It’s that time of year again. The game earlier in the week was like the first few drops of rain after long drought and you’re salivating for the ensuing downpour. Isn’t football great? You have a new fantasy team and you’re eager to see how your new team and players will fare. Let’s take a look at some Week 1 reviews.
Matt Ryan – The Falcons have been pushing towards being a pass happy team and have seemed to put the run game on the back burner during the preseason. Ryan has one of the better duos at the WR position with Roddy White and, possible breakout stud, Julio Jones to go along with the ageless Tony Gonzalez.
Jay Cutler – While in Chicago, Cutler has lacked a big reliable receiver, and the addition of Brandon Marshall can only help Cutler’s numbers. The Colts are rebuilding and switching to a new defensive scheme, which should give Cutler a chance for a strong start to the season.
Under the Radar
Joe Flacco – With the Ravens going to a no huddle offense and looking to go the air a little bit more Flacco is an intriguing play. Along with one of the league’s best pass catching running backs in Ray Rice, he will look to get the ball to another break out candidate in Torrey Smith.
Others to watch: Robert Griffin III – Expectations should be tempered as many are looking for the next Cam Newton, but RG3 could make a splash this week. Jake Locker – Locker is a largely athletic QB and can make plays with his feet as well as with the ball. The Pats have yet to show that they have made any real improvements to one of the league’s worst pass defenses from last season.
Kevin Smith – All signs are pointing to Smith being a go for Week 1 against the Rams. Detroit will be a pass first team, but Smith is active enough in the passing game to stay relevant in the game. With a lack of reliable depth Smith can be counted on for goal line duties as well this week.
Stevan Ridley – There has been debate in fantasy circles all during the preseason, but as of right now Ridley is the starter for the Patriots and more importantly the goal line back. With Shane Vereen nursing an injury, Ridley will likely split time with Danny Woodhead. However, Ridley should get the majority of touches this week, though it’s always tough to predict who will get the rock in New England.
Under the Radar
Jonathan Dwyer – Despite reports of a full practice from Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, signs are pointing to Jonathan Dwyer carrying a majority of the load for the Steelers. Mendenhall has admitted his full practices weren’t really full practices and Redman has had problems with a nagging ankle injury. Keep an eye out Sunday night, especially if you have Redman or Mendenhall.
Others to watch: DeAngelo Williams – If Jonathan Stewart is out Williams could be a strong play against the Bucs. Doug Martin – He secured the starting job over LeGarrette Blount and has a good chance at securing feature back touches. He also gets a suspect Panthers run D.
Torrey Smith – As mentioned earlier, Smith is a break out candidate this season, though his value has probably been overshadowed by Julio Jones and rightfully so with upside of Jones. Had 6 catches for 165 yards and a TD against the Bengals last year at home, and with Smith improving his route running and the number of different routes that he can run he could be dangerous.
Percy Harvin – With Adrian Peterson likely to be limited, if he plays at all, the Vikings most potent weapon will be Harvin. His touches should be up a bit in this game as well, with the Vikings using Harvin as a running back and returner at some points. The Jaguars gave up 12 TDs in 4 preseason games and the absence of the Jags starting corner Derek Cox should help as well.
Under the radar
Justin Blackmon – Blackmon could make an immediate fantasy impact this week against a mediocre Vikings secondary. His value will probably be higher in a PPR league as he projects as more a possession receiver.
Others to watch: Pierre Garcon – He will be RG3’s most targeted wide out, and the Redskins may have to take to passing the ball against the Saints who could easily run the score up. Brandon Marshall – Now Marshall reunited Marshall once again has a solid QB throwing to him and he will face a corner he is familiar with in Vontae Davis. Cutler should target Marshall early and often.
Vernon Davis – If Davis’ playoff run was any indication of how he finally gets the offense that Jim Harbaugh has installed for the 49ers, then owners could be looking at something close to his 2009 numbers where he scored 13 TDs. This week he gets a Packers defense that had trouble defending the tight end position and gave up the second most points to tight ends last season according to NFL.com.
Greg Olsen – He is now the unquestioned starting tight end in Carolina and likely to be the number 2 option for Cam Newton in the passing game. He has a favorable match up against the Bucs and could finally break out this season.
Under the radar
Jacob Tamme – If for nothing else, you have to go with the rapport that Tamme and Peyton Manning have after playing with Indianapolis. The Steelers are sure to test the Broncos early and often with blitz packages and the tight end was Manning’s check down in many cases.
Others to watch: Kyle Rudolph – He will likely be Christian Ponder’s second read and a big target in the red zone. Fred Davis – With the game against the Saints likely to be a high scoring affair, Davis could benefit as a safety blanket for RG3.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.