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Week 1 Fantasy Football: Best daily plays, starts and sits

Week 1 Fantasy Football: Best daily plays, starts and sits

The 2016 fantasy football season is finally here.

Each Friday during the NFL season I'll release some of my favorite and not so favorite fantasy football and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) plays of the week.

Let's get cracking on the Week 1 thoughts before Mark Sanchez gets cut by another team.


— The Stud - Todd Gurley, Rams, RB. 

This category isn't about stating the obvious seeing as Gurley was a top-5 pick in most drafts, but noting that this is a week where the fantasy franchise player will live up to the hype and then something.

Consider the opener a tone-setter for the Rams. With Case Keenum at quarterback, that means smashmouth running combined with the Aaron Donald-led defense. 

Gurley faces a 49ers defense that allowed the second-most points to fantasy backs last season. 

— The Sleeper - DeSean Jackson, Redskins, WR.

I've been leading the DeSean Jackson fantasy football bandwagon for weeks so might as well get to high-stepping from the start.

Lost in the chatter about Kirk Cousins saying this week of Jackson, "When he wants to be elite, he's elite" is that the playmaker is looking like a top shelf threat right now. One difference this year is that the deep threat  looks like a more versatile target this campaign based on the outs and sideline routes he's running. The Steelers secondary will include two rookies and isn't a shutdown unit. Jackson will at least match his career-high with nine touchdowns this season. At least one comes Monday night.

— The Super Sleeper - Clive Walford, Raiders, TE.

Put me down for buying into Oakland's offense exploding this season with quarterback Derek Carr leading the attack, Latavius Murray in the backfield and Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree at receiver.

Those four will remain the headliners, but look for key support from a second-year tight end the Raiders selected in round three last season. That support could come in the opener as Walford faces a Saints defense that allowed the most points to fantasy tight ends last season. 

— The Sit - Mike Evans, Buccaneers, WR.

Johnny Manziel's former go-to target at Texas A&M is now the main man for Jameis Winston. Most weeks, that's a tasty combination. On the surface, this might not be one of those weeks.

Evans can score from anywhere on the field, but few do against Falcons CB Desmond Trufant. Collectively, Atlanta allowed the fewest points to fantasy receivers last season. Don't sit Evans just because of the matchup, but if you have viable options on the bench, this looks like a good spot to give him the week off.

— The DFS Trifecta - I'm participating weekly in FanDuel's Daily Fantasy Accuracy Cup (DFAC) along with other fantasy football thinkers.

Here are three plays I like and plan on using for Week 1.

  • Julio Jones, WR, $9000 — At a base level, fantasy football is about opportunities. The more one receives, the better chance they produce. Jones received 30 targets in two games against the Bucs last season, turning those opportunities into 20 receptions for 255 yards one touchdown. Tampa has a new corner duo in veteran Brent Grimes and first round pick Vernon Hargreaves. That won't alter Atlanta's plans.
  • Spencer Ware, RB, $5400 — Get an RB1 for RB2 pricing as Ware is expected to take over with Jamaal Charles out. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season and opens this season against a Chargers defense that gave up 19.9 points (28th) per game last season. Ware will be a popular DFS pick, which makes his value less valuable, but there's a reason.
  • Titans, DST, $4100 — Saving money for other bigger point producing options by going light on defense is good strategy. When that defense is at home, even better. When that cost-effective team is home and playing the backup, even one who has been around the block like the Vikings' Shaun Hill, get excited.

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.