Need some quick tips to assemble your fantasy lineup for Week 1? We’ve combed the far reaches of the Internet and culled only the choicest fantasy tips and advice for your consumption. Below you’ll find easily digestible nuggets from multiple fantasy experts, addressing some of the critical situations fantasy owners will face from week to week.
Dig in. And dominate.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: No, the Pittsburgh running back isn’t hurt, but since he hasn’t yet reported to the team because of a contract dispute, he won’t be playing in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns. If you drafted Bell, hopefully you grabbed his backup, James Conner, as a handcuff. Conner would seem like a decent play Sunday for owners in a pinch with their backfield. Going forward, it’s really anyone’s guess when the Steelers and Bell will come to an accord so if Bell owners did their due diligence, they drafted for depth.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: Parker hasn’t practiced with Miami in nearly a month after breaking a finger so it’s unlikely he will play in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. That means Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola (more below) should see the most of the targets come Sunday. Does that mean Stills and Amendola are worth playing? It’s certainly an intriguing matchup given the Titans finished 25th in pass defense in 2017.
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: Anderson has a chance to have a nice season for New York, but it’s all contingent on the development of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. As far as Week 1 considerations, Anderson owners probably only want to use him as a WR3/flex play. On the road with a rookie QB and a tough matchup, Anderson could be held in check. For those that want to use Anderson and want a glass-is-half-full outlook, the Jets should be able to move the ball at some point and Anderson would stand to get at least several targets. Just temper expectations.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots: It’s never easy sizing up a New England backfield, but so long as Burkhead is healthy, he would seemingly be the guy Patriots Coach Bill Belichick leans on the most to start the regular season. And as it turns out, Burkhead has finally vanished from the team’s injury report. Fantasy owners that stumbled upon Burkhead midway through the 2017 season received solid production for several weeks. And just so we’re on the same page here: Owners should expect Burkhead to tally 60 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown for a double-digit week. No more, no less. Burkhead will provide a few more points in PPR leagues. Any expectations beyond that would seem misguided. New England might give him a lighter load than usual since Burkhead and rookie Sony Michel have only recently returned to practice, but Burkhead should see the most touches.
Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: In a recent 10-team dynasty league (with three keepers), I was on the receiving end of some draft-day ribbing for deciding to hold on to the Oakland wide receiver. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately my feeling was Cooper had a good situation that could result in a bounce-back year. Make no mistake, the 2017 season was not just a bad year for Cooper; it was downright awful. One year after hauling in 83 receptions on 132 targets for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns, Cooper had just 48 catches for 680 yards and seven TDs (in 14 games). Cooper was hurt by Derek Carr’s down year as well. So now what? With Jon Gruden back as coach of the Raiders, and with Michael Crabtree now in Baltimore, Cooper would appear to be in prime position to rebound. However, when it comes to Week 1, even this Cooper owner is treading cautiously. For some owners, Cooper might be their best option, but given the tough matchup against the new-look Los Angeles Rams secondary, the best approach may be to take comfort in watching Cooper this weekend and hoping that you have something positive going forward. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are no strangers to Cooper, having faced off several times during their stints in the AFC West.
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Danny Amendola, WR, Dolphins: No offense to Kenny Stills, who had a solid season in 2017, but it’s Amendola who appears to be quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target heading into 2018. With the aforementioned Parker likely out, and even upon his return, Amendola stands to inherit a lot of targets following Miami’s trade of Jarvis Landry. In four seasons lined up in the slot for the Dolphins, Landry received no fewer than 111 targets (rookie year) and had 160 last season. While we don’t expect Amendola to provide the same level of production, he will line up in the slot and so long as he stays healthy, the Miami wideout has a lot of upside not only for the season opener but beyond. And he figures to be a cheap daily option in Week 1 as well. Amendola is owned in just 55 percent of ESPN leagues.
Matt Breida and Alfred Morris, RBs, 49ers: Depending on which fantasy pundit you stumble upon, one can find positive takes on both Breida and Morris. And it’s entirely possible both will have success from time to time. As far as the season opener at Minnesota, it’s not the most attractive matchup, but a Kyle Shanahan-coached offense is unlikely to get completely shut down. With offseason acquisition Jerick McKinnon out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Breida has risen to the top of the depth chart. He’s also available in 40 percent of ESPN leagues. Morris may get the “start” but Breida is a better receiver and has the big-play ability. When it comes to Morris, his familiarity with Shanahan and his offensive system will earn him a decent amount of playing time and he figures to get goal-line carries. Morris is available in 24 percent of ESPN leagues.