With the start of the NFL regular season just a month away, it’s not too early to think about fillling out your fantasy lineup for week one. While it may be difficult to make selections due to the injury factor that may occur over the rest of the preseason, there are certainly many good choices for each position in the opening week. With extensive research, and thought here are my picks for week one.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
This position came down to Rodgers and Drew Brees. The Saints play Oakland while the Packers take on the Jaguars. Brees is likely to average around 300 yards per game again this season and the Raiders defense allowed 259 yards per game and 25 touchdowns. Rodgers averaged nearly 270 yards per game against a Jacksonville defense that was lit up for 29 touchdowns, a quarterback rating of 97.2 with only nine interceptions. While both future Hall of Fame quarterbacks should have stellar games, the differerence comes down to Rodgers ability to get some yards with his legs and less apt to turn the ball over.
Running back: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
With rookie quarterback Jared Goff at the helm, the Rams will be much better in the passing game, but in week one, the pressure could be taken off Goff, which means more carries for Gurley, which should translate into a strong fantasy performance. Take into account that the Rams play the 49ers, who allowed 126 rushing yards per game last season and 20 touchdowns. Gurley could be in for a 1,300 yard, 15 touchdown season and an excellent pick for opening week.
Running back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson is coming off a 1,485-yard, 11 touchdown season. At age 31, it’s hard to envision a duplicate performance, but a 1,250 yard, 10 touchdown season is not out of the question. Peterson is never too much out of the backfield as a receiver, but his rushing prowress is hard to overlook. Combine that with the fact that the Vikings take on a Titans’ team that allowed 112 yards per game and Peterson should be a rock-solid choice.
Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Probably the top overall fantasy receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown should have no trouble getting his numbers in week one versus the Washington Redskins, who had one of the worst pass defenses in the league last season. Brown is a 100+ yard per game and 10+ touchdown per season receiver, while the Redskins gave up 30 touchdown passes and an average of nearly 260 yards in the air last season.
Wide Receiver: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Love hime or hate him, Dez Bryant is one of the top fantasy receivers in the NFL. He should be a 1,200-yard, 10 to 15 touchdown producer this season, given a healthy Tomo Romo getting him the ball. The week one matchup against division rival Giants adds fuel to the fire. The Giants have been woeful in pass defense, allowing a whopping 300 yards per game and 31 touchdown passes in 2015.
Wide Receiver: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Nelson missed all of last season and is coming off ACL surgery. He is scheduled to be back this week taking reps and with the season a month away, would be shocking if he is not in the lineup. The Jaguars gave up 29 touchdown passes a year ago and Nelson has always been the favorite target of Rodgers. Don’t bet against those two hooking up for at least one touchdown and don’t be surprised if Nelson has a big game in his first game back.
Tight End: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins to Jordan Reed was a great combination for the Redskins last season. Reed caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015. Improving the chances for a stellar week one performance is a thin Steelers pass defense that allowed 272 yards per game and 29 touchdown passes last season.
Kicker: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
With the majority of the NFL kickers being very good, this pick is one of the most difficult. It mostly boils down to the team who I think will have the most scoring opportunities. The Packers go up against a weak Jaguars defense, so expect Crosby to get many scoring opportunities, just hope they aren’t all extra points. Expect several touchdowns and a couple field goals for a double-digit point performance by Crosby.
Defense: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahwaks are a great pick just about every week, as they allowed only 17.3 points per game last season and were number two in overall defense. Week one should be an exceptionally good week for the Seahawks, who take on the Miami Dolphins, who were statistically dreadful last season. Don’t expect much more this season from a team that was 26th in yards and 27th in points scored last season.
Photo Credit: Moe Epsilon