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Cue that Hank Williams Jr. music, because fantasy owners are ready for some football!

The fantasy football season is ready to kick off, and there is no time like the present to figure out the under-the-radar booms and busts for the first week of the NFL season. Whether you are in a traditional year-long league or doing a DFS contest this weekend, finding the booms and staying away from the busts is paramount to fantasy success.

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the opening week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 1 Under-the-Radar Booms

 James White (RB, NE) vs. HOU

New England’s yearly running-back-by-committee situation is always a mess for fantasy players as it is hard to predict if Bill Belichick and Co. will decide to throw 55 times in a game or keep the ball on the ground, and which back will be the one featured the most.

With Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee no longer in the backfield, and with rookie Sony Michel banged-up, White will be splitting top tailback duties with Rex Burkhead (at least for this week). Look for Tom Brady and the Pats to riddle the Texans with quick dump-offs and short screens to White since it might be tough sledding to run against a healthy J.J. Watt and Houston’s staunch defensive front. Do not be surprised to watch White catch 7-10 passes for 75 yards, mix in another 20-40 rushing yards and score a touchdown.

Ted Ginn (WR, NOR) vs. TB

Tampa Bay’s shoddy secondary was instrumental in the Buccaneers finishing dead last in pass defense in 2017. The 2018 incarnation of the defensive backfield is veteran Brent Grimes and a horde of rookies who might turn out to the be the next Legion of Boom down the line but for now are unproven and untested.

Ginn has found a nice niche being the No. 2 receiver behind Michael Thomas among Drew Brees passing attack. It is too early to expect much from newest Saints receiver Cameron Meredith, and you should not be too worried about 100-year-old Benjamin Watson taking too many targets, either. Look for Ginn to break a big play for a long touchdown and catch a number of intermediate passes as well this weekend.

Charles Clay (TE, BUF) at BAL

Baltimore might blow Buffalo into the Inner Harbor on Sunday. We all saw what Nathan Peterman did as a quarterback last season (who could forget his five-interception fiasco against the L.A. Chargers?), so who knows what he and the Bills offense will do for an encore this year.

If Buffalo is trailing throughout the game, Clay could be the biggest benefactor on the Bills offense. No. 1 WR Kelvin Benjamin will probably be blanketed with double coverage, while secondary receivers Zay Jones and Jeremy Kerley will be hard-pressed to do much of anything. I can see Clay racking up 6-8 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown grab, with much of it coming during garbage time when the game is out of reach and Peterman is throwing on every down.

 

Week 1 Under-the-Radar Busts

 DeSean Jackson (WR, TB) at NO

Jackson was a disappointment in 2017, as was the entire Tampa Bay offense. If you think he is bound to bounce back out of the gate, take into account that Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting at quarterback Week 1 for the suspended Jameis Winston. Couple that with the fact that up-and-comer Chris Godwin is poised to take some targets away from the veteran speedster and that Jackson can only be afforded so many to begin when top target Mike Evans gets 8-14 per game, and this sounds like the recipe for a two-catch, 30-yard outing. New Orleans is also paying more attention to its defense these days, so gone are the days of always using receivers for fantasy purposes against the Saints secondary.

Donte Moncrief (WR, JAC) at NYG

The loss of Jacksonville’s top receiver, Marqise Lee, to a season-ending injury, opened up a starting spot for Indianapolis reject Moncrief. While Moncrief has shown some flashes of speed and brilliance during the preseason, if he could not make much of a fantasy impact when Andrew Luck was his quarterback in a pass-first offense, why should he suddenly make one with Blake Bortles as his QB in a run-first offense? While New York’s pass defense is questionable at best and severely shaky at worst, I see Keelan Cole doing more of the damage against the Giants secondary on Sunday than Moncrief.

Alfred Morris (RB, SF) at MIN

Morris is the prime candidate to be the main man on rushing downs and goal-line situations when the 49ers take the field this week in lieu of Jerick McKinnon’s torn ACL. He will split touches and time with Matt Breida, but with Breida coming off a preseason shoulder injury it would be no shock if Morris is slammed up the middle 15-20 times against the Vikings.

But this is not the same Morris who had three consecutive 1,000-yard years when he kicked off his career. Morris was a backup who only scored three touchdowns over the past two seasons despite running behind the best offensive line in the business in Dallas. Minnesota was second in run defense in the NFL in 2017 and shows no signs of being much worse in 2018. Morris’ between-the-tackles runs are not going to earn him many yards, and he could be a nonfactor in the second half if Minnesota gets a lead and San Francisco abandons the run.

More Week 1 Lineup Prep