Fantasy Football

2019 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters

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Welcome, vampires to the beginning of the 2019 Fantasy Football Season.

I’m going to start this article with a premature statement (I know what I’m talking about when it comes to premature matters), but roster-building is going to be the toughest part of being the vampire in your league, especially Week 1.

This might surprise some people, but the preseason didn’t give us any insight of what team’s offense or defense will look like in 2019. So, vampires have their work cut out for them in Week 1, but luckily you found this article.


I have a few starting suggestions for each position that could earn you a Week 1 win and your first opportunity to steal a player from your opponent.

If you need a refresher on the rules of a vampire league, check out the draft result article.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters

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Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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This is a boom or bust year for Winston, (which is weird to say for a 25-year-old quarterback) and we will see if Bruce Arians can turn Winston into a franchise quarterback, or at least viable Fantasy star.

Last season was filled with turmoil for Winston, despite those woes, he flashed some potential to make Fantasy owners hopeful he can turn it around in 2019. This might surprise you, but Winston had a career-high in completion percentage last year. Five out of the 11 games Winston played in 2018, he scored over 20 fantasy points, and two of those five games were 30 point games. Winston also threw for over 300 yards in five games last season. Arians loves to throw the ball so the yardage will always be there for Winston.

The Buccaneers’ matchup against the 49ers will be the first test to see whether Winston has changed from his previous erratic ways. Last year, the 49ers defense were ranked 26th in DVOA, allowed 233.3 passing yards per game, and two touchdowns per game to quarterbacks in 2018. The Niners didn’t really improve their personal in the off season to expect a vast improvement.

Another variable that’s going to make Winston a Fantasy star in Week 1 is the Buccaneers defense. I mention how San Francisco didn’t add to their defensive roster, Tampa Bay did even less to improve their defense. The Niners offense is going to slam the Buccaneers’ defense, which will force the Bucs offense to throw the ball a ton.

Winston has the potential to be a rest-of-season starter for vampires, but he definitely will be a great starter in Week 1

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

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I mention how the Buccaneers’ defense is bad and will get scored on a ton. So, it is logical to suggest the quarterback who will be doing the scoring.

The Buccaneers’ defense was last in DVOA, allowed 259.4 passing yards per game, and allowed 29 points per game in 2018. The Niners offense is going to be on the field for extended periods because the Bucs’ defense had a 39.1 first-down percentage last season. Tampa Bay has trouble stopping offenses, let alone trying to stop Kyle Shanahan offense.

Jimmy G is ready to show the world that the Niners didn’t overpay. He has better receiving weapons (Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman) than what he did last year, and has a matchup against a cupcake defense. All the ingredients he needs to have a top ten quarterback performance in Week 1.

Running Backs

Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills

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Running backs are going to be the most challenging position for vampires to find decent production. The one strategy that should help vampires win a week is finding a running back who might fall in the end zone. Frank Gore is a prime candidate for the touchdown strategy.

Now that Bills have cut LeSean McCoy that leaves the first and second down work available for Gore. I know everyone is excited about Devin Singletary, and rightfully so, but many of the Bills beat writers are saying that the Bills are going to limit Singletary’s workload in the early games. All signs are pointing towards Gore having a decent workload in the Bills’ first games.

Even at 100-years-old, Father Gore still found a way to post a 4.6 yards per carry, and 722 rushing yards while splitting carries with Kenyan Drake in Miami last year. Sadly, Gore didn’t have a rushing touchdown last year, but that is going to change in Week 1 against the New York Jets.

The Jets defense were 21st in DVOA, allowed 126.3 rushing yards per game, and 38.4 receiving yards per game to running backs. Remember, Gore isn’t a bad pass catcher and with all the coyness surrounding Singletary’s workload, there is a strong possibility that Gore could catch a few passes out of the backfield.

The Jets’ defense was a fantasy-friendly option for running backs last year; they allowed 23.3 fantasy points to running backs.

There is not a lot of running backs on the waiver wire that will start for their team, even though, Frank Gore is an old player fighting off the young talent, he’ll be worth starting in Week 1.

Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins

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The other strategy vampires will have to use to find running back production is starting a pass-catching back on a team that will lose quite a few games. Chris Thompson fits that role in Week 1 with his team facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles will be one of the best offenses in football, and that offense is going to trounce Washington’s defense. Much like the Buccaneers, Washington will be forced into a heavy pass game if they want to be competitive, and Chris Thompson is their best option to move the ball down the field.


