Week 4 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: September 28th 2016

Week 4 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming week:

Cam Newton, Panthers, $14,600 – Did you see what Drew Brees just did the Falcons defense in a dome? Or what the Raiders did in Week 2? Or what Jameis Winston did to them in Week 1? This Falcons defense is simply toast and now they’ll be facing fantasy football’s top quarterback (QB) in Week 4. Not only should Cam Newton be able to contribute through the air but he has rushed for at least 37 yards in each game so far and scored a rushing TD in two separate games. In other words, he is a dual threat against a defense allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing QBs. For what it’s worth, Newton only averaged around 18 fantasy points in two meetings last year but the Falcons defense appears to have regressed in a big way. Sure other players at the position are viable but you are passing on the safest possible floor of the week by not rostering Newton in a dome against a subpar opponent.

Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, $14,100 – If there were any concerns about Le’Veon Bell’s usage in his first game back, Coach Mike Tomlin eased them by stating he expects to use Bell “a lot” against the Chiefs. The days of DeAngelo Williams dominating the touches are now over with the return of Bell who is likely to step into a similar role…and Williams rated as RB2 in all of fantasy in that role through three games. Bell is even a better receiver than Williams so the sky is the limit. So far, only 10 teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing backs and only five teams have allowed more rushing yards. When a team is heavily favored, the strongest correlation in terms of fantasy points is to the running back (RB) position. Basically, RBs are the most likely to benefit when a team is heavily favored and the Steelers opened as 6.0 point favorites at home. In 2015, Bell failed to catch four passes in two games; one against the Cardinals and one was a game he left due to injury. Assuming he makes it through this entire contest, he possesses both a reliable floor due to his involvement in the passing game and an incredibly high ceiling.

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, $12,000 – On Monday Night Football, the combination of Falcons backs gashed the Saints for 194 yards rushing on just 26 carries (7.46 yards per carry (YPC)) and four total TDs. This was not exactly a new development against the Saints defense as they allowed a league worst 4.9 YPC in 2015. After this pathetic performance, the Saints predictably have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing backs and Melvin Gordon is amidst an impressive stretch to begin the year. Following a rookie season in which he did not score once, Gordon has now scored four TDs in just three games, is playing over 50 snaps a game and is even part of the passing game. Here are his fantasy point outputs to begin the year: 17.70, 24.00 and 17.80 respectively. Hell, only DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Matt Forte, Tevin Coleman and LeSean McCoy have scored more fantasy points on FantasyDraft to this point…and now he draws the absolute best matchup at the position. One could make the case he deserves a similar price point to Bell in this situation, but he’s priced at a significant discount from that level, so start him with confidence.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers, $8,400 – Another player with a bargain price tag that simply cannot be overlooked is Carlos Hyde. Like Gordon, Hyde is the bell cow for his respective team as he has now touched the ball at least 17 times in each of his first three games. Maybe the most surprising aspect to his start is the fact he has been targeted seven times in three games and converted on six of them. In 2015, Hyde only posted a catch rate of 73-percent so the uptick in efficiency has been a nice surprise. Impressively, Hyde was able to stay involved in a game last week in which the team trailed 24-3 at halftime. Looking ahead to Week 4, the 49ers are only listed as 2.5 point home underdogs to the Cowboys, meaning the game script is going to be friendlier. When a team is in the game, it’s likelier they will continue to pound the ball on the ground as opposed to when they are behind. For all those reasons combined with a sub-$8,500 price tag, the cost simply does not match the production. Any time a workhorse is listed at a sub-$9,000 price, they are very difficult to pass on because that sort of value does not come along every week.

