What is up everyone? It’s finally that time of the year for football to return, and even more important, it is time for Fantasy Football to return. Last season with our fantasy writer, Tate Kennedy, created one of our more successful series of writing yet, “Smart Starts and Pine Riders’. And while I do believe that will be returning for you all this season, I will be giving it a go for the first week of the season. I will not be naming obvious people like Gurley or Gronk, because duh. And while I may not have the big creative name, I do have the knowledge that will hopefully help you be mindful before setting your lineup before this coming Sunday. Here we go:
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Rivers and his Chargers will be facing the Chiefs, who looks to be without Eric Berry with a defense who does not have a strong defensive back core anyways. Rivers was the QB7 last year, and with a full offseason to get chemistry with more of his players not named Keenan Allen, the numbers should burst off the box score for the Chargers QB on Sunday. And while I am at it, if you have a Charger… START THEM. This game on Sunday should be a shootout, making the Chargers real exciting. Start Rivers with confidence.
Projection: 23.5 Fantasy Points
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
The goal here was not to have both Los Angeles teams represented, but Jared Goff and the Rams are going to prey on the Raiders defense on Monday Night. While the Raiders defense was among the worst last season, it got a lot worse with the trade of Khalil Mack. The Rams at times last season were unstoppable and being able to replace a guy like Sammy Watkins with a burner like Brandin Cooks at WR can only make this offense better. I am playing Goff in any situation this week, expect big time numbers.
Projection: 25.2 Fantasy Points
Start of the Week: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
I feel like this one should be a layup, but you may even second guess it. The story of the week has been Le’Veon Bell, and it is a given that he will not be playing this Sunday. So next man up, right? James Conner has a phenomenal preseason and is now in the driver’s seat to start for the Steelers, meaning he should start for your fantasy team as well. The weather reports for Cleveland this Sunday? 100% chance of rain. And that thing where Big Ben stinks on the road will just be truer than ever. If you have Conner, he very well could finish the week as a top 10 back. Get him in your lineup.
Projection: 19.7 Fantasy Points
Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
Time to let Rolls Royce loose people. There has not been a player I have been bigger on this preseason than Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman. The rookie scored in all three games he played this offseason, leading to him being named starter by Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph. While you may read a matchup against the Seahawks and tremble with fear, they just simply are not the same as they once were. After a tough offseason on the entire defense, Royce could have a big-time game in the first of his career. I expect the Broncos to have a steady attack, with Royce at the head of it. Start this man with all the confidence in the world.
Projection: 15.4 Fantasy Points
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
Yes, I know Adrian Peterson was named the starter for the Washington Redskins. Yes, I know Chris Thompson broke his leg last season. But did you know that Thompson played 10 games last season, scoring 15+ in 6 of them. And now, with Alex Smith at QB, it feels as though a lot of dump offs to the RB are in favor here, especially since it will be unlikely AP is ever out there for passing situations. He may rank more of a flex play than anything, but he will do enough to help you towards a win. He may be the most trustworthy guy on this list, so start Thompson knowing his floor should be at least 8 points because of his PPR prowess.
Projection: 12.9 Fantasy Points
TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
While you probably have to start TY due to where you draft him, I consider him a big time start this week. This will be Andrew Luck’s first game back in over a season. And in this game, they will be facing the Cincinnati Bengals. The amount of speed he possesses and chemistry he has with Luck, I expect TY to have a big-time game. While a lot of people may have some trust issues with TY this season because of how inconsistent he was last year, just know that when Luck is under center, TY is a top 10 fantasy wideout. Start him with pride this week as a WR1.
Projection: 20.3 Fantasy Points
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Does anyone remember where Adam Thielen ranked just a season ago in points for a WR? 9th. He ranked as a WR1 a season ago. His QB? Case Keenum. Keenum is now with the Broncos and has shown a real chemistry already with the 9th year receiver has proven before that he can be a real good fantasy producer, and if he is the top choice for Case Keenum this season, his numbers could easily be top 20 in the league. With the top corner more than likely expected to be covering Demaryius Thomas, Sanders should thrive all season long, especially on Sunday in his first regular season game with Keenum under center. Roll Sanders on out this weekend.
Projection: 17.5 Fantasy Points
Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins
Jarvis Landry is gone, DeVante Parker is out, and Ryan Tannehill is back under center. Someone has to become Tannehill’s new favorite receiver. While Danny Amendola does seem to fill into the role of Landry, I beg to differ. Sure, Amendola could have some nice numbers this season, but he is already being challenged by Albert Wilson to lose targets. So, enter Kenny Stills. Stills has been a big play player for years now, making things happen every single year and never really getting the appreciation. Well this season may be Kenny Stills breakout, starting game one of the season when he is the only receiver returning from the last time Tannehill played a regular season game. He faces this new Titans team, and I believe his numbers will be made through volume more than anything else. I expect the Dolphins to be playing from behind, leaving lots of chances for Stills to shine.
Projection: 11.9 Fantasy Points
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
For at least one moment, Jordan Reed his healthy for the season. Alex Smith is his QB. Alex Smith makes TEs top fantasy performers. Jordan Reed has a lot of talent that seems to never be shown because of injury. Well for now, his health is pretty good, so role him out there with pride while you have the chance. That is why this Is week to week, because Reed can at least make it on this list once this season. I expect a big day from Reed.
Projection: 16.7 Fantasy Points
So, there you have it, the starts of the week for week 1. I will do my best to get out a bust list for the week, but if not, this is truly what you need the most. Good luck this season, and especially this week. I hope it helps you out.
If you have any fantasy thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment or message me!
– Scott Edwards, Creator of WTF Sports