Welcome to the 2015 NFL season. We have only been patiently waiting seven months for this moment, waiting for #Deflategate to be over, and waiting to see our favorite football teams back on the field for what’s likely to be another exciting season. Some of us get involved with the NFL each season because our love for football. Some of us get involved because of our love for fantasy football. Some of us just have significant others who love it so much that it’s tolerated. Whatever your reason, your weekends are now booked for the next 21 weeks. Do not schedule your wedding on a Sunday in which my favorite team plays, because I will not attend. There are unwritten rules about scheduling events during the football season and I do not appreciate when you people do not abide by said rules.
If you are visiting this lovely site, you’re likely looking for some fantasy football advice, and considering we’re in week one, you want to get your league off to a good start thanks to all the trash talking you may or may not have been doing. While it is great to get off to a good start with a win in the first weekend of the season, just realize that it’s not the end of the world if you take a loss. I remember finishing third in a two-QB league that auto-picked Carson Palmer and Johnny Manziel for me in 2014. Despite my 7-7 finish and the worst teams in the league having their best weeks against me, I managed to sneak into the playoffs and finish .8 points away from getting to the championship game. I’ll never forgive C.J. Anderson for a garbage time 28 yard reception in Week 16 that handed me a loss. But I am not bitter, despite the fact that all I have done since that loss is bring up just how irritated I am. But that is why we love this game. Season long fantasy leagues are just as exciting as the daily fantasy leagues that we play on DraftKings, which also allow you to redeem yourself when your season long leagues start to suffer.
But that’s enough gabbing. I’m here to play devil’s advocate on a week to week basis. I have always been a high risk player, not afraid to play a mediocre player ahead of a star player thanks to the better matchup. I cannot say that I always make the right call, but I have certainly saved my own tail plenty of times. Over the next 17 weeks, I’ll bring you some of the biggest and boldest moves that you could make in your league that may be the key in winning the week. Without further ado, I present my Week One fantasy football bold moves:
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals over Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
A healthy Carson Palmer is a good Carson Palmer. Sure he’s like 174 years old and he doesn’t get the rush yards, but he’s got healthy weapons and the Cardinals throw down field (20+) more than most when Palmer is in the lineup. Wilson is talented, but so is the St. Louis Rams defense that he faces. Wilson had a huge game in the STL last year, while then disappointing for a single digit performance to close the season.
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles over Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m not saying that the New England defense is all that great (more on that below), but Ben is without Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant this week against a Patriots team that is likely to control the clock with Tom Brady at the helm. Much like Palmer, when Sam Bradford is healthy, he can produce and while I’m not super crazy about his young, inexperienced receivers, I love the fit in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. Take advantage of a healthy Bradford while you still can.
Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions over Chris Ivory, New York Jets
I’m taking a chance here for two reasons. 1) The Lions and Chargers game could be a shootout and 2) the Jets/Browns game is likely to be the exact opposite. Ivory is a talented running back, unfortunately he plays for the Jets. While the Browns defense last year was atrocious against the run, they have a lot of potential in the front seven and I fully expect them to force Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them over the top. Abdullah should get 10-15 touches and he’s explosive enough to maximize those opportunities.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins over Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
Morris is Mr. Consistency. You won’t get 30 out of him, but you can always feel confident plugging him in to get 70+ with a touchdown. Justin Forsett really came on strong last year and I think he has a solid season, but unless you’re in a PPR league, I can’t trust him this week. Denver’s defense is pretty talented and I do not feel they are getting the credit they deserve.
DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers over Alfred Blue, Houston Texans
DeAngelo Williams still has gas left in the tank as he’s been splitting carries over the course of his career and he’s the kind of one cut runner like Le’Veon Bell that can keep a defense honest. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield and doesn’t have anybody behind him really pushing him. While Alfred Blue is the obvious handcuff for the injured Arian Foster, we have no idea just how well he’ll do with the touches he gets against a tough Kansas City front seven. Not to mention, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk are in the mix while teams stack the box with Brian Hoyer at quarterback.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars over Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
We all love Brandon Marshall. We love his on the field ability and his off-field antics. What I don’t love is his match-up against Joe Haden this week and his quarterback being Ryan Fitzpatrick. I’m all about Allen Robinson and I believe that he can still produce if the Jaguars offensive line can give Blake Bortles just another second longer to throw in the pocket. Robinson can play and on almost any other team, he may be drafted a bit higher.
John Brown, Arizona Cardinals over Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs
John Brown came out of nowhere to quietly finish with just under 700 yards on 48 receptions last year. To make you love him more, consider the fact that he was targeted 103 times. Carson Palmer loves to throw the ball down field and Brown loves to pop in under those passes. If he can produce with the garbage QB’s that Arizona played with in 2014, he can score here. On the flip side, Jeremy Maclin has exceptional down field ability, yet plays with the most conservative quarterback in the league in Alex Smith. Maybe Smith takes a few more shots, but I can’t buy Maclin in 2015 until I see some consistency.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants over Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Sammy Watkins likely gets matched up with Vontae Davis in Indianapolis, while also dealing with a talented, yet very unproven quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Slammin’ Sammy Watkins is so talented that he can make bad quarterbacks look good, but I see Taylor and LeSean McCoy becoming best friends over the next few weeks. Rueben Randle may make you want a sandwich, but the guy can score and I truly think that Eli Manning recovers to have a top tier year. Not to mention he’s lined up opposite Odell Beckham Jr against the Cowboys awful secondary.
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions over Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
As mentioned above, I can see a shootout happening with the Lions and Chargers facing off, and Eric Ebron is the second most talented pass catcher on this Detroit offense, in my opinion. Golden Tate had a great 2014 campaign, but I think Ebron steals a few targets from him this year. Kyle Rudolph has a very talented up and coming quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, but Rudolph is too hit or miss for me to start.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants over Coby Fleener/Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
I’m confused to see Larry Donnell falling in drafts or being undrafted in some leagues as he’s a very underrated red zone target with Eli poised for a stellar year. The Colts have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Andrew Luck, but Fleener and Allen are too boom or bust to trust regularly. Not to mention, while Allen seems like the favorite to get the targets from Luck, Fleener still has great chemistry with him.
Cleveland Browns over Baltimore Ravens
The Cleveland Browns defense started off better than people believe last year. Injuries and an inconsistent offense led them to leading the league in overall snaps in 2014, but coming off of fresh legs, I can’t turn them down against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets mess of an offense. Baltimore’s defense needs some work and with Peyton Manning and company being on the other side of the ball, I’m not willing to take that gamble.
Philadelphia Eagles over New England Patriots
Kiko Alonso is back and the Eagles did consistently score plenty of defensive touchdowns in 2014. Was that a fluke? Likely, as we don’t typically start defenses on the hope that they score touchdowns anyway, rather hoping they can give up minimal yardage, get to the quarterback and force turnovers. The Atlanta offense still has a ton of upside with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and an aging Roddy White, but there are still questions with the running game, and they still lack a quality offensive line. The Patriots defense also needs some work after losing Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Vince Wilfork. I fully expect the Patriots to win, but they may not get to Big Ben as much as they want to with his ability to escape pressure, and likely still give up 21+ points.