NFL Week 1 is right around the corner, and fantasy football managers will have their eyes glued to the television watching their players and teams. There has been much less information with no preseason to work with than in years' past as to how teams will end up using their players. With that in mind, there are some major storylines that I will be following this week, which will hopefully shed some light on the season.
How will the Raiders use rookie WRs Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards?
This storyline is very intriguing to me as Ruggs has been flying up draft boards in recent days, and Jon Gruden has always wanted a Tyreek Hill-type speed receiver. But can Derek Carr get him the football? Also, the Raiders seem high on Edwards, the talented rookie from South Carolina. It looks like he will be starting in Tyrell Williams’ old spot. I bought into Edwards’ hype and took him in many of my drafts. Will there be enough targets to go around in an offense that is centered around RB Josh Jacobs?
Is Teddy Bridgewater the answer at QB in Carolina?
I could not be more excited to see Matt Rhule and Joe Brady get a chance to lead the Panthers. They are innovative minds who have proven that they can win in college football. But does this translate to the NFL? The team invested heavily in Teddy Bridgewater, signing him to a large offseason contract. Can Bridgewater be more aggressive throwing the ball down the field? If he’s not, does this potentially lower the fantasy production of WRs D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson?
Is RB Antonio Gibson the next Christian McCaffrey?
NFL head coaches often like to talk up their players with some huge off-season hyperbole. Washington Football Team's Head Coach Ron Rivera used similar words in describing the ability of Rookie RB Antonio Gibson that he did about Pro-Bowl RB Christian McCaffrey. Washington liked Gibson so much that they told future HOF RB Adrian Peterson that he would lose significant playing time. Fantasy football managers responded to this by drafting Gibson as high as the third round in recent days. Is he really that good, and can he perform like a locked-in fantasy starter to justify his fantasy draft position? We'll find out soon, but you'll have to pay a high draft cost to add him if you haven't drafted yet.
Is Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger finally healthy?
Roethlisberger only played in two games in 2019 and recently told reporters that he has been playing with nagging pain in his throwing arm for the past 13 seasons. Is Big Ben finally healthy? If so, are we completely undervaluing him this season? And, if he is healthy, does this make all the Steelers receivers (Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Eric Ebron) more valuable than we think?
Can Cam Newton and Bill Belichick coexist?
Eyes will be glued to the Miami/New England matchup as Cam Newton begins his tenure as the Patriots' starting quarterback. Cam is prone to overthrowing his receivers and often makes poor decisions (especially when throwing off his back foot). How will Bill Belichick respond to this? Also, with Newton's tendency to throw high in the air to his receivers, will this affect the diminutive Julian Edelman’s fantasy production?
Are the Arizona Cardinals ready to take the next step and become a legitimate playoff contender?
It’s now Year 2 under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and the Cardinals have added WR DeAndre Hopkins to give second-year QB Kyler Murray a true WR1. Will Murray continue his rise as one of the league’s top QBs? With so little time with the team, will Hopkins become the same threat in Arizona? The Cardinals play the 49ers in Week 1, and it will be a good litmus test to see where the team is and if they have enough (especially on defense) to make a playoff push.
Will Baker Mayfield finally find success in Cleveland?
Last year was an aberration for Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Now, train wreck Freddie Kitchens is gone, and Kevin Stefanski comes to town with an offensive scheme that emphasizes the run game and play-action passing. Mayfield should thrive in this new scheme, but he draws the tough Ravens defense in Week 1. Can Mayfield finally be a solid QB1 and beat the prop bet of over 24.5 passing TDs?
Welcome to the NFL, Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow certainly lived up to his Heisman Trophy Award last season, but can he live up to the NFL hype surrounding him as the #1 overall draft pick? Burrow faces Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and the tough Los Angeles Chargers defense in Week 1, and it will be very interesting to see how much of Zac Taylor’s intricate offense Burrow has absorbed.
Rookie running racks galore
Jonathan Taylor faces the Jaguars, Cam Akers faces the Cowboys, J.K. Dobbins faces the Browns, Zack Moss draws the Jets, and Clyde Edward-Helaire starts it all off against the Texans on Thursday night. There are so many quality rookie running backs joining teams 2020. Who will get the most touches? Who will be used as a three-down back? Will any of them get the goal-line carries? This is a huge storyline for fantasy football managers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady is now in Tampa, and he’s got a short window to win another Super Bowl (or two). He’s joined by his buddy TE Rob Gronkowski, and the Bucs just added RB Leonard Fournette last week. Are the Bucs for real? Can they compete for a Super Bowl in 2020? This has to be the most compelling story of this season.
READ MORE: NFL DFS Week 1: TE Report 🗝️