Quarterbacks - Featured site is FanDuel
Fantistics Top 5 QBs:
1. Matthew Stafford
2. Tony Romo
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Carson Palmer
5. Andrew Luck
Matthew Stafford (DET) - Stafford started off well in the season opener against San Diego on the road but faltered in the second half with mistakes as well as a sore throwing arm which he says is not a big deal. He threw 19 of 30 for 246 yards, two TD and two INTs which is reminiscent of the type of games he had in a disappointing 2014. On the positive side, Ameer Abdullah looks like a big time gamebreaker which will help keep defenses from focusing on covering Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Give San Diego's defense credit for limiting the Lions two big receivers but Minnesota will not have the same success this Sunday. San Diego dominated time of possession which is a stamp of Mike McCoy's coaching and with Stafford struggling on third down, the Lions did not have the ball enough in the second half. Stafford has historically played well against the division rival Vikings who will not be able to hold the ball like San Diego.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) - Without Le'Veon Bell, Big Ben is in the position of having to throw more than he usually does which is already quite a bit. In the season opener against New England he proved this to be true as he threw 26 of 38 for 351 yards, one TD and one INT. Even without suspended WR Martavis Bryant, the Pittsburgh QB was chucking throws to a deep set of WRs. The Steelers play at home this Sunday against a San Francisco 49ers team that will be coming off a surprisingly dominant victory over Minnesota. As good as the Niners D looked, it does not have the capability of shutting down the Pittsburgh machine, especially if DeAngelo Williams runs as well as he did last week. Roethlisberger has thrown for 300+ yards in five of his last six games at home, including a total of 17 passing TDs!
Sam Bradford (PHI) - Bradford had such a poor first half last Monday, I am sure a lot of fantasy daily players were questioning why they picked the guy in the first place, but he rebounded in the second half to show all the preseason talk wasn't for nothing. He ended the game throwing 36 of 52 for 336 yards, one TD and two INTs, but really should have had two TD passes as a rocket to Jordan Matthews crossed the goal line but the Eagles chose not to replay it and instead ran it in for a score on the next play. Bradford came out of the game relatively unscathed which is a huge deal and will now return home for a big divisional matchup against a Dez Bryant-less Dallas Cowboys team. Dallas did do a decent job limiting Eli Manning last Sunday but it will not be ready for the pace that Philly's offense will set.
Joe Flacco (BAL) - Flacco is very undervalued this week coming off an utter fiasco against Denver that saw him throw 18 of 32 for 117 yards, zero TDs and two INTs. We all know he is not that bad of a quarterback but a combination of Denver's defense and the lack of receiving depth definitely set him back. Flacco's price point is just low enough for him to be on your team and not prohibit you from loading up on other positions. He faces the great cure for any quarterbacks that are struggling - Oakland! The Raiders just made Andy Dalton look like the second coming of Dan Marino last Sunday, as their secondary issues are mind numbingly bad. Flacco will get back on track but Steve Smith will have to step up because no one else appeared to be close to helpful last week.
On the Fence:
Nick Foles (STL) - The Rams look like they finally have a credible QB for the first time in a very long time as Foles was solid against Seattle last Sunday in an upset victory. He threw 18 of 27 for 297 yards, 1 TD and zero INTS while rushing for one TD. He appears to have a favorable matchup against Washington last week but we have to consider the Rams receiving weapons, or lack thereof. Even though Washington lost last week against Miami, the game was competitive and really decided on a late punt return TD by Jarvis Landry. Washington played good defense and will surely be able to attack the Rams based on what Foles and Co. showed last week. Foles will also have to watch the ball security (he fumbled twice against Seattle) but his familiarity with Washington after being with Philly will eventually make him a solid play.
