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We bring back the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest storylines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this.
1.) Can Matt Forte Feel This Real Forever?
Can he ever be this good again? The conventional wisdom is that Matt Forte would be hard pressed to repeat his PPR RB3 finish last year outside the comforts of Marc Trestman’s system. Forte looked like he might be able to improve on that finish this year as the focal point of the Bears’ offense in their week one matchup against Green Bay as finished as the week one PPR RB2. Even in a tough matchup against the Cardinals, Forte’s usage and elite receiving skills make him a top flight play this week. Alshon Jeffery continued to prove you start him when he’s active, dinged up or not, but a hamstring injury popping up on the Friday injury report is not a good sign for his availability this week and could lead to more opportunities for Forte.
For the Bird Gang, although it’s hard to get excited about Chris Johnson, he’ll get enough volume against a weak defense to make him startable. David Johnson would be startable based on the home run threat for the same reason. However, my favorite Cardinal play for the week is Carson Palmer who should be able to thrive against the Bears’ leaky pass defense – he’ll promise not to stop when the Bears say when.
2.) Adrian Peterson is Learning to Run Again
I believe we’ve waited long enough. To be fair to Adrian Peterson, the entire Vikings offense looked like it was stuck in mud against the rebuilt and overachieving 49ers defense last week. That being said, Peterson sure looked like a 30-year old running back who missed almost all of last year en route to a PPR RB39 finish (behind such luminaries as Theo Riddick and Bilal Powell). He does get a Lions defense that was unable to stop pint-size powderkeg Danny Woodhead this week, so look for some improvement from “All Day.” Ameer Abdullah was the PPR RB9 last week on only seven carries, but he still received more touches than Joique Bell (who was also outscored by the aforementioned Riddick). Bell and bench both start with B – it’s not a coincidence. Calvin Johnson only received four targets in a game the Lions were losing. I’m no professional football coach, but someone should, you know, tell the Lions to throw the ball to the best player on the field. Where do I begin?
3.) Isaiah Crowell Is Not Like the Others
[inlinead]He is not just another one of your plays. In fact, Isaiah Crowell should not be one of your plays – he’s the pretender. His 12 carries for 20 yards in an admittedly tough matchup against the Jets fails to inspire much confidence. Duke Johnson’s seven carries for 22 yards didn’t inspire much more. The Browns are going to struggle to throw the ball all year, which is going to lead to defenses keying in on the run. Crowell’s work ethic has been questioned and you have to wonder if it’s possible to get better while mired in a timeshare on a team that looks to offensively inept. Even in a good matchup against the Titans, I’d be hesitant to start Crow.
Elsewhere, I can’t decide if Bishop Sankey as the RB4 or Carlos Hyde as the RB1 surprised me the most last week. It might just be the Marcus Mariota factor combined with facing the sinking Bucs, but Sankey had a spring in his step last week. There are definitely worse options in week two than firing up Sankey in a slightly plus matchup. Chris Ivory had 91 yards and two touchdowns against these Browns last week. Just remember, he is not permanent. He’s temporary, temporary…
4.) One of These Days The Ground Will Drop Out From Beneath DeMarco Murray’s Feet
I bet your heart’ll be broken. DeMarco Murray was the PPR RB11 in week one, around the mid-to-low RB1 people generally expected he would be this year. The problem is this finish was almost exclusively supported by two touchdowns. Murray only received 12 total touches and just barely outsnapped Ryan Mathews 33 to 25 (with 16 snaps going to ageless wonder Darren Sproles). Take away one of those touchdowns and Murray falls to the PPR RB26. Take away both and he falls to the PPR RB47. Yes, Murray will likely score a fair amount of touchdowns, but it’s a scary prospect to rely on for presumably your RB1. Maybe the Eagles are just trying to keep him fresh and his workload will increase in the fantasy playoffs. The question is, will your team be there to reap the benefits?
Lance Dunbar got the bulk of the Cowboys’ snaps. He’s the only Cowboys running back I’d feel comfortable starting. Terrence Williams actually did a decent job getting separation last week. I think he’ll be a back-end WR2 until Dez Bryant comes back. Cole Beasley will be an intriguing PPR play. I know, it’s easy for me to say.
5.) Lamar Miller Could Stand To Prove
Big me to talk about it. Lamar Miller was one of my favorite breakout running backs this year after a PPR RB9 finish last year on just 216 carries and the talk of an increased workload this year that looked to actually be accurate based on the preseason. Yet in the Dolphins’ week one matchup against the hapless Redskins, Miller and indeed the entire Miami offense looked completely discombobulated. Miller finished week one as just the PPR RB38 with 13 carries for 53 yards and just one 22-yard reception. This week, I look for Miller and the entire Dolphins offense to rebound against the even-more-hapless Jaguars. I’d start Miller, Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry and Jordan Cameron with confidence. Cameron was a cautionary tale reminding us not to take lack of preseason usage to heart. His seven targets were a good sign he should see enough volume to be counted on as a TE1 in a shallow position group. Allen Robinson was dragged down by Blake Bortles and a case of the dropsies last week, but the talent is there and he will rebound. I like Allen Hurns as a player, but he’s not as talented as Robinson and may not be able to transcend the Jaguars’ moribund offense. I know that it’s true.
6.) Justin Forsett Is Gonna Breakout
Burn it in the blastoff. Another player I really liked heading into this year was Justin Forsett. While he also had a ho-hum week one, I chalk that up more to the Broncos’ aggressive defense under Wade Phillips. Essentially, Joe Flacco and the Ravens have Forsett, Steve Smith and a bunch of day laborers at the skill positions. It’s not surprising Phillips was able to scheme away those two players. Both the personnel and the coaching take a serious nosedive this week as the Ravens get the Raiders. I look for both Forsett and Smith to rebound against a Raiders defense lacking playmakers on defense and dumpster diving at safety (I see you Taylor Mays). Steve Wyremski favorite Latavius Murray is a good player, but he’s going to be dragged down by the Raiders offense all year. In PPR leagues, he’ll be a decent play based on his receiving skills, though. Amari Cooper will be startable based on volume and his high-end skill set all year, but his production will likely fluctuate depending on the quality of those targets, which will generally be low.