The NFL regular season is finally here, which means fantasy football becomes more impactful.
Here’s the weekly edition of Stampede Blue’s start or sit.
Start: Jordan Wilkins and Joe Mixon, Running Back
The hamstring injury to Marlon Mack has put a cloud of doubt on whether he will be ready for Sunday’s game, and Robert Turbin will not be in action due to the fact he will be serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
That means a heavy workload should be heading towards the way of Jordan Wilkins.
Wilkins may not be in the same tier of starting running backs with Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, or David Johnson — but success in fantasy football is predicated around players who will have the ball in their hands the most. Behind an offensive line that is working towards being good again, Wilkins showed flashes of his potential when the line blocks effectively, carrying the ball 13 times for 47 yards in the first two games of the preseason.
Against the San Francisco 49ers, the former Ole Miss star carried the ball 14 times for 27 yards. While the yardage isn’t as high as fans may have hoped for, the fact that he’s getting the reps is a good sign for fantasy owners looking for a plug in player in their lineup. Another aspect of Wilkins’ game that may have gone unnoticed is his ability to catch the ball out of the back field, grabbing five throws for 57 yards. With that, he has a lot of potential with the amount of reps that are about to come his way — if Mack indeed sits out week one.
On the other side of the ball, the Bengals have a supremely talented running back in Joe Mixon. It’s no surprise the Colts will be a work in progress on defense this year, which means they are bound to give up some fantasy points to running backs and receivers.
One of the biggest holes in the run defense for Indianapolis is right up the middle. The Colts struggled at times throughout the preseason to stop the run in the A gap (between the center and guard).
Start: Jack Doyle or Eric Ebron, Tight End
The Colts are still looking for a wide receiver to step up as the go-to No. 2 guy, which means Andrew Luck is bound to target TY Hilton a numerous amount of times. But Luck can’t throw to Hilton on every single pass play, and that means Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron should see a lot of targets head in their direction.
Ebron showed a lot of promise in the preseason with Luck behind center, catching nine passes for 73 yards and touchdown — which was Luck’s first and only touchdown throw of the four preseason games. Ebron is a big target, standing at 6-foot-5. If the Colts can get a lot of red-zone appearances, then the former Detroit Lion tight end should see targets in that area.
On the other side of the spectrum, Doyle is coming off his best season of career in 2017 — tallying 80 catches and four touchdowns. Doyle didn’t get a lot of reps in the four preseason contests, but that shouldn’t be alarming to fantasy owners. A year ago, Doyle was targeted nine times or more in ten of the 16 games. With an upgrade at quarterback, owners should expect the same amount, with a lot more results.