Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 1 Worksheet

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ravens @ Bengals


3   Spread -3  
19.8   Implied Total 22.8  
67.4 5 Plays/Gm 65.6 11
62.1 7 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.9 24
34.0% 32 Rush% 42.5% 10
66.0% 1 Pass% 57.5% 23
38.7% 9 Opp. Rush % 39.7% 11
61.3% 24 Opp. Pass % 60.3% 22


  • Andy Dalton has thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in eight of 11 career games against Baltimore and in four of the past five meetings.
  • Dalton was one of just two quarterbacks (Carson Wentz) to play all 16 games and not have a single game with three or more passing touchdowns in 2016.
  • A.J. Green scored just once every 25 targets in 2016 after scoring once every 16 targets to start his career.
  • The Ravens allowed 10.6 more points per game on the road last season, the second largest difference in the league after Green Bay (10.7).
  • Opposing teams targeted their wide receivers on 50.1 percent of their passes versus Cincinnati in 2016, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Baltimore targeted wide receivers on just 53.9 percent of their passes, 31st in the league.
  • Terrance West was a top-24 scorer in seven of the nine games in which he received at least half of the Baltimore rushing attempts a year ago.


Trust: A.J. Green (despite Dalton’s struggles, Green has scored in five straight games versus Baltimore), Danny Woodhead (Joe Flacco targeted running backs 28.5 percent of the time versus Cincinnati a year ago as they caught 19 passes in those two games)


Bust: Andy Dalton (he could get carried by a monster game from Green, but passing expectations are pedestrian in this projected to be low-scoring, interdivision matchup), Mike Wallace/Jeremy Maclin (only Denver allowed fewer receptions to opposing wideouts than Cincinnati a year ago while no Ravens’ receiver finished higher than WR46 versus the Bengals), Joe Mixon/Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard (Baltimore is one of the league’s best run defenses and added Tony Jefferson to the mix while the Bengals are still planning on starting Hill and working Mixon into the fold to begin the season), Joe Flacco (he’s yet to have any game action this offseason while Flacco has been in the bottom half of quarterback scoring in seven of his nine games versus the Bengals over the past five years)


Reasonable Return: Terrance West (a volume RB2/flex that could tack on a few catches, but the overall ceiling is low without a short touchdown opportunity), Tyler Eifert (he’s been a top-12 tight end in three of four career games versus Baltimore)


Eagles @ Washington 

0   Spread 0  
23.8   Implied Total 23.8  
67.5 4 Plays/Gm 63.1 21
61.1 3 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.6 25
40.6% 17 Rush% 37.6% 25
59.4% 16 Pass% 62.4% 8
40.0% 13 Opp. Rush % 40.3% 15
60.0% 20 Opp. Pass % 59.7% 18


  • Washington allowed eight different 300-yard passers, tied with New Orleans for the most in the league.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Cason Wentz targeted Josh Norman just three times on 62 directed passes a year ago, completing one for 14 yards.
  • 17.3 percent Zach Ertz's career targets and 18.6 percent of his career receptions have come against Washington. His highest rates versus any opponent despite those games played making up 13 percent of his career games played.
  • Washington allowed 68.8 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends, the third most in the league.
  • Opposing teams targeted tight ends just 14.2 percent of the time versus the Eagles, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Jordan Reed has reached 40 receiving yards just once in six career games versus the Eagles with one top-20 scoring week amongst the tight end position.
  • Robert Kelley handled 71 percent of the Washington carries over the final nine weeks of the 2016 season.
  • Washington running backs carried 49 times for 332 yards (6.8 YPC) with three touchdowns in two games versus Philadelphia a year ago.


Trust: Kirk Cousins (he’s posted 21.8 points per game over his past four versus the Eagles), Terrelle Pryor (even with a quiet preseason, Pryor is set up to succeed Week 1 as both Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder should run into limitations while he works on Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills), Zach Ertz (he enters the season as the most familiar target for Carson Wentz and has a history of saving his best for Washington)


Bust: Jamison Crowder (he had just five receptions in two games versus the Eagles a year ago and even with a revamped set of corners, Philadelphia stands to be more vulnerable to perimeter options), Jordan Reed (you’re not running away from Reed in weekly lineups as his ceiling is high enough to overcome any matchup and has had one enormous game versus the Eagles in his career, but his track record here is enough to keep him in the contrarian play pile for daily games and his expectations well below the career bar he’s set), LeGarrette Blount (Washington has three new starters in their front seven after allowing a 4.5 yards per carry to backs, but Blount is a touchdown or bust play entering a potential timeshare), Alshon Jeffery (he managed a WR29 finish squaring off with Norman a year ago, and WR3 expectations are what you should have coming in)


Reasonable Return: Rob Kelley (he hit 70 yards on the ground just once over his final six games a year ago, but is in a potentially high scoring game that could set scoring chances while Washington had success running the ball on the Eagles a year ago), Carson Wentz (he starts the season with top-15 expectations based on yardage alone and his added pass catchers should improve on his dreadful touchdown rate as a rookie), Darren Sproles (he’s the only member of this backfield we can have faith in as a floor flex option), Chris Thompson (he's been a top-30 scoring RB in four of his past six games versus the Eagles including weeks as the RB25 and RB27 a year ago)


