2013-09-04 11:00:00 EDT
Today’s the day (finally). The 2013 NFL season will kick off tonight with the Broncos hosting the defending champion Ravens, and when that game goes live so will fantasy seasons everywhere. With that in mind, let’s take an up-close look at some of the players who have been making headlines recently and see what we can be expecting in the coming days. Here’s the latest.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: One of the big matchups on the schedule this week is Monday’s Eagles-Redskins battle. Even with the new offense in Philly, McCoy figures to be a major focal point of the Eagles’ attack. If history repeats itself, the Redskins’ defense will be vulnerable through the air. Last season, McCoy tallied 13 grabs for a total of 144 yards in the teams’ two games, but only averaged 45 yards rushing. With a mostly intact (and healthier) Washington defense, you can expect the Eagles to at least try the same strategy.
So, even though he may not rack up the rush yardage, McCoy should have a big day on the stat sheet. He’s a top-10 overall fantasy name heading into the opener.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Here’s a sleeper name to keep your eye on as we inch closer to Sunday’s full slate of NFL action. Patterson is apparently the new Percy Harvin in town, as he’s taken on some of the roles that the ex-Viking had last during his tenure in Minnesota.
Stats-wise, Patterson finished the preseason with 84 yards on eight grabs (which is a team-high), so there might be some legs on this notion. The good news here is that not too many people have picked up on him in fantasy just yet, so if you want to add some depth to your WR corps on a hot-ticket sleeper prospect, now’s the time to do it. The Vikes will head to Detroit for their Week 1 opener.
Donnie Avery, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: What should we do with Avery in fantasy? Frankly, he’s still just an option in deeper leagues at the moment, so the verdict is still out on him. The good news is that he’s entrenched himself as the No. 2 in Kansas City opposite Dwayne Bowe, which should lead to more targets–and therefore a possible uptick in production–compared to his tenure in Indy.
Avery did show a few flashes of brilliance last year as a plug-and-play backup, managing a pair of 100-plus-yard games. He may be able to return to that sort of fantasy form with his new team: we see his ceiling as a bench player and bye-week filler in mid-sized fantasy leagues. First we’ll have to see how he plays against the Jags in Week 1.
Sportsbook Offer: Up to $500 Risk Free
Use code DAWGZRF at sign-up
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski continues to make solid progress in his much-publicized return from back surgery this off-season. He practiced in full pads with the team yesterday, and looks to be on track for a possible return as early as Week 2. (That date is mostly speculative, however, as the Pats are very stingy with injury information.)
If Gronkowski continues to improve and ends up starting in the next couple of weeks, he could become the fantasy draft steal of the year. His average draft position is normally around 40-50, so if he can make a triumphant comeback he’ll make owners very happy.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens: One quick note on Pitta today: he was placed on the team’s Reserved/Injured list yesterday as a result of his preseason hip injury. He may end up as a late-season fantasy target yet; the team remains hopeful that he’ll make a return this year.
For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.