As if 2020 hadn’t been wild enough, we’ve finally made it to Football season Rush Nation. The time we didn’t think we would see this year! We’ll I didn’t, if I’m being brutally honest but we’ve just scraped into the season. Lock it down went fairly well last year and by taking a look at some key matchups between Wide Receivers and Cornerbacks I made some good fade calls.
I want to start by prefixing this by saying, under NO circumstances starting these players is a bad move. Sometimes it will just be the case that perhaps to temper expectations on their Fantasy points return for you. Or if you’re having difficulty deciding between player A and player B then this could help make up your mind. Like Tinder dates some of these calls will be great, others, not so much.
As analysts we can’t be right all the time, nor are the takes we make bad ones. All our takes and opinions are based on research that has led us to a conclusion. Our minds all interpret information differently and my golden takes will be another man’s trash. That’s life! As we always say, we give you the information we find to help you make a decision, not to tell you what to do, but to help you make the call. So I suppose we better Lock it Down right?
What college can teach us
If there is one thing that has helped me come to these selections, it’s Saturday nights demolition of Middle Tennessee State by Army. In a game that was meant to be close and, Army was just four-point favourites, the might of the military shone through. How we didn’t expect this and lump on Army huge is beyond me.
In a season where practices have been minimal, schedules rearranged and general life messed up by COVID, the organisation of the Military was evident. Not only was baseline fitness more prevalent than ever because of being in the Army, but Army straight-up playing to how they know was also on display. Army dropped a MOAB on MTSU and won 42-0. Forty-Two, NOTHING! That’s right Rush Nation, organisation is everything right now in Football. That’s why teams who are run by clever and organised coaches should win out in week one. Yes, the Patriots have lost lots of pieces from the defensive side of the ball but guess what? Big Bill Belichick is still running that ship like an admiral of the Navy and as I just said, Military organisation is huge right now. Huge!
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Go and read last week’s article on why I want no part of Parker. He matches up against Gilmore with a Quarterback who has missed practice time due to the unfortunate passing of his mother. As magic as Fitzpatrick was. There’s no Expelliarmus to get him out of this one. Start Parker at your peril.
The Steelers defence is good. Really good. Many are projecting them to be a top-three defence this year and some even have them at number one. Last year they were also pretty good. They gave up 29.9 fantasy points to opposing team’s Wide Receivers last year. This could have been because the team was always chasing the game due to a Quarterback carousel. Teams wouldn’t have thrown the ball at them as much if they were ahead. What makes this defence even scarier is the fact they now have Minkah Fitzpatrick for the full year. They just paid Cameron Hayward, have a buzzing T.J Watt and a plethora of other talents too.
Couple this with the fact that for the first time in a while the New York Giants have a fully fit Roster, means Shep Dog could suffer from too many mouths to feed. It’s a rare occurrence that Danny Dimes has a full squad to throw at. Golden Tate, Darius Slayton both stepped up last year when needed by Big Blue. Evan Engram is also finally fit and Saquon Barkley is a generational pass-catching Running Back. There are almost more mouths here than at the final supper.
New Coaches Need Time To Gel
New Offensive Coordinator Jason Garret likes nothing more than clapping and running the ball. Also, new Head Coach Joe Judge has talked recently about allowing everyone to have snaps in the first game to acclimatise to the fast pace game again due to very limited practice reps. However, some good news for Shepard is that he is likely to be named a team captain. This should inspire him to lead the charge, just maybe not against the best defence in the league.
I have Shepard as my Wide Receiver 43 for week one, scoring just 12.3 Fantasy Points (0.5 PPR). Expectations should be set low for week one when all Giants are fit and healthy and up against the Steel Curtain.
The shiny new toy that just got paid is a fade this week? Sure is Rush Nation. Now I am not saying don’t play Hopkins. I’m saying he may not return what you had hoped for against a solid defence against opposing team’s Wide Receivers. This will be year two of Kliff Kingsburys air raid system, a system that never hyper focuses on one guy. The whole playbook is designed to go four-wide as much as possible and spread the love around.
The 49ers gave up 31.4 Fantasy Points Per Game last year to the opposing Wide Outs. They also gave up just 139 yards a game to Wide Receivers. When spread amongst the four or five guys Arizona will use from the Receiving corp, that’s not enough to put up studly WR1 numbers. Where San Fran gave up their Fantasy points was in touchdowns. They gave up 17 over the year. There’s a chance that Arizona gets more than one but it’s slim. I expect Drake to get one of the receiving touchdowns as the Corners and Safeties lock down the Wide Receivers. Drake averaged 4 targets a game after becoming a Cardinal and this could increase in year two.
Nuke Needs Targets
In 2019 the Cardinals had two receivers who managed to get over 100 targets. Larry Fitz got 109 and Christian Kirk got 108. Since 2015 Hopkins has had at least 150 targets a year, with him garnering 192 in 2015 and 174 in 2017. I can’t see him getting anywhere near this total in Arizona. When getting 150+ targets Hopkins has been a top-five Fantasy Wide Receiver. If he has a 30% drop in season-long receptions he would lose around 80 Fantasy Points. That would put him at Wide Receiver 30 in last year’s standings in PPR. Now Nuke is uber-talented and might not see a drop off the big but at that rate, it’s an average of just 13 FPPG. Not ideal for your WR1. Play Nuke with an understanding he might not detonate. This is Hopkins we’re talking about so he could prove me wrong but i have him as my WR 54 in a game i can see him laying an egg in. Arizona could spell his production for Fantasy Football but his talent will undoubtedly make them a better offence.
Until next week Rush Nation, Keep Rushing.