Outside the Huddle: Week 1

Fantasy Football suggestions for when you face that player in your league who waits until 12:59 p.m. on Sunday to check his lineup.

You’ve invested money, Sunday afternoons, and lunch breaks into your Fantasy Football season, even risked your job checking player updates on your phone in the middle of work meetings. Why? Because you want to win. Whether you’re competing against your friends, neighbors, or colleagues, every league has that guy who forgets to change his lineup heading into a bye week or starts the running back who got placed on IR last week. At some point in the season, sometimes twice, you’re going to face him, and he’s going to ask you, “Who should I play?”

You don’t have time to fumble around. Money’s at stake. Easy money. You want to pass on expert knowledge. Advice that guarantees your victory. Eric Karabell insider shit, but with the opposing view. So you can get a good night’s sleep Sunday night without worrying if Michael Thomas will haul in nine receptions instead of eight or if Justin Tucker’s going to bang a 45+ yarder to help you squeak by.

It’s the start of wild season unlike any other, but here are my locks for Week 1:

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears (vs Lions)

It’s the first week, and those rosters shine like that Lexus Q60 you’ll never be able to afford because you pissed away last season betting on Joe Flacco’s career resurgence in Denver. Mitch Trubisky is an interesting pick for a number of reasons. He ranks as the worst starter in the opening week and barely edged out Nick Foles, former Super Bowl MVP as a backup with Eagles. The Bears drafted Trubisky in the first round of the 2017 draft ahead of Patrick Mahomes and DeSean Watson. If things weren’t bad enough, Chicago declined Trubisky’s fifth year option, all but guaranteeing his departure at the end of the season.

Your angle: A quarterback with his back against the wall.

Chris Hogan, WR, Jets (vs Bills)

When average players on good teams become good players on bad teams, it’s a green flag. Hogan made a name for himself as a wideout with Tom Brady, winning two Super Bowls. In the AFC Championship win against Pittsburgh in 2017, he had 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. But now he plays for the Jets, and the Jets suck. They have a decent quarterback behind a bad line and a coach that’s a complete freak show.

Your angle: Lightning in a bottle or veteran trying to prove himself.

Houston D/ST (vs Chiefs)

This matchup might have scared you two years ago when the Texans defense was dominant and Andy Reid still couldn’t win the big one. But this game has the makings of a gun sling and that doesn’t bode well for defensive points. I don’t expect a Super Bowl hangover from Mahomes, Tyreee Hill, or Travis Kelce, and they can pretty much score on whoever they want. Plus, it’s a Thursday night game in the middle of a pandemic, so there’s a good chance by the time your opponent realizes on Sunday that the season’s started and the Texans D is a bad pick, it’ll already be locked. If you need a second option, go with the Browns against the Ravens. Because Lamar Jackson is going to make TikTok videos of the Cleveland defense.

Your angle: The Texans still have J.J. Watt

Greg Oldfield’s stories have appeared in Hobart, Carve, Barrelhouse,and Maudlin House, among others. He also writes about soccer for the Florida Cup and the Brotherly Game and often rambles about soccer on Twitter.

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