Sep 07, 2018
NFL 2018 REGULAR SEASON KICKOFF
The fifth and final episode of Hard Knocks aired Tuesday night. Which, signals the end of preseason and the start of the long-awaited 2018 NFL games that count for something. The defending champion Eagles took on the Falcons last night at The Linc. The Eagles begin their quest to become the first NFL team to repeat championships since the Patriots in 2005. Carson Wentz, who led the Eagles to an 11-2 start before ending his season with a knee injury, was sidelined for the season opener. Luckily for the Eagles, Nick Foles has proven he is a more than capable replacement. Foles helped finish off the season and lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl Championship in over 50 years. However, he didn't have top receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is out with a week one shoulder injury, and it showed. Foles threw for just 117 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception for just 5.6 fantasy points. It was somehow enough though as the Eagles squeaked out a 18-12 snoozer with both touchdowns and a two point conversion coming from Jay Ajayi rushes. Ajayi ended the night with a team high 20.2 fantasy points.
On the other side of the ball the Falcons are coming off of a 10-6 record, and another season where they came up short in the playoffs. Atlanta will look to improve their defense which was in the bottom half of the league in nearly all statistical categories last year. This year's question for fantasy players is whether Julio Jones will be able to find the end zone. Julio is one of the most capable receivers in the league, but the fact that he had only three touchdowns last year and did not play a snap in the last 4 weeks raises questions on his fantasy value. Last night was a mixed bag for Jones as he only saw one end zone target and couldn't haul it in, but still managed a game high 23 fantasy points.
Antonio Brown is the favorite fantasy wideout. Brown has averaged 11 TD’s over his last four seasons and had a league-leading 1533 yards last year in only 14 games. At 30 years old Brown is still in the prime of his career and doesn’t look to be slowing down. His teammate and consensus top-3 fantasy running back Le’veon Bell has done more than just slow down, he has come to a screeching halt. Bell has missed all of the preseason and will continue to sit out amongst contract disputes. No one is sure how much time Bell will miss, his agent has hinted it may be more than just this first game. Le’veon, an integral part of the Pittsburgh offense, will watch as the Steelers start James Conner in week one against the Browns.
Ah the Browns. The Browns are a team that many have followed simply because they were on HBO’s Hard Knocks this year. In spite of that 0-16 season, there is a surprising amount of hope in Cleveland. They have a solid backfield in Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. Hyde showed flashes of his potential in San Francisco and should see more opportunities than ever now that he is in Cleveland. Jarvis “Bless ’Em” Landry, their top receiver, led the league in receptions last year with the Dolphins. They also have the return of star receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon can be a top receiver in the league, the only problem is he has missed most of the last three seasons due to off-field incidents. They have a seasoned quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and the first overall pick Baker Mayfield serving as his backup. This team probably won’t win the Super bowl. Let’s call them a dark horse to sneak into the playoffs.
The season is here, our Thursday-Monday contests have started and will continue all season. Plus, we will be running Sunday-only contests all year as well right here at Draftboard.