Yesterday we got the season long preview, today we are more focused as we start this year’s weekly preview column that most of you will remember from last year called the NFL:64!
For those of you new to the NFL:64 let me tell you what you will find inside. At the top you will find the weeks schedule broken down by game days and time frames and team power rankings. Then click on the game you want to read about and you will find the spread, the over/under and two facts about each team plus my pick to win with a score.
|CAR (0-0) @ DEN (0-0)|
|TB (0-0) @ ATL (0-0)|
|MIN (0-0) @ TEN (0-0)|
|CLE (0-0) @ PHI (0-0)|
|CIN (0-0) @ NYJ (0-0)|
|OAK (0-0) @ NO (0-0)|
|SD (0-0) @ KC (0-0)|
|BUF (0-0) @ BAL (0-0)|
|CHI (0-0) @ HOU (0-0)|
|GB (0-0) @ JAX (0-0)|
|MIA (0-0) @ SEA (0-0)|
|NYG (0-0) @ DAL (0-0)|
|DET (0-0) @ IND (0-0)|
|NE (0-0) @ ARZ (0-0)|
|PIT (0-0) @ WAS (0-0)|
|LA (0-0) @ SF (0-0)|
- Super Bowl rematch! The Panthers are back and I think they are hungry for redemption. Losing Josh Norman will hurt, but I don’t think it’s a crippling blow to their season.
- I think it’s fair to be nervous about your Panthers in fantasy against the Broncos. I think the Broncos defense is good, but it is unlikely they are as good as 2015. So I’m starting Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen if I own anyone them. Benjamin being the one guy I may sit, depending on my other options.
- The Bronco’s dropping from the top of the mount to the middle of the slope. Their defense is plenty good to win some games, but their offense is likely going to cost them more than it wins them.
- If you have Demeryius Thomas, CJ Anderson and Emmanuel Sanders you have to start them because of where you drafted them, but I’m not sold on DT as a fantasy stud anymore.
Panthers 21, Broncos 17 (UNDER 41.5)
SUNDAY 1 PM GAMES
- Tampa Bay has the talent to make a nice little improvement in 2016, but not week 1 on the road against a division rival about their equal.
- Mike Evans and Doug Martin are your no doubt fantasy starters. I’d wait and see on Jameis Winston and any other WR.
- The Falcons started fast last year and tailed off significantly. I don’t feel like they added enough pieces to get back to where they were at the start of 2015. And as such I expect an up and down season where they win games in which their offense is dominate, but lose more often than not.
- Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman are must starts. Matt Ryan and Mohamed Sanu are question marks depending on who else is on your roster.
Falcons 28, Buccaneers 21 (OVER 47.5)
- While the Vikings Super Bowl chances were greatly diminished when they lost Teddy Bridgewater for the year, their playoff chances are still plenty alive and well.
- Start Adrian Peterson, Kye Rudolph. Start Stefon Diggs if you aren’t high on one of your other WRs.
- I don’t know how Mike Mullarky kept his job, but it’s going to be bad for Titan fans in the end.
- I don’t own any TItans, but I’m not sure that if I did I could start them Titans against a stout Vikings defense. Strike that. I’m sure. I wouldn’t start any Titans in week 1.
Vikings 17, Titans 10 (UNDER 41)
- I think Hue Jackson gets Cleveland to a spot where they are respectable, if they give him enough time. I know it won’t be in 2016 though. They are churning the roster over and making the right sort of cuts to start rebuilding the talent as well as the culture.
- Based on 2015 you have to start Gary Barnidge, but I’d hold off on Duke Johnson, Isiah Crowell, Corey Coleman and anyone else you might own to see how they develop.
- Philly is in rebuild mode after the Chip Kelly experience. They have who they believe is their QB1, Carson Wentz, for the next 10 years, and I’m not sure they are wrong. They have some pretty good weapons, but they are particularly deep. Which makes for a decent year, but hard to build any momentum or consistency.
- I’d start Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews, maybe Zach Ertz. I don’t think I could start anyone else though because I just don’t know how anyone else is going to be used.
Eagles 24, Browns 17 (OVER 41)
- As much I feel the Bengals are going to struggle having lost Sanu, Marvin Jones and at least temporarily Tyler Eifert, I don’t think it is enough to derail what is a good defense, and a solid offensive core.
- AJ Green is a stud, Giovani Bernard is a PPR play, Jeremy Hill is always a strong candidate for TD or 2, so those are the guys I’d consider playing in fantasy. Tyler Boyd is a very interesting long term prospect, but until I see how he fits in the offense, I’m not playing him.
- I think the Jets are in a bit of trouble early in the year between the suspended Sheldon Richardson and the abyss that seems to have grown between Ryan Fitzpatrick and head coach Todd Bowles. They can’t overcome all of that week 1 against a better team.
- Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are all fantasy starters. I’d wait and see on everyone else, including the defense.
Bengals 20, Jets 14 (UNDER 42)
- Oakland is poised to take over the AFC West and maybe for quite a few years. They have assembled a whole bunch of talent and flashed it a lot last year. With the standard progression of their young talent they could be a AFC power for a long time.
- Derek Carr, Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper are all fantasy starters. Maybe Michael Crabtree. That’s about it.
- I think it all implodes for the Saints here in 2016. Starting week 1. I think they will score some points and be in some games, but the talent isn’t there to do more than compete for the top pick in the draft.
- Drew Brees and Mark Ingram are fantasy studs, and one of their WRs will likely be useable more often than not, but I don’t know who. Coby Fleener SHOULD be a top fantasy TE, but I’m not buying any shares until I see it happen with consistency.
Raiders 35, Saints 20 (OVER 51)
- The Chargers are destined to be more healthy than 2015, at least along the offensive line, one has to hope. I have them as a pretty good team but not a playoff team.
- I’m personally playing Antonio Gates this week. Philip Rivers is always a solid start when he and his line are healthy. Danny Woodhead should play in PPR. I’m going to wait and see on Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon.
- KC was pretty dominate at times in 2015 and while I feel they are going to need to prove they can play defense without Justin Houston. I think they can and I think they win at home, but don’t cover.
- Jamaal Charles is a stud, but he’s not a week 1 stud. Jeremy Maclin is a PPR monster. Travis Kelce can be great, and if I owned him I would start him, but I’d love to see more consistency from him.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 21 (OVER 44.5)
- Oh give MFC a home, where Buffalo Rex Ryan don’t roam, and Tyrod Taylor don’t play. Where seldom is heard, that being in the playoffs isn’t absurd, and win column stays empty for years.
- Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy are fantasy starters for sure.
- As the season has approached more and more people are talking about the Ravens as a sleeper. While I think they will be better than 2015, I don’t think they have enough talent to jump into the playoffs.
- I’m taking a wait and see approach with Ravens player fantasy wise. SOMEONE will have value. I’ve got no idea who though.
Ravens 24, Bills 20 (UNDER 44.5)
- John Fox can make the team pretty decent, but can he take them over the top? Not with the roster as currently constructed.
- Jeremy Langford, Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Miller are likely fantasy starters, depending on your options. Jay Cutler has the weapons and physical tools to be fantasy stud, he just hasn’t put it all together because of his inability to not turn the ball over.
- I see implosion written all over the Texans, but they win game 1! Not because of bad coaching, but July back surgery for their best player and paying an unproven QB typically spells doom.
- DeAndre Hopkins is a stud. Lamar Miller is a starter. Wait and see on Brock Osweiler and Will Fuller.
Texans 27, Bears 24 (OVER 44)
- I could very easily see the Packers season being a disaster. I’m not sure how strong Mike Mccarthy’s grip on the clubhouse is and I truly think that the Packers are wasting Aaron Rodgers prime.
- Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb are starters for sure. Jared Cook might be an interesting fantasy player with a QB who can put the ball in catchable spots consistently.
- The Jaguars have added free agents and draft picks to a defense that desperately needed them. They also know how to play in and win shoot outs. This is going to be a big shoot out and I’ll take the home dog to win outright.
- Blake Bortles, Chris Ivory, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Julius Thomas are all starters and TJ Yeldon could become an interesting player as the season goes on.
Jaguars 42, Packers 41 (OVER 48)
SUNDAY 4 PM GAMES
- I like Adam Gase, but they need to do a lot more work on that roster to go out to Seattle and compete.
- Jarvis Landry is the only guy I would play with confidence in Seattle.
- The Seahawks are poised to again be a team vying for the top spot in the NFC.