Ryan Mallett (HOU), Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) and Tyrod Taylor (NE). All signs point to Mallett starting this Sunday against a Carolina team that will likely be without Luke Kuechly (concussion). Brian Hoyer wasn't terrible last week but the Houston coaching staff liked what Mallett brought to the table at the tail end of last week's game against KC. Mallet has some weapons to throw to so he is a solid gamble. Fitzpatrick has been a solid fantasy journeyman for years, and now he has Brandon Marshall to throw to and faces an Indianapolis team that was whipped good by Buffalo last week. Indy's D wasn't as bad as it showed last Sunday but it is far from settled so Fitzpatrick should continue his solid early start. Taylor threw a nice bomb to Percy Harvin last week and scurried all over the place like a poor man's Russell Wilson. Now, is Taylor a one hit wonder or can he continue to get better like Wilson? It's hard to say but his game against NE this Sunday figures to be a high scoring affair with lots of fantasy points to be had.
Running Back - Featured site is DraftKings
Fantistics Top 5 RBs:
1. Jeremy Hill
2. DeMarco Murray
3. Matt Forte
4. Jamaal Charles
5. Lamar Miller
Jeremy Hill (CIN) - Hill looked strong in his season debut against Oakland as he rushed 19 times for 63 yards and two TDs. He faces a San Diego team this week that gave up some big runs and receptions to Detroit's Ameer Abdullah last week. Although Andy Dalton played so well last week, the Bengals offense will be still be built around the run firstly. Dalton hasn't shown he can carry the offense so the running game needs to be emphasized because that allows Dalton to more carefully pick his spots in the passing game. Hill has scored three rushing TDs in his last four home games.
Matt Forte (CHI) - Even though Chicago lost its season opener against Green Bay, Forte was one of the fantasy stars of the day which didn't surprise anyone who understood new offensive coordinator Adam Gase's new philosophy of limiting Jay Cutler. Focusing on Forte enabled him to rush 24 times for 141 yards, one TD and catch five passes for 25 yards. Forte has always been a premier fantasy RB but fantasy players do tend to shy away from a back with a lot of mileage. While we will have to wait and see how he holds up this season in terms of injury, he will continue his red hot start to the season against Arizona which won't make it easy, but won't be able to stop him from contributing in a major way.
Jamaal Charles (KC) - Charles was a busy man in KC's opener against Houston as he rushed 16 times for 57 yards and caught five passes for 46 yards and one TD on nine targets. He will now face division rival Denver at home, the same team that shut him down on the ground last year in two matchups although the first match saw Charles get injured and miss most of the game. Charles did catch a TD in the second matchup but his overall numbers were disappointing. His fortunes will change this coming Thursday by the looks of how KC dismantled Houston, a talented defensive team, as well as how much Denver is struggling with its new offense. Charles will have plenty of opportunities to pay off.
Chris Johnson (AZ) - With Andre Ellington most likely out with a PCL injury this Sunday against Chicago, Johnson will be the Cards lead back. His low price point will benefit those fantasy daily players who can acquire the former 2,000 yard rusher and load up at other positions with higher dollar values. Head Coach Bruce Arians loves the big play so he is one of the league's best at designing plays to take advantage of speed. CJ2K may not be what he was in his prime in Tennessee, but he is still lightning fast and can contribute. He faces a Chicago defense that is full of holes as evident last week when Green Bay's Eddie Lacy controlled the line of scrimmage.
Joseph Randle (DAL) - Randle made his debut as Dallas' lead running back last Sunday against the NY Giants, rushing 16 times for 65 yards and catching three passes for 42 yards. He was far from DeMarco Murray quality but he made some nice runs and could be considered a better receiver than Murray. Dallas has arguably the best offensive line in the league so no matter who the Cowboys put in the backfield, he will have holes to exploit. Also, Dallas is smart enough to know that it will have to run to keep defenses honest which is actually unavoidable now because of the injury to Dez Bryant. Randle faces Philadelphia this Sunday in what should be a high scoring game so consider all the skill positions in this one.
