2018 NFL Week 1 Picks and Previews: Every Win Counts

It’s that time of year again.  Football is finally back!  Today, I will share my predictions for each of the Week 1 games, and I have included a video preview for the Patriots game.   In the future, I may include 2-3 other game previews in addition to a Patriots preview.  I think the NFL is going to be especially competitive this year, so every win counts, even if it’s against a below average team.  Comment with your thoughts and I hope you’re all as excited as I am to watch some regular season football.

Lock of the Week

The Broncos are coming off a really strong draft that helped revamp their offense alongside the signing of QB Case Keenum.  I think the Broncos young pair of running backs will flourish against a declining Seahawks defense.  I don’t think Case Keenum will ever repeat his spectacular 2017, but I do see him having a strong game and taking advantage of the newfound WR depth in Denver.  In the 2017 draft, Denver finally found a third receiver to play alongside Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, and I see him playing a significant role right off the bat.

This Broncos defense is also nearly as strong as it was last year.  Considering Seattle’s 2017 offensive struggles, I think Denver could easily hold the Seahawks under 20 points.  This will allow Denver to blow Seattle out and get revenge on Seattle for routing the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Upset of the Week (MNF)

I think this will be a close call, but I can’t see this stacked Raiders offense losing to the Rams in Oakland.  They have a trio of talented receivers, a good mix of long-time veterans and younger guys in the backfield, and a decent QB and tight end group.  They also have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.  The Rams are one of my two overrated teams of the year.  Sure, they made some exciting moves this off-season, but they lost a lot to free agency in the process.

The Raiders defense may not be looking so good after losing DE Khalil Mack, but their secondary isn’t as bad as it seems.  I see the secondary keeping QB Jared Goff’s receivers well covered, leaving Goff struggling to find open men.  Meanwhile, I don’t see the Raiders offense putting up 30+ points against a relatively strong Rams defense.  But I do see them getting by with just enough to pull off the upset in this one.

TNF (Posted on Twitter on Thursday – Actual Score: 18-12 Eagles)

QB Carson Wentz may be out, but backup QB Nick Foles can still lead teams to victory when it matters.  I don’t see Foles playing quite at Super Bowl level in this one, but competition motivates him.  I think Foles will throw for 2 touchdowns despite being slowed down by the Falcons front seven.  Look out for a big game out of WR Mike Wallace as well.  With WR Alshon Jeffery injured, coverage will be drawn towards TE Zach Ertz and WR Nelson Agholor, Philly’s next two best pass-catchers.  For the Falcons, I think veteran WR Julio Jones and rookie WR Calvin Ridley will have a strong week.  But it won’t be enough for a victory with QB Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s RB duo struggling against the Eagles defensive front.

Sunday’s Games

It’s sure to be an intense game with two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks facing off.  I think both QBs, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson, will have strong games.  But they will be held back by their lack of wide receiver depth, especially Houston, who will be without WR Will Fuller (hamstring).  However, this opens up an opportunity for a strong game by WR DeAndre Hopkins.  I also see RB Lamar Miller having a strong game with sophomore RB D’Onta Foreman injured.  Meanwhile, as the Patriots typically do, expect Tom Brady to find creative ways to score despite the lack of WR depth with Julian Edelman suspended, and that will lead them to a Week 1 victory.

The Ravens have one of the stronger defensive fronts in the league, and I can’t see QB Nathan Peterman having a strong game against Baltimore after his regular season struggles in 2017.  I don’t see Joe Flacco doing much better, but I think veteran WR Michael Crabtree will find a way to produce against the strong Buffalo secondary, and I think WR John Brown will begin to look like his old self, leading the Ravens in receiving while Crabtree is facing heavier coverage.  I don’t think the Bills stellar run game will be enough to outdo the Ravens, but I do think they will force overtime.  From there Baltimore will secure the victory with strong defense and a well-crafted winning drive.

This will be an interesting game.  We have a match-up between two younger quarterbacks looking to take it to the next level.  I think both Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and Titans QB Marcus Mariota will have promising showings in a close one.  Even without WR DeVante Parker, I think the Dolphins wide receivers will step it up in this game to make it close.  But I think the Titans receivers are ready to tear apart Miami’s secondary.  Expect a big game from veteran TE Delanie Walker, even against S Reshad Jones.  You also could see a very strong game out of WR Corey Davis.  This is only the beginning of what I think will be Corey Davis’ breakout year.  Walker and Davis will lead the Titans past Miami in a close one.