Terrelle Pryor Sr., Browns, $8,400 – The value argument for Hyde is a perfect transition into literally the best value of the week: Terrelle Pryor Sr. Last week, the guy played a whopping 82 snaps which included 14 at QB, one at half back, four at slot receiver and the rest as an outside receiver. When all said and done, Pryor completed 3-5 passes for 35 yards, rushed for 21 yards on four carries and caught 8-14 targets for 144 yards! Basically, Pryor was the combination of a low-end QB2 mixed with a WR1. We love RBs like Le’Veon Bell because he combines the skills of a WR2 with a RB1. Pryor is the same general idea except two different positions and his price tag is quite literally almost half of Bell’s. There is no doubting Pryor is the absolute focus of the Browns offense on a weekly basis and the team will only succeed as much as he does. With creative play-caller Hue Jackson designing the offense, Pryor should continue to succeed. There’s a chance Pryor approaches 80-percent ownership in cash games this weekend so you would be foolish not to use him.

Greg Olsen, Panthers, $11,300 – If Drew Brees’ monster performance against the Falcons last week was indicative of things to come for Newton then Coby Fleener’s dominance is quite the omen for Greg Olsen as well. As a whole, Fleener played a very average game where he struggled with drops yet again and still managed to eclipse 100 yards with a TD. Beyond the drops, he failed to adjust to some balls in the air and showed the same inadequacies that led to stinkers in the first two weeks of the season. One guy who hasn’t been struggling is Olsen who has easily scored the most fantasy points at the tight end (TE) position to this point. He’s been so dominant that he’s averaging nearly 3.5 more fantasy points per game than the next highest scorer at the position (Travis Kelce) and he’s only priced as TE3. In a matchup against a defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points and four TDs to TEs in just three games, expect more of the same fantasy goodness that Olsen has been providing fantasy owners with every week this season.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

RSO Staff Picks: Week 3

Updated: September 22nd 2016

Week 2 Results

1. Papson – 11-5

2. English – 10-6

3. Wendell – 8-8

Overall Standings

1. Papson 25-7

2. English 19-13

3. Wendell – 18-14

Well, Papson extends his lead winning another week going 11-5. His Cleveland outright picked looked right on the money until McCown went down with an injury, but he more than made up for it picking the Cowboys, Chargers and Vikings all correctly. Defending and back-to-back champion Wendell is dead last a full 7 games behind the leader and is already feeling the pressure (good thing his fantasy teams are a combined 8-0 to start the season). Below are our picks for Week 3 of the season. Everyone enjoy the games this week!

NFL Game Picks

Game Wendell Papson English

HOU @ NE

texans texans

ARI @ BUF

cardinals cardinals cardinals

OAK @ TEN

CLV @ MIA

BAL @ JAX

DET @ GB

DEN @ CIN

MIN @ CAR

WAS @ NYG

LA @ TB

SF @ SEA

NYJ @ KC

SD @ IND

colts colts colts

PIT @ PHI

CHI @ DAL

ATL @ NO

 

Week 3 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: September 21st 2016

Week 3 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming week:

Drew Brees, Saints, $14,900 – As is the case in most weeks in the modern pass-happy NFL, the quarterback (QB) position is stacked this week but it’s difficult to overlook one of the game’s best in a fantastic spot. Through two games, only the Raiders and Lions have allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Falcons (Brees’ Week 3 opponent), and the Saints will square off against them at home. Why does the location matter? Last season, Brees threw for 2,853 yards and 23 touchdowns (TDs) at home compared to just 2,017 yards and nine TDs on the road. In two games against the Falcons last year, Brees averaged 317.5 yards and one TD and now his weaponry is even more loaded with Michael Thomas, Travaris Cadet and Coby Fleener in the picture. With other QBs (like Marcus Mariota) in favorable spots, none is more favorable than Brees at home with his team implied to score the most points of any team this week (28.3 points).

