Fantasy Football Mailbag: Thursday 9/8/16

Several pass-catching backs find themselves in situations in which their receiving prowess will come into play Week 1. Which of those players should we favor for fantasy football?

Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's where our fantasy football mailbag comes into play.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

If you're shooting for floor, Giovani Bernard is likely the better choice here. The New York Jets' rush defense is tremendous, meaning Bernard should be on the field plenty in place of Jeremy Hill. Still, though, Charles Sims' upside would put him over the top for me.

Much like Bernard's Cincinnati Bengals, Sims' Tampa Bay Buccaneers are underdogs in their Week 1 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons favored by three points. That means Sims should get plenty of run in the passing game after finishing second on the team in targets last year. That puts him on par with Bernard. The situation is what breaks the tie.

The Jets had the sixth-ranked defense last year, based on numberFire's schedule-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, meaning even an offense as good as the Bengals' could face some obstacles. The Falcons, however, were 21st, which should lend the Buccaneers a bit of extra leeway. Then, you plop that superior matchup in a dome where a shootout could unfold, and Sims looks like a solid option with a decent floor and -- more importantly -- an attractive ceiling.

As briefly touched on above, you are absolutely correct in benching Hill in this matchup. It's basically the worst possible spot in which he could be. Both T.J. Yeldon and Ameer Abdullah are intriguing. There isn't much separation between the two, but Yeldon's role in the passing game could be key for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Both Yeldon and Abdullah are on teams that are underdogs this week in potential high-scoring games. The underdog aspect is what dings Abdullah's value a bit. Because the Detroit Lions have Theo Riddick, Abdullah wouldn't benefit from a pass-heavy approach, and he runs the risk of being omitted from the gameplan entirely if the Lions were to trail early. Yeldon, on the other hand, is involved both as a rusher and a receiver, meaning he'll be a decent option regardless of how the game progresses.

As an added bonus, when Yeldon does tote the rock, he should be able to do so successfully. The Green Bay Packers finished 2015 ranked 26th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, meaning while the game is still close, the Jaguars should be able to move the ball efficiently on the ground. Part of that will go to Chris Ivory, but Yeldon is also a factor in the ground game, giving him dual sources of point potential and extra safety.

The Lions' offense is stupidly fun this week, so it's totally fine to get jacked about Abdullah. Based on the Vegas lines, though, he doesn't possess the same safety as Yeldon, necessitating a pivot to the floor option.

This one would probably go to Markus Wheaton even if Will Fuller weren't limited in practice because of a hamstring injury. That just makes the decision a bit easier.

Wheaton has a tremendous situation with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Martavis Bryant, Le'Veon Bell, and Heath Miller all out of the equation, Wheaton has the potential to snag a solid number of targets within the offense. While those guys were in the picture last year, Wheaton had an 18.2% market share over the final six weeks of the regular season. He's the team's clear No. 2 receiver behind Antonio Brown, meaning he could start the year with a target market share near 20.0%. In an offense that good, that's a huge role to have.

That's all before we discuss the game in which Wheaton will play. The over/under for the contest between Pittsburgh and Washington is a whopping 50 points, the third-highest on the entire slate. Washington's corners are tough -- especially with the addition of Josh Norman -- but there should still be some serious action in this game. That adds upside to Wheaton's floor.

Fuller will be a usable fantasy asset down the road, and his matchup is solid against the Chicago Bears. But until we have more clarity on his health and his role in the offense, Wheaton gets the nod.

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