Fantasy Football 2016: Who Do You Play In Week 1?

We all know the best offense is a bad defense, especially in fantasy football.  But it being week one and all,  who is going to be your magnificent seven or eight to get you that first win?  (As an aside—have you seen the trailers for Denzel Washington’s remake of the Magnificent 7?  yes please) But I digress.

Let’s look at the three worst defenses in 2015 and their opponents for week one in 2016.  I’m sure all these defenses will improve…but week one? It’s a safe bet their improvement won’t be enough, and in week one, I like safe bets.

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1. New Orleans Saints

By any statistical category the New Orleans Saints defense was really bad last year.  How bad?  They were last in points allowed; they were 31st in rushing yards allowed per game-allowing opposing offenses to average 4.9 yards per carry; and they were 31st in overall defensive rankings. And oh yeah, they gave up a NFL season record 45 touchdown passes.  CHa-CHING!!!!

So gone is defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.  In is defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.  But the Saints have also lost 2015 second round pick linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha for the season to a torn ACL; and 2016 first round pick Sheldon Rankings will be out for at least six weeks with a broken fibula.

They have added linebacker James Laurinaitis, and defensive tackle Nick Fairley via free agency.  In addition to safety Vonn Bell, and defensive tackle David Onyemota in the draft.

Fantasy Implications:

Week 1:  Oakland Raiders v New Orleans Saints

It used to be the Saints were unbeatable in the dome. Unfortunately, for Saints and their fans that wasn’t so last season.   The Saints finished the season with 7-9 record, including 5 losses at home.

Players to consider: Quarterback Derek Carr, running back Latavius Murray, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars won preseason player acquisitions.  They however did not look like the rising star in their third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.  I know it’s only preseason.

However, last season after a respectable start, the Jaguars’ defense finished the season ranked 31st in points allowed; 31st in third down defense; collected an anemic 11 total sacks; and finished 24th in total defense.

This is a make or break year for the team and head coach Gus Bradley.  Their defense will be good. But in the first game?  The Jaguars are starting the season with lots of newbies.  New defensive coordinator Todd Walsh.  New defensive tackles Malik Jackson and Sheldon Day; new linebacker Myles Jack; new secondary that includes cornerback Prince Amukamara, safety Tashaun Gipson, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.  But again, they are all just starting to play together, so playing offensive players against them is prudent to get on it early and often before the defense has a chance to jell.

Fantasy Implications:

Week 1: Green Bay Packers v Jacksonville Jaguars

I had noticed that the Jaguars have been better away than at home.  They finished last season 5-11.  They start this season facing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.  Rodgers would like to put alot of points on the board, just to prove you know the talk should be about him.  And I know Eddie Lacy has come into the season svelte and humbled, but…this is Rodgers game.

Players to consider:  Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson (if available), Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers.  After posting their lowest points per game, their lowest yards per game and their lowest yards per play since Rodgers has been starting. look for Rodgers to erase those memories early and often.

3. New York Giants

That smell coming from the East last season could have very well been the defense of the New York Giants.  The Giants posted the worst defense in league history giving up 4,783 yards through the air.  They also gave up the second most points in league history.

They spent large in this year’s free agency:  they acquired Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins.   Vernon had 57 quarterback pressures last season, that was more than any player on the Giants had all last season.  Now he will be paired with a resurgent Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins.  It is an improved front seven, and although they haven’t played together they (unlike the Jaguars) have prior experience up and down the line.

The secondary even with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins can be exploited. And opening against heated rival, Dallas Cowboys demands some exploitation.

Week 1: New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys

Fantasy Implications:

If I were a DFS player, I would play quarterback Dax Prescott. Yes, he is a rookie.  Yes he showed out in preseason ( I know it is only preseason). And okay he was the 135th pick of the NFL 2016 draft.  Did you know in the last 10 years only rookie Russell Wilson started in week 1, after not being drafted in the first two rounds?  And we know how that worked.  Prescott for DFS but in regular fantasy…nah! But there is hope, as in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

I know it sounds slightly contradictory, but I’m pretty sure when you drafted Prescott was your second or third choice in quarterbacks.  Go with your first choice, unless of course it was Tony Romo or Teddy Bridgewater.   In which case, hit me up on Twitter and we can discuss your options.

It’s week one.  You got this.  Going undefeated this year? Yeah me too!

Follow me on Twitter @neverenoughglt


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