Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Boom, Bust, Stream or Fade

The wait is finally over. Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us. Here is a comprehensive fantasy preview which includes many statistical notes and trends that are worth paying attention to. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for my complete rankings):

Boom, Bust, Stream, Fade


Boom: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (vs. OAK) – Only five teams allowed more points last year to the quarterback position than the Raiders. Mariota did struggle against them last year, but he scored more than 20 against every other bottom 15 defense that he faced. I fully expect Mariota to take advantage of the juicy matchup this time around.

Boom: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (@ DET) – Much like Mariota, Palmer took advantage of good matchups last year, scoring over 18 against eight of the nine bottom 15 defenses that he faced. Only four teams were more generous to opposing quarterbacks than the Lions last year.

Bust: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG) – Last year, the two worst games of Prescott’s season both came against the Giants. He averaged under 200 yards per game against the G-Men and scored just one touchdown. I’m avoiding him at all costs this week.

Bust: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (@ DEN) – In his last four games against the Broncos, Rivers has thrown as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (5). The Broncos are a nightmare matchup for opposing quarterbacks, as they’ve allowed the least points to the position in each of the last two seasons.

Stream: Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NO) – Quarterbacks averaged 22.2 points per game against the Saints last season. While it’s unlikely that Bradford will give you a huge performance, he’s nonetheless a relatively safe streaming option this week.

Stream: Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CAR) – Hoyer is another player who tends to take advantage of bad matchups; he’s scored 18 or more in 9 out of his 10 starts against bottom 16 defenses over the last two seasons. Carolina allowed the 9th most points to quarterbacks last year.

Fade: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CLE) – Everyone knows about Ben’s home/road splits, and that’s enough for me to fade him until he proves that he can perform on the road.

Fade: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (@ MIN) – Let me be clear; I’m not suggesting that you sit Brees in season-long leagues. I am, however, fading him in DFS. While Brees hasn’t thrown for under 330 yards in week 1 since 2010, I’m still worried about the tough Vikings defense, especially on the road.


Running Backs

Boom: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NO) – Only the 49ers and Browns surrendered more points to the running back position last year than the Saints. Cook is a rare talent who should have no trouble taking advantage of the favorable matchup.

Boom: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (@ SF) – Even if the 49ers significantly improve in defending the run, they’ll still be a below average run defense; that’s how bad they were last year. McCaffrey should start off his career with a bang.

Bust: Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (@ LAR) – In his two seasons with the Colts, Gore has played 10 games without Luck. In those games he has rushed for just 54 yards a game and 3 touchdowns. The Rams were a stingy defense at home last year against the run.

Bust: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (@ MIN) – Ingram averaged just 5.6 points per game in his 5 matchups against above-average run defenses; and he faces a top-10 run defense this week in the Vikings. The Saints will likely give Adrian Peterson carries against his former team, and Alvin Kamara figures to get some of the passing-down looks. I’d steer clear of Ingram this week.

Stream: Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens (@ CIN) – The Bengals allowed 92 receptions to running backs last year, which was fourth most in the league, and only the Saints completed more passes to their running backs last year than the Ravens. I’d be comfortable flexing Woodhead in standard leagues and starting him as an RB2 in PPR leagues.

Stream: C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. LAR) – In his lone career start at home against the Chargers, Anderson ran for 95 yards and a touchdown. I’m expecting a similar output against a below-average Chargers run defense.

Fade: All Bengals running backs (vs. BAL) – The Ravens have been a top-10 run defense in each of the last four seasons, and I don’t expect that to change this year. The Bengals have yet to figure out which one of their backs will carry the bulk of the load each week, and until they do I’ll fade all three.

Fade: All Patriots running backs (vs. KC) – Unless someone emerge, New England’s backfield will make a regular appearance in the fade section. I want no part of a Belichick-led four-man committee.


Wide Receivers

Boom: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL) – Green has scored in 5 straight against the Ravens. He’s a top-3 receiver this week.

Boom: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (@ SF) – In this matchup last season, Benjamin posted a line of 7-108-2. San Francisco doesn’t have anyone who can match up with his size. He should feast this week.

Bust: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (vs NYG) – In his two games against the Giants last year, Bryant was targeted 14 times, but hauled in just two of those passes for a grand total of 18 yards. This matchup has bust written all over it.

Bust: Alshon Jeffrey, Philadelphia Eagles (@ WAS) – According to reports, Josh Norman is expected to shadow Jeffrey on Sunday. This spells trouble for Jeffrey, since Carson Wentz is not the type of quarterback to force the ball to a receiver.

Stream: Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CAR) – Only the Titans and Rams allowed more receptions to receivers last year than the Panthers. Brian Hoyer does have a tendency to lock in on receivers and Garcon caught 114 passes the last time he was with Kyle Shanahan. He’s a high-end flex play in standard leagues and a solid WR2 in PPR.

Stream: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CLE) – Bryant has faced the Browns twice in his career. He put up a line of 6-178-1 in one game and had 1 reception for 0 yards in the second game. I expect his output to be closer to that of the first game.

Fade: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (@ MIN) – Xavier Rhodes is one of the best corners in the league and Drew Brees never locks in on one target. I’m starting Thomas in season-long leagues but fading him in DFS.

Fade: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (@ LAR) – Hilton has failed to score in 9 of his 10 games without Andrew Luck and has had over 70 yards in just 3 of them. I’m flexing him in season-long weeks and fading him in DFS.


Tight Ends

Boom: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (@ WAS) – Ertz has had 10+ receptions and 110+ yards in two of his last 3 games against the Redskins. With Norman covering Jeffrey, Ertz should be line for a big game.

Bust: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (@ LAR) – Doyle is likely to struggle without Andrew Luck on the field and the Rams were a top-10 defense against tight ends last year.

Stream: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (@ DEN) – Henry’s two lines against the Broncos last year were: 6-83-1 and 2-14-0. I expect him to post a line similar to the first. If Denver has one weakness in their pass defense, it is defending tight ends.

Fade: Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (vs. ARI) – No team allowed less points to the tight end position last year than the Arizona Cardinals. Ebron could be in line for a big season, but I don’t expect it to start this week.


Here are my complete rankings:

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Comments (2)

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Rossonero's picture

September 07, 2017 at 02:48 pm

Im surprised Austin Hooper is so low. He's got a favorable match up vs. the Bears in week 1, plus Jacob Tamme is gone.

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ElishaTwerski's picture

September 07, 2017 at 04:48 pm

Chicago had one of the better defenses against tight ends last year and Matt Ryan likes to spread the ball around. Hooper has a ton of upside, but I'm not sure this is the week he breaks out.

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