Hogs & Dogs – Week 1

We’re baaaaaack. Welcome back friends to another year of fantasy football.  And you know what that means?  The return of the weekly installment of the TFFGurus version of a start and sit article, Hogs and Dogs.  If you’re new to the website this year, welcome.  This article will be posted every Wednesday to the website and it will talk about players that we like this week and think you should start (Hogs), as well as players that we might be down on and think you should sit (Dogs).  This article will also highlight players that are either hot or cold right now depending on matchup, injuries, situation, etc.  So it will not always be strictly start and sit.  Unfortunately with it being Week 1, we don’t have much to go on other than last year’s performances and this year’s situations.  Every year is different in fantasy and nothing is easy to predict, as you may know.  That being said, this weekly article will put you in a good position to win your week 1 matchups.  Let’s kick off our week 1 Hogs and Dogs.

Hogs

Christine Michael – What in the world is going on with Thomas Rawls?  We all thought he’d be fully healed by now from his broken ankle, but that does not appear to be the case.  Pete Carroll even said that they don’t want to rush him back from the injury because they want him to be 100%.  What does this mean for Michael?  It means he might actually have the chance that so many fantasy owners have been waiting for, for years now.  Michael is projected as a safe RB2 and with Rawls coming in as a risky RB3 at best.  We know the Seahawks want to run the ball and all reports coming out of Seattle indicate that Michael will get the majority of the touches in week 1.

Sterling Shepard – Once it became evident that Odell Beckham was going to be a star wide receiver, the next question then became who would join him in that receiving corps in New York?  Reuben Randle was clearly not the answer, as he just doesn’t seem to care about playing or improving his game.  Victor Cruz’s career is on the unfortunate brink of extinction because of the continuous uphill climb he faces in recovering from his torn patellar tendon.  And Dwayne Harris is more of a special teams maven than a consistent receiving threat.  That left a pretty big hole in the Giants’ depth chart and I am one happy camper that they filled that with Sterling Shepard.  I really liked Shepard going into the draft and to have him land in an opportunity like this really excites me this year.  Although he wasn’t the first rookie receiver taken this year, Shepard looks to be most game ready and safest to start this week.

Michael Crabtree – Unlike teammate Amari Cooper, Crabtree can sometimes be a toss-up when it comes to starting him week in and week out.  I consider Crabtree to be a poor man’s Keenan Allen – not the fastest, quickest, tallest, or can jump the highest, but simply a precise route runner with sure hands who knows how to get open.  This is what he has excelled at since coming out of college and it’s what makes him a great outside receiver for the Raiders.  The reason he found his way into the article this week is because the Raiders are playing the routinely swiss cheese defense of the New Orleans Saints this week.  The Saints like to rely on outscoring their opponents and because of that, this game could quickly become a shootout.  Look for Crabtree to sneakily put up WR2 numbers this week.

Dogs

Legarrette Blount – As we have stressed many times before, Blount is an extremely risky player to own in fantasy.  The only time you can trust him is when you know it’s definitely a Legarrette Blount game, i.e. a game where the Patriots will be up by a lot and just need someone to grind it out for them on the ground to keep the clock moving.  Unfortunately, as a Patriots fan, this does not appear to be something that will happen in those first four weeks of the season.  We really have no clue what Jimmy G will give us out there, and with the Patriots probably not blowing out many opponents with Jimmy under center, most of Blount’s value is lost.  He could be a buy low target in deeper leagues and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on a few waiver wires.

Jordan Matthews – Despite the constant drop problems, Matthews was someone that I liked going into this year.  He would have more time with Bradford, it was a new coaching staff and I thought Matthews could solidify his role in the Philly offense similar to how Jeremy Maclin has in the Kansas City (and previously Philly) offense.  Funny how that works huh?  Eagles wanted a change so they fired Andy Reid.  Change happens in Chip Kelly, they give him three years and then get sick of him.  So they fire him and hire Andy Reid, Jr. in Doug Pederson.  Weird.  Back to Jordan Matthews, whom I liked up until about a week ago when the Eagles traded Sam Bradford away.  Now Matthews will have the likes of Carson Wentz and Chase Daniel throwing to him.  It’s possible that Wentz can pick up the playbook and Matthews could be a strong second half player, but for right now I find it hard to trust him with those guys under center.  He’s another buy low candidate for me.

Kelvin Benjamin – The third and final Dog of this week is Kelvin Benjamin.  Hopefully you get around to reading this before the game Thursday night against the Broncos, but Benjamin faces a grueling matchup going against one of the NFL’s best secondaries.  This will also be his first regular season game since he tore his ACL a year ago.  His snaps may be temporarily dialed down a bit as he gets his conditioning in order, gets comfortable in a live game format again, and as the Panthers incorporate other receivers like Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn.  Hopefully you are not forced to play Benjamin this week, as I would feel more comfortable trotting out guys like Sterling Shepard, Michael Crabtree, or Tyler Lockett, to name a few.  It just so happens to help my case that two of those three were Hogs this week.  And if you were wondering, the answer is yes, Benjamin is another buy low candidate for me.

It’s a bit unusal that all Dogs are buy low candidates, but this week for me they are. Reason being, these guys are Dogs because of their current situations, not their talent.  The situation for all of them should improve as the season goes on, thus rendering them all buy low candidates.  Try and pry one or two of these Dogs from your leaguemates before it’s too late!  Oh yeah, and welcome back to the great land of fantasy football.  Thursday night’s game is right around the corner and from there it’s full steam ahead. Make sure to check back this week for our DFS article and other great news, notes, and tips!  Happy footballing!

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