The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 1 FIRST LOOK – UPDATED 8/23
August 23, 2017 | Doug Shain
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The Huddle – Opening Statement (I will try to keep this relatively short most weeks, but this week we’ll go a little longer)
Welcome to the first edition of the 2017 Hail Mary for Week 1. For those of you who read this article last year or any of my stuff on The Fake Hockey and The Fake Baseball you’re going to find this article very familiar. For those of you who are new please allow me to take a moment to explain where I’m coming from and what you’re going to see in this article.
First and foremost I’m mostly a GPP player and that’s who this article is mostly designed to help. I write for players like me – the guy or gal who enters a single bullet in a couple of low limit GPP’s each week; the casual DFS player. This group of players probably makes up a much larger percentage of the DFS community than you think. If you are a cash game player or a high buy-in/high volume/multi-entry GPP player you should still read this because it’ll give you an everyman perspective that you might not get in other articles (there are plenty of those on this site and I urge you to read them as well because they are fantastic).
Be advised that playing a single bullet in a large field GPP is a very volatile game and you’re going to lose more often than you win. That’s a fact and it’s something you have to know before you start playing. Due to the volatility of this game I’m going to try to give you plays that can help you zoom to the top of your GPP leaderboard. These plays are very boom or bust, so please know that going in.
One way that I like to separate from the field is by trying to anticipate ownership rates of certain players. Over the course of the year I’ll get into this more deeply, but just know for now that all things being equal (and even in some cases when it’s not), I’m going to recommend the player that’s going to have a lower ownership rate.
In my mind there are two groups of people who play in large field GPP’s that dictate ownership percentages. One group is the true amateurs who are just going to play for fun and not put too much time into making optimal lineups. We’re going to call them “MOST PEOPLE” – they’ll be referred to as Public Players (or Casual Players). Most people don’t do the DFS thing for a living or for higher stakes and they are going to play players they know and like. They’re not going to dig deep and look for Jacquizz Rodgers and Ted Ginn (yes, that’s digging deep for MOST PEOPLE). They are going to target very well-known players like Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, and David Johnson. These well-known players aren’t going to change much and should have a fairly high ownership every single week regardless of matchup.
One thing to note, the general population is starting to get a lot smarter with DFS but that can lead to them outthinking themselves and leaving some obvious plays as potential value plays. One example of this was last year in Week 16 when, after being terrible all year, Todd Gurley was the chalk against a terrible 49ers defense. That left David Johnson, with a seemingly tough matchup against Seattle, as a guy who ended up with a severely low ownership. Gurley was ok against SF (87 total yards and a TD), while David Johnson was one of the three highest scoring RB that week (136 total yards and 3 TD) and won people GPP’s. I’ll try my best to identify these types of instances (which I did that week) so you can exploit them to your benefit.
The other group of players that play in large field GPP’s are people who follow every fantasy expert on Twitter, watch all the fantasy shows on TV, and are up to date on all the big “sleepers” (there is no such thing anymore as sleepers). We will refer to these players as DFS EXPERTS. They are hip to the ins and outs of DFS, they are well-informed, and they are going to win by playing their big sleepers like Jacquizz Rodgers. What’s that you say? Everyone who’s ever read anything about fantasy knows that Rodgers is cheap, is in a great situation, and has a good matchup in Week 1? No kidding, and he’s going to be really highly owned. Like I said, there are no sleepers.
My goal is to try to find players that don’t fit either of these two categories. I want to find guys that’ll be low owned and could have a good game (I call them HuLo players – High Upside, Low Ownership). These players tend to either be “boring” veterans, very risky plays, or players who are overshadowed by bigger names on their teams. For example, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of people who are talking about Andy Dalton for Week 1. I think he could be a part of a GPP-winning team. Do I think he will be the highest scoring QB in Week 1? No, I think that’ll be Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton, but I do think he can return significant value because he has a loaded WR corps and is priced in such a way that you can field a winning lineup with him as your QB. Fantasy is all about you finding the value that your opponents didn’t.
