Fantasy Football Week 1: Boom or Bust Plays Worth Taking a Shot On

Mike HoagCorrespondent IISeptember 7, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 11: EJ Manuel #3 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 11, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Staring at your fantasy football lineup isn’t going to get you anywhere as you contemplate the tough decisions Week 1 of the season presents.

Get used to the indecisiveness; you’re in this for the 17-week quest to win the whole enchilada. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? While you’ll surely be reading plenty of other opinions throughout the weekend leading up to Sunday’s 1 p.m. deadline, remember to keep at least one thing in mind: don’t second-guess yourself.

Do your homework, take chances and let the points fall where they may. If you think Giovani Bernard has the ability to break a huge run on one carry and that BenJarvus Green-Ellis doesn’t stand a chance against the Chicago Bears defense, go with your gut.

Don’t let me or anyone else tell you anything different.

Here’s something you should do, though. Consider adding the following boom-or-bust players to your lineup in Week 1.


RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Depending on the format you play in, and the competency of your competitors, you might have already drafted two top running backs before you stole Bernard in the mid-to-late rounds.

If you’re worried about Bernard’s role in Cincy due to the presence of Green-Ellis, don’t. The Bengals utilized their dynamic rookie back in a multitude of ways, but the most telling was his role in the red zone. Bernard scored three times from one yard out while the Law Firm watched from the sidelines.

His explosiveness in both the rushing and passing game, his apparent role in the Bengals’ offense and your hunger for fantasy glory are all pretty good reasons to start him with confidence in Week 1.


EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

Twelve-team leaguers, listen up. This goes for all of you in two-quarterback formats as well. Don’t sleep on quarterback E.J. Manuel. Despite missing time and coming off an injury, Manuel actually has a favorable matchup against the New England Patriots in Week 1.

This isn’t so much a ringing endorsement for Manuel as it is a question of whether or not Bill Belichick’s unit will be ready for another mobile first-year quarterback. Both Colin Kaepernick—26.4 fantasy points—and Russell Wilson—25.4 fantasy points—beat the Pats last year thanks to big performances from their quarterbacks.

Buffalo will likely be playing from behind, so it’s conceivable Manuel could rack up fantasy points in a big way in his NFL debut.


WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Despite missing a couple weeks of preseason action after sustaining a concussion in Week 2, rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins has practiced all week and is prepared to play in Houston’s season opener against the San Diego Chargers.

There’s some concern he may not be a big part of the game plan after missing significant time. ESPN’s Tania Ganguli relayed coach Gary Kubiak’s outlook for the receiver this weekend:

But if Hopkins does see time on the field, he has the potential to make big things happen. A favorable matchup against the Chargers also bodes well for him. San Diego gave up 21 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers in 2012 and hasn't done very much in its pass rush or secondary to scare you away here.

If Hopkins gets on the field enough, he definitely has the ability and matchup to “boom” in Week 1.