Week 1 Fantasy Matchups


HOU @ KC: O/U 54.5, KC -9

Thanks to a cancelled preseason, the team that won the final game of last season hosts the very next game to take place. The season opener should be a chance for sports fans to celebrate another small step in the journey toward normalcy, and for us, a chance to get a first glimpse of how players perform after such a unique offseason. We lead off with a matchup of teams that have some big fantasy weapons, especially at QB, and if the Vegas line is any indication, it will not be short on fireworks as the AFC playoff rematch leads us off.

CHIEFS Preview

Passing Attack:

The Chiefs look to get Patrick Mahomes back to his 5,000 yard level from his MVP season, and bring a stable of pass-catchers that are hard to top. They’ll be led by Tyreek Hill, who spent a good portion of last season hobbled, but has the ability to stretch the field that only a handful of NFL receivers can match. Their other main weapon is Travis Kelce, who should get plenty of work with the Texans’ secondary busy defending Hill. All three of them are must-start players that you likely used a very high draft pick on. The other receivers are a bit harder to judge: Sammy Watkins makes a return after a disappointing season last year, where he finished with under 700 yards, and lines up opposite Hill as the WR2. Mecole Hardman also looks to make an impact entering his sophomore campaign, after also having a pedestrian year statistically with 538 yards on 26 catches. They also have Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, and Marcus Kemp on the roster. There’s a chance one of them may break out, but it’s definitely a ‘wait-and-see’ situation. Sammy could be worth a start if you’re desperate, but he’s a low-level WR until we see how involved he is in the offense.

Rushing Attack:

At RB, the Chiefs leading rusher from last season opted out due to COVID-19, so they will be relying on their shiny new toy, pick #32 in the draft, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. A dynamic back in college for the national champion LSU Tigers, he looks to make an immediate impact at the pro level. His backup Darrel Williams and 3rd string Darwin Thompson will both be included in the offense, but Clyde will be the star of the show.


TEXANS Preview

Passing Attack:

For the Texans, things will look similar to the other side of the ball, as Deshaun Watson will lead Houston’s offense through the air. He lost his primary weapon from seasons past, as coach/GM Bill O’Brien traded away Deandre Hopkins, but the team brought in Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb to join Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Cooks and Fuller look to be the receiving leaders, and TE Darren Fells is unlikely to be a rosterable option for fantasy teams.

Rushing Attack:

Houston brought in David Johnson to lead their rushing offense, and he should get plenty of work. He’s an experienced pass catcher and can run between the tackles, and that versatility mixed with his likely volume should make him worth his spot as a second RB on fantasy teams. Duke Johnson will handle some of the load but is unlikely to be worth a spot on most rosters.


Defense and Kicking Game:

Both of these D/STs should be avoided this week, but Harrison Butker and Ka’imi Fairbairn are both a good bet to get some points. Both offenses are capable of moving the ball at least to FG range, and the kickers will likely get more than a few extra point attempts.

PHI @ WAS: O/U 43, PHI -6.5

This divisional matchup in Washington pits the most common team name in American sports against a team that currently has no name. Philadelphia comes in as a favorite by a touchdown, as the Eagles look to get started on defending their divisional championship and being the first back-to-back NFC East winner since they did it from ’01-’04.


FOOTBALL TEAM Preview

Passing Attack:

The Washington Football Team will look to their sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins to lead their offense. He looks to improve on a pedestrian rookie campaign where he started 7 games and threw for 1,365 yards. He will be looking at ‘scary’ Terry McLaurin as his main WR, who came in at just under 1,000 yards receiving last season on 58 catches. He’ll be joined by Dontrelle Inman and Steven Sims at WR and Logan Thomas at TE. Mclaurin will be the only good fantasy option in the Washington pass game to start the year, although it’s an interesting team to keep an eye on for a possible breakout performer.


Rushing Attack:

Washington’s ground game has seen a lot of turnover during this offseason, with their 3 leading rushers all leaving the team. They will look to rely on rookie Antonio Gibson, along with JD McKissic and Peyton Barber. The word from their training camp is that the success of Gibson led to the departure of Adrian Peterson last week, and that they will be looking to involve him heavily in the game plan. This backfield, however, is definitely one to avoid in starting lineups until we see the game plan unfold, especially as they face a competent Eagles defense.


