Every fantasy football owners strives to bolt off the blocks. Last season, Kareem Hunt shattered the earth in his NFL regular season debut, carried momentum to a rushing title and became a starting lineup fixture. Which under-publicized players will have their investors running HOT early? The Yahoo Fantasy gang present their favorites at each position …
Rivers ready to roast rival Chiefs
Liz – PHILIP RIVERS. Opening the 2018 season at “home” vs. the division rival Chiefs, Rivers figures to come out swinging. A rebuilt unit, KC’s defense lacks cohesion and is rife with holes, particularly in the secondary. Losing Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters stings. Adding David Amerson – who played all of six games in 2017 and allowed 7 catches per contest in 2016 – hurts. I expect Rivers to take advantage of KC’s deficiency, targeting Keenan Allen and red zone weapon Mike Williams frequently. Anticipate a top-eight fantasy finish for the veteran signal caller in Week 1.
Hyde at home with Browns
Brad – CARLOS HYDE. Back near his old stomping grounds, Hyde is running with the vim and vigor of his Ohio St. days. Light on his feet and ferocious in the open-field, he accumulated 6.4 yards after contact per attempt and forced six tackles on 17 carries in the Preseason. Though Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson remain in the mix, he is the unrivaled RBBC head on a massively upgraded Cleveland squad. Facing the second-easiest schedule for fantasy running backs Weeks 1-5 (vs. Pit, at NO, vs. NYJ, at Oak, vs. Bal), it’s fathomable he picks up where he left off with San Francisco a season ago. Recall, he finished RB11 in .5 PPR. FLEX the man at a minimum.
Agholor ready to step up for Eagles
Matt – NELSON AGHOLOR. The Eagles’ top slot receiver’s early season run comes with a bit of a double-edged sword. On end of the blade, there’s all the training camp time that Agholor missed with his own injury. The more optimistic cut comes in the form of a boost in early opportunity with Alshon Jeffery expected to miss at least the first two games of the season. Jeffery owned a massive 33 percent share of Philadelphia’s intended air yards in 2017, per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats player tracking data. No other player cleared 19 percent. Not only does Jeffery’s absence clear a big slice of the pie, the Eagles get the Falcons, Buccaneers and Colts in the first three weeks of the season. With a cleared spot on the passing game plate and a tasty menu set to start, Agholor will eat to open the 2018 season.
Watson has solid potential in return to Saints
Dalton – BEN WATSON. Over their first five games, the Saints get three defenses that ranked in the bottom-seven in fantasy points allowed against tight ends last season, including the Giants (who allowed an NFL-high 13 TDs) and the Browns (who perennially struggle mightily defending the position). Watson put up 825 yards with six touchdowns the last time he was in New Orleans and still tested well in “game speed” last year, suggesting age hasn’t yet caught up with him. A big upgrade over Coby Fleener, Watson should also see increased red-zone work early on with Mark Ingram set to serve a four-game suspension.