Fantasy Forum column for week one

Lets Talk Fantasy Football

Now that fantasy football season is back up and running, we thought we would share some insight for everyone in fantasy land with the help of three members of the 2016 Yahoo Fantasy Football Hall of Fame class including: myself (Joel Beachum), Joshua Cho, Tarik Tewary, and additional help from Bobby Ayers. We have combined for over 70 championships, more than 165 trophies and over 1,600 medals.

With all of the excitement this week over Antonio Brown moving from the Raiders to the Patriots, no one ever really talked about the fantasy implications that it brings to Foxboro. TomBrady now has another weapon to add in his formidable offense. Don’t be surprised if by November New England has No. 87 back on the field. With a Super Bowl or bust mentality for the Patriots, Gronk is highly likely to be apart of the team again.

 

We can get the excitement building with the young, and up and coming stars at quarterback though in Kansas City, Baltimore, Houston, Cleveland and possibly Arizona. These youthful, but talented players should help keep the quarterback game fresh with the likes of veterans Brady, Drew Brees and Eli Manning reaching the later stages of the careers.

 

Our thinking at the quarterback position is that Carson Wentz will be back to full form for the Eagles and that will in turn bode well for Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson making his return to Philadelphia.

 

Deshaun Watson looks to improve on his already impressive career start in Houston at quarterback. Adding Kenny Stills to a wide receiver core of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee should be a nice balance to go with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde at running back.

 

Second-year starter Patrick Mahomes looks to continue 2019 after an impressive NFL Most Valuable Player campaign in year one. Who knows if he can best his 5,097 yard, 50 touchdown performance from 2018, but Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce will be ready to help lead the Chiefs.

 

Lamar Jackson will take the full reigns for the Baltimore Ravens this fall, and don’t be surprised to see Jackson light up the scoreboard with both his arm and his legs. His surprising talent at the QB spot helped him to surpass Joe Flacco and start a new high-intensity offense for the Ravens. The addition of Mark Ingram, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and a group of up and coming wide outs should bring some excitement back to M&T Bank Stadium.

 

Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray looks to kick his rookie campaign off in a big way in Arizona. We will have to wait and see if he can bring his Big 12 flash to the West Coast. A healthy David Johnson, who we predict will have a big week, should prove quite beneficial. Plus, Larry Fitzgerald is out to prove something with another run at the NFC West.

 

Just as Houston and Watson are on the rise, week one brings a formidable foe in the form of New Orleans. The Saints, who were likely to be one missed call away from a chance at the Super Bowl a season ago, bring its high-impact offense ready for a run at South Beach for Super Bowl LIV. Brees, who we again think will have a big week, has both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara ready for a deep run in the NFC South.

 

Our thoughts are Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks offense will start out making a big impact in week one with receivers D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and David Moore. Wilson had 3,448 passing yards and 35 touchdowns a season ago. He added 376 yards on the ground. One of our running back picks for this week, Chris Carson, looks to be a positive player for the Seahawks.

 

Cleveland has all the makings of a championship contender with second year star Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham, Jr. coming over from New York. Alongside Jarvis Landry and a talented group of young stars, the Browns have all the upside, but need to continue pushing through a tough AFC North.

 

We feel as though in Jacksonville the tide is on the rise with a healthy Leonard Fournette back for the Jaguars, but it will be a wait-and-see game if Nick Foles can translate his game from former Super Bowl MVP to Jaguars hero.

 

One of the the Jaguars most formidable foes comes also from the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans. A healthy Marcus Mariota could bring quite a challenge in the conference. Derrick Henry will look to continue his impressive running game after putting up 215 rushes for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago.

 

Pittsburgh will have to show what they can bring to the table, and we think Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster can add the needed punch at wide receiver. James Conner should give Big Ben Rothisberger much need help in the backfield, along with Jaylen Samuels, who had a break-out end of season run to finish 2018.

 

Another pick for the week and the season – Christian McCaffrey, running back for the Carolina Panthers, should continue having a stellar third year coming out of Stanford. His record setting 2018 season saw him garner 219 rushes for 1,098 yards and seven scores. He added another 107 receptions for 867 yards and six touchdowns which makes him one of the best dual threats in the league. If Cam Newton can stay healthy for the Big Cats, they should have quite the promising season.

 

As for the aforementioned champions from last season, the Patriots offense should be stellar again with Edelman, Gordon back on the team, and the addition of Brown. Don’t be surprised by the running games of Sony Michel and James White, as they bring an added dimension to the team.

 

At the tight end position, look for Kelce, Zack Ertz of the Eagles, Delanie Walker, Hunter Henry and Jimmy Graham to step up in week one.

 

On our list of other players everyone should think about starting in week one include Chris Godwin, Ingram, Kenny Golladay and Darren Waller. Five players everyone may want to think about benching include: Kenyan Drake, TY Hilton and Kirk Cousins, even though he has flashes of brilliance at different times. Sequon Barkley should be a for-gone conclusion to start, as well as Ezekiel Elliott despite him holding out for most of the off-season. Dak Prescott will look to attack a rebuilding Giants defense.

 

We expect big things from a well-rested Le’Veon Bell in New York and only time will tell if Todd Gurley will be back to his early season form from 2018. Mike Evans should also bring a big spark to the Tampa Bay offense if he can overcome sickness from late in the week. Also don’t be surprised to see Dalvin Cook back healthy and playing big-time for the Vikings and Julio Jones after signing his three year extension with the Falcons.

 

If you have defensive players on your team, you may want to consider Darius Leonard, Cory Littleton, JJ Watt, his brother TJ Watt, CJ Mosley and Luke Kuechly just to name a few. Look for the players who get involved in making a big number of tackles or assisting in tackles. Also look for the “ball hawks” as the ones that bring in the interceptions and pass breakups.

 

My cat ‘Big Lou,” who has had an impressive championship game picks record of 90-15, likes the Seattle Seahawks defense with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, the Patriots defense and the Broncos defense for week one. He also is a big fan of the Vikings and the Ravens this week. We shall see if he can keep his near purr-fect record in tact.

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