It is that time of the year when screams of joy and shrieks of frustration accompany even the most modest of gains around NFL football stadiums. The NFL fantasy titles can be determined with sound waiver wire management while one costly injury can short-circuit a well-built roster.
Handcuffs and bye weeks get mentioned often times more than the final scores and never mind what happens when a meaningless touchdown is scored in the closing seconds or a negative rushing play on the final drive can be the difference between winning and losing.
Those making NFL picks need to be careful not to overreact after one strong week or freak out when a player is underperforming.
The popularity of fantasy football has taken the money-making part of the NFL to new heights and it will be a huge part of the 2023 season.
When it comes to the NFL odds, defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City (+600) is leading the way in the odds to win the Super Bowl. Philadelphia (+700), Buffalo (+900), San Francisco (+1000), and Cincinnati (+1000) aren’t far behind.
We will be keeping tabs on the fantasy football landscape each week heading into the Thursday night games, so feel free to follow along.
Is Kelce Ready to Go?
All the research in advance of a fantasy football draft can’t insulate somebody from one wrong step in practice or in a game.
The 2023 NFL season is set to begin on Thursday when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Detroit Lions to town. The line opened with Kansas City being favored by the NFL betting lines by seven points. Since the Kelce news broke, the line has moved to 4½.
Those who used a first-round pick on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce have to be a tad bit nervous after reports that he tweaked something in his knee in practice.
The word is that his anterior cruciate ligament is intact and that is good news. He is listed as questionable on the NFL injury report.
Kelce has been money to those who used early picks on him in the past as few tight ends have produced as prolifically or consistently as Kelce. He has played through injuries in the past so keep that in mind.
Me checking Travis Kelce injury status for my lineup: pic.twitter.com/ziMkZkLi8z
— historybyjake (@historybyjake) September 7, 2023
Keep an eye on the situation with defensive lineman Chris Jones. If he is ready to suit up, that could impact the fantasy numbers of the Detroit offensive players.
Burrow Set to Get Passing Grades
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow went a little lower than anticipated in the drafts because of questions about when he would be available to make his season debut.
Burrow is on track to play in the season opener, so that is great news for those who got Burrow and also the owners who selected the Cincinnati receivers.
The news isn’t as promising for Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp as he will not suit up for Week 1 against Seattle. It is uncertain when he will make his season debut.
Most of the other top players are trending in the right direction with Miami receiver Jaylrn Waddle, New York Jets running back Breece Hall and Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews likely to be good to go for Sunday.
What About the Rookies?
Teams have been hesitant to take running backs in the first round in recent drafts. That enabled owners who took players such as Kenneth Walker, Tyler Allgeier, Isaiah Pacheco, and Dameon Pierce late in drafts got to be rewarded.
It is a little different situation this year when Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons going in the first round and Detroit’s Jahmyr Gibbs not often making it past the second round in fantasy drafts.
Time will tell if those picks will pay off this season.
— NFL Highs (@frito_paw) September 5, 2023
Gibbs is priced at -115 to go over 40½ rushing yards and comes in with the same number to top 31½ receiving yards. Robinson is priced at +450 to score two touchdowns against Carolina.
The draft order can be impacted by the scoring rules.
There are some leagues when quarterbacks come flying off the board, but in most leagues quarterbacks not named Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen have to wait a bit.
Points per reception leagues result in a workhorse running back such as Derrick Henry to be devalued since he isn’t utilized in the passing game as often as other backs.
PPR leagues have made receivers the most valuable commodities while non-PPR leagues have a much different pecking order.
Just to show how much things have changed, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts was going first in many drafts in 2022 and now it is uncertain when he will play again as he is in the midst of a beef with Colts owner Jim Irsay. Taylor has requested a trade and instead of going near the top of the first round, he was often available in Rounds 7 of 8 on draft day.