Upside Plays: Carlos Hyde (SF) - Hyde broke through to fantasy stardom last Monday night against Minnesota - rushing 26 times for 168 yards, two TDs and catching two passes for 14 yards. He is an absolute beast of a runner who gets stronger the more times he gets the rock. With the Niners passing game a work in progress, the running game will the crux of everything which means Hyde will get more and more work. He faces Pittsburgh which always plays tough run defense but Hyde will continue his great start. Ameer Abdullah (DET) - The speedster made an immediate impact in his regular season debut against San Diego, rushing seven times for 50 yards, one TD and catching four passes for 44 yards. He will continue to share the load with Joique Bell and most likely lose a lot of goal line opportunities, but his big play ability will make him a fantasy daily favorite because of his aptitude to score from anywhere on the field. Minnesota's run defense was run over by Carlos Hyde last week so Abdullah is licking his chops. Dion Lewis (NE) - As usual, NE pulled a rabbit out of its hat during the season opener and featured Lewis when most thought it would feature James White or Branden Bolden. Lewis showed up well - rushing 15 times for 69 yards and catching four passes for 51 yards. With LeGarrette Blount's return looming and the automatic uncertainty attached with anything NE-wise, Lewis may have been a flash in the pan, but we feel he showed enough to contribute regularly.
Wide Receivers - Featured site is DraftDay
Fantistics Top 5 WRs:
1. Odell Beckham Jr.
2. Antonio Brown
3. Calvin Johnson
4. Julio Jones
5. DeMaryius Thomas
Antonio Brown (PIT) - Brown has been arguably the best WR in the NFL since the beginning of the last year as well as the most consistent. He has caught at least five passes in 33 straight games which is an NFL record and excelled in Pitt's season opener against NE, catching nine passes for 133 yards and one TD which showed he is picking up right where he left off from his record setting 2014. He will face San Francisco at home which sounds daunting if you consider the Niners strong victory against Minnesota, but Brown is practically unguardable as has been the case the last 33 straight regular season games. The fact that Le'Veon Bell will miss another game adds to Brown's value as the Steelers will have to air the ball more than they probably would with Bell in tow. The Steelers will also test the Niners corners more than the Vikings were able too so Brown will also have a good chance to break several big good plays.
Julio Jones (ATL) - Jones looked like the best WR in the game last Monday night against Philadelphia as he caught nine passes for 141 yards and two TDs. Despite catching 104 passes last year, Jones only had one multiple TD catch game, and six TDs total. It seemed to be more of a fluke than anything so let us see if he can continue his scoring ways more consistently than he did last year. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan looked to bring new life to a Falcons offense that was still pretty good last year at times. The Falcons RB situation is far from smooth but if the Falcons can avoid being too one dimensional with the pass, Jones could be a top three elite fantasy WR this year. He comes with a heavy price tag in all fantasy dailies but that is because he is so consistent in terms of receptions. He faces the NY Giants which makes him a strong play because of the Giants weak defense.
Steve Smith (BAL) - Smith had a very quiet game as did the entire Ravens offense last Sunday against Denver. He caught just two passes for 13 yards on seven targets. Baltimore was led in receiving by Marlon Brown who nabbed two catches for 25 yards (really). The Ravens will simply not win if they don't get their passing game back on track but they are smart enough to know that and it helps when your next game is against the most hapless football team the decade plus - the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were steamrolled last Sunday by both Cincinnati's run and pass attack so Baltimore will be in a great spot to take advantage of the low morale and give it Oakland. Without Torrey Smith, Smith is the undisputed top receiver in Baltimore so Joe Flacco will have to start feeding him more as well as consistently sooner rather than later.
Golden Tate - Tate surprised those who gambled on him as a play last Sunday against San Diego by catching just four passes for just 24 yards on eight targets. SD did dominate time of possession which caused Detroit's passing to get all out of whack but even so, Matthew Stafford did have a lot of third down failures. He is usually able to bounce back from poor outings such as he had, especially when he has three weapons in Calvin Johnson, Tate and Ameer Abdullah that are healthy now. In two games against Minnesota last year, Tate caught 14 passes for 82 yards and one TD. Detroit dominated both matchups with the Vikings so the capability is there for an offensive explosion.
