Fantasy Football Week 1: Rankings Audit & Podcast Highlights
Football is finally back! OK, maybe good Football will be back on Sunday as, in typical Thursday Night Football fashion, we were subjected to a sloppy game on both sides of the ball.
Each Friday, I’ll be scouring the Fantasy Footballers’ player rankings for some of their “against the grain” rankings for you to dig deeper into and then highlighting some critical topics from the past week’s podcast episodes.
As we head into the first weekend of the year, many of the rankings are going to look similar to the pre-season rankings as we eagerly await the opportunity to see how teams are deploying their players.
Pre-season’s QB12, Drew Brees currently sits atop the Week 1 rankings in a potential shootout with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
Russell Wilson was a fringe QB1 (13th) in preseason rankings but finds himself solidly inside the top-10 at QB7 in a home matchup against a questionable Cincinnati defense who allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2018.
One of the biggest reasons “late-round QB” and “streaming QB” has taken hold in fantasy football is the ability to not only predict good matchups for the bottom-ranked QBs, but also to predict tough matchups for top-ranked QBs. Pre-season darlings Matt Ryan (QB6) and Josh Allen, (QB8), find themselves falling outside the starter range for Week 1’s slate of games. Matt Ryan is ranked as QB18 for Week 1 due to a tough matchup with the Vikings who allowed the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2018, along with the possibility of a suddenly questionable Julio Jones. Similarly, the Bills’ sophomore QB, Josh Allen (QB25) has a ton of upside for the season but could be held back by a slow game flow and a lot of uncertainty in the teams RB and WR positions in Week 1.
Just like Russell Wilson, Chris Carson (preseason RB14) finds himself climbing the Week 1 rankings as RB6, due to that friendly matchup with the Bengals.
Mike’s RB Start of the Week, Mark Ingram is 14 spots higher in Week 1 (RB15) than his preseason RB29 ranking with a matchup against the Miami Dolphins who allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing RBs in 2018.
Matchups for QBs and RBs can often be sympatico, and we see that again with the Atlanta Falcons. Devonta Freeman, Preseason RB12, falls in all the way down to RB21 in a tough spot against the Vikings. You’re starting him, but don’t expect a big game.
Wide Receiver Rankings
In the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) world, there is a term called “arbitrage play”. The concept is to identify a high scoring player and then look at his counterpart on the opposite team. In this case, it is Will Fuller checking in at WR26 due to the possible shootout with New Orleans.
Robby Anderson was drafted as a WR2 (WR21), but a difficult matchup against a Bills secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards to opposing QBs and 4th fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs has Anderson checking in at WR36 for Week 1.
Tight End Rankings
For Week 1, the TE position is very close to the preseason rankings as the Ballers’ take a “wait-and-see” approach before making any significant shifts in expected outcomes.
Biggest Takeaways from the Week 1 Podcasts
During the season, many fantasy players can get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of podcasts out there. While you should be listening to Andy, Mike, and Jason every day, it may not always be possible. For those listeners, I’m going to be recapping the most important topics discussed throughout the week’s podcasts so you can go back and listen for points of interest.
Tuesday (Shady & The Wild Weekend + Roster Cut Madness)
The Ballers’ took a deep dive into the impacts of the weekend’s roster cuts at the 6-minute mark, specifically the impact of LeSean McCoy leaving Buffalo and joining Kansas City. At 55:38, Andy kicks off the streaming defense discussion for Week 1. His choice is a former #1 defense whose fallen from grace but has a juicy home matchup. Mike is rolling with America’s team, who checks in as a great choice for the first three weeks of the season and Jason gives you a deep option, going out on a limb against his Cardinals by choosing a road team.
Wednesday (Zeke Returns, Undrafted Gems, Thursday Night Preview!)
The Undrafted Gems segment kicks off at the 22-minute mark. Check out what the Ballers had to say about two sneaky WR pickups in Marquise Goodwin and Albert Wilson.
Thursday (Starts of the Week, Wk 1 Matchups, Super Bowl Picks)
highlighted a topic that may only come into play once in the season, but you’ll be super happy you followed Mike’s Flex Position Strategy discussed at 16:04. That conversation leads right into Week 1 Precautions. Don’t miss the Ballers’ “Starts of the Week” at 57:50.
Friday (Week 1 Matchups, In-or-Out, Notpportunity)
recapped the ugly 10-3 Green Bay Packers victory. Can you believe the teams combined to throw the ball 75 times? Remember the discussion on Thursday’s show: Don’t Panic over Week 1 performances. Check out the Ballers’ “In or Out” segment to hear their thoughts and how to handle some of the suddenly questionable, highly drafted WRs: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and Stefon Diggs.
Don’t forget to check in on Sunday for Mike’s Game Day Live! and Game Day Alerts. Best of Luck in Week 1!