Fantasy projections on the cusp of a new season

Posted: September 05, 2014

THE DRAFTS room is empty. The spilled beer has been cleaned up. No more cheat sheets, sleepers or mock drafts.

For better or worse, richer or poorer, in suspension and health, we have our fantasy teams now.

What we don't have are answers. Those will come in the next 17 weeks. By then, hopefully my guys will have paid their league fees.

As Week 1 kicks off, here are a handful of questions that will be decided between now and when the Christmas carolers knock on the door and scare the bejesus out of our dog.

What sort of impact will Darren Sproles have on LeSean McCoy's numbers?

Projection: McCoy won the rushing title with nearly 300 yards to spare and reached the end zone 11 times. Sproles isn't a threat to his rushing numbers, but the emergence of Zach Ertz and even Jordan Matthews could cost him some touchdowns. But McCoy is what Marshall Faulk used to be on those amazing Rams teams. Despite all the glitz and glamour of the passing game, when St. Louis was in a jam, it got the ball in Faulk's hands.

Can Calvin Johnson keep it going?

Johnson had 38 fewer catches last year than in 2012 and more than twice as many touchdowns (up from five to 12). Golden Tate and Reggie Bush will take enough of a nibble out of Megatron's numbers that Dez Bryant will end the season as the No. 1 overall wide receiver. Johnson will have something more precious, however, a winning season and a possible playoff berth.

Got an interesting team no one is talking about?

The Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger generally thrives in the no-huddle and could return to QB1 status this year. Getting center Maurkice Pouncey back will help both the passing and running games - provided the knee injury in last year's opener that cost him the season can withstand the uptempo pace. Not sure what to make of Markus Wheaton, but Antonio Brown is a budding star.

How many games will Rob Gronkowski play?

Projection: Twelve. But the next predictable thing Gronk does will be the first. The only solace that frustrated fantasy owners can take is that Bill Belichick feels the same aggravation. But if Gronk is in his lineup, he has to be in ours.

What sort of numbers will Nick Foles put up?

Projection: We wrote enough about him yesterday. Next question.

OK, smart guy. Gimme three good running backs who will have high-end RB1 numbers by the end of the year.

Projection: Doug Martin, Buccaneers; Rashad Jennings, Giants; DeMarco Murray, Cowboys.

Wait, doesn't Murray always get hurt? Projection: Check back with me at Christmastime. And bring a treat for my dog.

Who fills the Welker void?

The primary beneficiaries of Wes Welker's four-game suspension are probably Julius Thomas and Montee Ball.

Welker scored a career-high 11 touchdowns last season (including playoffs) and six of them were from inside the 3-yard line. Those are goal-line scores that should fall to tight end Thomas or running back Ball, who set the NCAA record for touchdowns at Wisconsin.

Emmanuel Sanders is likely to move inside to take Welker's spot in the slot, so his stock rises in PPR leagues. Moving to the outside will be Andre Caldwell, with rookie Cody Latimer on his tail.

Trivia question

This is in honor of Oakland rookie Derek Carr, who is starting this week against the Jets. Since 1960, four rookie quarterbacks have thrown for at least 300 yards in Week 1. Name them.

Hints: All are active and three are on the Eagles schedule this year.

Contest of the week

LeSean McCoy has said running for 2,000 yards is on his radar. So how much will he start with?

The reader who comes closest to McCoy's rushing total on Sunday will win a Daily News fantasy football T-Shirt. As a tiebreaker, put in how many carries he'll have. The reader who comes closest wins. In the event of a tie, one winner will be selected at random. Entries need to be in by noon Sunday and McCoy has to play. Include your mailing address, so we know where to send the shirt.

Answer me

The four rookie quarterbacks who threw for 300 yards in Week 1 since 1960 are Cam Newton (422 in 2011), Robert Griffin III (320 in 2012), Andrew Luck (309 in 2012) and Peyton Manning (302 in 1998).

Position watch

Quarterbacks: Cam Newton (ribs) was a limited participant in practice yesterday and has been downgraded to a game-time decision. Derek Anderson is his backup . . . Tom Brady missed practice yesterday with a calf injury. He's expected to play, but imagine there will be a run on picking up rookie backup Jimmy Garoppolo . . . Joe Flacco is 11-0 in September home starts in his career. Since 2009 (his second season), he has 15 touchdowns, four 300-yard games and five interceptions. However, he put up two fantasy clunkers in 2013.

Running backs: Three weeks ago, Miami's Lamar Miller was a low-end RB2. Entering Week 1, however, he's a bench stash. Knowshon Moreno missed a healthy chunk of the summer with a knee injury, but is back in the good graces of the Dolphins coaching staff . . . Baltimore's Bernard Pierce (concussion) has been cleared to play.

Wide receivers: San Fran's Michael Crabtree (calf) was back at practice yesterday. The Dallas native said there was no way he was missing his first career game in his hometown city . . . Houston's Andre Johnson is tied with Jerry Rice with 10 career games of 10 catches and 150 yards. Johnson has 10 TDs in those games. Rice had 15.

Week 1 rankings


1. Peyton Manning, Broncos: vs. Ind.

2. Drew Brees, Saints: at Atl.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (Thurs.) : at Sea.

4. Matthew Stafford, Lions: vs. NYG

5. Andrew Luck, Colts: at Den.

6. Jay Cutler, Bears: vs. Buf.

7. Tom Brady, Patriots: at Mia.

8. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: at Dal.

