Kansas City Chiefs
It should be somewhat smooth sailing for Andy Reid’s offense out of the gate, and mainstays like Travis Kelce figure to be involved early and often. Kelce is more of a middling option at the position, but tight ends are so scarce that his upside makes him a must-start in leagues of all formats.
Reid hasn’t committed to a bell cow in the backfield, but Spencer Ware projects to lead the way with Jamaal Charles likely sidelined and Charcandrick West relegated mostly to receiving duties. Ware is a solid RB2 who has carved up the Chargers, averaging 7.8 yards per carry over his last two meetings with them. Usage is the main concern here, but if Ware gets his, there’s plenty of upside.
Jeremy Maclin draws a tough matchup with Jason Verrett, who held him to yardage totals of 29 and 68 in each of their two meetings. Despite recent struggles, Maclin deserves starting consideration but he’s more of a flex option for Week 1 than anything else.
If Charles suits up, there hasn’t yet been enough evidence that he will be a factor yet as he continues to work his way back from an ACL tear. Quarterback Alex Smith will be a good streaming option for a few weeks in 2016, but Week 1 isn’t one of them.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers could be facing a game script that has them chasing the Chiefs, which would be great news for Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen and Philip Rivers’ owners. All three will have high floors for Week 1, but their ceiling is capped by the fact that the Chargers haven’t scored more than seven points against the Chiefs in any of their last three meetings. Ouch.
Antonio Gates won’t stop being fantasy-relevant, partially due to his red zone effectiveness, and partially due to the position scarcity. The future Hall-of-Famer will likely have to bank on a touchdown or two to make him start-worthy, but that isn’t a stretch for fantasy owners to hope for. Gates will have to stave off rookie Hunter Henry for snaps and deal with Eric Berry, but his chances to find the end zone make him a TE1/TE2 with both upside and downside.
The backfield remains a timeshare that has worked nicely for Danny Woodhead, but not so nice for Melvin Gordon. Until the second-year back shows an improvement from a tempestuous rookie season, he should remain on benches, especially in a tough matchup like this one. Speedster Travis Benjamin should also remain on sidelines until his role is more defined.