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, $10,900 – Spending up at both QB and wide receiver (WR) will require cheap running backs (RBs) in order to make it all work and one reasonably priced back stands out above the rest: Melvin Gordon. I worried about his prospects moving forward what appeared to be a lucky Week 1 because he only played 23 snaps to Danny Woodhead’s 50 despite the two TDs. In Week 2, Woodhead tore his ACL early in the game and Gordon then ended up playing 51 snaps, touching the ball a career-high 27 times and scored yet again. Gordon went from a back in the unfavorable end of a split to being catapulted into a workhorse role under the tutelage of a great offensive mind (Ken Whisenhunt). In fact, the last time Whisenhunt coordinated for the offense for the Chargers (2013), the team ranked sixth in attempts and 13th in yards. In other words, expect a heavy workload for Gordon moving forward, and this matchup couldn’t be much better. The Colts have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing backs so far this year as both the Cleveland duo of backs and C.J. Anderson have run wild on them. At just $10,900, Gordon is a true RB1 in this matchup, and you simply cannot pass on that sort of value.

Theo Riddick, Lions, $9,700 – Speaking of backs about see an increase in opportunity, Theo Riddick will now have to take on an expanded role with Ameer Abdullah set to meet with a football specialist on Tuesday. Abdullah left the stadium in a walking boot on Sunday so the odds of him playing on Sunday seem like they are slim-to-none. While Riddick will never project as an every down back, his workload will certainly increase as he and Abdullah actually possess a somewhat similar skill set. With Dwayne Washington mixing in on the early down work, the rest of the workload will be Riddick’s. In 2015, Riddick already finished as RB18 in FantasyDraft’s point-per-reception (PPR) scoring format due to catching a whopping 80 passes. If Riddick’s snap count were to rise, he could legitimately push Matt Forte’s reception record for a RB. Even in a tough matchup against the Packers in Week 3, the role combined with the price is too solid of a bargain to overlook.

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $18,000 – What more really is there to say about this guy? Antonio Brown is the best wide receiver (WR) in football by a wide margin and now will face a team that Alshon Jeffery tore up. Hell, the entire Bears offense was just to lob it up to Jeffery and he still hauled in 5-7 targets for 96 yards. Had Jay Cutler not suffered a thumb injury mid-game, he easily would have eclipsed 100 yards. Now the best in the business will face this very defense whose corners are mediocre at best and are going to have the virtually impossible task of shutting down Brown. Advantage: Brown. After a quiet Week 2, expect Brown to get back to his dominant ways and, as always, fading him is a dangerous proposition. The guy led the league in receptions (RECs) last year (tied with Julio Jones) and would have easily bested Jones had Roethlisberger not gotten hurt. The two of them are absolutely unstoppable together and Brown should be locked and loaded into cash games.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars, $14,100 – Did you draft Allen Robinson in yearly leagues? If so, you are probably frustrated to this point, but to be fair, he has been shadowed by two of the game’s top corners. In Week 3, Robinson and company will face a Ravens secondary that was just torched by Corey Coleman and is led by former first round pick Jimmy Smith who is still working through the kinks early in his career. Robinson, a polished receiver, should leave him in the dust. I expect Robinson’s target total to more closely resemble Week 1 (15) than Week 2 (five) so this game projects as the breakout game everyone has been waiting for. At nearly $4,000 cheaper than the elites, Robinson projects similarly so take the discount and run.

Delanie Walker, Titans, $9,300 – Delanie Walker was quiet in Week 1 but followed it up with a vintage 2015 Walker performance in Week 2 to the tune of six RECs, 83 yards and a TD (20.30 fantasy points). This week, the Titans and Walker will take on a Raiders defense that has allowed a whopping 808 passing yards through two games including 186 yards to opposing tight ends (TEs) (second most in NFL). Even with the emergence of Tajae Sharpe, Walker proved last week he is still a big part of this passing offense moving forward, and he did lead all TEs in both targets (130) and RECs (94) last season. While he probably will not quite reach those plateaus once again, he is still a rock solid TE1, and may not draw a better matchup all season. Beyond just the yardage, the Raiders have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to the position this season after allowing the third most in 2015. Going cheap at the position is certainly viable if spending up at other positions but I’m inclined to find the necessary salary to roster this monster against arguably the NFL’s worst defense.