I have some “musts” when I set my GPP lineups. I’ll highlight those as I go through the explanation of how I built my teams.
– It is a must that I get a QB that is going to throw a lot when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I get RB that are guaranteed touches when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that my WR have upside when building my GPP teams.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my TE is elite or is a punt. There is no in between for me with TE.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my defense gets to the quarterback.
– It is a must that I take a min-priced kicker when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I include at least some HuLo plays when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I remember that chalk is chalk for a reason, and that using chalk isn’t a bad thing.
The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week
I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player (I’m trying to keep this relatively short going forward).
***UPDATE as of 8/23/17***
For Week 1 I am going to leave all my original analysis in here as I update so you can see how my picks and thoughts have progressed as we get closer to kickoff. I am also going to give you an early look at “my guys” heading into Week 1. This list can change as well depending on how things go the next few weeks of preseason. All new thoughts will be bolded italics.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Matt Ryan (ATL) @ CHI||Eli Manning (NYG) @ DAL||Carson Wentz (PHI) @ WSH|
|Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) @ CLE||Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs PHI||Andy Dalton (CIN) vs BAL|
|Cam Newton (CAR) @ SF||Russell Wilson (SEA) @ GB||Matthew Stafford (DET) vs ARI|
|Jameis Winston (TB) @ MIA||Carson Palmer (ARI) @ DET||Blake Bortles (JAX) @ HOU|
|Jay Cutler (MIA) vs TB||Jared Goff (LAR) vs IND|
|Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs OAK||Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs SEA|
|Dak Prescott (DAL) vs NYG||Derek Carr (OAK) @ TEN|
|Tyrod Taylor (BUF) vs NYJ|
– In Week 1 the casual public is going to play one to two types of players: big names they’ve heard of with great matchups (Ben Roethlisberger types) or guys they’ve heard being talked about a lot (Tyrod Taylor types). With his poor play in the preseason, and the Bills in tank mode, I’m not so sure Tyrod is going to be all that chalky anymore. It’s more than likely that he’s going to be underowned, which gives an opportunity to get some value out of him. He’s far from my top tier of plays but the matchup is great and it wouldn’t shock me if he ended the week with a top 12 score. I don’t love playing too many public QB’s because I think we can get similar production from guys that will be much lower owned. One example of this could very well be Aaron Rodgers. This is going to be one of those cases where the general population is going to outthink themselves because Rodgers has the Seahawks and their ferocious secondary. I say pish posh to that. It’s Aaron Rodgers at home; there’s no way he’s going to get skunked. If I get the sense that he’s going to be anywhere near 10% owned or less, and I think that may very well be the case, then I’m going to own A LOT of Aaron Rodgers this week (especially at his discounted DK price tag of $7.0k.
– One of the reasons that I think that Rodgers is going to be so low, besides the Seattle factor, is that I foresee the ownership on Ben Roethlisberger being ridiculously high as he takes on the Cleveland Browns. For those of you who know me well, you already know where I’m going with this one. I’m going to be in full fade mode when it comes to Big Ben in Week 1. Simply put, Ben Roethlisberger is terrible on the road. For his career, he’s thrown for 1000 less yards and 45 less TD on the road despite having thrown 90 more passes on the road. His QB rating (a flawed statistic, sure, but still something to look at) is 10.5 points lower on the road than it is at home and his YPA is more than half a yard worse at home. I don’t care that it’s against Cleveland, full fade!
