Every week, I too will give you guys my picks for the weekend, I’m in the process of figuring out microphones and iTunes, so I’m trying to put these picks up earlier in the week, so that you guys can listen going into the week.
I’ll be giving you my picks on every game that I have a feeling about, I’ll probably discuss every game, but I’d rather just choose things I’m confident but this week, I just want to give you guys the bets I feel good about.
I really like the over in three games, New Orleans at Atlanta at 51, San Francisco at Dallas at 51, and San Diego at Arizona at 46.
New Orleans is going to have a good defense this year, but Atlanta’s passing attack of Ryan, Jones and White, is too good to be kept down too much. Of course, the only group better than Atlanta’s passing offense in this game is New Orleans’ offense. Atlanta’s defense just won’t be good enough to keep the Saints from scoring this Sunday.
I think that Brees, Graham and Cooks go off for big games, they’ve been talking about Cooks all summer with that speed, so they’ll want to play with their new toy Week 1, it’s simply human nature. Graham is finally healthy, which he wasn’t last year, so you can guarantee that a healthy Graham is in for a MONSTER year. That will start with a bang in Atlanta.
In the San Francisco at Dallas game, I again see a high scoring affair, but this time it’s because both defenses just aren’t very good. The 49ers have lost a lot on the defensive side of the football, so they’ll fall back to a middle of the pack defense until Navarro Bowman recovers from that horrific knee injury from last January. The Cowboys’ defense just isn’t very good, Sean Lee’s gone and DeMarcus Ware walked in free agency, they’ve overpaid The Cowboys were one of the worst rush defenses in the league last year, so expect Frank Gore to have a big week, his backup, Carlos Hyde could have a big Game 1 as well. Michael Crabtree is in line for the season of his career. Like Jimmy Graham, Crabtree was hampered last year by injuries even after he returned from that Achilles tear. He’s now had an offseason to improve, much of the 2013 offseason was spent rehabbing and getting back to where he was, this offseason was all about improving.
As someone who has had quite a few injuries during his playing career, I think this is something you should keep in mind during fantasy. This game is about continuous improvement, every single day.
We see guys like Russell Wilson make jumps everyday and that’s what the greats do. This preseason, and last night, Wilson has looked elite. One comment I had last night is that their offense doesn’t ask the QB to do a lot, they’re not going to wow you with new spread offense concepts. The Seahawks are going to run the football, Wilson’s going to run play action perfectly, and he’s going to hit his receivers on short and intermediate routes all damn day. That Percy Harvin jet sweep is absolutely stellar, that’s the main “new school” concept they have included in their offense and they run it to perfection. The way Harvin’s speed allows him to stretch so quickly, but it’s also the offense line doing their jobs on reach blocks.
Anyway, Wilson’s a great example of the improvement that happens every day on the job for the great players and my point is that when a guy like Crabtree goes down with a serious tear, he could go through about a year of work to get back to where he was the day he had the injury. So while these guys have the tendencies to be freaks like an Adrian Peterson who has a monster year nine months after an ACL tear, it’s still something we should take note of and understand. A guy like Crabtree is going to look worlds better this year than last year and I seriously think he’ll be a WR1 at the end of the season. He’s been a STUD since I was in high school, he’s the kind of guy you heard about across the country, the sky is the limit.
(It also helps that he went to Dallas Carter High School, the team who beat the Friday Night Lights’ Permian Panthers, my favorite movie of all time. He also broke my heart against the University of Texas in 2007.)
The last over/under that I really like is 46 in the San Diego at Arizona game. I think both of these defenses are average. You’ve gotta remember that Arizona lost some key players and Tyrann Mathieu is coming off multiple tears in his knee. We’ve also got two pretty good offenses here, Carson Palmer was quietly in the top-half of quarterbacks last season, while Phillip Rivers got back to his normal self with the help of a rookie named Keenan Allen. An interesting match-up in this Monday night game will be the one between Allen and Peterson. Look for the Chargers tight end tandem to have a big day. Also, that three-headed running back attack is going to be great this year in San Diego, look for Rivers to have a big year as he is a dark horse MVP candidate for many.
The other games I want to touch on all involve the spread. First, I think Minnesota going up against the Bradford-less Rams will win, so that +4 is a gimme to me. I love the Rams defense, but I see AP having a big time day. I think this will be a 21 to 14 type game in favor of the Vikings. Look for Cordarelle Patterson to go off as well, I can’t wait to see how much better this kid has gotten over the offseason.
Next up, I love the Jets at home giving 5 points to Oakland. Derek Carr is going into this game as the starter in his first-career game and it’s a tough front seven to do it against. I see Eric Decker and Chris Johnson having big season for the Jets. I know that the Jets offense has been terrible the last few years, but Decker will get at least 20 targets higher than his 136 from 2013 with not much else behind him in the Jets receiving core. I do like Kerley as a slot receiver and I do think the Jets have some other receivers that could have 400 yards this year, but without much at tight end, Decker is going to be a target monster. Chris Johnson has been a disappointment the last few years because of where he was drafted. It’s not his fault that we all thought he was a first rounder the last two years in a bad offense, but he was a high value pick in the 6th or 7th round this season. I think he’ll do better than his 10th highest running back point total in PPR formats that he had last year.
I think this Cincinnati game at Baltimore is a win for the Bengals. This is a pick ‘em game and I think the Ray Rice-less Ravens will fall in a close, low scoring game. I do like both of these teams to have playoff caliber rosters, but we’ll see how their seasons shake out. Such a game of inches and slim margins, so who knows, but they both have the talent. The Bengals are a dark-horse Super Bowl contender in my eyes and their salary cap situation has them in line to be good for a long time. They have a favorable deal for Andy Dalton with TWO great young running backs making around $1 million each this season. They’ve got a young, affordable defense and they’ve got the weapons to make a splash this season.
I think the running attack of Bernard and Hill, with the Dalton to Green connection will be too much for the Ravens. I do really like Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta this year for the Ravens and once Rice gets back from suspension, he’ll prove to be a high-value pick with his 7th round ADP.
Lastly, I love the Chiefs at home giving 4 points to the Titans. I don’t think Tennessee will be very good this year and I think the Chiefs will play just above .500 football this year, falling back to earth from last year. Andy Reid might finagle these guys into a playoff appearance, but a lot rests on an overused Jamaal Charles. I expect Dwayne Bowe to be a week to week option in deeper leagues, but don’t count on him in a league that only has 20 to 24 starting receivers.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you guys think. We’re looking to come in with more podcasts in the near future, so we hope you guys enjoy!
To the most cap savvy readers in the world, #BeAmerican.
Total Human Optimization: Onnit