It's Week 1! Welcome to the first Monday of the NFL season. The Fantasy football season officially begins now, at least for those of you who have already drafted. For those of you still waiting for your drafts, we've still got everything you need to get ready for your draft, but now we've got to turn an eye to the actual games beginning.
Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings and Dave Richard will have their Week 1 rankings ready to help set your lineup, and we'll have a look at the top waiver-wire options for Week 1 later Monday. Plus we'll have a breakdown of the Week 1 rankings, previews of each position, and start and sit calls for every player and game later this week. But for now, I'm looking at some Fantasy Football superlatives for 2020, plus some of the biggest running back questions we're still waiting for answers to as Week 1 looms.
But first, here's what you need to dominate your remaining drafts:
- Draft Day Cheat Sheet
- Jamey Eisenberg's Sleepers 3.0 | Breakouts 3.0 | Busts 3.0
- Heath Cummings' Sleepers 3.0 | Breakouts 3.0 | Busts 3.0
- QB Tiers 6.0 | QB Draft Day Strategies
- RB Tiers 6.0 | RB Draft Day Strategies
- WR Tiers 6.0 | WR Draft Day Strategies
- TE Tiers 6.0 | TE Draft Day Strategies
- Draft Day help: Dave Richard's deep sleepers | One deep sleeper for each team | 10 to reach for | 2020 Bold Predictions | The All-Upside team | Drafting in different league formats | Zero-RB build | League-winners in each round | Career-year breakouts | Three big-upside WR | Salary Cap draft strategies | Dave Richard's "Dont-Want-To-Draft" List
And here's what the rest of today's newsletter has in store for you:
- ➕The waiver-wire pickup of the year
- ❓❓Biggest RB questions for Week 1
- 🏅Fantasy Superlatives: MVP, Rookie of the Year, and more
- 📰News and notes
➕The Waiver Wire pickup of the year
On Monday's episode of Fantasy Football Today, Adam Aizer and the guys went through a bunch of predictions for the 2020 season, like, "Fantasy MVP" and "Biggest Bust." More on those shortly, but first I wanted to offer some thoughts on who the best waiver-wire pickup of the year will be:
Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers — Kelley never goes undrafted in any of our leagues around the CBS work-from-home office, but he's out there in 68% of CBS Fantasy leagues somehow. Go get him, because if he has that Melvin Gordon role, there's top-24 RB upside even with Austin Ekeler around. According to those who have been around the team, Kelley has been one of the most impressive players in camp, high praise for a fourth-round rookie who seems to have been a steal.
- Bryce Love, RB, WAS — It sounds like Love will have a limited role early on, but if Antonio Gibson isn't ready for a three-down role, Love could eventually be the best back in Washington
- Jalen Reagor, WR, PHI — Reagor was the talk of Eagles camp before the shoulder injury, and if he gets healthy quick, he could be a 1,000-yard rookie WR
- Darrel Williams, RB, KC — Williams is the primary backup in Kansas City, so if Clyde Edwards-Helaire misses time, Williams should be a top-15 back just because of the offense
- Mike Williams, WR, Chargers — We'll see how long Williams (shoulder) is out, but he has the same huge upside Will Fuller does, and Fuller ended up going in the fifth and sixth rounds in some drafts.
❓❓Biggest RB questions for Week 1
Adam Aizer and Dave Richard talked about what Adrian Peterson's signing in Detroit means and discussed crowded backfields in Tampa and Washington on Monday's episode of Fantasy Football Today in 5 — make sure you subscribe at Spotify, Apple or anywhere else you get podcasts to get the latest news and analysis in five minutes every morning — but they aren't the only backfields with significant questions heading into Week 1. The lack of preseason probably means there are more than ever this season, in fact:
Here are the five biggest running back questions, along with some potential answers:
Tampa Bay: What kind of role does Leonard Fournette have?
- Week 1 outlook: Ronald Jones starts, with a razor-thin margin for error with Leonard Fournette looming.
Even if there had been preseason games, we wouldn't have the answers we're looking for here because of Fournette's late arrival. We know the Buccaneers brought Fournette in for more than the minimum, and we know Bruce Arians gave Jones a vote of confidence as the starter; we also know that wasn't enough to assure a huge role when Jones messed up last season. If you have to start one of the two in Week 1 against the Saints, it should be Jones. But you can't be confident about anything here.
L.A. Rams: How will the three-headed backfield split work?
- Week 1 outlook: Malcolm Brown gets the first carry of the season, and splits work pretty evenly with Cam Akers; Darrell Henderson (hamstring) may not have much of a role.
The question moving forward is how much of a role Henderson might have once he's up to full speed after missing so much time with a hamstring injury in camp. Ideally, Akers takes the majority of the snaps, with Henderson working in enough to have PPR appeal, but if Brown hangs around, this one will probably be a headache for Fantasy. Akers is an RB3 option, while Brown is more of a desperation flex.
Detroit: How much will D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson play?