– Just because I’m fading Roethlisberger, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to fade all the chalk at QB in Week 1. I love Cam Newton and think that he bounces back strong this year. A matchup in SF is a great way for him to start. He could very well end up as the highest scoring QB on this slate. Marcus Mariota is another player that I’ll have my eye on. His game against the Raiders should be relatively high scoring and I can see him taking the leap this year. I’ll probably fade Tyrod Taylor since he does a lot of what Cam Newton does but only about 75% as well and at probably twice the ownership. Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, and Jay Cutler are sexy names but are too unproven right now for me to invest heavily in them; although the weapons Winston has at his disposal could have me eating my words on that. Since I originally wrote this, I’ve done a pretty full 180 on Dak and Winston. I love both of them Week 1. Winston has looked great this preseason and he’s just so loaded with pass catchers. A matchup against Miami doesn’t scare me at all. As for Dak, he looks like an eight year pro right now. He’s in full command of this offense and his connection with Dez Bryant is real. They were incredible together last year and it looks like they are a full go again this year. With Ezekiel Elliott suspended, I would expect Dallas to increase their passing output early in the season. Prescott is a strong sleeper candidate to be the top QB play of Week 1. 2016 feels like a fluke for the Falcons so I’m out on Matt Ryan; he won’t be on any of my rosters in Week 1.
– Leading up to Week 1 you’re going to hear a lot of talking heads talk about how much Eli Manning likes playing the Cowboys. Those talking heads are right. I love Eli at Dallas in Week 1, especially with a very low price and even lower expectations. Eli may love Dallas, but with Beckham probably not playing and Marshall a little banged up I would temper expectations. I probably won’t have any Eli shares for Week 1. Kirk Cousins is a great fantasy QB and a 300 yard per game machine. He reminds me a little bit of Drew Brees in that respect. I think he’s a solid play every week and I won’t hesitate to use him if I feel like his ownership is going to be low. Carson Palmer scares me but he’s got the weapons to put together a decent week.
– The HuLo list is where I make my bread and butter. I love exploiting ownership value when I think I can find it. In my mind, there are four guys on this list that can pop a GPP for you in Week 1. Those four include: Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Carson Wentz, and Blake Bortles. I already wrote about Rodgers at length, so no more explanation will be needed. Andy Dalton has a lot of weapons at his disposal and the Ravens are going to be one of the worst teams in the league this year. I don’t like their offense at all and that means the defense is going to be on the field a lot. A tired defense is one that Dalton can expose; he’s a lot better at the deep ball than you think and he’s got a plethora of WR that can get behind a defense. Carson Wentz is one of my favorite deep sleepers at QB. He reminds me a lot of Aaron Rodgers in how he plays the game and this year he’s loaded with offensive weapons. LeGarrette Blount is going to keep the secondary honest and Wentz fires up the play action he’s got Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to throw to instead of Dorial Green Beckham and whoever the hell PHI lined up at WR last year other than Jordan Matthews. I’m all in on Wentz in 2017. Finally, Bortles is a player that thrives on garbage time. Jacksonville may want to run the ball more this year but they are still going to be down in a lot of games and that’s Bortles time. Week 1 should be no different. I won’t use Bortles in a main lineup but he’ll find his way onto one of my speculative teams for sure. No I won’t. Bortles is awful. The new guy I’m obsessed with right now is Jared Goff. He looked like a totally new QB in Preseason Week 2. His coaching staff is very offensive-minded and if Goff can make his reads, he’s going to be very good this year. Indianapolis is one of the worst defenses in the league and the Rams are my pick as a surprise team to put up 30+ points Week 1. I can legitimately see Goff throwing for 250 yards and 3 TD. I believe so strongly that he’s currently the QB on my Milly Maker lineup.