I think the Steelers will manage a victory here.  But the Browns will make it closer than we’ve seen in a game between these two teams in a long time, with a strong offensive showing.  I don’t think QB Tyrod Taylor will look that good against the Steelers D.  But I think he’ll manage to find open receivers such as WR Jarvis Landry and TE David Njoku for portions of the game.  With RB Le’Veon Bell likely out, expect RB James Conner and RB Stevan Ridley to step it up against the Browns D in Bell’s place.  I think the Steelers offense will just be too much for Cleveland’s rebuilding D, especially with a strong game from WR Antonio Brown and a strong debut from rookie WR James Washington.

Andrew Luck is finally back.  I think he’ll look like his old self, but I see him struggling to find reliable receivers.  Besides T.Y. Hilton, Luck doesn’t have many of them.  Meanwhile, I think the Bengals offense, led by WR A.J. Green will dominate a Colts defense that isn’t looking great.  I think Cincy’s defensive front will look good and shut down the Colts’ young run game.  But I don’t think the Bengals secondary will look much better than Indy’s without S George Iloka.  That will at least allow T.Y. Hilton to have a strong game and make this a little closer.

I don’t think Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will be especially strong against the Giants D, but he’ll find enough open receivers to edge out a victory.  Meanwhile, the Jaguars stellar defense will help secure Jacksonville’s lead by holding the Giants under 20 points and 2 touchdowns.  However, I see WR Odell Beckham Jr. outplaying Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey and scoring New York’s only TD in an epic WR-CB match-up.  But I think rookie RB Saquon Barkley and the Giants run game will be shut down by the strong Jacksonville front seven.

I think QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers receivers will have a decent game here.  But the Vikings defense will limit them significantly, allowing the Vikes to blowout the Niners with Minnesota’s offense outplaying a mediocre 49ers D.  I think QB Kirk Cousins will find plenty of open men to throw to in the end zone, and I expect a strong game out of the Vikings RB duo (Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray) with Cook healthy.  I think the one Vikings receiver that will struggle is Adam Thielen, who will likely be matched up against star corner Richard Sherman.  But Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell will show promise after a slow start to his NFL career and play a role in Minnesota’s victory.

This Buccaneers front seven is extremely underrated, and I don’t see the Saints run game thriving against them with RB Mark Ingram suspended.  But with Bucs QB Jameis Winston also suspended, I don’t think Tampa Bay will put up enough points to outdo the Saints in New Orleans.  The Saints are the other team I see as overrated, but I still cannot see them losing to a Winston-less Bucs offense at home.  I think the Saints defense will play well enough.  Offensively, Drew Brees and Michael Thomas will work together to secure the Saints a victory.

With QB Patrick Mahomes II starting for the Chiefs, I don’t think the offense will look as good as it did last year.  But I do think RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill, and TE Travis Kelce will help Mahomes and the Chiefs keep this game close.  However, I see the Chargers offense looking pretty good in this game.  WR Mike Williams will look strong at full health, and QB Philip Rivers and RB Melvin Gordon will also put up strong performances, leading the Chargers to victory despite sloppy defense by both teams.

The Panthers had a very strong pre-season, and I think they can carry the momentum into the regular season against the Cowboys.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Panthers QB Cam Newton throw 3-4 touchdowns in this one.  Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will keep this interesting as I expect him to throw at least 2 touchdowns.  However, I think RB Ezekiel Elliott will have a tough time against a really strong Panthers front seven.

I don’t think Cardinals QB Sam Bradford will quite look like his old self.  But I see him staying healthy and tossing a couple touchdowns in his first start since early last season.  I expect QB Alex Smith and RB Adrian Peterson to have strong days as well, making this close.  But I think the Cardinals win in the end, led by a dominant day for RB David Johnson in his return, and a strong performance by CB Patrick Peterson in man-to-man coverage against Redskins WR Jamison Crowder.

SNF

With QB Aaron Rodgers back at full speed, expect a strong game by the Packers offense.  I see Rodgers tossing at least 2 touchdowns, and TE Jimmy Graham having an especially strong day.  Graham was a great signing, and Rodgers and Graham will make for an amazing QB-TE combo.  Rodgers hasn’t had that for a long time.  The Bears offense will look strong in this game as well.  But I cannot see them putting up as many points as Green Bay does with Rodgers at full health, making the Pack victorious in Rodgers’ return.

