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5 Things Fantasy Football Owners Should Watch for in Week 1
Week 1 is finally here and football fans everywhere rejoice! After spending much of the off-season researching and prepping, fantasy football owners will finally get to see how their players perform. We should have a ton of questions answered, including if the rookies ready to take over and if the guys returning from injury can regain their elite form. Let’s take a look at 5 things fantasy football owners should watch for in Week 1
Baltimore Ravens Backfield
The Baltimore Ravens running back situation has been one of the biggest questions throughout the preseason causing some owners to avoid it completely. Those that invested likely paid little to take a their shot. Throughout training camp and preseason Terrance West became a thing. I must admit he did look good when he played. West was quick and decisive with the ball in his hands. Justin Forsett is still in town and the listed starter despite being cut for some roster manipulation. I’m very curious to see how Marc Trestman splits the work between the two backs. Javorius Allen is also in the mix for the Ravens and proved to valuable contributor last season especially in the passing game. If he is the 3rd down back, he could have a really good season in PPR leagues. The Ravens will likely be down in most games and need to throw often. Allen could see 60% or more of the snaps catching 60 plus balls. This week against the Bills will layout a good idea of what each guy’s workload may look like going forward.
Seattle Seahawks Running Backs
Welcome to the season of the awakening. It seems like the Christine Michael truthers have finally seen their will and determination pay of. Michael is set to open Week 1 as the number one back on the Seahawks depth chart and will get a chance to prove his worth. Thomas Rawls is expected to be limited to start the season coming off of an injury that ended his 2015 season. Behind Michael are two rookies that have a ton of upside and are worth monitoring. Alex Collins is the bruiser back that will likely see little work initially. C.J. Prosise is a converted wide receiver that should make plays in the passing game at first. He has the potential to be a three down back and should get looks if Michael struggles. While it’s nice to believe that Michael is awake, there is a real chance that he struggles and is replaced. This is the same running back that was traded once and cut twice last season. There should be plenty of opportunities for the Seahawks to run on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Hopefully fantasy owners will get some clarity on how the touches will be divided up.
Due to a preseason injury it will be Dak Prescott and not Tony Romo starting the season under center for the Dallas Cowboys. This left owners who had already drafted Cowboys pass catchers, especially Dez Bryant owners really nervous about their 2016 potential. Last year we saw this offense crater without Romo. However this season they have Dak Prescott under center who has looked great all preseason. This is still a rookie that will make mistakes and we don’t know how he will respond when the lights come on. The one thing Bryant owners should know is Prescott will throw it down the field and give one of the best receivers in the NFL a chance to make plays. As for Ezekiel Elliott owners worried about the switch at QB? We already saw Darren McFadden go ham behind this offensive line with nobody around him. If the Cowboys employ some zone read principles, something both players are very comfortable doing, it traditionally opens ever more room for the running back to make plays. Just ask Alfred Morris who had 1,400 yards with RG3 in Washington. Week 1 should make owners feel much better about Dez, Zeke, and company.
The return of Jordy Nelson
Last season the Green Bay Packers offense looked like a shell of itself after Jordy Nelson went down. Most felt like quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be fine, Randall Cobb could have a WR1 type season and that Eddie Lacy could be a monster with more work. All of those things failed to come to fruition. I’m all in on the Packers offense this season and Week 1 will provide a great opportunity for Nelson to prove his is the straw that stirs the drink. If he can be a reliable deep threat, this offense should have a ton of fantasy standouts. It may even open up things enough for Jared Cook to be fantasy producer. I still question how productive Cook can be. I do expect big things from this Packers offense overall. Jordy Nelson should take advantage of Week 1 to remind the fantasy world how dominant he can be.
Can exotic smash mouth be a thing?
After trading for Demarco Murray and drafting Derrick Henry the Titans made an obvious commitment to the run game. This was a move that left many scratching their head. The Titans are a team that have struggled to win ball games and likely would be a team that couldn’t lean on its rush attack when they are down. The Tennessee Titans have looked great throughout the preseason especially on offense. Their rush attack has been impressive. Murray looks like the back he was two seasons ago and Henry looks like he is still playing at Alabama. Week 1 will provide an excellent opportunity for the Titans to stay in a positive game script, allowing them to lean on the run game. Either Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford will be under center for the Vikings. It’s hard to imagine the Titans getting blown out at home. Tennessee will face a stout defense on Sunday. It will be a great test for the revamped offensive line and their two running backs. This game should also give owners a great idea of how they plan to split the workload between the two backs.
Enjoy a fantastic slate of NFL games this weekend. Hopefully fantasy owners will get some clarity to make better decisions going forward.