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So here we go with another season of boldly predicting the weekly outcome of a handful of fantasy players each week. So these are my not so bold predictions for Week 1.
We have all heard the talk regarding Ben Roethlisberger’s Jekyll and Hyde play on the road and at home. The big difference with this Sunday road contest is Big Ben will finally have all his toys available; wide receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, and a healthy running back Le’Veon Bell to start the season. His last start at Cleveland (last season) was a bit underwhelming, but in two of his last three starts Big Ben has passed for over 300 yards (in each) and tossed six touchdowns. There’s just too much fire-power on the Steelers offense this season and they are facing a defense that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Big Ben will turn in a stat line of 22 of 29 passing for 339 yards and 3 touchdowns with a pick.
My ball carrier for Sunday is the Jets Bilal Powell. Yes, this is not a sexy pick, but Powell is in line to see the lion’s share of carries in the Jets backfield and he adds the pass-catching dimension; 58 receptions last season. Powell will face a Bills defense that allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing running backs (standard scoring) in 2016 including 18 rushing touchdowns (tied for 2nd most). Powell should get plenty of opportunity tomorrow and post RB1 numbers; 90 rushing yards, (5 catches) 45 receiving yards, and two scores.
The Redskins have made a lot of changes in the offseason, but one mainstay is wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Last season the Redskins wide receiver started 9 games and finished with 67 receptions for 847 yards and 7 touchdowns. This Sunday he’ll match up with an Eagles secondary that allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (standard scoring) including the 3rd most receiving yards. I particularly like Crowder in PPR formats this week as I see him getting a lot of work in the slot; his stat line for Sunday, 8 catches for 105 yards receiving and a touchdown.
In the same matchup (Redskins & Eagles), a strong play I am hyping this week is the popular play in DFS this week, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz is a solid TE1 this season finishing with 78 receptions just a year ago. This week he’ll line up against a Redskins defense that allowed the 2nd most receptions to opposing tight ends in 2016, including the 3rd most receiving yards. In their last matchup last season, Ertz caught 10 passes on 13 targets for 112 yards. I am looking for a similar result on Sunday; 8 receptions, 75 yards receiving, and a touchdown.
The Ravens have announced that Joe Flacco is not on the injury report, which means he’ll start on Sunday. I have to believe his safety blanket will be running back Danny Woodhead, a PPR darling in the fantasy world. The Ravens will want Flacco to get the ball out of his hands quickly, so you know he will be relying heavily on Woodhead. The new Ravens running back missed much of the 2016 season, but back in 2015 he was the No.3 fantasy back in PPR with 80 receptions, 1,091 total yards, and 9 total touchdowns. Woodhead will draw the Bengals on Sunday and their defense that allowed 5th most receptions to opposing running backs. Woodhead will be a strong flex on Sunday with a stat line of 35 yards rushing, 6 catches for 55 yards receiving, and one score.
That’s My Take.