Fantasy Football Preview - Week 1
The wait is finally over, fantasy football fans. All the pre-draft research and mock drafts are behind you. All you're left with now is your drafted roster and the road ahead.
How smooth or bumpy that road becomes is dependent on a wide variety of factors including injuries, match-ups, trends, etc. I'll do my best to keep you abreast of the changing fantasy climate from week-to-week, both for the Green Bay fantasy studs and other hot (or cold) players from around the league.
Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season is finally upon us, can you feel the madness?! I, for one, am thrilled about tonight's opening game - mostly because I just got a work call rescheduled from "During Game Time" to a more respectable and reasonable hour of "During Normal Work Hours." Now my hand isn't forced to multitask. Rather, I can just sit back and enjoy the game!
But do fantasy owners reallyenjoy the games they watch? To be honest, it doesn't matter if you're watching a Packers game in your Sheboygan duplex or if you're watching a Buffalo vs. Tampa Bay game in a Nashville Buffalo Wild Wings - there is usually always one of "your" players playing in any given game on any given week. And whether you want to admit it or not, that fact affects how you watch the game.
For example, I am clearly a Packers fan and will be cheering for them tonight (and all season). However, I also have the Seattle Seahawks defense/special teams on most of my fantasy football teams. The better the Packers do, the worse the Seahawks defense does. Can you see the fantasy conundrum? Anyway, let's take a look at the Top 5 fantasy-relevant stats for some Week 1 games.
- In 2013, quarterbacks only averaged 199 yards, 0.95 TD and 10.89 fantasy points per game against the Seahawks defense, while throwing 1.68 interceptions. Now I realize that Aaron Rodgers isn't the average quarterback, but it's still hard to argue with these stats. Quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick (5.7), Matt Ryan (12.3), Drew Brees (7.7), Eli Manning (-3.8) struggled to produce fantasy points against the vaunted Seattle defense - and we all know what happened in the Super Bowl. Regardless, you still start Aaron Rodgers this week. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and benching him (while healthy) is not an option. Just be prepared for Week 1 to potentially be his lowest-scoring week.
- Not only are the Seahawks good against the pass, but they could also stop the run. In 2014, they held running backs to an average of 79 yards on the ground and 12.32 fantasy points per game. Since the Packers seem to be planning to use a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy tonight - especially if they find themselves with a second half lead - the anticipated workload alone is enough to make him a must start. But going forward, lesser backs may need to see your bench when they face off against Seattle.
- The Week 1 Indianapolis @ Denver game could be a huge start to the season for Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning owners. In last year's meeting, Luck tossed three touchdowns against the Super Bowl runner-ups and scored 29.9 fantasy points, while Peyton threw for 386 and three touchdowns of his own for 25.3 points. While last season's game was in a dome, watch again for inflated numbers in the Mile High version of this match-up in primetime Sunday night. (Extra nugget: With Wes Welker suspended for Week 1, look for Emmanuel Sanders to fill in nicely - a must start if you own him!)
- Take the high-octane offense of the Dallas Cowboys and pair it with the injuries and suspensions for the San Francisco 49ers and it results in an iffy week for the Niners defense. With Aldon Smith suspended and Ray McDonald likely to follow, look for Tony Romo to have ample time in the pocket to seek out his receivers. If you have a second defense on your bench, it might not be a bad idea for the 49ers to make their fantasy debut on your team in Week 2 (vs Bears) or 3 (@ Cardinals).
- After making it through the pre-season surprisingly unscathed, Arian Foster has a favorable match-up against Washington in Week 1. The Redskins ranked 30th last year against running backs, allowing 93 yards rushing, 42 yards receiving and 1.25 touchdowns per game. With the lack of a solid backup, look for Arian to stay on the field for a majority of snaps and therefore get upwards of 30 touches on the game. This should result in a pleasing fantasy output.