Football Fortune Telling – NFL Week 1 Picks & Fantasy Advice

Ciaran Cole, Senior Editor-In-Chief

Readers, welcome to a new column that will feature players and match-ups from our country’s most-watched sport on a weekly basis! As a two-time winner in my fantasy league who has always made the playoffs in all my leagues, I’ll bring you the tips and tricks you need to etch your team’s name into the fantasy history books! Additionally, tune in to find game picks and predictions that will come in handy whether you’re in Vegas or just on the couch!

Week 1 Picks:




Texans @ Chiefs: As you can see above, I picked the Chiefs to win on Thursday Night Football, and I was clearly right! From the 34 – 20 blowout, there are two clear take-ways:

1) The game result was more of a testament to how poorly Houston played instead of how good the Chiefs will be this year… When you lose Clowney, Hopkins, and your starting running back on your team in the span of one season, you are playing with fire.

2) Edwards-Helaire will be a beast in the NFL. A huge performance from the rookie is a welcome sight to Missourians (as well as fantasy owners) because there is a lot more to come. His only apparent weakness on display in Arrowhead was his problem punching the ball in from the goal line… and I expect he’ll resolve that issue fast. Watch out owners who drafted Mahomes! You’re in the process of getting robbed quality fantasy production!

Seahawks @ Falcons: I’m on upset alert here! The Falcons are my biggest candidate this year to emerge as the previous year’s version of the Buccaneers, with Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones poised to have monster seasons now that Sanu and Hooper out of the picture. As talented as Wilson is, a lot of the Seahawk’s games were close last year and their luck may have just run out.

Jets @ Bills: This will 100% be a slugfest just like the season opener between these two teams in 2019 was. Expect low scoring, painfully many turnovers, and a lot of head-scratching moments. The Jets lost Adams so the Bills will win this one, but it will come nowhere near a blowout. Count on a last minute blocked field goal or a safety to secure a victory by a point.

Bears @ Lions: Another game that will likely feature some ugly football on this list, but there will probably be a few splash plays by Stafford. Detroit’s record last year was not indicative of the talent they have on the field. Expect a high number of throws from Trubisky in this one, as quarterback position battles have been a catalyst for passers to feel pressured into chucking the ball the last few years (ex. Fitzpatrick v Winston 2018). The pressure will be on a quarterback who has Foles on his heels, and thus likely will result in Detroit picks to seal the deal. Remember, Mitch had to be pulled out of a few games last year for Chase Daniels last year when he screwed up… Brutal.

Browns @ Ravens: Will Baker Mayfield bounce back this year? Yeah, to some degree. But you have to be out of your mind to think that a team with Lamar Jackson will lose! Overshadowed by Mahomes’ Super Bowl trip this off-season, Jackson is the best there is to offer at his position, and there are no roadblocks Cleveland can put up to stop the unstoppable man. Chubb and Hunt will keep the score close enough to beat the spread, but not to go home 1-0.

Packers @ Vikings: This game is the closest thing to a toss-up this Sunday. The Packers rarely lose their first game of the season, but everybody should feel skeptical in thinking that ‘The Green & Gold’ can take three straight away from the Vikings. The deciding factor? Danielle Hunter’s injury keeps the Packers rolling.

Colts @ Jaguars: Indianapolis could have a major surprise in store for fans this weekend! Phillip River’s struggles last year can be blamed on an unhealthy defense on his last team, and the combination of the T.Y. Hilton and probably the best backfield in the NFL (yeah, an argument could be made of the Packers… stop complaining) is scary! ‘Minshew Magic’ is real and to stay, but the difference in the ground game is big enough that the Colts take the dub by more than one score.

Raiders @ Panthers: The Raiders have potential… but Derek Carr will probably blow this one. The Panthers don’t have much to offer beyond Christian McCaffrey, so I can’t exactly explain how it’ll happen, but underdogs do have to win at some point.

Dolphins @ Patriots: I want to keep laughing all the way from last year when I watched the Dolphins embarrass New England while I visited my family in Boston, but you got to be serious when talking about Cam Newton. It doesn’t matter that a back-field beyond James White is depleted, there are always enough play-makers to go around in a Bellicheck offense. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice unless Tua somehow ends up playing tomorrow.

Eagles @ Redskins: I don’t know what all the hype about Miles Sanders is about, considering he was a last-minute go-to after virtually all of the Eagles wide-receivers were absent for most of the season. He’ll get some carries but he’s not going to be anyone’s ticket to PPR-Heaven. On the other hand, Dwayne Haskins starting makes me feel less comfortable than saying the Packers are putting Tim Boyle on the field. I’m not kidding. It’s a waste of talent for Terry McClaurin who would be a superstar if he ever got the chance to be on the receiving end of any of Alex Smith’s passes. But that is an actual fantasy, not fantasy football and Wentz will bulldoze the city without a mascot.