9. Nick Foles, Eagles: vs. Jac.

10. Tony Romo, Cowboys: vs. SF

11. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: vs. Cle.

12. *Cam Newton, Panthers: at TB

13. Matt Ryan, Falcons: vs. NO

14. Philip Rivers, Chargers: at Ariz.

15. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (Thurs.) : vs. GB

16. Robert Griffin III, Redskins: 10

17. Andy Dalton, Bengals: 4

18. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: 5

19. Carson Palmer, Cardinals: 4

20. Joe Flacco, Ravens: 11

RUNNING BACKS (Based on point-per-reception scoring)

1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles: vs. Jac.

2. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: vs. Ten.

3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings: at Stl

4. Matt Forte, Bears: vs. Buf.

5. Eddie Lacy, Packers (Thurs.): at Sea.

6. Montee Ball, Broncos: vs. Ind.

7. M. Lynch, Seahawks (Thurs.) : vs. GB

8. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys: vs. SF

9. Doug Martin, Buccaneers: vs. Car.

10. Frank Gore, 49ers: at Dal.

11. Zac Stacy, Rams: vs. Min.

12. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers: vs. Cle.

13. Arian Foster, Texans: vs. Wash.

14. Alfred Morris, Redskins: at Hou.

15. Andre Ellington, Cardinals: vs. SD

16. Bernard Pierce, Ravens: vs. Cin.

17. Giovani Bernard, Bengals: at Balt.

18. Chris Johnson, Jets: vs. Oak.

19. Toby Gerhart, Jaguars: at Phi.

20. Reggie Bush, Lions: vs. NYG

21. C.J. Spiller, Bills: at Chi.

22. Rashad Jennings, Giants: at Det.

23. Steven Jackson, Falcons: vs. NO

24. Ryan Mathews, Chargers: at Ariz.

25. Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins: vs. NE

26. Darren Sproles, Eagles: vs. Jac.

27. Ben Tate, Browns: at Pit.

28. Joique Bell, Lions: vs. NYG

29. Stevan Ridley, Patriots: at Mia.

30. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers: at TB

31. Pierre Thomas, Saints: 6

32. Shonn Greene, Titans: 9

33. Trent Richardson, Colts: 10

34. Danny Woodhead, Chargers: 10

35. Bishop Sankey, Titans: 9

WIDE RECEIVERS (Based on point-per-reception scoring\}

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions: vs. NYG

2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos: vs. Ind.

3. Dez Bryant, Cowboys: vs. SF

4. A.J. Green, Bengals: at Balt.

5. Brandon Marshall, Bears: vs. Buf.

6. Antonio Brown, Steelers: vs. Cle.

7. Julio Jones, Falcons: vs. NO

8. Alshon Jeffery, Bears: vs. Buf.

9. Keenan Allen, Chargers: at Ariz.

10. Michael Floyd, Cardinals: vs. SD

11. Torrey Smith, Ravens: vs. Cin.

12. Pierre Garcon, Redskins: at Hou.

13. Roddy White, Falcons: vs. NO

14. Jordy Nelson, Packers (Thurs.): at Sea.

15. Andre Johnson, Texans: vs. Wash.

16. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos: vs. Ind.

17. Randall Cobb, Packers (Thurs.): at Sea.

18. *Michael Crabtree, 49ers: at Dal.

19. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers: vs. Car.

20. Reggie Wayne, Colts: at Den.

21. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: vs. SD

22. Riley Cooper, Eagles: vs. Jac.

23. Percy Harvin, Seahawks (Thurs.) : vs. GB

24. Golden Tate, Lions: vs. NYG

25. Eric Decker, Jets: vs. Oak.

26. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles: vs. Jac.

37. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers: at TB

28. T.Y. Hilton, Colts: at Den.

29. DeSean Jackson, Redskins: at Hou.

30. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings: at Stl

31. Victor Cruz, Giants: 8

32. Marques Colston, Saints: 6

33. Mike Wallace, Dolphins: 5

34. Brandin Cooks, Saints: 6

35. Anquan Boldin, 49ers: 8

36. Julian Edelman, Patriots: 10

37. Terrance Williams, Cowboys: 11

38. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans: 10

39. Markus Wheaton, Steelers: 12

40. Kendall Wright, Titans: 9


1. Jimmy Graham, Saints: at Atl.

2. Julius Thomas, Broncos: vs. Ind.

3. Vernon Davis, 49ers: at Dal.

4. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots: at Mia.

5. Jordan Cameron, Browns: at Pitt.

6. Jordan Reed, Redskins: at Hou.

7. Jason Witten, Cowboys: vs. SF

8. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings: at Stl

9. Zach Ertz, Eagles: vs. Jac,

10. Dennis Pitta, Ravens: vs. Cin.

*Injury issue.


The most popular (and unpopular) players on the waiver wire this week, according to

Most added

1. Saints defense/special teams

2. Nick Folk, K, Jets

3. Cody Parkey, K, Eagles

4. Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

5. Eagles defense/special teams

Most dropped

1. Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks

2. Bills defense/special teams

3. Matt Prater, K, Broncos

4. Shayne Graham, K, Saints

5. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns

Ed Barkowitz, who has never had his drink spiked at a racetrack, has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001.

comments powered by Disqus