While everyone inside and outside the NFL is excited for the official start of the 2018 NFL season, there are a few players who are going to get off to a less-than-optimal start this week.
Here are our recommendations of guys to avoid starting on your fantasy football team, if possible, during Week 1:
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City — After uncorking a few gorgeous passes this preseason, the buzz around quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs has never been higher. While he’s an incredible talent, he’s going to be tested right from the get go by the formidable pass defense of the Los Angeles Chargers, which ranked in the top five in the NFL in fewest points allowed to opposing fantasy football quarterbacks last year.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay — While a lot of the focus recently has been on the new guy the Chicago Bears added as a pass rusher (who’ll chase Aaron Rodgers — among others — this season), things won’t be any easier when the Green Bay Packers try to run the football against Chicago on Sunday. Chicago was 12th in the NFL in fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs, and improved their run defense with the addition of linebacker Roquan Smith in the NFL Draft. Don’t expect Jamaal Williams to put up big numbers this Sunday.
Alfred Morris, RB, San Francisco — After running back Jerrick McKinnon was lost to a season-ending injury and Alfred Morris was signed by the San Francisco 49ers, the latter became a very popular addition in fantasy football leagues, believing he could get some serious work after being reunited with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. That might be fine in theory, but the 49ers are facing the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Minnesota was the stingiest defense against fantasy football running backs last year, so don’t expect Morris to get off to a fast start in the Bay Area.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Oakland — Jordy Nelson is coming up on that part of his career where he’s going to be over-drafted in a lot of leagues because of being a “big name” player (and because of his past production). But there’s a reason why the Green Bay Packers were fine with letting him go, even as a favorite receiver of Aaron Rodgers. Plus, he’ll be going against the revamped pair of cornerbacks belonging to the Los Angeles Rams, which includes Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo — Let’s start with the obvious: the last time quarterback Nathan Peterman started for the Buffalo Bills, he completed only six passes for only 66 yards. That doesn’t bode well for anyone who’s a pass catcher on the Bills, including #1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. In addition, Benjamin is the only real threat at wide receiver in the Bills lineup, meaning the Baltimore Ravens will likely stack coverage to take him away. He could have a brutally quiet outing.
Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants — Evan Engram was one of the few silver linings for the New York Giants in 2017, after the team’s top draft pick from last year’s draft led the team in catches (64) and touchdown receptions (six). But the majority of that took place when the Giants were without the services of Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup. With Beckham back, not only will Engram’s target share naturally drop, but the latter will have a hard go of things against the ultra-athletic defense of the Jacksonville Jaguars.