Scott Engel is in his ninth season of Fantasy Football coverage on Seahawks.com. Scott is a 20-plus year veteran of the Fantasy industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. You can find more of his Fantasy analysis at RotoBaller.com and SportsLine.com. You can listen to Scott on weekend mornings and on demand on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Scott has also won his highly competitive Fantasy Football league with other experts and top players in each of the past three years.
The Fantasy Football season began on Thursday night with another impressive performance from the Kansas City offense in a 34-20 win over Houston. If you are trailing or up considerably on the early live Fantasy scoreboards, don't get too high or too low. There are 15 more games to play this week and one matchup is no real reflection of how your final score will turn out.
If you are rostering any key Seahawks, you should anticipate very good Fantasy production on Sunday against Atlanta. Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are all must-start Fantasy options. Wilson should be good for two-plus TD passes, which means obvious scoring potential for Lockett and Metcalf, who should both get off to strong statistical starts to the season. A strong passing attack could also mean Chris Carson will register at least one TD run to finish off a drive.
Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner will obviously be locked in as starters in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) formats, and K.J. Wright remains a recommended option. Overall, with the addition of Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar to the secondary and the returns of Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, plus L.J. Collier healthy entering his second pro season, the defensive unit may exceed some Fantasy expectations. Greg Olsen quickly developed a good rapport with Wilson in the preseason and can be a quality Fantasy TE2 option.
We will return on Mondays during the regular season to give you an early jump on the waiver wire. In the meantime, here are some key points to take into the rest of Week 1. You can find my full Week 1 lineup rankings here.
What we learned on Thursday night
- The strong performance of Clyde Edwards-Helaire bodes well for two other prominent rookie RBs this week. There was much speculation that because of an unusual preseason, some first-year players may be eased into their eventual roles. But if these newcomers show they can make an immediate impact, they will not be held back. So start Cam Akers with confidence and Jonathan Taylor deserves flex consideration. If either RB gets a "hot hand" like Edwards-Helaire did, it may be hard to keep them off the field. Taylor may have to still split some touches with Marlon Mack, but the Colts could lean heavily on the running game.
- Leaning too much on Fantasy Points Allowed or matchup data from last season can be dangerous. Many were expecting another shootout, but the Texans showed their offense will not be the same as it was last year, and the Chiefs defense is also underrated. Tampa Bay and Miami allowed the most Fantasy Points Per Game to WRs last season, but both defenses are improved and may not be easily exploitable this year. Much changes in the NFL from season to season and creates the need to make adjustments to Fantasy and statistical trends from many NFL teams. We must evaluate the situation in each matchup rather than just working widely off defensive trends from last season.
- Established offenses will provide the safest Fantasy plays. The Kansas City offense picked up where it left off in Super Bowl LIV, while Houston showed it needed more time to mesh on offense with new key starters in place. The Texans did get good performances from Will Fuller and David Johnson, but sputtered on offense for a good chunk of the night. We should wait and see how teams such as the Patriots and Bengals look in their openers before considering any of their players to be surefire starting choices.
Pre Week 1 Lineup and Early Waiver Tips
- Both Bills RBs are quality flex options against the Jets. Zach Moss had a strong camp and will be the primary goal line back. Devin Singletary is looking to go over 110 scrimmage yards in his fourth consecutive home game.
- We saw the best of Ravens WR Marquise Brown in the AFC Wild Card Game last season, when he caught seven passes for 126 yards. He is healthy now and should be in your starting lineup as a Fantasy WR3 to open the season.
- Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow is an overlooked Fantasy WR who still may be a free agent in some leagues. He finished the 2019 season with 100 yards and a TD in two consecutive games and is a deeper WR play for Week 1 against Carolina.
- Vikings WR Olasibi Johnson is a recommended preseason waiver add if you need WR help, and he may be a respectable Fantasy contributor in the opener against Green Bay. Kirk Cousins reportedly developed a stronger on-field relationship with him during the preseason.
- Before you start worrying about Dolphins WR DeVante Parker facing the Patriots defense, consider he had eight catches for 137 yards in his last meeting with New England and has two 100-yard outings in his past three matchups with New England. TE Mike Gesicki had a TD catch in he last meeting with the Patriots and his breakthrough season could begin immediately in Week 1. The New England defense also has to adjust to some notable personnel changes.
- Seahawks RB Chris Carson rushed for a career-high 1,230 yards last season and performs at a Fantasy RB1 level very often. If you play in an eight or 10 team league where decisions between top players become more challenging, you should keep him in the lineup.
- Washington WR Steven Sims had a TD catch in his last meeting with the Eagles and is another recommended add if available. The game between Philadelphia and Washington could be a lower-scoring matchup between divisional rivals. The Washington defense has a formidable front and the unit can keep them in the game, while the Eagles passing attack is still settling in after dealing with some preseason injury issues.
- Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski is a viable play in his Tampa Bay debut. Tom Brady may lean on a familiar target in his first game as a Buccaneer, especially in scoring situations.
- A reminder to add Arizona TE Dan Arnold if you have the room on your bench. He is our super sleeper of the season. Arnold finished well with the Cardinals last season and Kyler Murray will look to him frequently in scoring situations.
- The Pittsburgh offensive revival begins Monday night against the Giants. QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB James Conner are healthy to open the season. Roethlisberger has a very friendly matchup and is a Top 10 Fantasy start at QB this week as he will burst back onto the Fantasy scene on Monday Night Football.
- Unless you have the 49ers or Steelers defense, you should not just simply go with the unit you drafted unless they have a seemingly good matchup. Some quality Week 1 streaming options include (in preferred order) the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit, Miami and Washington.
- More notable preseason waiver adds at RB: Atlanta's Brian Hill had an impressive preseason and could be worthy of starting consideration if pressed into a larger role at any time. Washington's Peyton Barber could be the main ball carrier for his team for awhile and is worth an add if you need more depth at RB. Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde is still available in many leagues and has sleeper potential.
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