- Week 1 outlook: It could be a three-back split, with Adrian Peterson seeing a handful of carries and Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift splitting the rest.
With Johnson likely on a snap count coming off his knee injury and Peterson just an early-down option, Swift is the only player with real breakout potential here. It'll just probably take a few weeks before he gets the chance after his camp injury. I'd still bet on it happening.
Washington: Can Antonio Gibson be a three-down back?
- Week 1 outlook: J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson split passing work —sometimes on the field together — and Gibson splits the rest of the work with Peyton Barber.
This is one where we really needed preseason to see exactly how they are using Gibson. Is he getting significant work as an honest-to-goodness running back, or is he more of a Tarik Cohen type. That is the question that'll define how much upside he truly has, and we just don't — can't — know until we see him in action.
Jacksonville: How do they replace Leonard Fournette?
All offseason, it looked like Ryquell Armstead was the primary backup, but he's on the COVID list to begin the season, so it's down to Ozigbo and Robinson. Ozigbo's experience probably gives him the edge for Week 1, but whichever can lock in passing down's work will be the winner for Fantasy. Throw a late-round pick or cheap waiver claim on either and see what happens.
Bonus Question: Will Josh Jacobs become a legitimate pass catcher?
This one became a topic of conversation around Fantasy Twitter this weekend after the Raiders traded Lynn Bowden to the Dolphins and waived Theo Riddick. Jalen Richard is still here, looming as the team's best receiving back, and Devontae Booker is a viable third-down option, but if Jacobs can even get to an Ezekiel Elliott-esque 70-ish targets, he could be ... well, Ezekiel Elliott-esque.
It's going to take some time, but Taylor is going to carry your team at some point this season. Whether it's due to an injury to Marlon Mack or Nyheim Hines or Taylor just forcing the issue, he's going to put up some massive performances in the second half of the season to carry people to Fantasy championships. He could be a top-five back if he gets 65% of the Colts RB snaps.
Rookie of the Year — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs
Taylor's MVP because he's so much cheaper than Edwards-Helaire, but the first back taken in this year's draft will also be the best of the bunch for Fantasy. This offense is too good for him not to be a must-start RB from Week 1 on.
You either believe Smith-Schuster was exposed as a fraud without Antonio Brown around, or you think his struggles were the result of Ben Roethlisberger's injury and Smith-Schuster's own injuries. I fall into the latter camp. He's going to be a superstar this season.
I'm not necessarily avoiding Drake, but I haven't drafted him much. It's just an awfully spotty track record, and even his apparent breakout in Arizona was pretty heavily weighted to the final three games of the season, when he scored nearly 75% of his total points with the team . I'm not sure this is as great a situation for a running back as it seems, and I'm not as sold on Drake being a stud Fantasy RB as everyone else.
Surprise DST of the Year — Buccaneers
I'm not sure the switch from Jameis Winston for Tom Brady is going to be great for the Bucs' Fantasy prospects overall, but this is a defense that was eight in sacks, sixth in yards per play and ninth in turnover rate last season; unfortunately their opponents had the third-best average starting field position thanks to all those turnovers. That will be better this season, at least.
📰News and notes
We covered some of the biggest news from this weekend in Sunday's newsletter, but here's what you need to know heading into the week:
The Patriots released Lamar Miller, while Damien Harris had surgery on his pinky finger, a tough break for a guy who seemed poised for a breakout. It's not clear if Sony Michel will be ready for a full role for Week 1 after missing much of camp recovering from foot surgery, but he'll be a flex play if he is in line for 15-plus snaps. James White and Rex Burkhead should also see a role in the Pats backfield. White is a PPR starter, and Burkhead is a sleeper in deeper leagues after a surprisingly active camp. ... The Seahawks placed Rashaad Penny (knee) on the PUP list, meaning he'll miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Carlos Hyde figures to see a decent workload, while rookie DeeJay Dallas could handle passing downs. Additionally, Devonta Freeman visited with the Jaguars and could be worth a late-round pick in deeper leagues if he signs, though Devine Ozigbo and James Robinson are still expected to lead the backfield for Week 1; the Dolphins traded for Lynn Bowden, and the rookie could see some time at WR in addition to RB in the thin Dolphins receiving corps; Deebo Samuel (foot) was activated for the start of the season , and while he may not play in Week 1, he's a great value in the latter part of the top 100 this weekend; Mitchell Trubisky will be the Bears starting quarterback, but can still be safely ignored outside of two-QB leagues. The Chiefs waived DeAndre Washington, leaving Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson as the primary backups behind Edwards-Helaire.
The Fantasy Football Today Draft Guide is here, and I promise, you'll want to have it by your side on Draft Day. We've boiled down everything you need to draft in one place, with consensus expert rankings and auction values, tiers, a round-by-round walkthrough, and Draft Day strategies and rules from Jamey, Dave, Heath and Ben. It's the next best thing to having them next to you while you draft. Head here to sign up for it, because it's absolutely free — which seems like a good value to me.