Today the +Fantasy Football Beasthouse is proud to welcome guest blogger Matt Young. Check him out on twitter @Matt_Young2.
Matt Young’s Week 1 Fantasy Football Predictions
Week 1 is one of the most intriguing weeks of the NFL season for fantasy owners. Everyone wants to get a win the first week and get off to a great start, obviously, but there are other things fantasy owners need to be aware of going into week 1. Some situations may become more clear, such as the Denver Bronco’s running back battle or whether or not Daryl Richardson will hold on to the #1 job when Isiah Pead returns from his suspension in St. Louis. Also, players deeper on the depth chart can make their way to the top, such as Kevin Ogletree and Alfred Morris in 2012. Both of those situations turned out very differently, so it is important for fantasy owners to watch as much of the action as possible and use their benches effectively to take advantage of the new clarity in situations or the emergence of previously unknown fantasy assets. Here are some of my Week 1 predictions to help fantasy owners set their line-ups:
1. Lamar Miler will finish the week as a top-15 fantasy back as he debuts as the starter for the Miami Dolphins. I never bought into the Daniel Thomas talk and believed that it was just a fire under Lamar Miller. In the preseason, he carried the ball 17 times for 72 yards, an average of 4.24 ypc. Granted it is the preseason, but he looked great outside of the 5 carries for 10 yards against the Texans, a great run defense. The Browns also are dealing with the short-term loss of rookie Barkevious Mingo to a bruised lung, which is likely forcing him to miss week 1. I think that Miller will take hold of the starting job for the Dolphins and prove why he is a viable #2 running back in fantasy for 10-12 team leagues for the 2013 season.
2. Tom Brady will finish the week as a top-5 fantasy QB in week 1. I understand this isn’t that far of a reach, but I think that people underestimated both Brady and coach Bill Belichick this preseason, including myself. However, Brady showed how elite he still is this preseason, going 34 of 44 for 357 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception that was not his fault. He has looked sharp with the addition of Danny Amendola, who will at least be healthy for week 1, as well as the emergence of Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld. In a week 1 matchup against a Bills team that is still trying to catch up to the Patriots in the AFC East, I think Brady provides those who drafted him with a top-5 performance at the QB position for week 1.
3. Even though he didn’t play a snap in the preseason and he just was cleared to practice, I predict that Ahmad Bradshaw finishes week 1 as a top-20 fantasy running back. It is clear that he is a greater talent than Vick Ballard, and I think that his talent, combined with the sub-par Oakland Raiders defense, will allow him to succeed despite Ballard being listed ahead of him on the depth chart.
4. As of today, Robert Griffin III was cleared to start week 1 on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. This is great news for both the Washington Redskins as well as RG3’s fantasy owners, as I think he will finish top-3 this week at the QB position. Tom Brady and the Patriots absolutely shredded the Eagles defense while they were in the game in the preseason, and even though RG3 isn’t Tom Brady, the Redskins have plenty of weapons, including the now healthy duo of Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis. In addition, Alfred Morris looks to continue his dominance on the ground, and a healthy third-down, pass catching back in Roy Helu, I think RG3 gets off to a hot start on Monday night against the Eagles.
5. In that same game, I think that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick finishes as a top-10 quarterback for week 1. The NFC East might have collectively the worst secondary group in the NFL, and I think Vick and the Eagles can take advantage of the rookies that the Redskins will be starting in the secondary. Also, with a now healthy LeSean McCoy to take the pressure off and add another dimension to the passing game, Vick will be able to overcome the loss of Jeremy Maclin and finish as a top-10 fantasy QB.
6. Jordan Cameron has a breakout game and finishes as a top-5 TE in week 1. He has been a popular late round tight end, and after the Browns’ preseason game against the Detroit Lions, in which Cameron caught 3 passes on 3 targets for 42 yards and 2 touchdowns, he started to move up in average ADP. With Josh Gordon, the #1 target in Cleveland for quarterback Brandon Weedon, out weeks 1 and 2 on a suspension, I think Weedon looks to Cameron early and often throughout this game against an average Miami pass defense.
7. After a tumutlous, injury-plagued offseason, I think Arian Foster comes back and caps off week 1 with the #1 effort from a running back on the week. I know he has had the most touches over the past few seasons and that he hasn’t played in a preseason game this season, but I think that at least for 2013, he is a top running back option, starting week 1 against what projects to be one of the league’s worst defenses in San Diego.
8. Matt Forte will finish outside the top-15 running backs in week 1. I think he will have a big year, but I am really high on his week 1 opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals. I think their defense is one of the top 3 in the league, behind the 49ers and Seahawks. With arguably the best defensive tackle in the league in Geno Atkins to lead the run defense, I don’t see much running room for him week 1.
9. The Cardinals D/ST has the highest amount of points in week 1 against the highly anticipated St. Louis Rams offense. I was never sold on Sam Bradford as a fantasy option, and despite the new additions in Tavon Austin and Jared Cook as well as the existing running backs and wide receivers, I think that this offense will take time to become what some hope it will. With an elite corner in Patrick Peterson as well as an elite talent in Tyran Mathieu, I think their secondary is elite, taking pressure of the their defensive line. As a whole, I believe people are down on the Cardinals as a team, and I think their defense is top-10 over the course of 2013, and #1 week 1.
10. I think Tony Romo, one of the last quarterbacks to be considered a viable starter this year, finishes along with Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III in the top-5 of quarterbacks in week 1. With the emergence of Dez Bryant, who was brilliant over the second half of the 2012 season and just as effective this preseason, I think he takes a step forward against a weaker than perceived defense in the New York Giants. Additionally, their best safety, Stephen Brown, will be out for the season after suffering an injury in the fourth preseason game. The Cowboys will be able to run the ball with a healthy DeMarco Murray, and with the elite, unstoppable talent in Dez Bryant and the steady pass-catching ability of veteran Miles Austin, I think Tony Romo starts the 2013 season off with an elite game against the Giants.
Remember, for week 1, don’t over think how you drafted. Start the guys you invested high draft picks in. Don’t put too much thought into matchups that looked unfavorable in 2012, things can change quickly over one offseason, just ask the Ravens. Lastly, don’t forget that this is all for fun, so have fun finishing your drafts and enjoy playing fantasy football.
By: Matt Young—(@Matt_Young2 on Twitter)