Thanks for submitting your questions for this week’s debut installment of the NFL Nation fantasy mailbag. Send them my way anytime @MikeTriplett or with the hashtag #NFLNationFantasy and I’ll share insight every week from our reporters around the league.
@MikeTriplett: I'm going with Sammy Watkins on both fronts since he's a clear No. 1 receiver with breakout potential. But I chose this question because of Nelson Agholor, whom I was asked about more than once. It's hard to project exactly what kind of role the rookie receiver will have in the Philadelphia Eagles' offense (No. 2 behind Jordan Matthews? No. 1A?) But Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan is very high on Agholor's potential.
"It's a great question. And I think people are asking because just watching them through the preseason, they've kind of had Josh Huff starting ahead of Agholor. But I don't think that's gonna be the deal," said Sheridan, who expects Agholor to either start or "emerge pretty quickly as a major target."
Sheridan said the Eagles really like Agholor, who shows the polish of someone who has been in the league for a couple years. And they think he can do a lot once he gets the ball in his hands. So Sheridan expects Chip Kelly to find a lot of ways to get the ball to him on screens and short passes designed to let him make things happen in the open field. He expects Agholor to get a consistent volume of touches rather than be a boom-or-bust type from week to week.
That should make him both a relatively-safe fantasy play and one with high upside.
@MikeTriplett: Obviously that question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. But I think in general it's important to remember that some of the established veterans still have more value in the short term than the younger guys with higher upside. That's the case here, where I'd go with New York Jets running back Chris Ivory over Detroit Lions rookie Ameer Abdullah, as Ivory is the clear No. 1 while Abdullah is in a rotation. But both are high-upside plays for this week.
Jets reporter Rich Cimini is very high on Ivory's prospects this week against a Cleveland Browns defense that ranked 32nd against the run last year. He said Ivory did speed training in the offseason and expects to improve his big-play ability. And he said he should see time in the goal-line offense and catch some check-down passes as well.
Lions reporter Michael Rothstein, meanwhile, said he expects Abdullah to get a lot of work in his NFL debut. According to Detroit offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, Abdullah is expected to be involved in the run game and "used extensively" in the passing game while rotating with Joique Bell and possibly Theo Riddick.
@MikeTriplett: Spiller's knee injury deservedly hurt his draft stock. But now that you got him at a discount, you should start reaping the rewards soon. He could be back as early as Week 2. And though he has a history of getting dinged up from time to time, he has never dealt with significant knee problems before. So he could be back to full speed by the end of the month.
If healthy, I expect Spiller to play a major role in New Orleans' offense, which has always featured running backs heavily in the passing game. Spiller still has the potential to gain 1,000 yards from scrimmage and catch 60-plus passes. Health is the only question mark.