Week 1 is here and NFL FOOTBALL IS FINALLY BACK! Everyone is 0-0 heading into their first fantasy football matchup and there is optimism across the fantasy football world. No bye weeks to deal with and most players are healthy. Is your team ready to compete for a championship?
Let's run through some of the best and worst matchups for your lineup.
QB Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are missing Justin Houston, who is recovering from injury, and don’t have cornerback Sean Smith from last season. I still don’t expect the Chargers to be able to run the ball that well, putting the offensive workload on Rivers. Chargers likely won’t win but I still expect Rivers to throw the ball all over the place.
QB Derek Carr vs. New Orleans Saints
The Saints lost their first-round pick defensive lineman in the preseason and didn’t make many changes to improve that atrocious defense from last season. New Orleans puts up points at home so I expect this to be a shootout in the Bayou. Carr has gotten better each of the last two years and I expect him to show even more improvement in his 2016 debut.
RB Spencer Ware vs. San Diego Chargers
Ware’s value jumped after Andy Reid announced Jamaal Charles won’t be starting this week and Ware will get the start. He was incredibly productive, especially around the goal line, when he got consistent opportunities last season. The Chiefs have a dominant running attack no matter who is in the backfield so I’m starting Ware if I have him.
RB DeMarco Murray vs. Minnesota Vikings
I hate where Murray has been valued both in drafts and in terms of start/sit. Murray is just one season removed from an 1,800-yard season with the Cowboys. I don’t think he will run for 1,800 yards with the Titans but I do think he returns to RB1 form in 2016. The Titans will run the ball a ton with their talented backfield to help Marcus Mariota balance the offense.
WR DeSean Jackson vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers’ defensive backs are absolutely terrible and this is the biggest boom/bust guy in the last 10 years. I really like Jackson’s matchup as well as Kirk Cousins having a nice day against Pittsburgh. Jordan Reed is going to attract a lot of attention and if they can get any sort of a run game the play action deep ball to Jackson is in play. I think Jackson catches a bomb and opens the fantasy week strong.
WR Michael Crabtree vs. New Orleans Saints
Like I said about Carr above, New Orleans has not added any significant talent to its defense and lost its first-round pick to start the season. The Saints’ best corner, Delvin Breaux, will have his hands full with Amari Cooper so I expect Crabtree to benefit with some favorable matchups.
TE Martellus Bennett vs. Arizona Cardinals
This one is pretty obvious with Gronk dealing with a hamstring injury. The last time the Patriots had two elite TEs they both were top five fantasy TEs so I expect Bennett to be great even with Gronkowski fully healthy. Look for the big guy to get a couple more targets against Arizona this week.
TE Delanie Walker vs. Minnesota Vikings
Walker developed quite a relationship with Marcus Mariota in the quarterback’s rookie year. He was targeted 133 times last season and I look for that to continue in 2016. The Vikings have a tough defense but I still expect Mariota to find Walker since he was such a focal point of the offense.
QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Seattle Seahawks
The biggest underdog of the week is the Miami Dolphins heading into Seattle. The Seahawks still have an elite secondary and defense while the Dolphins haven’t had a real running back since Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Look for the Seahawks to stop the run early forcing Tannehill to throw too much, ultimately leading to turnovers and a rough day in Seattle.
QB Dak Prescott vs. New York Giants
It’s going to be welcome to the regular season time for Dak Prescott. The Giants spent almost $200 million on new defensive players this offseason and kept around most of the coaching staff. This will be a good game but that doesn’t mean Dak will thrive. I need to see Prescott prove he can play with the starters before I am starting him.
RB Ryan Mathews vs. Cleveland Browns
What will we get from Mathews this season? In limited carries he averaged over 6 yards per carry in 2015, and now DeMarco Murray is gone giving him the bulk of the RB duties. I would have liked him more with Chase Daniel or Sam Bradford starting but the Eagles are now starting rookie Carson Wentz. Wentz has barely played this preseason and they lost Lane Johnson at tackle to suspension. They may be playing Cleveland but I still see the Browns stopping the run and making Wentz try to beat them through the air.
Any Baltimore Ravens RB vs. Buffalo Bills
Just wait until after Week 1 to see where this situation goes. John Harbaugh stated three running backs will play on Sunday so I would stay away from any of these guys until a starter emerges.
WR Julian Edelman vs. Arizona Cardinals
Edelman is coming off multiple foot surgeries from last season. He feels like his best friend Tom Brady is in jail and they are starting a rookie quarterback against the best defense in the league. His value will increase every week that Jimmy Garoppolo gets experience and especially when Brady comes back but look for this week to be a tough one for him.
TE Jared Cook vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
If you have two tight ends, do you have none? Cook has gotten a lot of buzz this offseason after signing with the Packers. Richard Rodgers was the starter last year and did okay. I feel like people are banking on Cook to break out with a better quarterback but I think the Packers have way more targets they will look for before Cook. Jordy Nelson also returns to take away even more targets. I would watch out for Cook.
TE Zach Miller vs. Houston Texans
The Texans’ defense is so good and they have playmakers on all levels of the defense. Miller is slated to replace Martellus Bennett at tight end in the Bears’ offense and I think the transition will be a little harder than most think. Losing Adam Gase at offensive coordinator and Matt Forte at running back will bring the Bears’ offense back a couple pegs in my opinion.