The Week 1 matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans features two teams likely trending in opposite directions. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
After posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Alshon Jeffery struggled to stay in the lineup last season. Appearing in just nine games, Jeffery managed to rack up 807 yards. That may not sound like a lot, but his 89.7 yards-per-game average was actually the highest of his career. With Matt Forte having moved on to the New York Jets, Jeffery will be the centerpiece of the Bears’ offense. He should see plenty of targets against the Texans and if he stays healthy for the whole season, he could surpass 100 receptions for the first time in his career.
If the Texans get to quarterback Jay Cutler early and often, Jeffery may not get as many looks as he should. That will likely mean running back Jeremy Langford has to carry the load. He comes into the 2016 season a a strong breakout candidate, given that he will own Chicago’s backfield. A 3.6 yards-per-carry average only ranks in the middle of the pack across the NFL, but a consistent workload as the No. 1 guy and an ability to catch passes out of the backfield make him quite a threat. Sunday’s matchup against Houston is less than ideal, but Langford should see enough action to still be productive.
There is one player on the Texans' roster who stands out above the rest when it comes to fantasy point production, and that player is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is a physically gifted beast and a reception machine. He caught passes from a handful of different quarterbacks last year and still managed to prove that he is one of the best receivers in the NFL. If he finds some consistency and reliable chemistry with new quarterback Brock Osweiler, he may go into the 2017 season as the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver. Either way, he’ll be a sure bet to produce against the Bears on Sunday. The Bears have been a perennial disappointment for the last few years and 2016 won’t be any different. Hopkins should rack up the points in Week 1.
When Hopkins eventually needs a break, the team’s new No. 1 running back will take over. Houston opted to sign former Miami Dolphins player Lamar Miller, rather than retaining the rights to the oft-injured Arian Foster this past offseason. Miller has been highly touted for the last two years and now he’ll get a shot at being a clear No. 1 option in the backfield. The Bears are weak defensively all around, which means that Miller should be in for a fantastic debut this week.