Donte Moncrief (IND) - Moncrief had a nice debut against Buffalo last week as he caught six passes for 46 yards and one TD. The second year speedster saw more playing time following TY Hilton's struggles with a knee injury. Hilton is questionable to go this week against the NY Jets because of what the team calls a knee bruise, but even if he does go, how effective can he be? Moncrief will get a lot of work this Sunday and could pay off big for a fantasy player who takes the gamble on him. James Jones (GB) - Jones made an immediate splash with his old team by scoring two TDs in the season opener against the Bears. When the NY Giants cut Jones at the tail end of preseason, the Packers front office probably started doing cartwheels because with the injury to Jordy Nelson, who could be better to fill in the void than a guy who knows the Packers inside out and still has speed? Jones will have a tougher fight on his hands this coming Sunday with Seattle on the menu. However, with no Kam Chancellor, we saw what a Rams team did with little firepower. GB has a lot more firepower and has been waiting for this battle ever since it choked away the NFC Championship last year. Kendall Wright (TEN) - We can all agree on two things - 1) Wright is Tennessee's best receiver 2) Marcus Mariota had a helluva rookie debut last Sunday against Tampa Bay. Now will Mariota cool off this coming week against Cleveland or will he continue to flourish quickly? Even if Mariota cools off a little, he and Wright have started the beginning of a rapport that could be an underrated fantasy tandem this year. It's a bit early to say for sure, but Wright definitely has the ability if Mariota keeps bringing it.
Tight Ends - Featured site is FantasyAces
Fantistics Top 5 TEs:
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Travis Kelce
3. Greg Olsen
4. Jimmy Graham
5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Rob Gronkowski (NE) - Everyone's favorite party animal got off to the expected fast start last week against Pittsburgh by catching five passes for 94 yards and three TDs. It seems like whenever New England gets into its spread formation and Tom Brady hurries to the line to prevent opposing defenses from substituting, Gronk is always on the verge of catching a big pass. He has scored in six straight games including the playoffs (33 total receptions). He gets to face Buffalo this Sunday, a team that he caught nine passes for 94 yards against the last time they played. Gronk does come with a high price tag but you will be hard pressed to find a more consistent TE or even receiver in the league. In 18 total games played last year including three playoff games, he scored 15 times.
Jason Witten (DAL) - Witten has always been a pretty steady play in fantasy dailies but now he has the potential to outperform his price point due to Dez Bryant's broken foot. In Dallas' season opener against the NY Giants, Witten caught eight passes for 60 yards and two TDs, including the eventual game winning score. With Bryant out for several weeks and a lackluster running game in place due to DeMarco Murray leaving via free agency, the venerable Witten will have to step up and aid his QB. Tony Romo and Witten have an unbeatable rapport which Dallas will need more than ever during this early part of the season. Witten underperformed for most of the 2014 season, but when it came time for the playoff stretch run, he reemerged as a fantasy force. In his last six games, including the 2015 season opener and two playoff games, Witten nabbed 37 catches for 402 yards and three TDs! He faces Philly this weekend in what will likely be an up tempo, high scoring affair.
Zach Ertz (PHI) - After missing all preseason with a hernia issue, it was questionable whether or not Ertz would suit up for Philly's season opener against Atlanta. He did end up playing and looked decent in catching three passes for 46 yards - but more importantly was targeted eight times. Sam Bradford had the confidence in throwing to the athletic Ertz, who will get more and more in a rhythm and break through in a solid fashion to hopefully be considered among the top tier of fantasy TEs. Ertz will face Dallas in what should be a high scoring game but with the absence of a seasoned WR2 behind Jordan Matthews, Bradford with look to Ertz a lot to keep the chains moving.
