NFL Fantasy Football: News and Notes

How the weather, courts, and doctors might affect your week one NFL fantasy lineup.

Every NFL fantasy football season starts with a degree of uncertainty. What do we trust more: last year’s fantasy performance or how a player looked in preseason? How will new offenses affect a player’s fantasy value? Which rookies are for real? Then, as if those things aren’t enough to think about, all these other bits of news and notes pop up to make us think even harder. 

Jay Ajayi and Jameis Winston are worth zero fantasy points this week 

When Miami completed renovations on Hard Rock Stadium, they proudly stated that it could withstand a Category 4 hurricane. Well, Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 hurricane and she will be arriving in Miami Saturday or Sunday. The players won’t be there, however, as the season opener between the Buccaneers and Dolphins has been moved to Week 11. 

For fantasy leagues, the game will be treated as a week 11 contest. Miami and Tampa Bay officially are on a bye for Week 1. Be sure to adjust your lineups accordingly! 

Ezekiel Elliott is suspended… but will still play this week. Huh?

The NFL has a policy that says any potentially game plan-altering event or procedure will be announced before Tuesday of each game week. This keeps teams from having to make last-minute changes that could give an unfair advantage to one or the other. Anything that is announced after that- like the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott- will be effective the following week. 

That is why Dallas will have their top weapon in the lineup against the Giants Sunday night. It is not because the NFL wants one of their biggest stars to appear in their opening Sunday night game. 

But will Odell Beckham play for the Giants? 

Odell Beckham Jr. did not participate in practice again yesterday, but he did make an appearance and looked very mobile. He jogged, jumped, and backpedaled without any apparent limp or hesitation. The Giants and Beckham are being coy about his status for Sunday, both saying they “wouldn’t rule out” his playing Sunday. 

Beckham wants his rookie contract rewritten early which is something the Giants organization hardly ever does. Beckham is not practicing for the same reason he didn’t show at offseason voluntary workouts. He doesn’t have to. If you have Beckham, keep an eye on the injury reports right up to Sunday, but I would bet that the Giants’ star won’t allow Elliott to take the spotlight alone Sunday night. 

Buffalo to let LeSean McCoy take direct snaps behind ten blockers for whole game

Okay! That might be a slight exaggeration, but coach Sean McDermott said he would do whatever it takes to win his season opener against the Jets and would not limit the number of touches McCoy has per game. 

I don’t trust McDermott. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if quarterback Tyrod Taylor- who cleared the concussion protocol today- passes as much as McCoy runs. That doesn’t mean McCoy is not a must-play, it just means I really don’t trust McDermott. 

Week 1 depth charts offer some clues to fantasy values

Seattle lists Thomas Rawls as the starting running back going into their season opener. More interestingly, they listed both Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson as co-number twos. C. J. Prosise appears to also have a role in what might be a very aggravating running back-by-committee in Seattle. 

Also in Seattle, Paul Richardson is listed as the WR2 ahead of Tyler Lockett. With the amount of three wide receiver sets used in the Great Northwest, this is probably just semantics, but it is interesting. 

Joe Mixon appears as the RB3 in the Bengals’ depth chart, which most Cincinnati insiders thought would happen. Incumbents Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard remain the starters. 

In Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky beat out Mark Sanchez for the backup quarterback spot. If you stashed him in hopes that Mike Glennon or the Bears in general falter… he’s a step closer to taking over.

My favorite deep sleeper wide receiver, Jaron Brown, won the WR2 designation in Arizona. He beat out John Brown and J. J. Nelson for the slot. All three are expected to see ample targets behind Larry Fitzgerald. 

Over time

Cleveland’s defense might have taken a big hit. Top draft choice Myles Garrett sustained an ankle injury that the team fears might be serious. I mention this in case anyone wasn’t already planning to start every Pittsburgh offensive player you own this weekend.

Jeremy Kerley returned to the Jets this week. He immediately becomes the WR1 and improves the Jets’ return game, too. If Josh McCown is not told to spread the ball to the young guys, Kerley could easily become a favorite target and develop into a midseason waiver option. 

Be sure to check back at RealSport for breaking fantasy news and a weekly roundup every Thursday!

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.