10. Delanie Walker is expected to play and could be in for a huge week.

Walker has been banged up during the preseason with a toe injury, but Walker has been a warrior throughout his career and is expected to play in Week 1. The Titans play the Dolphins on the road who were targeted by tight ends 25 percent of the time in 2017, the third-highest rate in the league. They also were tied for the most receptions per game to the position at 5.80 in 2017 with the Browns. The Dolphins have not made any major improvements to their defense to suggest they should be better at stopping tight ends in 2018. Walker projects to be QB Marcus Mariota’s favorite target for this game as long as he is healthy.

9. Jordan Wilkins looks to be the starter for the Colts in Week 1

Marlon Mack is not expected to play against the Bengals for the Colts Week 1 matchup. With Robert Turbin suspended this leaves Jordan Wilkins as the starter with Nyheim Hines and Christine Michael also involved. However just because you stashed a starting running back in the late rounds of the draft doesn’t mean you should feel good about starting him this week. The Bengals are a solid defense against the run and I don’t expect the Colts to be in a positive game script for long. The Bengals should be able to put up points on a very weak Colts defense forcing the Colts to go pass heavy early.

8. Nick Foles targeted Zach Ertz more than any other pass catcher on the Eagles last year

Foles is starting for an injured Carson Wentz during Week 1. Last year we got to see how the offense runs with Foles at the helm. Ertz saw 49 targets from Foles more than any other pass catcher on the team. Also, wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Mack Hollins are expected to miss the game this week. The Eagles are likely going to feature Ertz heavily in what could be a high scoring game. Ertz is locked into being a top three or even a top two tight end for Week 1 and will likely make you happy for drafting him.

7. All of the 49ers running backs will be utilized in Week 1 including Fullback Kyle Juszczcyk

When McKinnon went down with an ACL tear everyone immediately rushed to pick up Morris as the favorite for Kyle Shanahan’s system for the 49ers. I would favor Breida in Week 1 against the Vikings’ tough run defense as the better pass catcher of the two. However also remember Kyle Juszczyk had the most receptions at the fullback position last year. This backfield could end up being a mess for fantasy, but for Week 1 my bet is on Breida.

6. Alvin Kamara goes off in games where the Saints are favored by at least a touchdown

The Saints were favored by 6.5 points or more in five games last season. In those five games, Kamara averaged 23.88 PPR fantasy points per game, that is six more points than the other eleven games of the year. The Saints are currently favored by 9.5 points against the Buccaneers in Week 1 and Mark Ingram is also suspended. Kamara should have a heavy workload and has a great matchup against a weak Buccaneers’ defense.

5. Vegas currently has the Buffalo Bills traveling to play the Baltimore Ravens at home as the lowest over/under point total of the week.

The Vegas over/under is currently set at 40.5 total points, two points lower than the next closest game of the week. Vegas does not see this as a high scoring game which is bad for fantasy. Another thing to note is the Ravens are favored by seven points. That means they project the Bills to score a total of 13 points… The Ravens defense may be the best play of the week and all of the Bills offensive weapons such as Kelvin Benjamin and LeSean McCoy are extremely risky plays with low touchdown upside.

4. Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has a terrible history playing the Saints defense

Evans has played the Saints six times through the past three years. In those three games, he only averages 8.43 PPR points per game compared to his normal 16.6 PPR points per game against other opponents. Evans was even worse last year averaging 6.4 points in two games. Part of that could be 2017 rookie Marshon Lattimore’s doing. Lattimore was a star in his rookie year and looks to take another step forward and become a shutdown corner this year. Evans has a very tough draw in Week 1 against Lattimore before even considering that starting quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended for this game.

3. Keelan Cole averaged a target share of 26.5 percent in three games that Marqise Lee last year

 

When Lee went down with an ACL tear during the preseason many fantasy owners wanted to know who would now be the Jaguars number one wide receiver. Cole has been talked about as the Jags best wide receiver throughout training camp and the preseason even before the Lee injury. In Week 1 I expect we will all see that Cole is going to be Blake Bortle’s top target this target. Dede Westbrook will play primarily in the slot and Donte Moncrief will be the starter opposite Cole, but the Jaguars likely won’t pass enough to give them all fantasy value.

2. The Chargers defense hasn’t allowed more than two pass touchdowns in 23 consecutive games

There is a lot of hype around Patrick Mahomes being the starting quarterback in his second year under an Andy Reid scheme in Kansas City. Mahomes will be put to the test right away facing the Chargers. In his first real game action (besides a meaningless Week 17 game last year) will he be able to break the Chargers defense streak? I don’t feel great about his chances. He hasn’t shown a rapport with Sammy Watkins yet and Tyreek Hill averages only 0.75 touchdowns and 55 yards in four games against the Chargers over the past two years. Travis Kelce hasn’t had much more luck against the Chargers. He averages 32 yards and zero touchdowns in six games over the past three years. Kareem Hunt is the only Chief I feel okay about starting in Week 1, but the Chiefs could get behind leading to a negative game script for running the ball.

1. Le’Veon Bell has not shown up to practice and that shouldn’t worry any other Steelers players

Over the past three years, none of the Steelers other offensive weapons or the team as a whole has not suffered when he is not on the field. Obviously, Bell is a generational talent and he does make the team better, but if you own Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, or JuJu Smith-Schuster you should not be afraid. The receiving weapons, in particular, should benefit greatly because Bell usually commands a lot of pass targets. James Connor does not have the same receiving skills that Bell has. However, Connor is still quickly becoming an RB1 play if Bell does not show up soon.

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