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Fantasy football preview: Week 1

Get prepared for your fantasy matchups!

(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

Greetings, Falcoholics! The 2020 regular season is officially here. Fantasy leagues have drafted, matchups are set and now it’s time to prepare for this weekends games. The Atlanta Falcons will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

With an offseason as surreal as the one we experienced, it seems like league-wide there are a lot of questions and concerns for who to start and who to bench. With the Falcons, we know the usual suspects Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, and Calvin Ridley, but what about newcomers Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst?

Seahawks vs. Falcons

Out of the gate, many fantasy analysts aren’t high on Gurley. He has a cloud of concern around him about his knee, usage with the Rams, etc. I actually really like him this weekend, nonetheless.

The Falcons didn’t bring him to Atlanta not to use him. He’s on a one-year prove it deal and faces a Seahawks defense that he scored against three times in 2019. Even though Gurley’s 2019 season saw a reduction in numbers across the board, over his last 8 games, Gurley averaged 13.1 fantasy points which is good enough for 13th best running back in the NFL. I can see him rushing 14 times for 60 yards and a touchdown in this early season warmup.I view Gurley as a solid RB2 heading into this weekend.

Hurst is someone who you likely got in later rounds of your league drafts. He’s the replacement for Austin Hooper after he departed in free agency, and the Falcons though enough of him to trade away a second-round pick. Hurst and Ryan obviously haven’t connected in a game yet, so everything at this point is speculation and educated guesses.

Even with Hooper missing several games last year, Hooper finished the season as Ryan’s second most targeted receiving option. That’s target share up for grabs, and if you’ve been a fan long enough, you know Ryan leans heavily on his tight ends. With the combination of Hurst’s athletic ability and new tight end coach Ben Steele, I truly think Hurst finishes 2020 as a top-8 fantasy tight end. Call me crazy, but I predicted a similar thing for Hooper last year and it happened. I’ll say Hurst has 6 receptions, 53 yards and a touchdown this weekend.

League-wide look

As mentioned above, this season is unpredictable. Everything is up in the air at this point, and you’re just hoping things fall your way. I really am interested in seeing how Cam Newton performs as the new quarterback of the New England Patriots. Newton is likely available in your league right now, and he’s worth rostering as a flier if you’re not excited about your current quarterback. They love to run at the goal line and he happens to be one of the best goal line quarterback’s in NFL history, perfect match.

If you need tight end help, someone to look at is New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon. Herndon has blossomed into someone that quarterback Sam Darnold has reportedly favored this offseason, and he’s most likely available in your league right now.

Well that does it, folks. I wish everyone who took the time to read this the best of luck in their Week 1 fantasy matchups. Every week I’ll be doing an outlook piece throughout the season, so send me some questions before every Thursday and I’ll answer them here. You can ask by commenting below, emailing or on Twitter at @EvanBirchfield.

As always, when it comes to fantasy football – always go with your gut!