New NFL fantasy football weekly column debuts

Editor’s Note: This fall, Central Times welcomes sophomore Logan McGrath as our NFL fantasy football guru. Logan’s new weekly online column will offer his tips and picks to help you improve your win record as you participate in fantasy leagues. You’ll find a link each week where you can ask him specific questions to help you make decisions. Here’s Logan’s first installment:


Rather than highlighting the obvious stud players likely to put up big numbers week to week, let’s start our journey together by digging deeper for some of the lesser-known players who have high upsides and possibilities to be the next superstars of fantasy.

Players to watch

Here I have listed a few players who either did not play last year or did not have a superstar season who I think will have very productive fantasy seasons this year.

Dameon Pierce

The rookie running back out of University of Florida makes a strong case as a good FLEX play or even an RB2 throughout the year. Throughout the preseason we saw Pierce make plays accumulating 86 yards on only 11 carries (7.8 YPC) and 1 touchdown. Earning the highest rookie PFF rating since 2006. Over that time he has gone from a possible third string RB to being named the starter on a Texans team with not many other weapons, you can expect to see a strong rookie season out of Dameon Pierce.

Allen Lazard

With Davante Adams gone to Las Vegas, Aaron Rodgers needs a new WR 1 and WR 2 last year Allen Lazard should move into that slot. Over the last two seasons with Green Bay, Adams had 238 receptions, 2927 receiving yards, and 29 touchdown receptions, while the leading receiver on the team last year only had 52 catches. With an otherwise lackluster receiver room you can expect Lazard to pick up some of that pace and especially improve his reception numbers to produce a strong fantasy season.

Travis Etienne

Missing the 2021 season with a torn achilles, Travis Etienne returns to an up and coming young team in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars added a few key players to the offensive side of the football including, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and with a big offensive line signing, Brandon Scherff, the five-time pro bowler previously on the Washington Commanders. These signings not only improve the offensive line but with the signings of receivers to the team it brings some of the pressure and defensive attention off of Etienne, and with Etienne already having a strong connection with quarterback Trevor Lawrence you can foresee a possible good fantasy season for the second-year running back. 


Waiver Wonders

Obviously with it only being the first week of the season there are not many teams needing to pick up players from the waiver after the draft but here are some options for players that are not rostered in many leagues who could be productive at times.

Cole Kmet

With a lack of wide receivers on a Chicago Bears team with a young quarterback in Justin Fields looking to develop, he needs a player who he can rely on to help him throughout his sophomore season. Entering his third season Cole Kmet looks to largely increase his production through Fields. In the Bears last preseason game, Kmet racked up five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. With possible production like this, Kmet could be a good pickup if you are in need of a tight end.

Rondale Moore

With Deandre Hopkins serving a six-game suspension due to use of PED’s (performance-enhancing drugs), Kyler Murray will need to look elsewhere to start the season. During his decently successful rookie season, Rondale Moore had more catches than Hopkins and will most likely be more relied on with Hopkins out and there is a chance he could be a good FLEX play for weeks 1-6 based on his matchup and his target share.

Alexander Mattison

This is a player that I would be consistently watching, but not as a normal player on your team. Look for Dalvin Cook to be injured, which he has been often. In the four games he missed last year, Mattison averaged 26.25 touches per game and averaged 21.7 PPR fantasy points in those games. So make sure to keep your eye out for Mattison or consider picking him as a handcuff if you also have Cook.



Here are three players I would love having on my team this week and three who I think won’t do so well this week. 

Dameon Pierce

As a young RB with 7.8 YPC in the preseason, Dameon Pierce can look forward to a strong first game against the Colts in an exciting first week divisional matchup. It will be especially helpful that the defense will need to focus on Brandon Cooks who was devastating to their defense last year opening up opportunities for Pierce to get the run game going.

Gabriel Davis

With Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley gone and a stud at QB in Josh Allen I predict a strong season and especially a strong first game against the defending champion Rams for Gabe Davis after his record breaking 8 catches, 201 yards, and 4 touchdowns in the Bills divisional loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rashod Bateman

After Marquise “Hollywood” Brown got traded to the Arizona Cardinals, Rashod Bateman looks to fill some of his role in a Ravens offense with not many offensive receiving threats other than tight end Mark Andrews. The second year receiver should be able to take advantage of a bad New York Jets pass defense who allowed the third most yards in the league to receivers last year.


Ezekiel Elliott

With a hard week one matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Vita Vea, I’m not expecting a great game for Elliot, especially after losing 3 of their 5 offensive linemen. La’el Collins, Connor Williams, and just recently Tyron Smith. Elliott should have a hard time with this Bucs defense and I would probably not start him as a RB 1 or 2 unless you have to.

Tyler Lockett

Even with Russell Wilson last year, other than the first two weeks Lockett had a bad season and now going against a Broncos team with a good defense with players like Bradley Chubb, Patrick Surtain, and Justin Simmons. It especially does not help that he lost Russell Wilson to the Broncos and now has to deal with Geno Smith as his starter. So with an unfavorable matchup and a poor QB situation, I don’t like Lockett this week.

Chase Edmonds

Recently acquired by the Miami Dolphins, you would think as the starter that Edmonds should be good after some solid seasons with the Cardinals, but with being a committee RB with Raheem Mostert, who also used to be a starter, he needs to split carries. To add on, he has been added to a team who will most likely be a pass heavy team this year after adding Tyreek Hill from the Chiefs.


Q and A

Each week, I’ll answer a few questions submitted to me from fantasy league owners about their fantasy needs. 

Q: Around what time should you draft a quarterback in most leagues? 

Jeremy Liggett

A: You often can get good quarterbacks very late in drafts. In a 10-team league I’m involved in, I got Joe Burrow late in the 7th round, which is when I would target a majority of QBs. Sure, we would all like to have Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert, but last year there were 17 QBs who averaged over 15 fantasy points per game, and you can easily get a good QB between rounds 6 and 8 or 9.


Q: What preseason free agent pickups have the biggest impact on players’ fantasy production?

Mark McGrath

A: There are a few players who I think were impacted a lot by offseason moves. First, the Bengals key offensive players, with the addition of key offensive linemen La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras, which should help time in the pocket for Joe Burrow and running lanes for Joe Mixon.

Another one is the Colts; both Matt Ryan being signed and T.Y Hilton being released should help Michael Pittman grow his fantasy value going into next season being the WR 1 for the team. 


Have questions of your own?

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