Here are some of my favorite Fantasy Draft contests for this week:

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   e9ea8406-95c5-48cc-b827-04a7a50c4681


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

RSO Staff Picks: Week 2

Updated: September 18th 2016

Week 1 Results & Overall Standings

1. Papson – 14-2

2. Wendell – 10-6

3. English – 9-7

Woah! Sir Pappy out with a commanding lead as he torches Kyle and Stephen going 14-2 and also scoring the most points in the RSO Writers League. A truly dominating week from the creator of RSO. Kyle and Stephen will lick their wounds and get ready for Week 2. Below are our picks for Week 2 of the season:

NFL Game Picks

Game Wendell Papson English

NYJ @ BUF

CIN @ PIT

TEN @ DET

BAL @ CLV

DAL @ WAS

NO @ NYG

SF @ CAR

MIA @ NE

KC @ HOU

chiefs texans texans

SEA @ LAR

TB @ ARI

cardinals cardinals cardinals

JAX @ SD

ATL @ OAK

IND @ DEN

colts

GB @ MIN

PHI @ CHI

Everyone enjoy the games in Week 2 and best of luck this week in your leagues!

Week 2 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: September 14th 2016

Week 2 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming week:

Josh McCown, Browns, $10,000 – I know, I know, the team went out and actively looked to replace Josh McCown, succeeded and is now back at square one. Why would this translate to a worthwhile start in daily fantasy football? Well, first of all, two of McCown’s better starts came against the Ravens in 2015: 36-51 for 457 yards and two touchdowns (TDs) followed by a 21-38 for 212 yards and a TD performance. He did not throw an interception in either of those games. While the Bills weren’t able to take advantage last week (mostly due to a Sammy Watkins foot injury), the Ravens’ secondary is still beatable and the weapons surrounding McCown are an upgrade this year. Most notably, the offensive game plan is an upgrade with offensive specialist Hue Jackson coaching the team. At the bare minimum, McCown doesn’t have to do much in order to meet value on FantasyDraft. If he mimics either performance from last year, he will easily compete for the top fantasy-point-per-dollar performer, especially with most of the starters’ salaries increasing this week. Only eight teams allowed more fantasy points to the quarterback (QB) position than the Ravens in 2015 so punting at QB to fit just about anyone else you want makes a whole lot of sense in a plus matchup.

Mark Ingram, Saints, $11,600 – Last week, Drew Brees attempted 42 passes, so there is no reason to freak out about a quiet game from running back (RB) Mark Ingram. The only concerning trend was Brees’ propensity to target Travaris Cadet in the red zone but the Raiders pass defense was so porous that the game plan made sense. In 2015, the Giants allowed the seventh most fantasy points to opposing RBs including 13 rushing TDs. After a quiet week, Ingram’s price tag depreciated $700 and the matchup actually improved. Yet again, Ingram caught two passes, handily led the team in rushing attempts and wasn’t vultured at the goal line (because no back received a carry inside the 20). Coach Sean Payton changes the game plan on weekly basis, and while the team will no doubt continue to ride the passing game, the running game will become more of a priority against a weaker front seven. Due to the workload, and the quality of the touches (assuming he receives goal line work once again), Ingram is a high-floor option that can be safely deployed in cash games. Assuming the targets tick up a little (back to the levels of last year) and he receives a goal line carry, he could possess a substantial ceiling as well.

