Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it. It’s finally Week 1 of the NFL regular season! After struggling through the offseason and the shitshow that is the preseason, we’re here. And with the start of the season comes a need for fantasy advice. That’s where I come in. Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who have a chance to do what this week. Week 1 is definitely the hardest time of year to write this because we don’t have much to go on in terms of data for this season. But, I’m not going to complain. That’s not what Blitzed is paying me for. They’re paying me to spit hot fiya at you and help your fantasy team. Let’s get to it.
QB Minnesota Vikings (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 14)
Everyone hated Kirk Cousins last year despite throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns. But, when you pay a guy eleventy billion dollars like the Vikings did, I guess that’s fair. Captain Kirk gets to kick off year 2 of his tenure in Minnesota with a home matchup against the Falcons. Last season, Atlanta allowed the most fantasy points against the quarterback and around 260 yards/game through the air. They are returning two key starters in Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, so their defense should be improved, but I’m not ready to crown their asses the 85’ Bears yet. Plus, Cousins has arguably the most talented duo of wide receivers in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to throw to (as of this writing, Diggs is questionable with an injury like he always fuckin’ is!) and what the Vikings hope to be an improved offensive line. I’m on Cousins this week. Sorry, that sounds weird. But I’ll ride Cousins. Nope, that’s worst. You get it, though.
RB Seattle Seahawks (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 7)
Total Request Live with Chris Carson Daly should be rejuvenated this weekend with the Seahawks playing at home against the Bengals. Seattle and play caller Brian Schottenheimer want to run, run and run some more and this situation sets up perfectly for the back from Oklahoma State. Not only is Carson a talented, powerful back, he gets to take on a Bengals defense that gave up 138 yards/game on the ground last year and is a significant underdog taking on Seattle and the 12th man. The Seahawks have talked during the preseason about giving Carson a role in the passing game and if they expand his role to that, fantasy owners should be stoked. He’s already in the Top 10 for the week, but I expect this beast to finish in the Top 5 this week.
RB San Francisco 49ers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 31)
To Tevin Coleman owners’ chagrin, the 49ers listed Matt Breida as their starting running back to begin the season. He gets a pretty nice gift getting to fire off his season against the Tampa Bay defense. Last season, the Bucs surrendered 124 yards/game on the ground and the 6th most fantasy points to RBs. Even if Breida splits work with Coleman, he can more than return value. He’s a quick, dynamic runner and a special weapon in the passing game. Manrocket Kyle Shanahan is going to find ways to get this dude the ball. Play Breida.
WR Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 19)
If you read anything I wrote last year, then you know that I fucking love Robert Woods. I think he’s a BAD dude, and so do the Rams. Aspiring male model/rocket scientist/head coach Sean McVay loves getting the ball into Woods’ hands any way possible and should look to do so again starting off the season against Carolina. Last season, Woods led the Rams with a 24% target share and should catch the eye of newly crowned King Jared Goff (my God, did he get a poop ton of money) more this season. Todd Gurley and his knee have been discussed at length this offseason and if it’s truly banged up, I think we could see the Rams go to the air more this season. Rolling the dice on the 3 stud Rams’ WRs can be tough, but Bobby to the Woods is worth it against a Panthers defense that gave up the 6th most TDs through the air last year. He’ll flirt with WR1 status this week.
WR Houston Texans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 28)
The Texans visit the Saints on Monday Night Football’s opener and holy hell, this game should be a shootout. I’m pretty sure Houston is just saying to hell with running the football and letting Deshaun Watson air it out. I mean, Bill O’Brien has been on some wild shit since basically becoming the GM of the Texans. Acquiring Duke Johnson, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills while saying bye-bye to Jadeveon Clowney and a ton of future picks, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Throw the ball 800 times a game, Billy! And this is where Will Fuller comes in. When he actually plays with Watson, he is an absolute stud. He’s never going to be more healthy than he is in Week 1 so use him before he falls apart! The Saints gave up the 4th most passing yards last season and we could see their best corner Marshon Lattimore shadowing DeAndre Hopkins, which should lead to Watson to look away from him a little more. I love Fuller this week.
QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 3)
It’s not that I don’t think Winston isn’t a decent play. He is. But coming in at number 3?! Holy schnikes! I do not trust this guy whatsoever, even in a terrific matchup. He’s turnover prone and that’s something that I don’t want anything to do with. Last season, Winston threw 14 INT’s in only 11 games and now he’ll be working under head coach Bruce Arians’ new system which calls for longer dropbacks and potentially more pressure. Like I said in my preseason write-up, more pressure means bad decisions which means interceptions which means I’m not a believer in a Top 10 finish this week for this crab stealin’, Uber gropin’ gunslinger.
RB New York Giants (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 1)
WHAT?! HUH?! ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH?! I know what you’re thinking, this is fuckin’ crazy. Saquon is a stud. He’s the best RB in the league. You don’t mess with him. I hear you. If you have him, you’re obviously playing him. This is where it helps to read up top (not a start-sit piece). Playing on the road in Dallas, my boldest call of the week goes here: Barkley won’t finish the week inside the Top 10. The Cowboys allowed the 5th fewest rushing yards/game last season while surrendering 3.8 yard per carry rate to rushers. Their front 7 is damn good. And if history indicates anything, they’ll stack the box against the 2nd year back from Penn State. Last season, Barkley faced an 8 man front on 23% of his carries. That is a huge number. They’ll try and let Eli Dumbface throw it to Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and the other unknown members, but I’m not sold on the GMen. I know it’s wild, but Barkley isn’t a super-duper play this week.
RB Tennessee Titans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 21)
Nope, not gonna do it. I don’t care if he looks like Gigantor running a football, I won’t trust him. For starters, Henry has been banged up throughout training camp with a calf strain. Next up on my list of no-no is his role. If and when the Titans fall behind this Sunday against the Browns, Henry will lose passing game work to Dion Lewis. That’s a huge red flag! On top of that, Henry faced an 8 man box 32% of the time on his carries last season. When this large human is on the field, the defense knows what’s coming. For all the talk that Cleveland’s offense has been getting, their defense has improved significantly as well with Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon upfront. I’d never say it to his face because he could kill me with his pinky, but Henry is a bust this week.
WR Pittsburgh Steelers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 6)
Oh, this pains me so much. What kind of Steelers fan am I to put this dude on the list? And to put him on the list when he’s going against the rival Patriots? Man, I suck. But, so does JuJu’s matchup. If there’s one thing I know about Bill Belichick (other than his hard on for white skill players) it’s that he knows how to take away an offense’s best weapon. And I’m sure the curmudgeon has spent most of his time game planning on how to do that to the number 1 in Pittsburgh. He’s going to challenge the Steelers ancillary pieces to step up and beat them. Last season, New England allowed the 2nd lowest catch rate at 61% and their defense is shaping up to be a pretty decent one this season. Trust me, this hurts to say and everyone knows it, but Belichick knows how to murder the Steelers. I don’t see JuJu as a WR1 this week. Cries uncontrollably.
WR Indianapolis Colts (FantasyPros Rank: 23)
T.Y. in texting used to stand for “thank you.” Fantasy owners and Colts fans alike have been saying thank you to Mr. Hilton for a while now as he’s been a standout receiver since coming into the league. This week, Hilton faces off against the Chargers without Andrew Luck (RIP, again) and Jacoby Beef Brisket Brissett at QB. I’m not trusting Hilton with Brissett until we see some sort of chemistry. Add on top of that, Hilton could be shadowed by corner Casey Heyward this weekend. I’m saying no T.Y. this week to Hilton.