Every week, our Yahoo fantasy football crew will reveal their boldest predictions for the action ahead. In a year without preseason action and limited information coming out of training camps, it’s time to get really bold for Week 1!
Gronk finds end zone (twice) in return
Liz Loza: Rob Gronkowski will lead the Bucs in scores on Sunday. Mike Evans has historically struggled vs. the Saints, a defense that held him to a total of 4 catches and 69 yards (out of 11 targets) in 2019. This is in large part due to the shutdown coverage of CB Marshon Lattimore, who has allowed Evans a single catch (plus an INT) over their last two meetings. With news that Evans is additionally dealing with a soft tissue issue, it seems entirely likely that Tom Brady will be locked in on a proven and faithful security blanket. Chris Godwin figures to see plenty of looks, but Gronk’s ability in the red zone - especially now, at the top of the season while he’s fresh and the opposing defense is rusty sans a preseason - should translate into at least two spikes.
James Robinson announces his presence
Andy Behrens: Robinson is going to outscore Leonard Fournette and a whole bunch of other running backs in Week 1, finishing inside the position’s top-20. If you broke the mid-week waiver bank to add Robinson to your roster, consider slotting him in as a starter. It’s looking like he should see nearly all the early down rushing work, as Devine Ozigbo has hit IR with a hamstring injury. Robinson is of course making a huge leap in terms of quality-of-competition, having starred at the FCS level in recent years at Illinois State. But he earned terrific reviews in camp and he’s about to see 15-plus carries. Add and play.
Jonathan Taylor shows he’s the better back
Matt Harmon: Taylor runs for 100 yards in Week 1. Amid speculation from local writers that the rookie was merely drafted to spell Marlon Mack on the occasion, Taylor comes out and drops a hammer in his first game for the Colts. Indy is an eight-point road favorite right now, per BetMGM so in that type of game script there will be plenty of rushing work for both backs. However, sooner or later, Taylor’s natural explosiveness and dazzling open-field ability is going to get him the superior workload in this backfield. The plan could be for these guys both to see 15-17 carries as the Colts easily put away the Jaguars. If that comes to pass, give me Taylor as they guy who does more with his share of the pie. Why not start that takeover Week 1 against a Jaguars defense fully in transition?
DeSean Jackson must-start in Week 1
Dalton Del Don: He’s highly unlikely to stay healthy all season, but Jackson is a top-12 fantasy receiver in Week 1 while the Eagles deal with injuries (including along their offensive line, which admittedly isn't ideal against Washington's improved D-line). Washington should run a faster pace and score more points this season, while Philadelphia also enters with a banged up backfield. DJax is looking at double-digit targets against a secondary that ranked near the bottom-five in pass DVOA last season, so expect the speedy wideout (a terrific fit for Carson Wentz's deep ball) to eclipse 100 yards and hit pay dirt on Sunday.
The overlooked Falcons receiver flies
Scott Pianowski: Russell Gage will have 100 yards or a touchdown, or both, as the Falcons and Seahawks play pinball. Atlanta’s usage tree is fairly narrow, but don’t forget to include Gage, who turned into a reliable contributor last year after the Mo Sanu trade. Gage quietly accumulated 45 catches for 402 yards over his last nine games; you’d like to see more downfield work, but at least he’s already in the Matt Ryan Circle of Trust. (You want another cheap wideout for Week 1? Kendrick Bourne scores for the Niners this week.)