Colts @ Rams


IndianapolisRank@LA RamsRank
3   Spread -3  
19.3   Implied Total 22.3  
64.8 12 Plays/Gm 60.0 31
64.0 18 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.8 23
39.4% 19 Rush% 39.1% 22
60.6% 14 Pass% 60.9% 11
39.9% 12 Opp. Rush % 40.9% 17
60.1% 21 Opp. Pass % 59.1% 16


  • In the 10 games that Andrew Luck has been inactive for his career, the Colts average 1.49 points per drive and 18.3 points per game as opposed to 2.09 points per drive and 26.1 points per game when he's been active for his career.
  • In those 10 games without Luck active, T.Y. Hilton has caught 41 passes for 630 yards and two touchdowns. He has scored double-digit points in just five of those games and finished as a top-30 scoring receiver just three times.
  • Indianapolis had just four runs of 20 or more yards last year, the fewest in the NFL.
  • 40.9 percent of Donte Moncrief's scoring last year came from touchdowns, the largest dependency of all wide receivers.
  • The Colts allowed 11 top-12 scoring running backs in 2016, the most in the league.
  • After rushing for at least 125 yards in each of his four starts to begin his career, Todd Gurley has rushed for 100-yards just once in 24 games since and hit 80-yards rushing just four times in those games.
  • The Rams were last in the league with just 1.4 offensive touchdowns per game in 2016.


Trust: Todd Gurley (we will know right away what we can expect from Gurley’s potential revival as it can’t get much better on paper as a home favorite versus a team that projects to have a hard time defending the run)


Bust: T.Y. Hilton (the matchup isn’t tough and the target opportunity should be there to hold WR3/flex expectations if you’re looking for silver lining of him losing his attachment to Luck for the short term), Donte Moncrief (same as with Hilton, the matchup is actually favorable, but starting a player completely tethered to touchdown output over his career in a situation where his team is expected to be limited scoring points isn’t ideal), Frank Gore (even with no Aaron Donald, expectations are minuscule as the last time we saw Gore on the field without Luck he carried 15 times for 28 yards), Jack Doyle (he had 27 percent of Tolzien’s targets in the preseason, but  the Rams allowed just 3.7 receptions per game to tight ends in 2016, the fourth-lowest in the league), Scott Tolzien (he’s finished as the QB26, QB22 and the QB31 in his three career spot starts)


Reasonable Return: Sammy Watkins (as with Gurley, the matchup couldn’t be better on paper with the Colts missing Vontae Davis, leaving Watkins to contend with Rashaan Melvin and Quincy Wilson, but we still need to have faith in Jared Goff and his involvement in the offense after joining the team four weeks ago), Cooper Kupp (he was Goff’s favorite target in the preseason, accruing 27 percent of his targets and is in play as a floor WR3/flex play), Jared Goff (with the Colts missing both Davis and starting safety Clayton Geathers, Goff is startable in 2QB leagues to open the season)


Panthers @ 49ers


CarolinaRank@San FranciscoRank
-5.5   Spread 5.5  
26.8   Implied Total 21.3  
65.8 9 Plays/Gm 62.2 25
64.7 22 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.9 32
43.1% 8 Rush% 46.0% 4
56.9% 25 Pass% 54.0% 29
36.3% 4 Opp. Rush % 49.7% 32
63.7% 29 Opp. Pass % 50.3% 1


  • San Francisco allowed a league-high 31.4 points per game to opposing backfields in 2016, with 74.5 percent of those points stemming from rushing output, the highest rate in the league.
  • 13 different backs posted 100-yards from scrimmage against the 49ers, the most in the league.
  • San Francisco allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in eight games, the most in the league.
  • Carolina allowed 318.8 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road in 2016, the most in the NFL.
  • The 49ers allowed .500 passing points per attempt, 30th in the league.
  • Cam Newton ranked 20th in pass attempts per game (34.0) but second in incompletions per game (16.0) for all quarterbacks last season.


Trust: Cam Newton (he has hardly played in the preseason and may not be required to run enough to unlock his ceiling here, but the only way this matchup could be better is if it were at home), Greg Olsen (anytime there’s reason to like Newton from a passing perspective, there’s reason to follow suit with Olsen and he caught five passes for 122 yards and a score against this defense a year ago), Kelvin Benjamin (he’s had a stellar offseason, went for 7-108-2 in this matchup a year ago and has a complete size mismatch against Rashard Robinson)


Bust: Brian Hoyer (despite allowing a lot of raw passing yardage, the Panthers still only allowed five top-12 quarterbacks a year ago and seven front half QB scorers, keeping Hoyer with lower-end QB2 expectations), Carlos Hyde (a low implied dog that had 14 carries for 38 yards and was the RB44 in this matchup a year ago doesn’t inspire confidence as more than a flex option to start the year)


Reasonable Return: Jonathan Stewart/Christian McCaffrey (are in the RB2/flex mix for different reasons. It’s an ideal time to take advantage of Stewart’s short scoring opportunity with clock-killing carry potential and McCaffrey should still have enough all-purpose touches to hold a floor at minimum. The 49ers have scheme and personnel changes that should improve their heinous run defense from a year ago, but are still a target), Pierre Garcon (he may not ever have a high weekly ceiling due to limited touchdown potential, but Garcon should be peppered with opportunity to keep him as a WR2/WR3)


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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
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