Welcome, all you fantasy football junkies, flunkies and rookies! Every Wednesday before the fantasy week starts, Mark’s Fantasy Football Goldmine will be updating you, LB Nation, on exactly who you need in that oh-so-tricky flex spot, sneaky waiver-wire pickups, and my predictions for who will boom and bust this week. The Daily Forty-Niner sports section editors will also compile a list of your team name submissions sent to the @D49ersports Twitter and feature the winner of the week, so send us your best.
To keep myself responsible to my fellow peers and prove why you should pick up these golden nuggets of wisdom, I will post my personal fantasy team each week, “The Funky Bunch,” so let me know what you think! Alright, now let’s get digging!
Flex On ‘Em
In week one, the fantasy football world saw Austin Ekeler, Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews and Sammy Watkins explode onto the scene, looking like sure-fire flex starters for the upcoming season. Here are the best risk/reward options you should unearth and plug into your x-factor slot.
- Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears: After an uninspiring loss to start to the season against the Packers, the Bears will look to right the ship in Denver with my prediction of Cohen leading the charge. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is turnover-prone and hesitant to throw the deep ball. Cohen will likely receive a steady dose of dump-off passes against the Broncos’ secondary and become a points-per-reception monster.
- Will Fuller V, WR, Houston Texans: After only three targets last week against the Saints, Fuller will easily outpace his production with the Jaguars’ talented cornerback Jalen Ramsey shadowing DeAndre Hopkins, giving Fuller more breathing room than usual and more room to operate.
- Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams: Although Kupp had an average performance in week one, it’s clear he is the favorite option in the passing-attack the Rams employ, seeing 10 targets in the game. New Orleans will always be known for its high-octane offense, which will lead to a shootout. Rams will be forced to depend on Kupp to keep up.
Workin’ the Wire
Being accomplished students here at the Beach, I know you’re smart. Instead of giving you obvious options that everyone will target, here are the players you should aim for after the first round of waivers go through.
- Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: With a shoulder injury to speedster Tyreek Hill, Kansas City will need someone to step up and take the top off of the defense with long routes. Enter Mecole Hardman, their unproven second-round rookie. With prime draft capital spent on Hardman and the Chiefs’ track-record of uncovering gems, the expectations are there for Hardman to make his mark on the season.
- Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers: After the unfortunate loss of Tevin Coleman, the 49ers will now turn to the oft-injured Matt Breida. In the second half of their matchup versus the Buccaneers, Mostert posted a huge 7.7 yards per carry, showing that with the opportunity, the production will follow.
- Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders: The tight end position is a wasteland in fantasy football. While in real games they are invaluable for their blocking ability and catching passes, those numbers don’t always translate well to fantasy. With Antonio Brown joining the Patriots and Tyrell Williams taking over the number one role, a sidekick will be needed for the Raiders. Quarterback Derek Carr isn’t known for his deep-passing acumen, meaning Waller will be a great safety blanket once plays break down, leading to lots of easy catches.
Dope or Nope?
One of the most important fantasy nuggets I can give is to stick to your guns when it comes to your early-round picks. You chose those players because of their elite talent. Here is a list of the players that I think will blow up in fantasy scoring at their respective positions, as well as the ones who will flop.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
- Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
- San Francisco 49ers Defense vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Joe Flacco, QB, Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears
- Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans
- Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
- Cleveland Browns Defense vs. New York Jets
Stats via fantasy.NFL.com