The return of NFL action also brings back weekly fantasy football to players worldwide. This column will be a weekly focus on fringe starts and sits at each major position.
QB | Ben Roethlisberger
I see a lot of people who are weary on Big Ben this season coming off the year he had. I’d like to put those concerns to rest.
Consider that he was QB3 in 2018 and led the league in both yards and attempts.
Are you going to let a little thing like missing 14 games to injury overshadow that? Seems many of you are.
This game against the Giants is a perfect place to kick start his comeback tour as the G-Men allowed over 20 fantasy points to opposing QB’s last year and did little to improve this offseason.
RB | Todd Gurley
Gurley is another player who many are fading out of the gate for no good reason. Sure, he had a dip in production last year but still managed 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns/
Maybe not up to the lofty standards of some, but still pretty damn good.
Remember, Gurley was running behind an awful Rams O-line and now has a new home in Atlanta.
The Falcons brought in RT Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom this offseason to try and bolster their line and I think Gurley reaps the benefits early.
WR | Ty Hilton
I love TY Hilton as a consistent play in almost any spot you put him in. He ranked 11th at the position last year with over 12.50 PPG in standard leagues and shows no sign of letting up on the gas.
I think many are looking twice at Hilton this weekend based on his numbers against the Jags in years past. But let’s remember, the Jaguars of a few years ago had Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye at corner. Maybe the best pair in the league at the time.
But those two are out the door and their spots have yet to be claimed.
Deploy Hilton with confidence.
TE | Tyler Higbee
Higbe was a real difference-maker last year for the Rams down the home stretch. That was with limited use while Gurley ate up most of the touches for LA in 2019.
With Gurley gone, the Rams will be required to spread the ball around a lot more and I like Higbee to take up a fair bit of that slack.
He scored the eighth-most points of any player after week 13 last year. So, the question is, can keep it up?
I’m willing to bet yes and therefore am inserting him into my TE spot on this column for week 1 with confidence.
D/ST | Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are kind of a no-brainer this week as they head into an opening game on the road against the Giants.
The Iron Curtain was back last year with Pitt ranking second in fantasy points while leading the NFL in both sacks and takeaways.
Funny enough, the Giants, Daniel Jones, led the NFL with 23 giveaways last year. Good for second-worst in the NFL.
See where im going here?
The Steelers are a lock every week but against this loose offense could be a real week winner to open the season.
QB | Kirk Cousins
This fade is widely matchup based and leans heavily on Cousins’ ineffectiveness against the Packers.
In two games last year, Cousins combined for just a pair of touchdown passes. That is bad enough but add to that three interceptions and you can see where my trepidation comes from.
He was sacked five times by this defense the last time out and with the 23rd ranked O-line, a similar outcome is highly plausible.
RB | Le’ Veon Bell
To be honest, if you got saddled with Le’Veon Bell in your draft, the issue of whether to start or sit him might be the least of your problems.
News out of camp is that 37-year-old Frank Gore has been the more impressive and that is just ludicrous if true. Sure, Gore seems to be an ageless talent, but for Bell to play second fiddle would be a massive loss to the Jets.
It’s no secret that Adam Gase, Bell’s coach, is not a fan and is enamored with Gore. As if 2020 couldn’t get weirder, we might see these two split carries to start the year.
I expect him to start the year with RB2/Flex value but is that really enough to take a chance on? There are far better options at better prices to fill that spot than Bell.
WR | DeVante Parker
My biggest concern about starting Parker in week one is the hamstring issue he continues to deal with. It has cost him a week and a half of practice and limited him in days he did suit up. Tuesday was his first practice in two weeks with pads on in fact. With the already limited time players have had to train, this is a major concern.
The Dolphins are optimistic he will be good to go on Sunday but that doesn’t envoke a ton on confidence in a supposed WR1.
Parker also has a brutal matchup against the Patriots week 1. The highest-scoring fantasy defense in 2019.
I’ll be looking elsewhere in week 1 to fill out my top wideout spot.
TE | Austin Hooper
Austin Hooper could be a real standout on a team other than the current Browns but his signing by Cleveland was a bit of a shock to me.
This team is already stacked on offense and Baker Mayfield is not a quarterback who utilizes his tight ends a lot. He will be fighting for catches with the likes of OBJ, Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt AND is facing a staunch Ravens defense.
Baltimore does not allow opposing tight ends to beat them and did not allow a single TE more than 50 yards last year.
D/ST | Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincy defense last season allowed the most yards per play of any other team at 6.09. They combine a weak pass rush with a sketchy secondary and should be faded out of the gate.
While the Chargers don’t bring a huge powerhouse offense, it is one that doesn’t make mistakes. Tyrod Taylor might not win any MVP awards, but he has less than six picks in his three combined seasons as a starter. LA will play carefully and therefore limit any giveaways or sacks the Bengals can hope to get.