Fantasy Fix: Our Favorite Fantasy Matchups for Week 1 of the NFL Season
It’s finally the time of the year where everyone is happy because football is back and better than ever. Now that the media has turned football into a year round phenomenon, let’s take a look at a few of the major storylines from this offseason:
First off, the defending Super Bowl Champions lost an undisputed Hall of Famer and arguably the best quarterback of all time in Peyton Manning. Colin Kaepernick has turned into one of the most polarizing and controversial individuals in the league. Tom Brady will miss the first four games of the season because of DeflateGate. Jared Goff is not as pro-ready as everyone thought, and, oh yeah, Josh Gordon is officially back in the NFL.
So now, with Week 1 of the NFL season officially underway, let’s take a look at who could help propel your fantasy team to an easy victory.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins:
After saving my fantasy season in the wake of Andrew Luck’s kidney injury last year, it’s safe to say that Kirk Cousins has earned some brownie points from me. While I’m not sure if Kirk will pick up quite where he left off at the end of last season (17 TDs to 3 INTs in the last 8 games), he’s definitely going to need to throw the ball a lot to keep up with Big Ben and Pittsburgh’s offense. I’m pretty sure Kirk Cousins’ fantasy owners are going to like that.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders:
I’ve been on the Derek Carr hype train for quite some time now, but this matchup is especially enticing. He gets the opportunity to exploit the New Orleans Saints’ defense, arguably the weakest defensive unit in the league. With a healthy Amari Cooper, along with Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray, Carr should easily be a top seven quarterback for Week 1. He has the potential to have an absolutely monster week.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons:
Freeman is on a mission to prove that last year’s outburst wasn’t a fluke, and there’s no better way to start off than playing against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneer front seven missed a league high 85 tackles last season, so Freeman should have a field day. He is a dual-threat option with both his run and pass catching abilities. Freeman should be considered a top three option in Week 1, especially in PPR formats.
Ryan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles:
Ryan Matthews made his money last year by vulturing touchdowns from Demarco Murray. With Murray in Tennessee and no other legitimate starting running back on the roster, Matthews is going to have every opportunity to prove he can recapture his pre-injury San Diego form. Considering his Week 1 matchup is against the Cleveland Browns who allowed 1,841 rushing yards last season, which was the third highest total rushing yards allowed in the NFL, Matthews should have a field day.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills:
Sammy Watkins was nothing short of incredible in the 2nd half of the 2015 NFL season. I’ve always loved his talent, and I think he can be a top five fantasy wide receiver if he remains healthy. This is definitely a big if as he has struggled with small injuries since the Buffalo Bills drafted him in 2014. But, he is expected to be 100% in this week’s contest against the Baltimore Ravens, who fielded one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season. Assuming Rex Ryan orders Tyrod Taylor to throw to Sammy Watkins like he did at the end of last season, Watkins should have a field day.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans:
After an absolutely monster third season in the league, Hopkins looks to officially cement himself as one of the premier receiver’s in football. With a much-needed upgrade at quarterback (Brock Osweiler), along with an extremely favorable matchup, expect Hopkins to explode in Week 1. Chicago has one of the weakest secondary’s in the NFL, ultimately possessing no one that can even attempt to slow down the dominant physical specimen. Hopkins will be considered a top five receiver all season long, but the easy matchup should provide him with the opportunity to have the most fantasy points at his position heading into week two.
Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts:
There are plenty of other options I could have taken here, but Dwayne Allen will score a touchdown in Week 1. With Coby Fleener officially out of the picture (signed with the New Orleans Saints this offseason) and Andrew Luck healthy, Allen could put up big numbers in his fifth season as a pro. The Colts go up against the Lions, who allowed the most touchdowns (12) in the league to tight ends last season. Allen has always been a red zone threat with Luck at the helm; so Week 1 should provide Allen with the opportunity to be a top five tight end against a weak defensive unit.
Mike Zimmer and his defense are going to need to pick up the slack now that Teddy Bridgewater is out for the season. The Viking’s decision to trade for Sam Bradford, while undoubtedly stupid, shows that they have absolute confidence in the rest of the team. Their recipe for success will be to run the ball with Adrian Peterson and play defense. I doubt their wins will be pretty, but the Vikings’ defense is sure to be a stalwart against lesser competition. Luckily for the Minnesota Vikings, the Tennessee Titans are just that.