Cohen-y Island

Here are some of Fantasy Expert Ricky Sanders’ DFS-relevant observations from Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season:

 

Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Today, we found out the Seahawks’ offensive line is as terrible as it has ever been. Last year, George Fant and Gary Gilliam, two of the team’s tackles, each allowed at least 35 hurries. To put that in perspective, only 11 tackles allowed more hurries last season and the Broncos were the only other team to have two tackles rank in the top 12 (in a bad way). In Week 1, Russell Wilson was sacked thrice and was under duress on 39.4-percent of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). In fact, PFF ranked the Seahawks’ offensive line as the worst in the league heading into this year and the matchup against the Packers proved them 100-percent correct. Now that Wilson is healthy, it appeared like he was a lock for a bounce back season prior to this game, but that offensive line obviously could still hold him back. Other than Chris Carson, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry, the running game left much to be desired and it appears Eddie Lacy is just done. If the running game cannot provide the offense with balance, and Wilson is going to be constantly under siege, Wilson has a shot to finish outside the top 10 at the quarterback (QB) position (in terms of fantasy points per game) for the second consecutive season.

Kareem Hunt, Chiefs – Of course, this game was played on Thursday, but fantasy owners need not forget about Kareem Hunt. While it was only one game, Hunt’s usage in the first game told fantasy owners all they need to know. Out of 68 total plays, Hunt played on 39 of them while Charcandrick West was the only other running back (RB) on the team to play a snap (and he played 23 of them). Over the course of the entire game, the Patriots missed nine total tackles and six of those came against Hunt. Oh, by the way, he set a rookie record for total yards in his debut (246) and he scored three total touchdowns (TDs). Coach Andy Reid likes to rely heavily on a workhose back, as evident with Brian Westbrook and Jamaal Charles’ past production in Reid’s system, and Hunt proved he can be relied upon with a monstrous opener. Expect him to be used like a true bellcow moving forward and he quite literally possesses the upside to be the highest scoring back in fantasy football. While others say, “they need to see more” before making an opinion, start rostering him every week as a true RB1 and reap the benefits.

Bilal Powell, Jets – Wait, Bilal Powell did not even lead the Jets’ backfield in snaps? Nope, Matt Forte out-snapped him and even gained just three fewer yards than Powell in three fewer touches. To be fair, last season started the same way and then a Forte injury lead to Powell taking over as the lead back. However, Forte is not injured, so in hindsight it seems foolish to have assumed Powell would shoulder nearly the entire workload in 2017. With Josh McCown under center, this offense is a mess, and Powell is not worth messing around if only receiving approximately half the work. Neither Forte nor Powell are special talents although Forte’s superior receiving ability is preferable for daily fantasy football comparatively to whatever Powell’s mediocre skill set is. Until further notice, avoid Jets running backs (RBs), and their entire offense (other than maybe Robby Anderson), like the plague.

Tarik Cohen, Bears – Tarik Cohen took the league by surprise on Sunday by gaining 113 yards from scrimmage on just 13 touches and he even scored a receiving TD. Prior to the end of the first quarter, Cohen had caught three passes for 10 yards and rushed for 15 yards on one carry. It should be noted that the score at the end of the first quarter was 3-3 so the game was not out of hands by any standard. If Cohen is going to be a part of game plans from the get-go then he is going to be a fantasy asset. His role appears similar to someone like James White or Chris Thompson except with arguably more involvement (or so it appears moving forward). On a site that rewards one fantasy point per reception like FantasyDraft, Cohen could prove to be cash game gold.

Kenny Golladay, Lions – Just a season ago, a 36-year old Anquan Boldin caught eight TD passes in this very Lions offense and the team needed a large receiver to fill his void following his departure. The Lions went ahead and drafted Kenny Golladay in the third round because he stood 6’4”, 213 lbs. and was loaded with talent. In the preseason opener, Golladay impressed by catching a pair of TDs, and he was able to carry that momentum into Week 1. Golden Tate is a role player, Marvin Jones Jr. has proven to be nothing special and Eric Ebron is basically allergic to the end zone so this role should be available to Golladay all season long. Unlike Boldin, Golladay has not lost a step and, in fact, he is just getting his footing under him as a professional. At the moment, Golladay’s arrow is pointing straight upwards whereas Boldin’s was moving progressively downwards (as is the case with most 36-year olds in the NFL). Do not look now but the Lions may have a star in the making. At the very least, the team will need to continue to target him in the red zone because they really do not have anyone else.

Brandon Marshall, Giants – Despite the team missing Odell Beckham Jr. to an ankle injury, and the game script playing in the receiver’s favor, Brandon Marshall only caught a single pass against the Cowboys this week. Hell, Marshall was only targeted thrice and caught his one ball with approximately 30 seconds remaining in the game on a meaningless drive. In other words, there is legitimately zero reason to be overly enthused with his move to a team with a superior QB because he simply is not going to be a big part of the offense. At age 33, Marshall’s career is winding down, and he will only be usable on sporadic weeks where he happens to get targeted on the end zone. Otherwise, he is not worthy of consideration.

Charles Clay, Bills – On a team filled with new targets for Tyrod Taylor, it should not have been a surprise for fantasy owners to see him target his old, faithful companion: Charles Clay. In 2016, the Jets ranked 19th in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) against opposing tight ends (TEs) but Clay still opened eyes with his four reception (REC), 53 yard performance. Clay’s performance was topped off with a TD and he handily led the team in targets with nine. Until Taylor gets comfortable with his other weapons, Clay should continue to factor heavily into the offensive plan, especially in the red zone. Do not forget this is a player who scored four TDs last year and they all came during a three-game stretch (Weeks 14-16). Fortunately, the scoring momentum has carried into this year and he could be a sneaky source of production at the position moving forward. Simply put: Clay is a high-end TE2 moving forward who can used as a punt on any given week.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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