Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for millions of fantasy football aficionados to set their lineups and brace for a weekend of football that projects to be laden with enough storylines and plot twists to make a soap opera jealous.
A number of unforeseen developments take place in the NFL every week, which is what makes trying to predict what to expect that much more fun. The saying, “the truth is stranger than fiction” applies to American football just as it does so often in our everyday lives.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five bold fantasy football predictions for Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season.
Odell Beckham, Jr. Scores The Most Fantasy Points At Wide Receiver
We all know the New York Giants project to feature wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. early and often in Week 1, and so do the Dallas Cowboys. However, that doesn’t mean Jerry Jones’ bunch will actually have any chance of slowing him down or somewhat containing him.
Dallas’ suspect secondary, which Pro Football Focus ranks as the third-worst unit in the NFL, will be burned by Beckham, Jr. in the flats, downs the seams, over the middle, in the red zone and seemingly anywhere else Eli Manning chooses to utilize him in this one. Expect Odell to finish as the WR1 with eight receptions for 125 yards and two TDs.
Coby Fleener Nowhere To Be Found
Coby Fleener raised eyebrows this summer by struggling to get on the same page with QB Drew Brees in his first training camp with the New Orleans Saints.
While Brees undoubtedly likes to utilize the tight end position and knows how to get the most out of his players (Jimmy Graham hasn’t been the same since he left New Orleans), it doesn’t appear fantasy football owners should put a plethora of stock into Fleener’s first week in the bayou.
Brees has plenty of weapons (Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Michael Thomas, C.J. Spiller) and doesn’t need to force the ball to Fleener if he truly isn’t up to speed. Thus, expect Coby to underwhelm against the Oakland Raiders.
When coach says they giving the ball to Derrick Henry, then he takes it for 20+ yards anyway pic.twitter.com/59JqpB8KTY
— Matt Franciscovich (@MattFranchise) September 1, 2016
Derrick Henry Scores TD In First NFL Game
When Derrick Henry struggled with his footwork early on in Tennessee Titans minicamp, his naysayers pumped their collective chest as some of the negatives they so proudly boasted about prior to the 2016 NFL Draft were on full display for the masses to see.
But instead of floundering during the preseason, Henry electrified. Now, Derrick appears to be headed for a huge role with the Titans despite first-stringer DeMarco Murray’s presence on the depth chart.
Henry is a physically imposing power back who is nearly impossible to tackle, so it’s fair to assume he’ll be given a plenitude of red zone and goal line carries against the stout defense of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. Thus, I’m predicting Derrick will reward many fantasy football owners who start him in redraft and daily leagues by scoring his first NFL touchdown.
Carson Wentz Surprisingly Solid In NFL Debut
It can be argued until the cows come home whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles made the right decision in trading up to select Carson Wentz at No. 2 overall last spring, but the truth is, we simply won’t know for another three or four years. For now, let’s look at things a game at a time and realize Wentz has a golden opportunity to make a lasting first impression at home against the lowly Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland’s defense projects to struggle this season and, aside from Joe Haden, really doesn’t field an abundance of talent in the secondary. Expect the Eagles to attempt to establish the run early in order to get Carson some opportunities to expose the Browns on play-action passes.
When all is said and done, Wentz will have cemented a win in his NFL debut with a surprising 250 yards and two TDs.
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) September 7, 2016
Matt Forte Electrifies
I get it: Matt Forte is 30 years old and 30-year-old running backs are often stigmatized as having “lost a step” or said to be “too beat up to continue producing at a high rate.” But keep in mind Forte is a player who has always been in tip-top shape and has missed just eight of a possible 128 games in his career.
Before we send Forte to the running back rest home, we’ll thankfully get to see him flash glimpses of his former self for the Jets in 2016. And he will get things started with a monster showing against the overrated Cincinnati Bengals this week with a touchdown, six receptions, and nearly 100 all-purpose yards.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]