Thursday Night NFL Kickoff Preview

By: Matt Higgins

The 2019/20 season has finally arrived! We are no longer on the “ZEKE watch”, the leaves are starting to change colors, pumpkin spiced spam is a thing, and we are back to FOOTBALL!!!! We will be kicking off this season with the longest enduring rivalry in NFL Football, the Packers vs Bears.  First time head coach, Matt LaFluer will be taking on the defending NFC North Champion Bears, who lost only two starters in the secondary. The Bears also signed Ha-Ha Clinton Dix to face his old team to open up the season.  Weekly rankings are out, and everyone is starting to put together their lineups.  Here at WATO, we will look at the “consensus” weekly rankings and tell you if that said player will “beat the Odds”, or if we are going “against the odds”.  For example, if we think a player will perform better than his weekly ranking, we will give him the “beat the odds” classification. If we think a player is ranked too high (like Aaron Rodgers is every year), we will inevitably be going “against the odds”. Last season these teams opened against each other in a 24-23 Packer victory at home where Khalil Mack almost won the game by himself, and Mitchell Tribusky folded under pressure.  So here you go, what are the odds?

(Rankings based on ½ pt ppr, and 4pts per passing TD)

QB Aaron Rodgers.  Week 1 rank: QB 10

WATO prediction (going against the Odds)

Returning QB4 value would be a tall task in a road game with a 46 point over under on the road.  The Bears defense is too good to allow Rodgers to pick them apart at home, and Mr. Mack “Can’t wait to hit someone”.  We would expect Rodgers to finish outside the top 10 this week, but if you drafted him you are probably still playing him. There are better start options out there for you if you drafted guys later like Brees, Jackson, or Winston for week 1.

Mitchell Trubisky Week 1 rank: QB 20

WATO prediction (beats the odds)

Trubisky possesses the upside of Lamar Jackson but gets none of the hype.  This is his second year in the system and all that the offense did was get better.  He will be playing at home as a favorite this year, against a team that isn’t known for their defense.  It should be mentioned that the Packers improved defensively by bringing in a number of new starters, but they still finished 22nd in points allowed last year. Look for Trubisky to outperform Rodgers as a WATO told you upset.

Aaron Jones Week 1 rank: RB 17

WATO prediction (going against the odds)

The Packers held out Aaron Jones this preseason to get him ready for week 1.  Unfortunately, the Bears are a brutal matchup for Jones.  Matt LaFluer is known for his commitment to the run, but let’s not forget how long it took him to showcase Derek Henry last year! This is Rodgers’ team, and it’s unlikely that they will be able to commit to the run against the Bears stout defense.  The best chance for Jones to get going might be in the passing game and it’s entirely possible that he will.  The value at 17 feels close but the WATO staff is going against the odds on this one.

Tarik Cohen Week 1 rank: RB 30

WATO Prediction (beats the odds)

Cohen is a player that consistently is under-valued.  Last year he finished as a top 15 RB in PPR, and the last time he played the packers he had 24 yards on the ground, 5 catches for 31 yards and a TD.  These stats would be just fine for an RB 3 PPR flex. Lost in all the David Montgomery hype is the fact that he has never played an NFL snap and that he is at best 2nd on the depth chart (3rd really because Mike Davis is listed as the #2). RB 30 is outlandishly low for Cohen and WATO is calling for him to beat the odds in this one!

David Montgomery Week 1 rank: RB 18

WATO PREDICTION (going against the odds)

Montgomery was drafted in the 3rd round to take over the Jordan Howard role.  If he gets that role, he should be good for about 15 touches and a coin flip chance at a TD.  This is a tall task going against an improved Packers defense in his first ever NFL game.  The Bears may decide to give veteran RB Mike Davis some of the carries, after all, he carried the ball 112 times for the Seahawks last year.  Cohen, Mike Davis, and the potential of a shootout make David Montgomery too risky to return such a high value in week 1. WATO is going against the odds in this one.

Davante Adams Week 1 rank: WR 4

WATO PREDICTION (beats the odds)

If Rodgers is throwing a touchdown, odds are its going to Adams! In two matchups last year, Adams racked up 13 receptions for 207 yards and one score vs the Bears. You start your studs no matter who they are playing, and WATO is siding with Adams on this one to beat the odds.

MVS Week 1 rank: WR 50

WATO PREDICTION (going against the odds)

For as much as we know, it looks like MVS will be lined up against Kyle Fuller for the Bears.  Now WR 50 seems low but I don’t anticipate MVS having much of a game in this tough matchup. If you don’t need to start him, put him on your bench and wait to see how the Packer WR usage shakes out.

Geronimo Allison Week 1 rank: WR 44

WATO PREDICTION (beats the odds)

Like I just got done saying, the Packer WR 2 role is still a mystery to most. It is rumored that Allison will be playing in the slot, and Rodgers loves to target that position.  I feel better about Allison beating the odds in this one as he won’t have to do much work to beat WR 44 rank.

Allen Robinson Week 1 rank: WR 22

WATO PREDICTION (going against the odds)

Robinson is no doubt the Bears #1 WR but for whatever reason, he hasn’t had big games vs the Pack. Last season in two games he only tallied 7 receptions for 115 yards and no scores. Sitting at WR 22, its hard to imagine he will be a heavy part of the game plan when he draws a tough matchup against Jaire Alexander. WATO is going against the odds in this one!

Anthony Miller Week 1 rank: WR 47

WATO PREDICTION (beats the odds)

He didn’t get much playing time vs the Pack last season, but Miller has been a sleeper for a lot of people this year. He was banged up already during this preseason, but it looks like the Bears took him off the injury report. He will get the better matchups against the soft spot of the Packer defense, so we look for him the beat the odds in this one.

Jimmy Graham Week 1 rank: TE 16

WATO PREDICTION (going against the odds)

Jimmy Graham is already dealing with injuries this year. He has also done nothing on the Packers when they have played against the Bears. In two games last season he hauled in only 5 receptions for 40 yards. He just hasn’t been part of the game plan when the Packers play the Bears who typically cover the TE well. WATO is going against the odds in this one!

Trey Burton Week 1 rank: TE 24

WATO PREDICTION (going against the odds)

Burton is questionable to play in this game and if he can’t role, Adam Shaheen will be the starting TE. In week 1 you don’t want to start off the first game getting a dud from your TE because he started the game but left early because he was coming in already hurt. WATO is going against the odds in this one!