Fantasy Football Preview: Week One

Isaac Hunt

Fantasy Football 2013 week one

Welcome to the 2013 fantasy football week one preview. This year I will be taking multiple looks at each game during the week. Looking at UP! Players: Players, or groups that I think will do better than expected or players that will have solid games. Then looking at DOWN! Players: Players I expect to do poorly or at least poorly compared to expectations.

Baltimore at Denver – Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Baltimore UP! – Joe Flacco. I’m expecting big games from both QBs in this game opening night. Last season Flacco threw for 544 yards, 5 TDs, and 1 INT on 74 attempts in two games against the Broncos. These two teams also scored 124 points combined in those games. Expect lots of scoring.

Baltimore DOWN! – Bernard Pierce. He will not be as big of a factor like many expect, and Ray Rice won’t need many breaks in week one, only start him in the FLEX if you are in a 12 team or larger league.

Denver UP! – Peyton Manning. See Flacco, Joe. Also, Manning has been looking at Flacco’s banner for over a week now on his home stadium. There is plenty of motivation.

Denver DOWN! – Broncos D/ST. Previously stated I expect a lot of scoring. Also, Von Miller had 12 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, .5 sacks, and 4 QB hits against the Ravens last season, he isn’t playing until October 13.

New England at Buffalo – Sunday, Noon

New England/Buffalo UP! – All of the RBs. Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, CJ Spiller, and Fred Jackson could all have double-digit games. You’ve all heard it a thousand times, the Patriots had one of the most efficient ground games last season, and Buffalo averaged 35+ rushing attempts this preseason.

New England/Buffalo DOWN! – Passing games. Buffalo had the 31st ranked rushing defense last year so Tom Brady won’t be asked to do much in this game. On Buffalo’s side of the ball new coach Nathaniel Hackett said Spiller will get the ball “until he throws up.” So yeah, running will be the focus in this one.

Miami at Cleveland – Sunday, Noon

Miami UP! – Ryan Tannehill. The young QB is going to have an above average game this week and surprise some, but not many who are expecting a big year.

Cleveland UP! – Trent Richardson. Not a lot to go on considering he never saw the Dolphins last year, but he’s in for a breakout season if healthy. It starts this week.

Cleveland DOWN! – Brandon Weeden. Without Josh Gordon (suspended) this team is strictly a between-the-hashes offense.

Cincinnati at Chicago – Sunday, Noon

Cincinnati UP! – Mike Nugent. You won’t see this often because I strongly believe kickers are a complete tossup week to week. But the Bears defense is going to be hard to score against. The Bengals are plenty good enough to get close though.

Chicago UP! – Jay Cutler. It’s going to be rocky at times and this is only based on a feeling that Marc Trestman is going to make a statement in this game. “We’re throwing to Brandon Marshall, every play. Try to stop it.” Teams failed at that last year more than they should have. The addition of Martellus Bennett will help greatly as well.

Atlanta at New Orleans – Sunday, Noon

Atlanta UP! – Stephen Jackson. Until the Saints prove me wrong every RB they face this year will be listed here. Last season they were the worst against the run and also the second worst against the pass. So start your Falcons’ offensive players this week. It’ll be well worth it.

New Orleans UP! – Lance Moore. He had 214 yards against the Falcons last season. He’ll be a nice number two WR for you.

New Orleans DOWN! – Darren Sproles. He scored only 4 points in one game against Atlanta last season and didn’t attempt a run. He’s a risk this week.

Tampa Bay at New York Jets – Sunday, Noon

Tampa Bay UP! – Josh Freeman. If he is going to have a good year he is going to have to get started early. Who better to gain confidence against than the crumbling Jets?

Tampa Bay DOWN! – TEs. Lost in time, like tears in rain. OK, this may be a cop out, but how often do you get to use a “Blade Runner” quote? If you haven’t seen “Blade Runner” go see it. It’ll be better time spent than trying to decide whether Luke Stocker or Tom Crabtree will have a better year.

New York Jets UP! – Chris Ivory. He is pretty much their only weapon and he might turn out to have a decent year depending on how things go, hang on to him Jets fans, he’s all you have.

New York Jets DOWN! – Everyone else. Have you watched ESPN this summer? The Jets will not win very many games. Rex Ryan might be tempted to bring Tebow back at this point.

Tennessee at Pittsburg – Sunday, Noon

Tennessee UP! – Shonn Greene. We don’t know how they will use the former Hawkeye, but the Steelers defense is always a good one. Greene will more than likely be called in close to the goal line this week. He’s not a bad choice in the FLEX.

Pittsburg DOWN! – The RBs. Whether they split carries or decide to rely on a single rusher these are all second tier players. Tennessee held Arian Foster to 124 yards in two games last year so they aren’t as bad as people think.

