Annddddd pencils down. It’s time to submit your answers to some of the summer’s key position battles.
Although NFL depth charts will remain fluid throughout the season, the guys that enter Week 1 as starters have a big advantage. Namely, they get the first crack to play well and separate from the pack – and sometimes that’s all these players need:
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The Falcons’ running game has been broken for a few years now. The addition of OC Kyle Shanahan was step one to getting that turned around, as his zone-blocking scheme has been highly effective throughout his career. So when the Falcons (and Shanahan) used a thirdround pick on Tevin Coleman, a big green light should have gone off. Coleman has beaten out Devonta Freeman for the starting gig Week 1 and will bring a lot of home-run hitting upside. Freeman has the look of a situational back.
BIG MESS IN BIG D
Joseph Randle is listed atop the Cowboys' “official” depth chart. But the team is declining to name a starter heading into the opener and a healthy Darren McFadden has been getting first-team reps. Lance Dunbar will also be involved on pass downs and new addition Christine Michael is a freak talent. The team doesn’t even appear to know what to expect out of their backfield, leading to a “play it by ear” or “hot hand” plan for Week 1. It’s ideally a wait-and-see situation for owners.
NO FUN FUNCHESS
Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced that Corey Brown (aka Philly) and Ted Ginn will be his starting wideouts against the Jaguars in Week 1. Don’t buy that. Ginn is a one-trick pony and Brown is an underwhelming talent fighting a severe case of the butterfingers. The only reason Devin Funchess isn’t starting yet is because of a hamstring injury that hampered his preseason. If any Funchess owners are selling at half-price right now, I’m buying.
PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
1. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills – A Michael Vickian athlete who can carry a fantasy box score with his legs alone.
2. Matt Jones, RB, Redskins – Don’t be surprised if Jones overtakes Alf Morris for the starting gig before the season is over.
3. Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots – With Brandon LaFell down, Amendola is ticketed for a large role right out of the gate.
Fire up these borderline players in Week 1
1. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants – Expecting no Victor Cruz and an up-tempo, pass-heavy game plan for the Giants against a secondary that recently lost their top corner.
2. Doug Martin, RB, Bucs – Even if you’re not sold on a Doug Martin revival, you have to use him in a home spot against the Titans.
3. Stevie Johnson, WR, Chargers – San Diego is facing the league’s premier run defense and won’t have Antonio Gates.
The Packers signed old friend James Jones and all the Davante Adams truthers freaked out. They shouldn’t have. Jones was cut by the talent-deficient Raiders, sat on the street for three months and then lost a camp battle to Geremy Davis in New York. He’ll have to beat out Jeff Janis/Ty Montgomery for the No. 3 job – threatening Adams’ No. 2 role is not in the cards.