After watching Thursday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons get things underway, doesn’t it feel good to have fantasy football back?
For your sake, I hope you didn’t draft Le’Veon Bell first overall — like I did — this summer. Yup, I took him in two leagues and didn’t address the running back situation again until the sixth round in one of them.
If you did take the Pittsburgh Steelers holdout, however, don’t panic too much. I can’t imagine Bell’s out for too long and when he does come back, he’ll soar right to the top of the consensus rankings.
Sorry, I had to vent for a little bit before things get going.
So what was I saying? Oh, that’s right. Fantasy football’s back. That means Flavor of the Week returns at a full-time basis as well.
Like last season, Flavor of the Week features guys outside of your usual studs. For every position — not including kicker and defense — I’ll suggest a must-start player, a guy I’m passing on and my sleeper of the week.
Now, buckle up and let’s ride.
Must have: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
I feel like Cousins might have a heavy presence in the column this season. He’s one of the quarterbacks I tried to get my hands on during draft season. With upgraded weapons of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph, Cousins should have better opportunities for success. The only question is whether or not he’ll get them frequently because his defense is so good. I’m taking my chances with Cousins against the San Francisco 49ers, though.
Pass: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G, as the kids are calling him, was the hot name this summer. I, however, am not a huge fan of Garoppolo. His supporting cast is underwhelming and he’s started what, five games in his NFL career? Facing the Vikings this week, I will not have Garoppolo in my lineup. Even if I did have some shares in him.
Worth a shot: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Remember Mahomes. Chances are good he’s still available in your league, and while the Los Angeles Chargers are a tough matchup, they do have some injuries on the defensive end and it doesn’t take a lot for Mahomes to score some points. He has the type of arm that allows the Chiefs to score on any play. With Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill out wide, boy, he could be in for a big season.
Must have: Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
This pains me to write this as a Buffalo Bills fan, but I’m going to need to see it before I believe it when it comes to the Buffalo run defense. It was bad last year and after the preseason, I’m not sure it’s gotten any better. I also like Collins a lot this season.
Pass: Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
I watched Penny get selected pretty high this summer, and I’m slightly concerned. Chris Carson isn’t going away any time soon and is facing a quality Denver Broncos run defense. I’m looking elsewhere, including Carson.
Worth a shot: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Depending on your league, there’s a slight chance Conner is still available. Either way, he’s an RB2 until Le’Veon Bell comes back. Against the Cleveland Browns, Conner will be in my lineup. Oh and it’s supposed to pour too. The running game will be huge.
Must have: Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
They call him 7-Eleven for a reason. Because he’s always open. In a favorable matchup against the Houston Texans and with Julian Edelman suspended, Hogan has WR2 upside this week.
Pass: Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions
I have a hunch about Jones this season. And it’s not a good one. I think there’s a good chance Kenny Golladay surpasses him at some point, if not Week 1. While the New York Jets are a favorable matchup, I just feel like he won’t be a focus moving forward.
Worth a shot: Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Speaking of Golladay, the second-year player is coming off of a strong rookie campaign and is facing a bottom-10 wide receiver fantasy defense this week, according to ESPN. In a favorable matchup and with an uptick in targets coming his way, Golladay could be a sneaky flex play this week.
Must have: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
If you were considering keeping Walker on your bench this week, for some reason, please don’t. He’s already a top-10 tight end and the Miami Dolphins were the 31st-worst defense against tight ends last season. He’s a must-start.
Pass: Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
I do not understand the appeal of Burton. Nevertheless, Burton is facing the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Green Bay was the fifth-best defense against tight ends last season. No thanks.
Worth a shot: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
This is a complete dart throw. But when healthy, Eifert is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He’s healthy right now and facing a bad Indianapolis Colts defense. Why not?
DJ’S DAILY FANTASY LINEUP
QB: Tom Brady, Patriots – $8,600
RB: James White, Patriots – $5,500
RB: Christian McCaffrey, Panthers – $7,500
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans – $8,800
WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Bills – $5,800
WR: Kenny Golladay, Lions – $5,700
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – $7,900
FLEX: Royce Freeman, Broncos – $6,000
D/ST: Tennessee Titans – $4,200
It pains me, but I’m heavy on the New England Patriots this week. Tom Brady and Co. have a favorable matchup against the Houston Texans secondary. They’re going to feast. Kenny Golladay and Royce Freeman come cheap. I’m using them now before everyone else catches on.
— $60,000 salary ($0 remaining)
Prices and roster structure based on FanDuel standards.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle