Fantasy Attack 2019: Week 1

Daily, weekly, either way, its here!

by Lead Fantasy writer  Steve Cook@SteveCook84 |

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Welcome back to the Fantasy Attack, presented by MonkeyKnifeFight! It’s a new season, full of possibilities for your team. Well, probably not your NFL team unless you’re a New England Patriots fan. Let’s be real, unless you root for the Patriots there’s a much better chance of you celebrating a fantasy football championship than a Super Bowl title for your team. That is what that is.

We’re here to help you accomplish the goal of winning a fantasy football championship. I won two of my five leagues last year, and have a pretty good championship record over the years. I like to think that if there was a Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame, I would make it in on the first ballot due to my success in football, baseball, basketball & hockey. Not that I like to brag or anything like that. I’m a very humble man.

Let’s take a look at who you want to start, who you don’t want to start, and who you need to pick up!

Fave Five
My fandom of pro wrestling is well-known, and the name of this section is an ode to the days when Booker T was announcing SmackDown and constantly talked about his Fave Five. It changed by the week, and so will this one. These are the five guys you should start without question if you have them, or pick up for your DFS needs. I try to stay away from ridiculously obvious names like Patrick Mahomes unless I think they’ll break some offensive records.

Russell Wilson: Here’s a little secret of the trade for ya: Week 1 is nearly impossible to pick people based off of matchups. It’s a new season & nobody can really judge anything off the preseason, so you don’t really know which defenses are going to improve and which are going to stay amongst the dregs of the league. You could say the Bengals passing defense will be improved because Shawn Williams got five interceptions in the preseason. You could also say that the sky is purple, cows have wings, and any other crazy thing you want to. Doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

I tend to believe that the Bengals will continue to have a porous passing defense. Optimists will look to the injury situation hopefully being better…but is the injury situation ever better? Russell Wilson & the Seahawks host the Bengals in Week 1, and it seems likely that their offensive attack will fare well.

DeAndre Hopkins: The Saints might not give up the most fantasy points to wide receivers again this season, but it is a Monday night in the Superdome. The Houston Texans have quite the situation at running back, with Duke Johnson Jr. & Carlos Hyde at RB1 & 2 even though they’ve been there about as long as a knife fight with monkeys would last. Expect Deshaun Watson to be throwing the ball a ton, and expect D-Hop to be the main beneficiary.

Dalvin Cook: You need to take advantage of having this guy active. Cook played four games in 2017 & eleven in 2018, with injury cutting his season short on both occasions. You have to figure it’s only a matter of time before he misses some games in 2019, but fortunately he’s ready to go this week against an Atlanta Falcons team that hasn’t stopped the run since it entered the NFL in 1965. Look it up.

Austin Ekeler: Melvin Gordon wanted to get paid. There was one problem with this that most of us saw coming…the Chargers have some pretty good backup running backs on their roster. Ekeler is a guy we’ve seen put up some numbers during Gordon’s injury absences in the past, and Justin Jackson can fill Ekeler’s traditional spot without issue. Expect the Chargers to run the ball early & often against the Colts, if for no other reason than spite.

Jared Cook: The Saints passing game is going to be more viable in the Superdome than on the road. There’s no getting around that at this point. Drew Brees is great throwing the ball indoors, not so much in other environments. The whole idea of “boom or bust” is what Cook has been about during his career. He’ll either go off for double digits or give you nothing. Expect double digits this Monday night against a Texans team that was second-worst against tight ends last season.

Fearful Four
These are the four players that I don’t think will live up to expectations. You’ll probably have to start them anyway, but you won’t be happy about it.

Le’Veon Bell: I think Bell is a worthwhile investment as a 1st or 2nd round pick…eventually. Guy has some rust to work off, and I expect the Jets to ease him into things by not using him as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd down back like the Steelers used to. Maybe he’ll get there eventually, but I wouldn’t count on too much from him early in the season.

Nick Chubb: The Cleveland Browns getting a crazy amount of hype doesn’t typically end well, let’s be honest. I would advise tempering your expectations of all your shiny Cleveland players you drafted, especially Chubb this week against Tennessee. The Titans offense is pretty gross, but their defense keeps them in games. It’ll be difficult for Chubb to find some running room in what I expect to be a low-scoring affair.

Julio Jones: The Minnesota Vikings have a heck of a secondary, which is bad news for an Atlanta Falcons team that will need to go through the air in order to win games. Jones is already questionable with a foot that’s pretty much always injured at this point, and he’ll be likely looking across the field from Xavier Rhodes. Not a great time for those of you that picked Jones super early in your draft.

Trey Burton: The Chicago Bears tight end is questionable with a groin heading into Thursday night’s tilt with the Packers. Hopefully you drafted a second tight end if you have Burton on your squad, because I’d want nothing to do with a tight end with a groin injury on a Thursday night, or any other night or day for that matter.

Three Sleepers
For years, my podcasting partner and I have been calling our shots on sleepers. Actual sleepers, which we consider to be people owned in less than 50% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. It’s one of the things we’ve actually done well, so if there’s one part of this column you should actually pay attention to it’s this one.

Will Dissly (3% Yahoo-owned): I talked about the Bengals defense going against Seattle being a boon for fantasy owners with Seahawks earlier, and there’s no better example than a tight end owned in 3% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. Also keep in mind: Dissly had three catches for 105 yards & a touchdown in Week 1 last season. Some guys do well at certain times of the year.

C.J. Anderson (14%): What is it about this guy always managing to get carries wherever he goes? He was surprisingly useful in the final weeks of 2018 for the Rams, and has made his way over to the Lions this season. I have Kerryon Johnson on a couple of my teams, and I’m very afraid of this C.J. Anderson business. The Arizona Cardinals play the Lions this week and gave up the most points to running backs last year, so this is a situation to monitor.

New York Jets Defense (15%): I’m one of those people that have turned to streaming defenses in most of my leagues in recent years. Defense isn’t a high priority in the NFL, so it’s best to go by the matchup. The Jets host the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Sounds like a good option to me!

Good luck in Week 1, and I’ll see you right back here before Week 2!

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