Fantasy Football: Week 1
The first week of the NFL season is one of the most highly anticipated events for fans and media alike. All offseason individuals discuss both hypothetical and potential scenarios while news in the NFL is limited.
Preseason gets the gears of the media moving, but the first week of the regular season puts all theories to the test. Upgrades are players that you can feel confident in starting or get the edge when deciding between two players.
Downgrades are for players that you should defer from if you have another option, or the consensus ranking is determined to be too high for that week.
Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans, vs. Cardinals
In an offense that is led by two-time rushing leader Derrick Henry, and the team’s leader in receiving A.J Brown, there is still huge fantasy value for Jones. Last year this offense proved that it could carry two viable wide receivers as Corey Davis played second fiddle to Brown and was 16 yards short of a 1000-yard season. Jones, last year, produced a quiet 800 receiving yards in only nine games played, and this season he had the offseason to recover from his hamstring injury. The Cardinals secondary is thin with the departure of Patrick Peterson and Malcolm Butler, which should provide opportunities for Jones.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team, vs. Chargers
Thomas just signed a three-year extension worth roughly $24 million dollars, and Washington is looking to give him the ball. With rough quarterback play last year Thomas still ended up in the top 5 in targets as a tight end. Although Washington has added Adam Humphries and Curtis Samuel to the receiving corp, Thomas has a chance to take advantage of the Chargers mid-tier defense against tight ends.
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens, vs. Raiders
With season-ending injuries to Justice Hill and J.K Dobbins, Edwards has a clear path to maximum usage. Edwards has averaged 5.0 yards per carry in his first three NFL Seasons and will get more than 10 carries in a matchup where the Ravens are 4.5-point favorites. The only question is whether or not he will get any receiving duties, but for standard leagues he is a good play.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears, vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams provide an unfriendly fantasy matchup both on the ground and in the air. Montgomery totaled only 48 yards on the ground and failed to score in the previous matchup. Especially when the quarterback position is a question mark, it will be hard for Montgomery to be effective.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions, vs. San Francisco 49ers
The former running back out of Georgia is a talented athlete, but the scenario in Detroit is not optimal. Swift is recovering from a groin injury, and even if he is healthy enough to suit up, San Francisco brings a tough matchup while splitting carries with his backup Jamaal Williams. Williams cut into Aaron Jones’ workload in Green Bay and is likely to continue that role in Detroit, if not compete for the starting job.
Matthew Gelhard is a third-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him email@example.com.