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Week 1 Busts - Overvalued Players To Avoid In Fantasy Football


It's finally here. That moment all of you fantasy football fanatics have been waiting for. Week 1 of the 2019 regular season. No longer will we have to sit through meaningless preseason games and training camp babble. You can finally see if your prized draft-pick selections will pay off. Throw your special jersey on, kick up your feet and don't forget to have your beverage of choice in hand.

But before we get to Thursday night's kickoff between the Packers and Bears, let's talk about some players that could disappoint out of the gates. To be clear, we aren't telling you to outright bench these guys -- a lot of them aren't coming out of your lineups all year unless they're injured -- but they could fall well short of expectations given their Week 1 matchups.

Below are 10 potential busts for Week 1 of the 2019 Fantasy Football season.

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Potential Quarterback Busts for Week 1

Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons @ Vikings

Ryan has gone over 4,900 passing yards twice in the last three years, so we're not trying to say that he's not a good QB1. It's not crazy to wonder if he'll go over 5,000 yards given the weapons he has around him (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, Devonta Freeman) while being reunited with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Just don't expect him to light it up in Week 1 on the road against a Vikings Defense that allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game (196.3) in 2018. Opposing QBs also had the sixth-lowest completion percentage (62.6%) against them. Minnesota will bring the heat and test Atlanta's offensive line. Ryan was a little less efficient on the road last year, completing fewer passes, throwing more picks and taking more sacks.

Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers @ Bears (Thursday)

There are several reasons to expect a bounce-back performance from Rodgers in 2019. But some of those reasons are also why he might struggle early in the year. A new offense under head coach Matt LaFleur has blowup potential (in a good way), but keep in mind that Rodgers didn't play at all in preseason action due to a tight back. He has a great go-to receiver in Davante Adams, but will this offense be slow to adjust to a new play-caller?

It won't help that they're facing a tenacious defense -- and a division rival no less -- on the road in the first primetime game of the year. Rodgers has a knack for stepping up in these big situations, but he's been much more trustworthy at home in his career. He went 25-for-42 (59.5%) for 274 yards (6.52 yards per attempt) with no touchdowns and one interception on the road against the Bears last season. Chicago sacked him five times.

Others: Cam Newton (Vs. Rams), Jared Goff (@ Panthers)

 

Potential Running Back Busts for Week 1

Ezekiel Elliott - Dallas Cowboys Vs. Giants

Elliott's fantasy owners are thrilled that he signed a six-year, $90 million extension on Wednesday. He's expected to practice this week and play in Week 1. Elliott had been training in Mexico, so he should be in good shape, but the Cowboys plan to limit his workload in the season opener after he held out for all of training camp and the preseason. Elliott could easily lead the NFL in rushing again in 2019, but he'll have his lowest floor all season against New York.

Damien Williams - Kansas City Chiefs @ Jaguars

There's opportunity for Williams in 2019, there's no doubt about that. But the addition of LeSean McCoy further boosts KC's already impressive running back depth, and Andy Reid won't be afraid to utilize all his weapons. Jacksonville's defensive front is among the best in the NFL, which might make life difficult for Williams while causing the Chiefs to get the ball out quickly.

Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans @ Browns

There was no better fantasy back down the stretch in 2018 than Henry. He had 97 carries for 625 yards (6.44 yards per tote) and eight touchdowns over the final five games to help win many fantasy titles. As hot as he was to finish, he was just as cold in the first five games (65 attempts, 219 yards and zero TDs).

That's not to say that Henry is bound to start slow again this year, but it's a reminder that he's streaky and inconsistent. Cleveland's rush defense was bad last year (135.2 yards allowed per game), but they've also improved quite a bit up front since then. If Tennessee can't keep the Browns honest through the air in Week 1, Henry could have a tough time getting going.

Others: Todd Gurley (@ Panthers), Duke Johnson (@ Saints), Aaron Jones (@ Bears)

 

Potential Wide Receiver Busts for Week 1

T.Y. Hilton - Indianapolis Colts @ Chargers

Hilton lost a ton of fantasy appeal the moment Andrew Luck announced his retirement. While he wasn't terrible in 2017 when Jacoby Brissett started the entire season, it was also just one of two campaigns in his career where Hilton didn't reach 1,000 yards receiving.

The Chargers secondary was in the top 10 in fewest receiving yards allowed per game in 2018. The loss of safety Derwin James makes them more vulnerable in the first half of the season, but expect Casey Hayward to follow Hilton around. Hilton had just one of his six touchdowns on the road last year.

Amari Cooper - Dallas Cowboys Vs. Giants

The matchup isn't bad and the Cowboys may elect to throw more with Elliott being eased into action, but this one has everything to do with Cooper's foot injury that kept him out of practices and the preseason this summer. He says he'll be fine, but we've heard that before. Cooper had five catches on 11 targets for 31 yards in his lone appearance against the G-Men in 2018.

Robby Anderson - New York Jets Vs. Bills

Anderson has been dealing with a calf injury he suffered in practice, but he will play in the season opener. Combined with the fact that he'll likely be covered by Tre'Davious White, Anderson will have a lower floor than usual as Gang Green's top wideout. Buffalo allowed the fewest receiving yards per game (192.8) last year and the third-fewest receptions (313) all year long. Unless Anderson comes up with some big plays, he's likely to disappoint.

Others: Jarvis Landry (Vs. Titans), Tyreek Hill (@ Jaguars), Antonio Brown (Vs. Broncos)

 

Potential Tight End Busts for Week 1

David Njoku - Cleveland Browns Vs. Titans

Njoku could take another step forward in his third season in an offense that's expected to be even better with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. But there are also more mouths to feed, which means Njoku will still be hit or miss on a week-to-week basis. He'll be touchdown-dependent against a Titans Defense that was stingy to the position in 2018, allowing 4.12 receptions per game.

Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons @ Vikings

Hooper resides in one of the league's highest-ceiling offenses, but he's down on the totem pole in terms of targets and hasn't been much of a red-zone weapon. He will likely be asked to block much more against a stout Vikings defense that allowed only 3.88 catches per game and 44.50 yards per game in 2018 to the tight end position.

Others: Jimmy Graham (@ Bears), Jordan Reed (@ Eagles)

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