I had a pretty good feeling that Kareem Hunt would be good, but I certainly didn’t expect what he did Thursday night.
I’m shocked Bill Belichick wasn’t able to take him away in the second half like he does against most opponents. Hunt is a top-15 running back moving forward.
Look, I know most of you want to buy in to Mike Gillislee’s three-touchdown performance in the opener, and you can buy into his talent, but the New England Patriots backfield is going to be a dart throw each and every week. They have four formidable backs and each one will get their fare share of touches.
I love Touchdown Mike, but just not in fantasy.
It’s Week 1, baby! So let’s get this thing rolling.
You know the drill. This column points out players you must have, can pass on and are worth taking a shot on in your fantasy lineup each week.
Must have: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
I have big expectations for Palmer and Co. this season, and it starts in Week 1. The Detroit Lions’ pass defense, and defense in general, isn’t very good. While David Johnson will be the workhorse this season, Palmer will get his shots too. Bruce Arians loves to throw the ball.
Pass: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben’s home-road splits are real. Real scary. Roethlisberger has played 12 games in Cleveland, and according to NFL.com senior fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano, he’s scored fewer than 15 points eight times and fewer than 11 points five times. Not good.
Worth a shot: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
This comes with a caveat. Goff is only worth a look in two-quarterback leagues. But, I expect him to take a big leap in his second year. It also helps that he has Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp at his disposal. Oh, and this Indianapolis Colts defense is so, so bad.
Must have: Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
Without Andrew Luck, the Colts are going to rely on Gore a lot Sunday. The Rams are without Aaron Donald, leaving a huge hole on the defensive line. Gore’s an RB2 up this week, up from the flex option he normally is.
Pass: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon was a hot commodity during draft season, and rightfully so. While I like him in the longterm, I’m staying away from the Cincinnati running backs until the depth chart is sorted out. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard are solid backs in their own right.
Worth a shot: Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
Everyone loves Christian McCaffery, but don’t forget about Stewart either. He’ll get his touches. The Panthers are facing a dreadful San Francisco 49ers run defense. Stewart is definitely under flex consideration.
Must have: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
If you’re playing daily fantasy this week, a Palmer-Fitz stack would be smart. Like I said with Palmer, this Lions secondary is dreadful, especially inside. Fitzgerald is a top-10 option this week.
Pass: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Look, I love ARob’s talent. But I do not love Blake Bortles. This is a good Houston Texans defense and I’d like to see how Bortles plays the first couple weeks before I put Robinson in anything more than my flex. Plus, Jacksonville’s going to try to run it. A lot. This is Doug Marrone we’re talking about.
Worth a shot: Jordan Matthews, Buffalo Bills
Banged up this preseason, Matthews has said he’s going to play Sunday. Lining up out of the slot, Matthews will see a lot of Buster Skrine. The New York Jets nickel corner is inconsistent at best. Matthews could be in for a big day.
Must have: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills
You’re probably only playing Clay if you’re in some weird two-tight-end league or drafted Julius Thomas or Cameron Brate, who have surprise bye weeks. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor loved Clay down the stretch last year and in the preseason. Expect a big day. He’s a great value play in daily fantasy, too. I like a Taylor-Clay stack.
Pass: Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
No thanks. I don’t think Fleener is all that good and the Saints are facing a talented Minnesota Vikings defense.
Worth a shot: Evan Engram, New York Giants
Rookie tight ends usually don’t amount to much in their first season, but Odell Beckham Jr. could be out Sunday night. Engram could see an uptick in targets because of it.
Flavor of the Week DJ Eberle