Jeremy Langford, Bears, $9,100 – Similar arguments can be made for Jeremy Langford that can be made for Ingram: he is the workhorse back, catches passes, takes care of the goal line work and will face a defense that struggles to defend the run (Eagles allowed fifth most fantasy points to the position in 2015). Okay so Coach Chip Kelly was there last year and his defense averaged the highest time of possession of any defense so that certainly contributed. However, both Cleveland backs averaged over 5.0 yards per carry (YPC) in Week 1 so it appears the rush defense is still going to be susceptible. Although the over/under is a bit low (42.5), the Bears are listed as three point favorites. Vegas would seem to suggest the game flow should favor a stable running game but the truth is it may not matter. Even if the Bears get behind, Langford plays on passing down now that the team cut Jacquizz Rodgers. At just $9,100, Langford presents the top value at the position on FantasyDraft. When a feature back is priced this low in an enticing matchup, fading him is a risky proposition (see Spencer Ware last week).

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $18,600 – When Ben Roethlisberger is health, Antonio Brown is the definition of a “stone cold, lead-pipe lock.” The argument against Brown last week was the matchup against Josh Norman, and while Norman didn’t shadow him, Brown looked virtually unstoppable as per usual. Although Bengals cornerback Adam Jones slowed down Brandon Marshall to the tune of three receptions (on eight targets) for 32 yards. Brown is not Marshall and any non-absolutely elite corner isn’t going to frustrate him. In the last 16 games with Roethlisberger, Brown has caught 151 yards for 2,048 yards and 14 receiving TDs. What more is there to say? Start Brown because he’s the best receiver in football by a wide margin.

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, $18,000 – Only one player on the Saints defense struck fear into the heart of any opposing offense and that man was Delvin Breaux. Well, last week poor Breaux broke his leg halfway through the game so he obviously will not be playing this upcoming weekend against the Giants. Therefore, Odell Beckham Jr. will draw one-one-one matchups with a bunch of corners who didn’t grade inside the top 45 at the position last year. In Week 1, the entire Saints defense other than safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive tackle Nick Fairley basically graded well below average. Last year, this Saints defense allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and the fourth most fantasy points to opposing WRs (including a league-worst 27 TDs to WRs). What player is better at going up and catching a ball at its highest point than Beckham? The answer is probably no one and I wouldn’t feel comfortable setting a cash game lineup this week without him included.

Delanie Walker, Titans, $8,400 – Partially due to the emergence of Tajae Sharpe, Delanie Walker was only targeted five times and hauled in just three passes for 42 yards. In comparison to Walker’s breakout 2015 season, these were relatively disappointing numbers. To be fair, the Vikings rated about neutral against opposing TEs last year while the team’s Week 2 opponent (Lions) allowed the fourth most fantasy points to the position…including the most TDs (12). The plethora of weapons on offense should only take the pressure off of Walker and open up space for him in the long run. Do not let one mediocre week taint the thought process around the player who led all TEs in receptions last year (90). He probably won’t reach that total once again but he’s still an upper-echelon contributor whose price remains fair. Expect a different game plan this week and look for Walker to be targeted heavily from the get-go…which makes him an awfully enticing DFS option in all formats.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

Ridiculous Overreactions: Week 1

Updated: September 14th 2016

A great first week of the NFL season is now behind us. Many people will try to take what we learned in the first game and apply it to the season as a whole.  You will see many predictions based on this one week resulting in predictably bad conclusions.  With that said, I will make my own bad overreactions below based on what we saw in week one because it is fun and gives the readers something to mock!

2016 Fantasy Cheat Codes

New Orleans provided the ultimate streaming target for offensive players in 2015 with a historically bad defense and a strong offense resulting in a multitude of high scoring contests. 2016 appears to have changed nothing.   The Saints’ defense finished dead last for week 1 in rushing yards allowed (167) and yards per attempt (6.4) while also giving up 319 yards through the air.

Look for a rebuilding Cleveland Browns team to challenge the Saints for defensive futility this season. The Browns released or traded a large chunk of starters from a defense that was near the bottom of the league against both the pass and run.  The comical Browns’ defense did not disappoint in week 1 against Philadelphia.  Quarterback Carson Wentz produced like an efficient, All-Pro veteran instead of the rookie who played just one preseason game due to broken ribs.  The only question will be if the Cleveland offense can produce enough to keep them in games this season.  (Note:  Robert Griffen III was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.  The Cleveland offense should be much better in 2016 with Josh McCown at the helm.)