My guys: Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Carson Wentz
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|LeVeon Bell (PIT) @ CLE||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) vs PIT||Todd Gurley (LAR) vs IND|
|David Johnson (ARI) @ DET||Danny Woodhead (BAL) @ CIN||Bilal Powell (NYJ) @ BUF|
|Darren McFadden (DAL) vs NYG||Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) @ MIA||Terrance West (BAL) @ CIN|
|LeSean McCoy (BUF) vs NYJ||Ameer Abdullah (DET) vs ARI||Jonathan Williams (BUF) vs NYJ|
|Leonard Fournette (JAX) @ HOU||Jordan Howard (CHI) vs ATL||Carlos Hyde (SF) vs CAR|
|Christian McCaffrery (CAR) @ SF||LeGarrette Blount (PHI) @ WSH||Jonathan Stewart (CAR) @ SF|
|Joe Mixon (CIN) vs BAL||Lamar Miller (HOU) vs JAX||Jeremy Hill (CIN) vs BAL|
|Marshawn Lynch (OAK) @ TEN||Jay Ajayi (MIA) @ TB|
|DeMarco Murray (TEN) vs OAK||Ty Montgomery (GB) vs SEA|
|Devonta Freeman (ATL) @ CHI||CJ Prosise (SEA) @ GB|
|Eddie Lacy (SEA) @ GB||Robert Kelley (WSH) vs PHI|
– Much like with the QB’s, the casual public is going to flock to guys they’ve heard of in Week 1 like David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott (whoops), and LeVeon Bell. They will also look heavily at hotshot rookies like Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, and Christian McCaffey. I don’t have a ton of issue with using any of the big three, but I’m going to probably fade the rookies. They may end up having solid games but I’m not willing to lose the ownership game to find out. I’d much rather spend my ownership on studs rather than the unknown. For example, and I can’t believe I didn’t say this in my original write-up, Le’Veon Bell is my top RB play for Week 1. Yeah, he’s going to be highly owned but he also has the best shot to put up a monster game. Once the Steelers realize that Ben is awful on the road, which they already know, they’ll feed Bell until he can’t take anymore. He’s going to put up a huge score and is well worth paying up for. While LeSean McCoy is on my Public Plays list, I actually think he could be a little overlooked in Week 1 and it wouldn’t shock me to see him shifted over to the Expert Plays list. The only thing that may keep him chalky is that he’s facing the lowly Jets, but I actually think that game could get a little out of hand. That will lead to Jonathan Williams getting more carries than expected, hurting McCoy’s value in the process. By the way, I don’t mind Williams as a HuLo prayer as the Bills give a higher percentage of touches to their backup RB than just about any team in the league and Williams figures to factor in heavily at the goal line. As bad as he’s looked, I still think that people are going to use Eddie Lacy because of the “revenge game” factor Week 1. Don’t be that person.
– I’m going to be totally honest, I don’t love RB at all in Week 1. There’s so much uncertainty on how the position is going to play out that I either want to spend up on “sure thing” or spend all the way down on some value. The one exception to this in Week 1 is Jordan Howard. He’s a do-everything back for the Bears that is going up against a team that gets killed by do-everything RB. For the last two year the Falcons have been notorious for giving up big games to receiving RB. Howard can definitely catch passes out of the backfield and he should be able to put up a good yardage total against ATL.
– As for some of the value in Week 1, I already talked about my interest in Jonathan Williams as an extreme punt play at the position. The other types of RB that I’m looking at are either pass catching RB like Danny Woodhead, Theo Riddick and CJ Prosise or veteran RB that are going to go overlooked because of a potential rookie threat ahead of them. Those types of players include Jeremy Hill, Jonathan Stewart, and Robert Kelley. If those two get the lion’s share of carries for their teams, they are going to be huge values and will be so at very low ownership. Spending down on those guys will allow you to go big at QB, WR, and TE but they also could kill a GPP lineup if they end up with 5 carries for 20 yards. My favorite value play in Week 1 is Jacquizz Rodgers filling in for Doug Martin. He is a dual threat RB that got a ton of usage when he filled in as the starter last year. I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to move into the Public Plays category before too long. Also, I like Todd Gurley. I’ve always liked Todd Gurley. I will continue to always like Todd Gurley. He’s too good to be this bad and the Colts defense is the hottest of garbage. Seriously, I’m obsessed with the Rams in Week 1.
– Don’t sleep on Bilal Powell in Week 1. The Jets have worked him hard in the preseason and there’s no reason to think that his won’t continue into the regular season. They have literally nobody else to carry the load and it’s not like the Bills are all that great of a team. They are in full on tank mode and it’s not a stretch at all to think that Powell can get 100 yards and a TD. Isaiah Crowell rolled the Steelers in Week 17 last year and is one of the sneakiest breakaway RB in all of football. He was at the top of the league in long runs last year and will get a huge workload this year. The only way CLE will compete with the Steelers in Week 1 is to feed Crowell and that’s what they are going to do. I don’t normally like to run out two RB that are opposing each other but this may be a case where it makes sense. Carlos Hyde and Ameer Abdullah are really cheap for Week 1. I don’t care for the matchups but if both guys project to get 20 touches then they are a great value.
My guys: LeVeon Bell, Jordan Howard, Todd Gurley, Jacquizz Rodgers, Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, Theo Riddick
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) @ CLE||Davante Adams (GB) vs SEA||Jordy Nelson (GB) vs SEA|
|Julio Jones (ATL) @ CHI||Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ TEN||Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ GB|
|Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs IND||Terrelle Pryor (WSH) vs PHI||Josh Doctson (WSH) vs PHI|
|AJ Green (CIN) vs BAL||John Brown (ARI) @ DET||Alshon Jeffery (PHI) @ WSH|
|Mike Evans (TB) @ MIA||Allen Robinson (JAX) @ HOU||DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs JAX|
|Dez Bryant (DAL) vs NYG||DeVante Parker (MIA) vs TB||Cameron Meredith (CHI) vs ATL|
|Zay Jones (BUF) vs NYJ||Brandon Marshall (NYG) @ DAL||Pierre Garcon (SF) vs CAR|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ DET||Kenny Britt (CLE) vs PIT||Mike Wallace (BAL) @ CIN|
|DeSean Jackson (TB) @ MIA||Martavis Bryant (PIT) @ CLE||Eric Decker (TEN) vs OAK|
|Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs TB||TY Hilton (IND) @ LAR||Braxton Miller (HOU) vs JAX|
|Kenny Golladay (DET) vs ARI||Robby Anderson (NYJ) @ BUF||Nelson Agholor (PHI) @ WSH|
|Golden Tate (DET) vs ARI||Sterling Shepard (NYG) @ DAL|
|Sammy Watkins (LAR) vs IND|
– WR is the glamour position in the NFL so you can expect all the big boys to be highly owned. They’re all studs and I have no issue with using any of them. Brown, Julio, Beckham, AJ Green, and Mike Evans are no-brainer #1 WR and to me they are matchup proof. All we have to worry about with these guys is the ownership and price combinations. I think there’s enough value on this slate that you can definitely put together a 3 stud WR lineup on FD, while it’ll be a little harder on DK with how they price their WR. Still, you should be able to land one of the studs pretty easily if you’re smart about your TE, DEF, and FLEX. Of the big name WR, the two I’m look at most closely are AJ Green and Dez Bryant. Green is so underappreciated that his ownership is never where it should be. He’s got as much upside as anyone on this slate and I will own a lot of him. I’ve already talked about how much I like the Dak/Dez connection so if I’m rolling out Dak, I’m rolling out Dez. That said, even if I don’t roll out Dak, I’m probably going to look very closely at Dez.
– Two guys that I’m really focused on at WR in Week 1 are Jordy Nelson and Doug Baldwin. I get the feeling that people think a regression is coming with Jordy. I have no idea why this would be. If he’s going to be underowned, then I’m going to be heavy on him. I foresee a lot of Rodgers/Nelson stacks for me in Week 1. Doug Baldwin is a legit top WR and the Packers were pretty bad against WR in 2016. The SEA/GB game is going to be higher scoring than you think and getting shares on both sides of this game would be advisable. Doug Baldwin, all in.
