Are you wondering how this season is going to go for your fantasy football team? We all do. Sometimes that’s getting a sense of the strength of schedule. Other times it’s preparing for the inevitable injuries. But you can get a lot of answers by asking questions. It might take a few weeks to answer them but we think every team has plenty to answer.
BAL: Is Lamar Jackson’s play tied to him getting a new contract?
Jackson put a self-imposed deadline on a contract extension at Week 1. If one is not agreed upon, he’ll hold negotiations until after the season. How much does he want to play in this offense? Besides Mark Andrews, there’s little to no experience at wide receiver and the backfield’s healthiest player is Mike Davis. Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley is still on shaky ground coming off the PUP list a week ago.
Jackson will have to do the heaviest lifting job he’s done since arriving in 2018. He’s yet to show that he’s a proficient and effective pocket passer and he’s not been able to pull the best out of receivers like Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and a host of others in the past. If J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards’ recoveries from torn ACLs lag, we all know that Jackson will be the team’s leading rusher. So will his happiness and his ability to deliver what the Ravens need him to do, be tied to that contract? We shall see.
CIN: Will the Bengals be in a Super Bowl losing funk?
Based on fantasy ADPs, no one thinks that the Bengals are going to come out flat. Joe Mixon and Ja’Marr Chase are first and second-round fantasy studs. Tee Higgins’ stock is soaring. Even Hayden Hurst, who hasn’t played a single down for the Bengals is trending up. But in recent years, the Super Bowl loser has come out flat whether it was the Panthers in 2016, the Rams in 2019 or the 49ers in 2020.
Sometimes that fall happens because of free agency. Considering the upgrades in defense and offensive line, no, we don’t expect the Bengals to come out flat. But their strength of schedule is the 6th-toughest in the league. Perhaps the question isn’t whether or not to get a piece of the Bengals’ offense, but how big a slice is safe?
CLE: What will the Browns record be by Week 12
Week 12 is of course when Deshaun Watson’s suspension is done and what will be the state of the Browns by then? Jacoby Brissett might grind through 11 weeks or be replaced by Joshua Dobbs. Will they regret not trading for Jimmy Garoppolo? Will Nick Chubb still be standing? Will another receiver emerge behind Amari Cooper? 11 Weeks is a long time to be away, especially when the offense has chemistry problems between quarterbacks and receivers.
It might be unfair to put so much pressure on Watson when he does play, but $230 guaranteed carries a heavy weight when you haven’t played in two seasons. Watson will be heavily scrutinized and (justifiably) heckled in every city he travels to. While every player gets hammered, Watson will be pressured to win right away, if only to get a break from the criticism at his home field.
PIT: How long will it take for Kenny Pickett to start at quarterback?
I’ve got nothing against Mitch Trubisky but he doesn’t excite me if I’m a fantasy owner with either Diontae Johnson or Najee Harris on my team. Give me Kenny Pickett. I want to see the future of the Pittsburgh today.
If I had money to bet, the Week 1 starter would be Trubisky, and he’d be there for four weeks and his performance will be evaluated each week to see if it would be better for the rookie to start. I’m okay with that because guess who Pickett is probably getting his reps in with, George Pickens. I would be slowly aiming to roster both if you have the room to stash them.