Minnesota at Detroit – Sunday, Noon

Minnesota UP! – Cordarrelle Patterson. He won’t have a monster game, but he is the best candidate to replace something, just anything, that the Vikings lost when they traded Percy Harvin. The Lions ranked 24th against WRs last year in fantasy as well.

Detroit UP! – Matthew Stafford. He will easily throw the ball somewhere between 700 and 750 times this season. Stafford averaged 324 yards and his team scored 54 points in two games against the Vikings last year. With Reggie Bush to help the running game and be an extra receiver Stafford is in for a big year.

Detroit DOWN! – Mikel Leshourse and Joique Bell. Owned in 42 and 31 percent of ESPN leagues respectively these two RBs are projected to score 62 and 79 points this season. Both those sets of numbers are way too high in my opinion. They won’t get near those projected totals as long as Bush stays healthy. He’s proven the last two years he is a three down back.

Oakland at Indianapolis – Sunday, Noon

Oakland UP! – Darren McFadden. When was the last time Run DMC was at full health? I’m going to guess high school, first game freshman year. He will have a good game against last year’s 29th best rushing defense. Might be his only good game.

Oakland DOWN! – Denarius Moore. Scoring 110 fantasy points last year put Moore on people’s radar. But last season he had Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, big drop off in talent at QB.

Indianapolis UP! – Reggie Wayne. Can we give him a mulligan for 2011, the only year in the last nine that he didn’t reach 1,000 yards (he had 960)? If you can name the three QBs he had that year without looking it up you deserve some kind of worthless trivia award.

Seattle at Carolina – Sunday, Noon

Seattle UP! – Marshawn Lynch. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lynch is my pick here. Although the Carolina defense is the Sun Drop of the NFL, #SurprisinglyGood, Lynch should have a good day against them.

Carolina UP! – Greg Olsen. The Seattle defense was top five against every offensive position last season in fantasy points except TEs where they ranked 18th.

Carolina DOWN! – Cam Newton. He’ll get his chances, especially on the ground, but the Seahawks know how to shut down the passing game. Start him, but don’t be upset if he doesn’t play well.

Kansas City at Jacksonville – Sunday, Noon

Kansas City UP! – Jamaal Charles. The Jags were awful against the run last year and haven’t improved their personnel. He’ll be utilized in the passing game as well.

Jacksonville UP! – Maurice Jones-Drew. What else does this offense have? Cecil Shorts will have a good season, but can you rely on any receiver with Blaine Gabbert throwing the ball?

Arizona at St. Louis – Sunday, 3:25 p.m.

Arizona DOWN! – Rashard Mendenhall. This offense was made for mediocre RBs. Also, the Cardinals were last in the league in rushing in 2012.

St. Louis DOWN! – Sam Bradford. The Cardinals were second against QBs last year in fantasy points. The NFC West has great passing defenses. Bradford is going to struggle in conference play this year.

Green Bay at San Francisco – Sunday, 3:25 p.m.

UP! – Offenses. These teams scored 128 points in two games last season.

DOWN! –Defenses. These teams scored 128 points in two games last season.

New York Giants at Dallas – Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

New York Giants UP! – David Wilson. With Andre Brown out Wilson will have a good day against a defense that was ranked 27th in RB defense in fantasy points last year.

Dallas UP! – Tony Romo. The Cowboys may be 0-5 in their last two seasons on Sunday night (two of those games were against the Giants), but Romo’s fantasy points have been all right. In those five games he has 11 TDs, six against the G-men.

Philadelphia at Washington – Monday, 6:00 p.m.

Philadelphia UP! – Michael Vick. 333 passing yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 80 rushing yards, and two rushing TDs. That’s the stat line from the last time Vick played the Redskins on a Monday night. Vick also said he’s fallen in love with the game again. All signs are pointing up for him this week.

Washington UP! – Alfred Morris. How will the Eagles front seven hold up against the run this season? How will they line up? There are a lot of questions, but if the preseason is any indicator Morris will have a good first game.

Washington DOWN! – RGIII. This season is going to be rocky. Every Redskins fan will squirm when he takes a hit. He should learn from his opponent on Monday and try to make his career last longer. If he plays you can’t not start him. But if he’s on your team you’ll be squirming too.

Houston at San Diego – Monday, 9:15 p.m.

Houston UP! – Everyone. If you have a Houston player I would start them. Even Ben Tate and DeAndre Hopkins if you’re short on starters. This may be the biggest win of the week.

San Diego UP! – Danny Woodhead. He will surprise some people this year on the ground and in the air. He has a lot of value in deeper 12 team leagues.

San Diego DOWN! – Ryan Mathews. The Texans were seventh in the league against the run last year and Mathews didn’t impress even when healthy in 2012.