– There is a lot of uncertainty at the WR right now as only one preseason game has been played as of this writing. I feel like using one of those hand shrug emojis when trying to hunt value at this position. I want to see how things shake out during training camp and in the preseason games, but some guys I’m keeping my eye on are Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp, Nelson Agholor, Braxton Miller, Josh Doctson, and Zay Jones. All have the chance to carve out significant roles in their offenses and if they do, they are huge values in Week 1 that can open a lot of other possibilities with your lineup.
– Some veteran names I like in Week 1 are Pierre Garcon (Kyle Shanahan is going to use him a lot and we know that he knows how to run an offense), Golden Tate (ARI has the reputation as a big time pass defense but they were bad in 2016), Kenny Britt (he’s so much better, and younger, than you realize), Mike Wallace (much more productive than you think and far better positioned than Perriman right now to be the deep threat opposite Jeremy Maclin), Brandon Marshall (the beneficiary of all those OBJ double teams), Eric Decker (a red zone beast with a QB who excels in the red zone), and Michael Crabtree (red zone stud at a lower price/ownership than Amari Cooper). I will have a lot more to say about the WR position as the season gets closer. I don’t know why I didn’t mention Alshon Jeffery earlier but I really like him this week. And speaking of Jeffery, Jay Cutler has essentially said that DeVante Parker is like a better version of Alshon. This means he’s going to get targeted early and often. I’m a big fan of the kid and if Cutler wants to get him the ball, he’s going to get him the ball. I say we see 8+ targets for Parker in Week 1.
– In my next update, right before Week 1, I will completely revamp my WR list. So much has changed, and so much will change, that I think it’s prudent just to get the new thoughts out there and fix the list later. I’ve made a few adjustments but more are coming as we learn more after this weekend. The biggest changes right now are that OBJ is off the board with his injury and Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp are going to be super duper chalk in Week 1. They are so inexpensive that they project to annihilate their price tags given their current roles. This could change, but right now they are going to be among the top 5 more widely owned WR in my mind. That said, I’m all in on Kupp right now. Have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with the Rams?
My guys: Doug Baldwin, Dez Bryant, AJ Green, Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Alshon Jeffery, Devante Parker, Sterling Shepard, More Doug Baldwin
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Greg Olsen (CAR) @ SF||Zach Ertz (PHI) @ WSH||Charles Clay (BUF) vs NYJ|
|Jordan Reed (WSH) vs PHI||Jack Doyle (IND) @ LAR||Erik Swoope (IND) @ LAR|
|Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs BAL||Eric Ebron (DET) vs ARI||Jason Witten (DAL) vs NYG|
|Delanie Walker (TEN) vs OAK||Cameron Brate (TB) @ MIA||Jesse James (PIT) @ CLE|
|Jimmy Graham (SEA) @ GB||Austin Hooper (ATL) @ CHI||Julius Thomas (MIA) vs TB|
|Marcellus Bennett (GB) vs SEA||Ben Watson (BAL) @ CIN||Tyler Higbee (LAR) vs IND|
|OJ Howard (TB) @ MIA|
|Evan Engram (NYG) @ DAL|
– The biggest thing that stands out on this slate is that there is no Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce, the consensus two top TE in the NFL. That means that ownership is probably going to be a lot more spread out than it would on a typical slate. Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed (if healthy) will probably see the highest ownership but I don’t foresee it being high enough to prohibit ownership on either guy. If you feel like those are the players you want to play, I’m surely not going to stop you. I won’t play them but that’s not because I think either are bad play. I would rather save money at TE so I can play one of the more sure thing RB’s in Week 1. I don’t care if OJ Howard and/or Evan Engram score 3 TD in Week 1, playing them is a bad idea. TE take forever to acclimate themselves to the NFL and there is heaps of data that show that they just don’t pan out as rookies. They are going to be far more widely owned than they should be. Don’t be that guy.