MNF

I expect QB Matthew Stafford to look sharp in prime time against a mediocre Jets D.  His receivers should have a strong showing as well, with WR Kenny Golladay showing flashes of dominance, and veteran WR Golden Tate looking better than he was last year.  I also think RB Ameer Abdullah will step up his game this season, starting with this prime time match-up.  Meanwhile, the Jets offense will look revamped with WR Quincy Enunwa healthy and RB Isaiah Crowell and WR Terrelle Pryor Jr. on board.  But I still don’t think it is going to be enough.

That’s all for my NFL Week 1 picks and previews.  Be sure to comment with your thoughts, and enjoy the first Football Sunday of 2018.

Fantasy Football Must-Starts and Must-Sits for Week 10

At this point in the season, from a fantasy point of view, things are getting harder to decide.  So it’s about time I give you some advice to help sort out your starters from your bench players.  First off, here are my rankings at the 4 major positions for this week.  I have included ratings that I have found by combining the what the player’s rank would be if your draft was today, and some match-up analysis ratings.

week10ratings

Okay, so I’m going to go through each match-up, and for each match-up I will have a must-start or must-sit and the rating for that player.  The ratings are from 0 to 60, 60 is absolutely insane, and 0 is terrible.  Most players are somewhere in between.  Anyone who I say has a must-start match-up should be started under all means.  A must-sit should not be started under any conditions.

gbpackers2.jpg @ tennessee-titans.

Must-Start

Image result for randall cobb Randall Cobb, WR, GB (43.5, WR11)

The Titans defense doesn’t have much against the Packers.  Their number 1 corner is Perrish Cox, and I think especially if the Titans offense presents a bit of a surprising challenge like they have several times this season, the Packers will rely on throwing to Nelson and Randall Cobb.  Nelson always gets a lot of points, but there would be a significant increase this week for Cobb, especially with the backfield lacking depth.

 

denver-broncos-logo @ nosaints

 

Must-Start

Image result for devontae booker DeVontae Booker, RB, DEN (40.5, RB13)

C.J. Anderson is likely out for the season, and despite being the underdog in this match-up, the Saints pass rush is pathetically bad, and it will cost them.  The Broncos will take advantage of this, and it will be easier to get big time yardage from running the ball, possibly even more TDs.  This will be good for Booker, as he should get most of this backfield work.  So he should get you at least 10 points.  Trust me on this.

 

Image result for los angeles rams @ Jets-Logo

Must-Start

Image result for quincy enunwa Quincy Enunwa, WR, NYJ (34.5, WR26)

With Eric Decker on IR, Enunwa has gotten a lot more work.  The Rams secondary isn’t great, so I would start both Enunwa and Brandon Marshall.  Trumaine Johnson is really the only reliable corner for the Rams, and he’ll be covering Marshall, making things even easier for Enunwa.  The Jets are in favor here, but they will have to pass.  Things will be tough because both teams have their weaknesses.  Enunwa will be a key factor in whether the Jets win or lose.

atlfalcons @ philadelphia-eagles-logo

Must-Start

Image result for carson wentz Carson Wentz, QB, PHI (36, QB12)

I know Wentz has struggled lately, but I just have a feeling that the Eagles will take advantage of the Falcons’ weaknesses at home, look like themselves from earlier this season, and take the win.  Wentz should have it relatively easy as the Falcons do lack depth on defense, and there will be match-ups that other Eagles players take advantage of.  Jordan Matthews will take advantage of the fact that the Falcons only have one strong  corner.  Zach Ertz will also take advantage of the defensive depth problems that could help Wentz.  So, this is definitely a good match-up for Eagles offensive players.  It’s all in the hands of Carson Wentz how well they do.

Image result for chicago bears @ tampabaybuccaneers
Must-Start

 Jameis Winston, QB, TB (42.5, QB8)

This is like the ultimate must-start here.  The offense should improve with Doug Martin back, and the Bears defense may not be able to handle the offense.  Their pass rush is pathetic and the secondary is lacking depth and superstars.  After what he did last week, Mike Evans should be a major target too, and this is a great match-up for him too, because it could be a close game that’s decided by big plays if the Bucs defense lets their guard down too.  Either way, Winston should get involved in the action.

