Fantasy Focus Friday

Each week we’ll bring you players for fantasy football who could make you a happy man or woman come Tuesday morning.  The obvious selections and players who are no brainer players will not be included in the blog each Friday.  Were focusing on guys who may not be near the top of your mind whether your doing your own league with friends or Fan Duel/Draft Kings.  Let’s start off with the quarterbacks…

Marcus Mariota- Titans vs. Bucs

Mariota faces off against fellow rookie signal caller Jameis Winston in Tampa on Sunday afternoon.  He looked shaky in his preseason debut, but since then Mariota has looked very comfortable in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.  I love this opening week matchup for the Oregon alum.  The Bucs ranked 28th last year against the pass allowing 255 yards per game.  Alteraunn Verner is the Bucs top corner and a former Titan as well.  He is a nice player, but not exactly Richard Sherman.  Behind him you have the likes of Jonathan Banks, Mike Jenkins and recently signed Tim Jennings.  Mariota has nice weapons on offense including Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas and Delanie Walker at tight end.  Rookie wideout Dorial Green-Beckham is a wild card as well.  The Titans rookie QB also brings the threat of running in addition to his arm.  I like Mariota to start off with a bang in the NFL Week 1.

Matt Ryan- Falcons vs. Eagles

We all know who Matt Ryan plays Week 1.  I think the Eagles secondary has improved, but the Falcons have serious threats on the offensive side of the ball.  Julio Jones and Roddy White are a great combo for Ryan.  Ryan threw for 448 yards in last year’s opener at home versus New Orleans.  By no means do I think he’ll go off like that, though I believe he’s in line for a nice game fantasy wise.  Let’s see how Kyle Shanahan calls his first game as Falcons offensive coordinator that could play a large part of Ryan’s success.

Next up running backs…

Latavius Murray- Raiders vs. Bengals

Murray is the bell cow for the Raiders offense this season.  He’s had his share of injuries during his brief NFL career which is concerning.  However, I love the physical style he runs with and athletic ability to boot.  New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, formerly of the Eagles, is determined to feed Murray so Derek Carr can use the play action to his benefit.  The Bengals are the Week 1 opponent for the Raiders.  They ranked 20th against the run last year and are currently banged up at the linebacker spot.  Murray is a sneaky Week 1 play.

Carlos Hyde- 49ers vs. Vikings

You’ll have to stay up late on Monday night after the Eagles game to watch Hyde as the feature back in San Fran.  Frank Gore is now a Colt and Hyde is primed for a nice year on a mess of a team.  Colin Kaepernick stinks and the 49ers best bet to move the ball is running Hyde.  Minnesota ranked 25th against the run in 2014.  The left side of the Nines o-line features Joe Staley and Alex Boone which is where a majority of the runs should go.

Wide receivers…

Devante Adams- Packers vs. Bears

Jordy Nelson’s ACL injury has propelled Adams into the starting lineup in his second season for the Pack.  Adams really came on near the end of last year including a monster game in the playoffs versus the Cowboys.  Aaron Rodgers has developed a nice comfort level with Adams which is crucial.  The Bears ranked 30th against the pass last year and this will be their first game under new DC Vic Fangio (good luck).  Randall Cobb is banged up with an AC sprain so look for Adams to get even more targets than usual.

Brandin Cooks- Saints vs. Cardinals

Cooks is one of my favorite players in the league and is in line for a huge role in the Saints offense.  The departures of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills only increases the amount of looks Cooks will receive.  Expect Sean Payton to use Cooks all over the field ala Darren Sproles during his time in New Orleans.  The Cards are lean at corner behind Patrick Peterson.  Cooks will likely be in motion a ton to get him favorable matchups on some of the lesser defenders for Arizona.

Last up tight ends…

Charles Clay- Bills vs. Colts

Clay signed with Buffalo in the offseason after I feel he was underused in the Dolphins offense.  The Bills offense has a slew of injuries to the running back spot as well as Sammy Watkins coming off surgery in the offseason.  New starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor may lean on his tight end Clay as a security blanket.  The Colts defense is not a juggernaut and outside of Jerell Freeman their linebackers are average at best in coverage.

Martellus Bennett- Bears vs. Packers

Both Bears starting wide receivers, Alshon Jeffery and rookie Kevin White, are banged up.  Cutler will look to Bennett in the passing game since they have familiarity with one another.  The Packers linebackers struggle in coverage as evidence of the Eagles game.  Bennett is a clown but I like his chances to put up decent numbers in this Week 1 tilt.


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