- Russell Wilson is a stud. I don’t know what to do between Thomas Rawls and Christian Michael. Tyler Lockett likely hits a big play. Doug Baldwin is likely a PPR stud, even with some regression from 2015. Jimmy Graham, bbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrffffffffffff.
Seahawks 31, Dolphins 13 (UNDER 44)
- The Giants are best of a pretty bad bunch of NFC East teams mostly because they have the best player. They get a big road win to start the year.
- Odell Beckham Jr. is on both my fantasy teams. Rashad Jennings is likely to be valuable, but I’m not sure I can start him week 1 without knowing for sure what his workload is going to be. Eli Manning is an interesting fantasy QB if they throw as much as think they may. Sterling Shepard is in a position to be an excellent complement and weapon to the Giants offense.
- The Cowboys blew it, they didn’t back up Tony Romo properly and boom went the dynamite as they are now being led by Dax Prescott. I’m sure he is a nice fellow and a swell guy and he may even someday be a star, but that day is a long way off.
- Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant are studs. Sit everyone else. Hell drop everyone else.
Giants 28, Cowboys 10 (UNDER 46.5)
- Detroit, despite the loss of Calvin Johnson, is poised to make a nice little leap to the top of the NFC. Jim Caldwell isn’t a guy I would want to count on for my team, but with good coordinators (which he has), and consistent play from Matthew Stafford the Lions are ready to become the NFC’s Voltron.
- I’m not sure who I would rely on without seeing them play in 2016. So my Lions are on the bench. I do believe that Stafford, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron all hold starter value. Ameer Abdullah is a curious case, he has some wow talent, but will he get the touches.
- Ohhhhhh Jim Irsay and his misfit Colts. They still haven’t gotten anyone to do really protect Andrew Luck, so while I think they will be marginally better in 2016, I don’t think they do much better than 9 wins and start off on a bad foot at home.
- Play Luck, you probably have to play Frank Gore. Ty Hilton should be started and Donte Moncrief could be while Dwayne Allen and Phillip Dorsett are interesting possibilities as the season goes along.
Lions 35, Colts 31 (OVER 50.5)
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
- Oh the Patriots. I think they work terribly hard in this game to keep Carson Palmer on the sidelines, by running the ball and squeezing out first down after first down. Running directly at Chandler Jones as much as possible. Can they do it? I think so.
- Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman are for sure starters. Legarrette Blount is a good bet to get a decent workload week 1. Martellus Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan could be interesting
- The Arizona Cardinals are ready to roll in 2016, as long as Carson Palmer stays healthy and isn’t a mental mess from that playoff game.
- Start Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and maybe Michael Floyd and John Brown depending on who else you have as WRs.
Cardinals 20, Patriots 17 (UNDER 47)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
- How are the Steelers going to be on the road, early in the year with no Le’veon Bell and Martavis Bryant? Good, but Mike Tomlin’s Steelers teams have always played their best when there is something on the line and that’s just not the case in week 1, on the road in a non conference game.
- Start Ben Roethlisberger, deAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown. Another WR will become relevant I just don’t know if it’s Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton or someone else.
- The Redskins were very good at home in 2015, and I expect that to continue. Their defense is better and their passing offense is healthy. Their running game wasn’t reliable last year at all so I’m not sure it matter that Matt Jones is a little banged up here. It’s a shoot out the Redskins win at home.
- I think I would start Kirk Cousins if I owned him, along with Jordan Reed. I’m not so sure about anyone else though, until I see distribution of targets.
Redskins 42, Steelers 34 (OVER 50)
- Football is back in Los Angeles, well sort of because this game is in San Francisco. Jeff Fisher begins what I think will be his last full season with the Rams are more of a caretaker to get them through the move/building of a new stadium/settling into a new city before they try and be good. There is also the chance they spent a lot of draft capital to move up and get Jared Goff who isn’t even going to be active week 1.
- Todd Gurley. That’s the list. Tavon Austin may get interesting.
- Because these second Monday Night games are so weird, and the 49ers beat a far superior Vikings team I’m picking them to win at home here. They aren’t a good team, but they start the Chip Kelly off with a win.
- Carlos Hyde can be used in fantasy and that’s about it.
49ers 28, Rams 10 (UNDER 44)