A strong showing by DeMarco Murray on opening night gave Team adidas the early advantage in its Week One contest against Team Nike, 16-11.8. Amazingly, the Reebok-Under Armour match-up is deadlocked after Ahmad Bradshaw (Team Reebok) and Miles Austin (Team UA) both recorded 17.3 fantasy points in opening night action.
Here’s a look at the Week One lineups in the Battle of the Brands fantasy football league. Be sure to visit the Battle of the Brands league page, powered by Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.
Robert Griffin III makes his NFL debut against a suspect New Orleans Saints defense, while his former Baylor teammate Kendall Wright should see plenty of targets for the Tennessee Titans.
We’re giving Alex Smith the start at quarterback because of his appearance in the Nike “Fast is Faster” spot. Team Nike will need points from its playmakers after a mediocre showing by Victor Cruz (11.8 points) against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night.
We flirted with the idea of starting Eli Manning, but opted to go with his older brother Peyton because (1) he’s making his much-anticipated return to the field as a member of the Denver Broncos, and (2) he is the face of Reebok football. Maurice Jones-Drew is on the bench due to questions about his availability. He’ll be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Cam Newton or Tom Brady? That is going to be a season-long dilemma for Team Under Armour. We’re starting Cam this week because he’s the player at the forefront of Under Armour’s campaign. His appearance on the cover of the Back to School issue of STACK Magazine certainly didn’t hurt his cause, either.
Zach Warren of the sports analytics firm numberFire provides an in-depth report on this weekend’s featured match-up between Antonio Brown (Team Reebok) of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Willis McGahee (Team Under Armour) of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos host the Steelers on Sunday night. Warren:
Antonio Brown was poised for a repeat of last year's breakout season throughout much of the preseason, as he was the No. 1 receiver while Mike Wallace was holding out. Wallace may be back now, but that doesn't mean that Brown’s value has diminished. Brown was not the most efficient pass catcher on the field last season; his 55.65 percent catch rate was well below the 60 percent league average for receivers. However, he was able to gain his 1,108 yards due to sheer determination on the part of, well, Ben Roethlisberger mostly. Big Ben targeted Brown 123 times last season, the most of any player in the AFC North. The main key for Brown will be whether that connection carries over to a new season.
Willis McGahee came on strong last season for his first 1000-plus yard year since 2007, an almost unheard of rebound for a 30-year old running back. And while Under Armour may not have their investment too much longer, numberFire still thinks he has a little bit left in the tank. With touchdown vulture Tim Tebow now in the Big Apple, numberFire projects McGahee to improve on his four TDs last season. McGahee's been steadily losing effectiveness: his successful run percentage has decreased in each of the past three years to 30.8 percent last year, meaning that he's only increasing his team's expected scoring just over 30 percent of the time he rushes the ball when compared to the average play. However, his large number of expected carries should help him not only win for fantasy owners, but also carry Team Under Armour against Team Reebok.
Edge: Willis McGahee (10.73 projected points) over Antonio Brown (9.49 projected points)
numberFire is the next-generation sports analytics platform that takes unstructured and misleading data that exists in sports and mines it for unprecedented insight, allowing numberFire to predict player and team performance better than any competitor.