2016 Outlook: Feel confident about starting any reasonable matchup based offensive players in fantasy leagues this season against either team.  They are extraordinarily bad defenses without much talent and recipes for success to your fantasy future.

Devastating Loss for Chargers

No team had a worse week 1 than the San Diego Chargers. The “Bolts” raced to a 24-3 lead against Kansas City using a finely honed passing attack and surprisingly strong rushing game.  The game and season took a dramatic turn for the worse when top receiver Keenan Allen was lost with a season-ending ACL tear.  The Chargers offense never looked the same afterward and the Chiefs came back with a huge come-from-behind win.

2016 Outlook: I believed San Diego was a darkhorse candidate for the playoffs this season but those odds take a significant hit with the Allen injury.  Rivers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league but fantasy expectations should be reduced for the season.  He will still be a strong option in positive matchups but should be viewed as a streaming play instead of locked in QB1.  Melvin Gordon takes a hit with less scoring opportunities.  Danny Woodhead’s value likely solidifies with an increased expectation in targets which was demonstrated in week one.  Travis Benjamin and/or Tyrell Williams could also see increased fantasy value as deep sleepers.

Dallas Rookies

The expectations were probably too high going in for both Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott based on the preseason and Dallas’ offensive line. The pass protection lived up to expectations as Prescott had all day to throw.  Dallas used a justifiably conservative approach with the rookie quarterback resulting in 26 of 45 passes attempted to the combination of Cole Beasley and Jason Witten with Dez Bryant receiving only 5 targets.

The Cowboys vaunted offensive line failed miserably in the rushing phase however as they were dominated by the new look Giants defensive line. Elliott looked hesitant throughout and found few rushing lanes managing only 51 yards on 20 attempts.

2016 Outlook: Prescott is usable at this point in time in only superflex and two QB leagues.  You will not want to stream him in one QB leagues, even in good matchups.  It appears Jason Witten will be a high floor option in PPR leagues though.  Dez Bryant takes the biggest hit of any offensive player on Dallas.  His target load does not look like it will support a top wide receiver option he was projected to be with Tony Romo at quarterback.  Elliott managed a top-ten finish in touches so he will still be useful as a borderline RB1/2.  He likely sees improvement in the Dallas offensive line play throughout the season plus better play from the Cowboys passing attack with Prescott progress and eventual return of Romo.

Running Back Struggles

Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson, both top-5 running backs heading into the season, struggled mightily in week one. Each ended with less than 50 yards rushing despite each back given at least 17 touches.  The passing attacks of Minnesota and St. Louis gave very little help to the running game, even facing loaded fronts for much of the game.

T.J. Yeldon also took over lead running back duties for the Jacksonville offense after Chris Ivory unexpectedly went to the hospital for undisclosed reasons. Yeldon managed a miniscule 39 yards on 21 attempts against a bad rushing defense from 2015 in a golden opportunity to take over the lead back role. The Jacksonville offensive line had all kinds of issues with Yeldon hit in the backfield on far too many occasions.

2016 Outlook: Gurley and Peterson are too talented to be completely shut down but you can expect weekly inconsistency throughout the season.   They are still RB1s for the remainder of the year due to workload and skill.  Both backs will continue to receive large amounts of carries throughout the season and are threats for big chunk plays, but neither do much in the passing game to help steady production.  The passing attacks for each team, particularly in St. Louis, simply are not strong enough to loosen rush defenses.

Yeldon on the other hand was already set to split carries with Ivory and Sunday’s performance likely insures a large load for Ivory. The second year pro does not have the power to get tough yards with a below average offensive line.  Yeldon is more of a low-level flex play for the season with Ivory and moves to a borderline RB2/flex if Ivory misses more time.


Bio: Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.