Chargers @ Bengals: I almost threw up when I read a column the other day saying that Tyrod Taylor will be good this year. A man who has never thrown more than 14 touchdowns in three years is a bad pairing with a great Joey Bosa led the defense. Expect Burrow to pull off an early-season miracle, but hype will turn to hush when they lose their following games.

Buccaneers @ Saints: The Saints will take out Brady in a high-scoring competition, and it will be fun to watch. Gronkowski is flying under the radar right now due to an unusual training camp, but natural talent and the trust of a quarterback are a hard combination to ignore. It won’t matter though, since Brees and Thomas will put together enough plays to overshadow them. Take note of Latavius Murray during the game, as Kamara’s steady decline in production and touches is ignored by the masses. Monster contracts don’t mean anything to me or my ESPN account.

Cardinals @ 49ers: Kyler Murray’s fantasy production last year was one thing and his game production was another. Hopkins is a great addition, but throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks is not a great strategy in the NFL, even if you’re as weird as Cliff Kingsbury. We all see how that turned out for the Browns this year with Odell… Meanwhile, the 49ers have Ayuik and will probably make the smart decision in feeding Raheem Mostert. The winner of this one will be the Super-Bowl Runner-Up.

Rams @ Dallas: The Cowboys are the bigger favorite with all the cash and flashy players going in-and-out of the place, but logically the Rams are the better choice. This could be a ‘Packers-Bounceback’ reminiscent season for L.A. and they are my second choice to be a Fantasy Goldmine after the Falcons this year. Elliot, Lamb, Prescott, Cooper will all shine, but Cooper Kupp will catch the game-winner with a few seconds left on the clock.

Steelers @ Giants: The Giants will have one of the best offenses this year, and the Steelers will have one of the best defenses -it’s a given! Saquon Barkley will be healthy and the glue to hold Daniels Jones together after a sloppy season last year. Any other opponent on opening night and New York would put up four touchdowns at minimum. Unfortunately, the Steelers will thwart those plans with the better overall game as Smith-Schuster, Conner, and Rothlisberger will all be ready to rumble together for the first time in 364 days.

Titans @ Broncos: This could be an all-out battle between the Titan’s deadly run-game and the fresh passing game in Denver, and it certainly will be something you want to see on the big screen. After Minshew, Drew Lock is the most likely 2019 pick to possibly make waves in the league. However, a 300-yard performance will not beat out the inevitable 150 yards Derrick Henry will put up, now that we know Von Miller will sit this one out.

Fantasy Advice:

I play in a PPR Leauge with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 FLX, 1 DF, and 1 PK as the weekly starting line-up for each of the 12 teams in the league. The advice I focus on will come from the perspective of the league I am in, but in general should work for the majority of leagues out there regardless of rules.

START: James White will see lots of action against a Miami defense that is still rebuilding after the latest draft. James Conner managed to put up multiple 20+ point performances even after dealing with injuries and underwhelming back-up quartebacks. A great work ethic and a better cast around him this time will help him reach new heights. Tyler Lockett should be able to expose the mediocre coverage of the Falcons, especially since Rusell Wilson is begging to throw more. Darius Slayton should be solid even as Daniel Jones gets blitzed by TJ Watt.

Bench: The Jet’s defense is probably miserable without Adams, yet I still wouldn’t count on John Brown to have any value in the No. 2 slot with the rush-addicted Josh Allen. Avoid playing any Denver backs this week; my inside knowledge from having Phillip Lindsay last year tells me that their offense will prefer to continue splitting touches up and giving chances to Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman. There’s not enough carries to go around. Kenyan Drake is also a player to avoid seeing on Sunday, as well as Robby Anderson.

Risk-It: The following are players that could potentially flop, but if you are in a pinch, still have the possibility to light-up a scoreboard if needed. Cam Newton might be able to take advantage of an IR full of New England rushers, but he also could disappoint and get injured… again. Kareem Hunt and Raheem Mostert are in time-shares but have undeniable talent that could save you if their offensive lines perform well. Tyler Boyd and  Anthony Miller also have skills, but begrudgingly have to deal with some questions at quarterback.

Pick-Up: After a draft, it’s hard to find players who are no-brainers to snatch off the waiver-wire without any games to base decisions on, but there are a few options this week. Jakeem Grant could step-up to help an unhealthy corps of receivers for the Dolphins. Devine Ozigbo could be a great player to stash on IR if your league has one, but in a scenario where you need to play an emergency back this week, take someone off Washington’s depth chart instead of Jacksonville. Antonio Gibson, Derrius Guice, and Bryce Love have an easier match-up in the Eagles than any Jaguar up against the Colts’ strong line. To add depth to a large field of tight-ends, take Tyler Eifert or Gerrald Everett since they have easy schedules for their position, which could fuel a breakout.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for more soon!