Quick question, can you name four Washington pass-catchers? I’ll wait.

Chris Thompson is Case Keenum‘s only receiving option outside of the oft-injured Jordan Reed, who wasn’t at practice today (can you believe that?).

Pass catching backs have caused the Eagles trouble in the past. They allowed 55 yards per game to running backs and 110 receptions (6.9 receptions per game) to running backs last year.

Wide Receivers

Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

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Williams is the forgotten new addition for the Oakland Raiders. But after Week 1 Fantasy owners will remember that Williams possesses the tools to be a productive Fantasy asset.

Now, Oakland’s first opponent will be a tough one, the Denver Broncos. Despite having Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos secondary was exploited by wide receivers, especially number two wide receivers. Last year, Denver allowed 52.7 yards to WR2, and 17 touchdowns to wide receivers (which is more than the Chiefs defense who let everyone score).

William’s teammate Antonio Brown is on track to start Week 1 but is still dealing with a lingering foot injury. Brown’s nasty ass foot could actually be helpful for Williams. If Brown’s injury hampers him just a little bit, that makes Williams the primary deep threat. An aspect of the offense that the Raiders have focused on heavily this off season.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans

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The Titans love Adam Humphries which is why Tennessee made him one of their early signings this off season. They will start showing him that love in Week 1 against the Browns.

Last year, the Cleveland Browns’ defense allowed 51.7 yards per game to slot receivers and 7.2 passes per game to slot receivers. Plus, Cleveland’s defense allowed 33.99 Fantasy points to wide receivers and 43 red-zone targets.

Cleveland has a terrifying front four, which means Mariota will have to get the ball out quickly. Mariota’s best option when the heat is on is Humphries, who has a career 70.4 catch percentage and averaged 10.6 yards per reception in 2018.

Humphries could become a season-long option for vampires, especially if Ryan Tannehill sees the field.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

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This year we will see if Lamar Jackson can improve his passing game, and if Jackson does improve, Mark Andrews will be the primary beneficiary of that improvement.

When Jackson took over the starting job, Andrews was his “goto” target. The last real game those two played together, Andrews was targeted seven times. Miami Dolphins defense will be an excellent showcase for Jackson and Andrews to show their connection to Fantasy owners.

Miami allowed 49.6 yards per game, 6.3 passes per game and 21 red-zone targets to tight ends in 2018 (one of the highest in the NFL).

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

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Andrew Luck‘s retirement threw a monkey wrench into the Fantasy value of all Colts players except Jack Doyle.

In 2017 when Jacoby Brissett was the starting quarterback, Jack Doyle had 107 targets, which is a 23 percent target share. This year should be better for the dynamic duo, because the Colts have a great offensive-minded coach, and Brissett has a better understanding of the offense.

The Chargers will be a tough matchup, but they did lead the league in tight end red-zone targets.

Doyle could end up being a rest-of-season starter for vampires if Doyle and Brissett rekindle their connection from 2017.

Flex

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

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The Bills matchup against the New York Jets plays into Cole Beasly’s skill set. The Jets allowed 77.3 yards per game and eight targets per game to slot receivers. The Jets young talented pass rushers will eliminate the deep ball for Josh Allen, so expect him to look for Beasly often when under pressure.

Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins

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Two words, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Nobody loves throwing the deep to burners like Wilson more than Fitzmagic. Now that Kenny Stills is gone, Wilson will get an even higher target share.

Wilson is a boom or bust play, especially against the Ravens, who are 2nd DVOA against WR2. But it only takes one connection for Wilson to earn points for Fantasy owners.


Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Cowboys

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Two Words, Eli Manning. Put the slightest amount of pressure on Eli, and he’ll throw an interception. The Cowboys have allowed 20 points or less to the Giants five times in the past three years, and I don’t expect a lot of scoring from the Giants anytime soon.


Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Travis Argo

I'm a die hard fan of teams that constantly disappointment me every season. So, I write about fantasy sports to forget my sorrows. That's hard sometimes because I'm a Pacers correspondent for Fantasypros.com. I also recently graduated with honors from UNCC. Go Niners...I guess.

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