 

min-vikings-logo2.gif @ washingtonredskins2

Must-Sit

Image result for kirk cousins Kirk Cousins, QB, WSH (28.5, QB21)

This is really a tough match-up for Cousins.  He will be under a lot of pressure against a defense that has scored multiple TDs this season, and is one of the fantasy leaders defensively.  With that, it’s got to be hard for opposing QBs.  This entire offense will have a challenge, and it’s not any easier without Matt Jones at his best and DeSean Jackson or Josh Doctson even playing.  It’ll be hard or the Redskins to even win, even with a strong secondary of their own.

 

kansas-city-chiefs-logo @ carolina-panthers-logo

Must-Start

 

  Spencer Ware, RB, KC (40, RB14)

Ware should come back strong this week, especially after what he’s done so far this year, most of it with Jamaal Charles active.  Charcandrick West may still get some backfield work, but he was semi-bust material last week, and Ware’s been awesome all year.  Ware might have earned the job for even when Charles is active.  I know the Panthers pass rush is a lot tougher than the secondary, but the Chiefs are lacking receiver depth with Jeremy Maclin out, so the Chiefs may have to run the ball.  Just the fact that he’s getting a heavier workload could be to his advantage.

hou-texans @ jacksonvile-jaguars

Must-Sit

Image result for allen robinson Allen Robinson, WR, JAX

I actually just traded for Robinson, because somebody wanted to sell him high, and I needed an extra receiver. I have three other good receivers to start though, OBJ, Brandon Marshall and Jarvis Landry.  Now that I did my research, I realized I need to take my own advice.  This Texans defense is very good, Robinson hasn’t lived up to his expectations, and is only at about the level of Allen Hurns this year, and the Jags have had a tough time against tough defenses.  The Texans have one of those defenses.

 

Dolphins-logo @ San_Diego_Chargers

Must-Start

 Image result for antonio gates Antonio Gates, TE, SD (43, TE5)

There aren’t many must start tight ends, but Gates is in a pretty good match-up for this week.  Gates should take advantage of a Dolphins defense that has it’s problems.  Hunter Henry is questionable, and Gates is back to full health.  I think the Chargers will win this game because they will tsake advantage of favorable positional match-ups, and Gates is favored in his match-up.

 

sf-49ers.jpg @ az-cards.jpg

Must-Sit

 Carlos Hyde, RB, SF (27, RB35)

Hyde is already questionable, and may be limited if he’s active.  The Cardinals defense is also very tough, so Hyde will have additional problems that the entire offense will face.  Even with the Cardinals slumping, this is a tough, unfavorable match-up.  Hyde is a bust for this week, whether he plays or not.

dalcowboyslogonew @pittsburgh-steelers

 Must-Sit

Image result for jesse james steelers Jesse James, TE, PIT (27, TE20)

Image result for jason witten            Jason Witten, TE, PIT & DAL (32, TE16)

Both of thse tight ends are in a bad position.  James won’t get as heavy a workload with Ladarius Green returning, and the Cowboys have decent defense that can pressure him and his offense.  Witten is facing a pretty tough linebacker corps, along with a strong week for a lot of tight ends.  Witten’s value is going down solely because he’s not a Top 12 tight end.  He’s also getting older, so he can only do so much for your fantasy team.  Tight ends won’t be targeted much in this game, especially with Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant healthy for it.

seattle-seahawks.jpg @ New_England_Patriots.jpg

Must-Sit

Image result for christine michael Christine Michael, RB, SEA (28.5, RB32)

Michael has not been as good in the last couple of games, and the Patriots defense won’t let him bulldoze through.  C.J. Prosise is cutting into his workload, and soon Thomas Rawls will too.  He’s not the lock-in RB1 at this point.  Michael has a very tough match-up, his workload is shrinking, and he’s not a reliable option this Sunday.  Michael could soon become a drop candidate if he does not have another big game.

cincinnati-bengals @ new-york-giants-logo

Must-Start

 

 Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR (36.5, WR24)

        Victor Cruz, NYG, WR   (33, WR29)

OBJ has a good match-up, but he’s not the only Giants receiver that will get a fantasy workload.  Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz could be deciding factors in whether the Giants win or lose.  They have good match-ups has the secondary’s attention will be on OBJ, so all three receivers will put up a lot of points.  If you have OBJ, Shepard or Cruz, start your Giants receiver this week.

Okay, so this week is going to be a week of close match-ups.  But there shouldn’t be any tough decisions fantasy-wise if you start the must-starts, sit the must-sits, and go by my rating index at QB, RB, WR and TE.