Under-the-Radar Lineup Booms and Busts (Week 1)

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 The opening week of the NFL season is as exciting for fantasy football owners as the opening night of The Last Jedi will be for Star Wars nuts.

With Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill already lighting up the scoreboard for fantasy squads against the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, fantasy football is officially in full swing. While many pundits and prognosticators focus on the obvious fantasy booms and busts, this column is dedicated to the players who are not among the fantasy elite who could have big games or big fails.

Here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for the opening week of NFL action!

Editor's note: Purchase any NFL Lineup Optimizer pass (including daily DFS cheat sheets), and you also get access to NBA and NHL Optimizers and DFS cheat sheets.

 

Week 1 Under-the-Radar Booms

Kevin White (WR, CHI) at ATL

 With a roster full of receivers who are No. 2 and No. 3 options at best (Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Reuben Randle), and now that Cameron Meredith has suffered a season-ending injury, the only player on the team who could become the No. 1 WR for Mike Glennon is White. Atlanta might have made (and blown) the Super Bowl last season, but the Falcons were still 28th against the pass. If White can stay healthy for four quarters (which is asking a lot from him), it would not be a surprise if he racked up 100 yards and a touchdown, especially if Chicago is trailing in the second half and throwing a lot.

Latavius Murray (RB, MIN) vs. NOR

Murray gets more respect from fantasy owners than he gets from NFL coaching staffs and general managers. All the guy did was rush for a dozen touchdowns in 2016 and for 1,000 yards in 2015, yet fantasy owners have all their eggs in rookie Dalvin Cook’s basket. Do not be shocked if Murray is the one getting the handoffs inside the five-yard line this week, though, along with some more when Cook needs breathers during his first pro game. Murray will also be running against a New Orleans defense that might make many running backs look like Gale Sayers this year.

Charles Clay (TE, BUF) vs. NYJ

Buffalo has about as many good options in its passing game as a hamburger lover has at Chik-fil-A, so Clay might have no choice but to catch seven passes this Sunday. With the Jets bound to stack the box to stop LeSean McCoy from running for 200 yards, and with top target Jordan Matthews banged-up, Clay will probably see a fair share of passes from Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo’s receiving corps is inexperienced and unproven other than Matthews, so Clay will be the solid pair of hands Taylor looks for on third downs and possibly around the end zone.

 

Week 1 Under-the-Radar Busts

Brandon Marshall (WR, NYG) at DAL

Odell Beckham is questionable to play Sunday night due to his ankle sprain, so fantasy owners will be inclined to think Marshall is in line for a plethora of Eli Manning targets if OBJ cannot suit up. Marshall is getting over his own injury (shoulder), however, and we still do not know if Marshall will have his target total sliced into by super sophomore Sterling Shepard. Marshall could have a great game if Beckham does not play, but if Beckham does than Marshall might not do much of anything.

Jeremy Hill (RB, CIN) vs. BAL

Hill is listed as the starting tailback for Week 1, but with longtime running partner Giovani Bernard and second-rounder Joe Mixon in the backfield, Hill might be as hard-pressed for touches as Rex Burkhead was for New England on Thursday night. Hill’s career numbers against Baltimore should not excite any fantasy owners thinking of using him as a flex option, either. In four of his last five games against the Ravens, Hill has run for 25 yards or less.

Eric Ebron (TE, DET) vs. ARI

Detroit’s talented tight end has seen his stats rise in each of his first three seasons, but he only found the end zone one time in 2016.  All signs point to him being more of a cornerstone in the Lions’ passing attack this year, but Ebron’s opening contest will likely be one of his roughest matchups of the season since Arizona had the stingiest defense against tight ends in 2016. Look for Matthew Stafford (the highest-paid player in the NFL?!!?) to aim at receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones more than Ebron on Sunday because of this.

 

More Week 1 Lineup Prep