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Week 1 Starts

Posted: September 6th 2017   |   Modified: September 6th 2017

Week 1 Starts

It’s been 213 days since Atlanta choked in front of 111 million people in Super Bowl LI. After sitting through a predictable basketball season, an incredibly dull baseball season, and forgetting that they still played hockey in this country, finally, football is back! By now, our fantasy teams have been drafted, and we are prepared to watch every single minute of every blowout game for the hope of our player catching one more pass, one more run, or one more touchdown. Because you and I know that garbage time points on a Thursday Night game still count.

Speaking of the garbage time and Thursday nights, this Thursday night game should feature plenty of it. The Kansas City Chiefs drew the shit end of the stick and head into the buzz saw that is Foxborough. The Patriots open as a nine-point favorite against the Chiefs, and even that maybe too low.  Even though the Chiefs do field a damn good defense, I don’t think that will make much of a difference for Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriot offensive juggernaut. This one could get ugly quick folks.

Just because the first game of the week may not hold much intrigue, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other matchups that offer excitement. The game I’m looking forward to the most is between two up and coming AFC teams. The Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans both feature young, talented quarterbacks in Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, and both have copious amounts of offensive weapons at their disposals. Oh, and what makes the matchup even more exciting is both Oakland and Tennessee’s defenses are dreadful. This could be a potential playoff matchup and a high scoring affair and because of that, Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota headline my Starts of the Week.

Quarterback

Derek Carr- Carr broke out in 2016, leading the Raiders from perennial laughingstock to legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Their path to Super Bowl LII starts in Nashville with a juicy matchup against the Titans. Last season, the Titans gave up the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks, while also allowing the 4th most passing yards.  The Raiders are slight underdogs in this game, which sets up the possibility of the Raiders playing from behind, thus giving Carr more opportunities to throw the ball and accumulate points. With two locked and loaded studs in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper at wide receiver, Carr should be in for a big day.

Marcus Mariota- Last season, Mariota ranked 7th in the league with eight games finishing as a QB1, despite only playing in 14 full games. His rushing ability keeps his floor high, while his red zone efficiency creates a super high ceiling. The Raiders were a porous pass defense last season, as they were bottom ten in passing yards, touchdowns, and fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. With brand new weapons in Corey Davis and Eric Decker and in a friendly home environment, Mariota should have an outstanding game.

Russell Wilson- Wilson and the Seahawks travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers, in which should be another high scoring game. Wilson will get to face a Green Bay defense that gave up the third most touchdowns and the second most yards to opposing quarterbacks last season. Wilson, who has looked healthier than he did all last season, should have a field day against a weak secondary.

Wide Receiver

Doug Baldwin- As bad as the Packers were against quarterbacks last season, they were worse against wide receivers. The Packers gave up the most touchdowns and fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2016. Baldwin and Wilson looked to be completely in sync so far in the preseason, and being the number one target for Wilson, Baldwin will have no problem carving up a barely there secondary.

John Brown- Yes, yes, I know how much hype this guy was getting last season, and I know how much he burned people last season, but here me out. Brown still enters the season as the Cardinals number two wide receiver on a friendly offensive team that likes to air the ball out. He goes against a Detroit Lions team, who allowed a league high 70% of completed passes to wide receivers, while also giving up 30 fantasy points per game to the receivers last season. A guy who should be under owned in daily, he needs to be in owned in tournament lineups.

Kelvin Benjamin- I’m a big believer in a bounce back year for the entire Panthers team. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Benjamin, especially since he got himself into shape (you haven’t heard any fat jokes about him lately have you). For his career, the big bodied wide out has averaged 8.56 receptions per touchdowns, nearly twice the league average. Facing a Niners secondary that gave up 21 touchdowns this past season, Benjamin is a good bet to see double digit targets and a touchdown.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook- In his first professional game, Cook gets to face a weak Saints run defense at home and on primetime. I love it. Cook has shown in the preseason that he has the potential to be the three down-work horse- running back that is becoming more and more elusive to find. With great vision, speed, as well as receiving chops, Cooks will dominate a Saints teams that gave up 23 total touchdowns and just under 2,400 total yards to running backs this past season.

Todd Gurley- Gurley’s redemption season starts Week 1 against a Colts team that gave up a robust 4.76 yards per rush. The focal point of the Rams’ offense and now under wunderkind head coach Sean McVay, the Rams should have more life than it did under Mr. Mediocre, Jeff Fisher. Last season, Gurley touched the ball 18 or more times in twelve games last season, making him one of the highest used running backs in the league. It should be no different this year, and especially in this matchup. Gurley should easily see at least 20 touches and clear well over 100 yards.

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz- Ertz has a plus matchup against the Redskins who are one of worse teams at defending the tight end.  Last season, Washington gave up the second and third most receptions and receiving yards to tight ends respectively. Since 2014, Ertz is fourth among all tight ends in receptions and sixth in receiving yards. Last season, Ertz and Wentz spent time building chemistry, which led to Ertz being Wentz’s most targeted player, and that chemistry should spill over to this year and especially this game. Ertz is a top 5 play for me this week.

Evan Engram- Engram is currently a player flying under the radar in New York, but he will soon make a name for himself. At 6’3" with legit 4.4 speed, Engram looks more like a wide receiver than a tight end. A Jordan Reed clone, the Giants plan on moving Engram all over the field to get him in favorable matchups. Plus, he goes up against the Cowboys defense that gave up the most points, receptions, and yards to tight ends last season. Engram will be even more appealing with Odell Beckham were to miss time.

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