Welcome to the NFL’s 94th season and the 51st season of Fantasy Football. Each week I will present a few players or team defenses that I feel are, “flying under the fantasy radar”, players that are not getting much press but will score you fantasy points based on their weekly match ups. Here we go.
Under The Radar Players You Want This Week
Alex Smith Chiefs vs. Jaguars
There are a couple of Chiefs here this week, starting with Alex Smith’s soft match up against a Jaguar pass defense that registered just 20 sacks in 2012. Andy Reid’s march to becoming AFC Coach of Year starts in Jacksonville. Smith does not turn the ball over, the Jaguars do not take it away, with Jacksonville focusing on stopping Jamal Charles, Smith should have an easy multiple touchdown-passing day.
Ahmad Bradshaw Colts vs. Raiders
The Colts need to run more to win this year. Andrew Luck while having a great rookie season threw eighteen interceptions. Colts had only 11 rushing scores in 2012. More focus on the running game will improve those stats. Only the Bills and Jaguars allowed more rushing scores in 2012 than the Raiders did. Bradshaw will have at least twenty touches and will get the goal line carries.
Ben Tate Houston vs. Chargers
Even though Arian Foster is set to start Sunday, Gary Kubiak will ease him back with the fact that Foster did not play in the pre season. That sets the stage for Ben Tate to play a big role Monday night. The Chargers played the run well in 2012 ranked 6th, but Houston run blocks as well as any team in the NFL, no matter the defense, Houston will run effectively, and for week one that computes into a solid fantasy night for Tate.
Cecil Shorts Jaguars vs. Chiefs
In 14 games in 2012 Shorts gained 979 yards, averaged 17.8 yards a catch and scored 7 touchdowns with the worst quarterbacking in the NFL. The quarterbacking has not gotten better but with a year under his belt Shorts is a better player. He will be the focus for the first four weeks of everyone’s pass defense because Justin Blackmon is suspended the first four games, but Shorts has the talent to beat double teams and this week faces a Chief pass defense that allowed 29 touchdown passes in 2012. Shorts would be better off if the Jaguars brought back Mark Brunnel, but even with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at QB, Shorts is a viable weapon this week.
Lance Moore Saints vs. Falcons
Every Saint receiver should be started every week with Drew Brees, but Moore has a better than average match up this week against the Falcons. The odds makers have this as the highest scoring game of the week, with an over –under of fifty four points, and Moore caught 14 passes for 214 yards against the Falcons 23rd ranked pass defense in 2012.
Zach Sudfeld Patriots vs. Bills
Who knows how much Rob Gronkowski will play this week, who cares, start Sudfeld. The Nevada product will be targeted all day by Tom Brady against the Bills. Buffalo played the pass well in 2012, ranked 10th, but were second highest in the NFL in 2012 of percentage of passing yards allowed to non wide receivers, this all translates into a stellar fantasy premiere for Sudfeld.
Anthony Fasano Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Fasano played his way onto the Chiefs during the pre season. He seems to find the goal line; he caught five scoring passes in 2012 for the Dolphins while no one else had more than two. One of his 2012 touchdowns was against the Jaguars week 15, Jacksonville is vulnerable against the pass and Alex Smith prefers throwing medium range passes, this all adds to Fasano scoring Sunday.
Colts vs. Raiders
The Colts created just fifteen turnovers in 2012 but did have a respectable 32 sacks. They are not a fantasy force, but anyone facing the Raiders and especially Terrelle Pryor at quarterback has to be considered starting material this week. The Raiders will have Pryor run a read option, run heavy offense, but every time the Colts get him behind the line of scrimmage on a roll out or option it will be counted as a sack, and you know he will have at least a couple of turnovers. The days Daryl Lamonica, Ken Stabler, and Jim Plunkett are a distant memory in Oakland, for this one week the Colts are a viable fantasy defense.
Buccaneers vs. Jets
The Buccaneers were ranked last against the pass in 2012, but first against the run. Jet rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be asked to establish the run game, which will be tough to do. He will have to put the ball in the air eventually and let’s not forget Revis Island is now located in Tampa. The Bucs did allow 297 yards a game in the air, but had eighteen interceptions last year. They will start slow, while the Jets try and run, but by the end of the day, the Tampa Bay combined turnover and sack total should reach double digits.