At long last, football is back, and that means fantasy football is back along with it. With the Eagles and Falcons officially kicking off the 2018 season tonight, here are some of the most notable fantasy storylines to look out for.
Can Nick Foles keep performing like a Super Bowl MVP?
It was hard to get a beat on Nick Foles’ fantasy value as the 2017 regular season came to a close. In his first start in week 15, he popped off against the Giants for 4 TDs en route to 25 fantasy points in standard leagues. Then he struggled against the Raiders and managed only 8 points in week 16, before facing the Cowboys in week 17 where he was pulled halfway through the first quarter as the Eagles rested their starters.
Then came the playoffs where Foles would prove his performance against the Giants wasn’t necessarily a Fluke. While was mediocre against the Falcons in the first round with just 246 yards and 9 fantasy points, he exploded against the Vikings for 352 yards and 3 TDs (26 pts) in the NFC title game, and won Super Bowl MVP against the Patriots with 373 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and 1 receiving TD (30 pts).
So, big picture, in three of the five full games that Foles played last year, he put up 24 or more fantasy points. Whether you’re a Carson Wentz owner or not, you’ll want to keep an eye on Foles Thursday night. With one of the most potent offenses in the league at his disposal, he could be one of the top fantasy QBs in the league for as long as Wentz is out.
Will Jay Ajayi get the workload to be an RB1?
At first glance, the Eagles RB situation looks like one to stay away from. Jay Ajayi is the starter, but Corey Clement is poised to take a step forward in his second NFL season and build off his 4-catch, 100-yard, 1 TD Super Bowl performance. Darren Sproles is also returning after missing 2017 with a torn ACL. So even though Ajayi made the most of his limited workload on the Eagles last year (5.8 yards per carry in 7 games), it didn’t look like he’d get the volume to really shine. Until…
We knew Ajayi would get the most carries, but apparently the Eagles are grooming him as a true bell-cow. He’s the most talented RB on the roster, and behind one of the league’s best offensive lines, he could be in line for a monster season if he gets the workload the Eagles are promising. We’ll find out tonight if Philly sticks to their word, or if Clement and Sproles will prevent Ajayi from being anything more than an RB2.
Will Julio Jones’ revival start in week 1?
One of the most notable fantasy storylines through all of 2017 was Julio Jones’ utter lack of touchdowns. Of course, anyone who plays fantasy football knows touchdowns are the most difficult thing to project, especially for wide receivers. They go up and down from year to year for seemingly no other reason than by chance. But for one of the undisputed top five receivers in the game, a mere 3 touchdowns for an entire season seems impossible. And then when you have plays like this, you start to think there might be some voodoo involved.
Was Julio Jones cursed last season? Probably not, even if at times it felt like it. Jones actually had another textbook All-Pro year if you ignore the TD total. He still finished as WR7 in fantasy and was second in the league in receiving yards with 1,444. He also had 20 more targets and 5 more receptions than he did in 2016, when he finished as WR4.
So the volume is there. And luckily for those of you who managed to get Julio with a second round pick, that volume is likely to turn into more TDs this season. Heading into last season, excluding 2013 when he played only 5 games, Jones averaged 7.6 TDs per year, so we can expect him to get closer to that mark in 2018. Does this mean Julio will begin his positive regression toward the mean in week 1? Only time will tell. But Julio owners will certainly have their eyes glued to the TV come 8:20 p.m. EST.