet: I talked about this earlier in the pre-season about why you should draft a good tight end. Basically, the field of tight ends looks like they’re getting 4-5 targets, and that’s super-boring. This is why people made tight end premium leagues, where they boosted the scoring of the most boring position to make even more boring tight ends seem palatable. Quote me: “TE Premium leagues are the sriracha of fantasy football. They make unusable things palatable because you can’t feel your tongue” If you didn’t end up with a Kelce/Waller/Kittle on your roster, consider one of these guys. Or really, dart throw at any TE out there because they’re all about the same for projections. It’s surprising more tight ends aren’t named “Chad” because I can’t tell them apart. Not that you’re not special if you’re named Chad [nervously awaits the Ochocinco fanbois to emerge]
Cowboys vs Buccaneers
What better way to start the NFL season than a little game of cops and robbers? NFL, you’re so witty in your scheduling. So, somewhere in NFL marketing, they thought it would be great to pit Tom Brady and his fistful of Super Bowl rings against Dak Prescott in his first game back from a horrifying ankle injury. Also, Prescott sat out much of the preseason, so this game is going to be — you know — less interesting than the Jets/Panthers game. The Bucs are a ridiculous -400 to win this one and they’re favored to win by over a touchdown, and the game itself is favored to have over 51 points total. So, we could see Brady do a 3 TD performance and spread it out amongst his receivers, but we could easily see Tampa Bay rush 20 or more times and spread out the TDs. The Bucs are all starts, and the Bois are, well, garbage time starts. Let’s see who could be in your favor for your fantasy teams:
Ezekiel Elliott: Do you feel lucky, punk? Sports books have no idea what to do with him, and he’s 50/50 on being your fantasy FLEX or RB1. That’s a wide range of outcomes, which is great for DFS GPPs and awful for your average fantasy Joe. Rudy’s been down on Elliott (phew, spicy!) all preseason, and his projections suggest betting the Under across the board on Zeke. With a likely outcome as fantasy RB18-20 this week, you should find an upside RB2 on your roster to cover for Zeke’s likely obsolescence when Tampa Bay goes up by 3 TDs at the half.
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette: Signs point to Ronald Jones being the 1A running back in Tampa Bay this year, and he’s the odds-on favorite to get the most carries and yards this week. Fournette is a riskier play but still worth a shot in deep leagues; TB might be up early and rushing a lot in the second half. In that case, Lenny becomes a cheap GPP play or usable FLEX play.
Antonio Brown and Michael Gallup: In theory, these are your WR3 for the game, but with the potential for big air yards, they could be your fantasy starters. Each of them are favored for over 50 yards, with AB having a good shot at 60 yards. Start them as your WR2/FLEX plays if you roster them. Some psychos out there are saying AB will be the WR1 on TB this year. Other psychos just use acronyms for everything. Which psycho am I?
Leave your questions and comments and general camaraderie down in the comments. Have an awesome week!