– One of my two favorite TE plays for Week 1 is Zach Ertz. We already talked about how much I like Carson Wentz this year, but now I’m going to throw in the fact that the Washington Redskins were one of the most generous defenses to opposing TE in 2016. Ertz steamrolled them in Week 14 for 10 catches and 112 yards. I’ll take that all day long from my TE. The other TE that I love in Week 1 is Charles Clay. The Jets were also terrible against TE last year and they did nothing to improve that this year. While the defense is focused on Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy, and Zay Jones; Clay will be left one on one with a linebacker down the seam. He’s one of the best seam route runners in the game. Towards the end of 2016 Clay started to really find his way in the Bills offense with 30 targets and 4 TD over the last four weeks of the season. Buffalo is not going to wait as long this year to get Clay involved. Clay is my no doubt, lock it in, top TE play for Week 1. I’m not saying he’s the highest scoring TE but he’s the guy I’ll own the most.
– You’re going to hear a lot about Austin Hooper’s break out, Eric Ebron’s age/development (in a positive light), Cameron Brate’s big role in the Bucs offense, and how the Colts love to use their TE more than any team in the league. All of the people saying those things are dead on correct and I have no issue with you using any of those players (most notably Ebron, who is going to have a big season). Tyler Higbee, if he’s the starter for the Rams, could be a nice safety valve for Jared Goff this year and the Colts were awful against the TE position in 2016. Cleveland was the worst defense against TE last year, giving up a league worst 13 TD. Jesse James should be the player to benefit from that in Week 1. Finally, whoever wins the TE job for Baltimore (don’t be shocked if Gary Barnidge gets signed) will have a nice matchup against the Bengals.
My guy: Charles Clay
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ MIA||Los Angeles Rams vs IND|
|Buffalo Bills vs NYJ||Cincinnati Bengals vs BAL||Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU|
|Houston Texans vs JAX||Detroit Lions vs ARI|
|Atlanta Falcons vs CHI|
|Carolina Panthers @ SF|
– I was going to just leave it at the five Public Plays and call it a day. Seriously, there’s no real reason to look too much further past those team. All five have primo matchups and because there are five teams in that group, none should be too highly owned (although I’ll probably avoid PIT and BUF since they figure to be the highest. Houston would be the team I’m most likely to use out of the main group of five; you have to figure if Bortles can throw five INT on the first day of 7 on 7 practice, he doesn’t stand much of a chance against Watt and Clowney.
– The Buccaneers aren’t my favorite defense in the league but they do face Jay Cutler who is a pick six machine. Even if you don’t think that TB is going to score the most points, there’s a sick pleasure one takes in watching Cutler DGAF the ball five times to the other team. Cincy is only interesting to me if Joe Flacco actually play; they are going to be too obvious of a play if Flacco remains injured.
– Much like I only want the Bengals if Flacco is playing, I only want the Rams if Luck is playing. If they are using backups then the Rams might vault to the top defense of the week. With Luck in there, people are going to pass on LA because they think Luck is good. He’s really not all that good (I’ve lost Twitter follower for saying this, but it’s fact). The Rams have a better defense than you think and I say they get to luck for 4+ sacks and 2+ turnovers. Houston should be a popular defense this week but let’s not forget that they are going to be lead on offense by either Tom Savage of a rookie QB. If Jacksonville is going to be good this year it’ll be the defense leading the charge. Finally, I’m not sure that Carson Palmer is any good anymore. I’m more than happy to take a chance with the Lions defense (better than you realize) to try to steal some ownership and move up a GPP if/when Palmer implodes.
– Rams, Rams, Rams, Rams, Rams, Rams, Rams!!!!! ALL THE RAMS!
My guys: Rams, Bills, Texans, Bengals
Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress. The original post was more than four weeks before Week 1 kicked off so many changes will occur as we get closer to actual kickoff. I’ll update this piece a number of times before Week 1 kicks off so keep an eye out at The Fake Football and on Twitter for the latest versions.
Your feedback is always welcome. You can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments. I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.