It is time. Kickoff is just around the corner. Our drafts are all but over. Time to set those lineups, and have confidence in your abilities! I know when I draft, I have my eye set on a certain player. If he gets grabbed the pick before me, I get a little frazzled and make a panic choice. Well, have no fear, you may not have landed with the guy you want, but I have suitable replacements for week 1, and possibly beyond.
Quarterback: Sam Darnold vs New York Jets (5.9% Rostered)
This may come as a surprise, but I have full confidence in the abilities that Sam Darnold possesses. I think he is a good QB that was drafted into a terrible situation. He is surrounded by playmakers like McCaffery and reunited with a former teammate in Robbie Anderson. I like his matchup against the New York Jets. This game has a lot of story lines, and I always side with the former player of the team he is facing. Sam Darnold revenge game in week 1? Sign me up for a breakout game.
Running Back: Kenneth Gainwell vs Atlanta Falcons (3.6% Rostered)
It's not very often that I have any confidence in Rookies going into their first week of NFL action, but I like the path that Gainwell has to some touches in his first week of regular season action. He is a part of a crowded Eagles backfield, but his receiving ability will help him stand out. Not only is he a guy that can catch out of the backfield, but he has also played a little bit of Slot WR in his college days. Look for him to be used in both roles in his first week of action.
Wide Receiver: Tre'Quan Smith vs Green Bay Packers (5.4% Rostered)
With the absence of Michael Thomas, Tre'Quan Smith has been moved up into the WR2 role in the Saints offense. I love Jameis Winston this year, and I think this Saints passing attack will be more potent that years past. With the big arm of Winston, I can see Smith being the guy who stretches the field vertically. All of the attention will be focused on Marquez Callaway, so Smith may have some favorable matchups.
Tight End: Anthony Firkser vs Arizona Cardinals (12.9% Rostered)
The loss of Jonnu Smith may be one of the most overlooked aspects of the Titans 2021 offseason, mostly because they added Julio Jones. That Tight End spot in that offense may not have a lot of weight to it, but those targets have to go somewhere. Firkser showed last season that he is a reliable target, and has good hands in Red Zone situations. The Cardinals have a good secondary, and Tannehill may look for Firkser in some underneath routes, sitting in between the safeties and the linebackers.
Defense/Special Teams: Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots (37.1% Rostered)
This Miami Dolphins defense led the league in turnovers last season, and they allowed the 5th fewest points. Going up against a rookie QB and a questionable running attack, I fully expect this Dolphins defense to set the tone early. Coach Flores will have them playing hard, and once they get a lead, they can pin their ears back and go for those turnovers. This can become a sloppy game pretty quick if the Dolphins force the Patriots to pass the ball a lot.
Kicker: Robbie Gould vs Detroit Lions (10.7% Rostered)
The San Francisco offense may not be the most intimidating, but they will look great versus this Detroit team. I don't have high hopes for Detroit this season, and playing in Detroit will help Gould. Kicking in a dome is always a good bet, and the 49ers will be able to move the ball into scoring chances pretty easy.
Homer Pick of the Week: Gabriel Davis vs Pittsburgh Steelers (12.5% Rostered)
Gabriel Davis had a great rookie year, and I expect that success to carry over into the 2021 season. His route running has gotten better during the offseason, and he has shown to be a threat all over the field. His sideline presence has won the Bills games, and his report with Josh Allen will make him a dangerous target going forward. This familiarity will show in week 1, and I think he scores a touchdown this Sunday.