Week 1 Fantasy Preview: Chargers vs. Bengals
It is finally here…Week 1 of the NFL season and the first week of fantasy football, daily fantasy, and the many other NFL wagers if you are so inclined.
Here is the first of 16 fantasy previews this season…Week 1 Fantasy Preview: Chargers vs. Bengals.
There will be no fans in the stadium. The Chargers get the season started in Cincinnati against the Bengals and their rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. Yet just a three-point favorite with the second-lowest over/under for the week.
32nd ranked opponents rushing yards per game
26th ranked opponents rushing touchdowns per game
20th ranked opponents passing yards per game
19th ranked opponents passing touchdowns per game
28th in sacks per game with 31 total sacks
19th in opponents interceptions with 16
Now to the Good Stuff…the Week 1 Fantasy Preview Gems:
Quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, Start
According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor has the easiest quarterback matchup per strength of schedule for Week 1. And it won’t be relying solely on his passing stats. In games that he has started and finished, Taylor averages 6.6 rushing attempts per game. Anytime you have a mobile quarterback against a mediocre defense, it is a start.
Running Back, Austin Ekeler, Start
Start with last season’s stats, 132 carries for 557 yards, three touchdowns, and 92 receptions for 993 receiving yards and eight TDs. Also, Ekeler averaged 2.5 yards after contract (which was tied for fifth among running backs) or the fact that he was tied for second in missed tackles.
Another thing to note is in Taylor’s last full season, in 2017, he attempted 7.7 passes per game to the running back position. That running back was LeSean McCoy, who finished with 77 targets, 59 catches, 448 yards, and two touchdowns. Ain’t no disrespect but McCoy ain’t no Ekeler (anymore). That and the serious question of whether the Bengals have any linebackers with the speed and athleticism to keep up with Ekeler.
Wide Receiver, Mike Williams, Sit
Wide Receiver, Jalen Guyton, Sleeper
With Williams potentially out there are targets to be had. Reports are that Guyton was taking first-team reps. He was seen working out of the slot and out wide. The Chargers like him for his speed and deep threat possibility. There less chance that the Chargers pass 597 times like they did last season. The most attempts Taylor has had in his career is 436, so that will cut into Guyton’s targets. But in DFS Tournament play he might be worth the chance.
Wide Receiver, Keenan Allen, Start
Allen is an elite wide receiver there is no doubt. I am slightly lower on Allen with Taylor only because of their strengths and weaknesses. Taylor in his career averages 6.4 yards a throw. Allen averages 8.47 yards per target and his lowest average for yards per reception is 10.5. Of course, all good receivers mold their talents to their quarterbacks and Allen worked with a very different quarterback than he has now.
Not saying that Allen won’t be able to overcome this statistical mismatch, he can. Allen can still show he’s worth the 4-year, $80 million extension he inked this month. Just temper your expectations when there are other choices that match Taylor’s strengths.
Tight End, Hunter Henry, Start
The knock on Henry is his inability to remain on the field. This is the first game of the season, so it should be relatively safe to roster him.
Per fantasydata.com, among tight ends Henry has the best passer rating when targeted at 132.3 since 2016. The Chargers need to improve their red-zone efficiency. Last season they were 23rd in red zone scoring, scoring on 52.83 percent of the time. Henry is the key.
It is the first game of the season. Everyone has a reason to be optimistic. Don’t overthink it.
Come talk at me on Twitter @neverenoughglt