Jared Cook (STL) - With the arrival of Nick Foles, the Rams receivers and tight ends should be the beneficiaries of the most consistent passing game the team has seen in years. We saw a little of that in the season opener between St. Louis and Seattle, as Foles made some great throws to guys that were probably as surprised as anyone given the Rams' poor QB play over the years. Remember Austin Davis last year? The talented Cook who was an underrated TE in his days in Tennessee, has been somewhat of a disappointment with the Rams. He can hopefully eliminate that stigma and build on his game last Sunday which saw him catch five passes for 85 yards, leading the team in both categories. Vernon Davis (SF) - Davis had a brutal year in 2014, catching a TD in the season opener but never catching another one all year. He was always mentioned as part of the most disappointing fantasy busts of 2014 but part of that can be traced to his frustrations regarding his contract. Now that he is in his final year, he will have to play as hard as possible if he wants to secure a lucrative contract in the offseason from any team, not just the Niners who may move into a different direction. He did lead the Niners with 47 yards on three catches last Monday against Minnesota but dropped a couple of gimmes. He also almost dropped one ball he did end up catching so it is obvious his confidence isn't where it needs to be. Regardless, the new Niners offense will be predicated on a lot of short passes so Davis will be in the center of a lot of action, continuing this coming Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Defenses - Featured site is DraftStreet
Fantistics Top 5 Defenses:
1. St. Louis
St. Louis Rams - The Rams were able to do a few things that other defenses have so much trouble doing against Seattle - they were able to successfully harass and pressure Russell Wilson as well as corral Marshawn Lynch when they had to. Despite giving up 31 points, the Rams sacked Wilson six times, intercepted him once, returned one punt for a 75 yard TD, held the Seattle running game to 3.9 yards per rush and 42% on third down conversions. The Hawks are almost impossible to shut down but they do have weaknesses that the Rams were able to exploit. The Rams have a lot of talent, led by a defensive line including interior terror Aaron Donald (nine tackles!!!) and outside rusher Robert Quinn. LBs James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree are the IDP studs who garnered a total of 14 tackles. The Rams will face interception prone Kirk Cousins and the rest of the inconsistent Washington offense this Sunday. We expect sacks, and INT or two as well as other big plays that will reward those daily players for choosing the Rams.
Value Play - The Baltimore Ravens did not have much to cheer about last Sunday against Denver as their offense was horrendous, but their defense played a heckuva game against Peyton Manning and Co. They kept the Broncos out of the red zone until very late in the game which was outstanding and eventually held them out of the end zone the entire way on offense. The lone Denver TD came on an Aqib Talib pick six. Ironically, Baltimore's D scored the Ravens lone TD on defense as well on CB Jimmy Smith's pick six of Manning. The Ravens also sacked Manning twice and held the Broncos to a 44% conversion rate on third down. Baltimore will now travel to Oakland, a team with a lot of youth on offense that will have trouble dealing with the veteran savviness and team speed of the purple and black. Oakland's offense was atrocious in the season opener against Cincinnati which Baltimore will surely review and exploit come Sunday.
Other Value Plays: Indianapolis Colts - After a horrendous start to the season on the road in Buffalo, the Colts will be glad to return to the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Field. They host the NY Jets and will be looking for blood. The Jets made several mistakes against Cleveland in their season opener but the Browns are so bad, those mistakes were easily overcome. The Colts have too much talent for the interception prone Ryan Fitzpatrick and Co. Tennessee Titans - The Titans can be had for a decent price point in most dailies which could turn out to be a steal given that they play hapless Cleveland - a team that may have to start Austin Davis at QB this Sunday. The Titans absolutely dominated Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Bucs last week so they will look to keep their momentum against an offense that is full of holes.
Kickers - Featured site is StarStreet (now DraftKings)
Fantistics Top 5 Kickers:
1. Matt Bryant
2. Dan Bailey
3. Chandler Catanzaro
4. Josh Brown
5. Brandon McManus
Adam Vinatieri (IND) - Vinatieri was a non-factor against Buffalo in the season opener as he put up a goose egg. He missed on one field goal attempt and the Colts offense did not have give him the opportunity to kick any XPs or any additional FGs. This was an anomaly for the ages so things will go back to normal this Sunday against the Jets. Vinatieri's poor opener dropped his value in the daily world but we all know how talented this ageless guy is, especially at home indoors.
Other Values: Justin Tucker (BAL), Cody Parkey (PHI) and Cairo Santos (KC).