EAGLES Preview

Passing Attack:

The Eagles will be helmed by oft-injured Carson Wentz, who has been very good when healthy. He will be seeking a hot start to the year and will be pleased with his improved options at WR over last year, where he did not have a WR break 500 yards. Alshon Jeffrey starts the year out with a Lisfranc injury, and rookie Jalen Reagor has a nagging torn labrum that seems likely to sideline him in week 1, leaving DeSean Jackson, Greg Ward, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside to catch passes at WR. DeSean Jackson is a low-end flex or WR3 play, with the other WRs mostly irrelevant in fantasy for now. The TE position is where Philadelphia shines, as they have 2 top end pass catchers at the position. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert led the team in receiving yards last year, and both look to continue their success. Ertz should be started in just about all formats, while Goedert is a good streaming option if you waited on TE in your draft.


Rushing Attack:

At the RB position, the Eagles will rely on Miles Sanders a lot this year, with Boston Scott and Corey Clement providing backup. Currently, Sanders is nursing a lower-body injury, so you’ll want to keep an eye on his status for Sunday, but if he is healthy then he is a must-start. Boston Scott would be a decent flex play if he can’t go, but the coaching staff seems confident that Miles will be suiting up.


Defense and Kicking Game:

The Eagles D/ST is a great play this week, as the Vegas line is showing a convincing, low-scoring win for the visitors. Conversely, Washington’s DST should be avoided. Jake Elliott, the Eagles’ kicker, should get plenty of looks and is a good option if you are looking for a K to slot into your lineup.


MIA @ NE: O/U 43, NE -6.5

The Dolphins will be taking on the Patriots in a divisional game that will look very different from seasons past, but the betting line looks all too familiar to Miami fans.


PATRIOTS Preview

Passing Attack:

New England will be led by their new signal-caller Cam Newton, a former MVP that will be looking to regain his old form under Bill Belichick. Cam will be looking at Julian Edelman to lead the pass catchers, as the rest of their WR corps is young and untested. N’Keal Harry will seek to improve on an injury-plagued rookie season, and Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Matthew Slater will be looking to make an impact as well. Only Edelman can be started confidently, with Harry being a dart throw in deep leagues. The options stay thin at TE, with Devin Asiasi leading a group of un-rosterable projects. It’s possible someone will break out in this offense but predicting who it will be is almost impossible. Cam himself is a low-end QB1 option this week against a weak Miami team, but don’t get comfortable with him at the top of your roster.


Rushing Attack:

At RB, the team is just as murky. They’ll be led by possibly Sony Michel, or possibly James White. Rex Burkhead looks to get a few carries as well, but anyone in this backfield is a dice throw for fantasy managers who are desperate at RB. Both Michel and White slot in as low RB3s this week.


DOLPHINS Preview

Passing Attack:

Miami named Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick as their starter, and he will look to bring some consistency to a very inconsistent team. He’ll be throwing mainly to DeVante Parker and Preston Williams at WR, and Mike Gesicki at TE. Parker is probably the only one in this passing offense worth a start this week as a high end WR3, and Gesicki will look to get into the offense and make a splash as a streamable TE. Fitzpatrick may have some good statistical games this year, but we’re not going to hope for too much against the NE defense at home in Foxborough.


Defense and Kicking Game:

On that note, start the Patriots D/ST with supreme confidence. They should put up solid numbers this week. At this point, New England has 0 kickers on their 53-man roster, so we can’t recommend a kicker in this matchup. And even with the sketchy offensive options for the Pats in fantasy, you should avoid the Miami D/ST.


GB @ MIN: O/U 45.5, MIN -2.5

This divisional matchup should give an early edge to one of these teams for the NFC North championship race. Both teams will look to improve on last season, where they both made the playoffs and lost to the 49ers in consecutive weeks.


VIKINGS Preview

Passing Attack:

Minnesota looks again to Kirk Cousins to lead their passing attack. His main target will be Adam Thielen, with Olabisi Johnson and rookie Justin Jefferson leading the WR group. Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith will slot in at TE. Only Thielen will expect to be a startable option in fantasy to start the season, with eyes on Justin Jefferson as a possible breakout candidate.


Rushing Attack:

Minnesota’s ground game is their strength, with Dalvin Cook hoping to follow up his 1,135 yard, 13-TD 2019 effort with an even better season this year. He is backed up by Alexander Mattison, who starts the season as a top-tier handcuff. You’re starting Cook if you have him.


PACKERS Preview

Passing Attack:

Green Bay will once again be led by Aaron Rodgers, although some may speculate if this is the last year we’ll see him at the helm. His main target will be Davante Adams, who joins WRs Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown and TE Jace Sternberger as a group that, while pushing the limits of NFL jersey nameplates, likely won’t be setting any records for fantasy production. Aaron Rodgers is a low-end option against a good Vikings defense, and Adams is the only pass catcher worth a starting nod on fantasy lineups.


Rushing Attack:

Aaron Jones leads the Packers’ backfield ahead of Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon, and should be a great option as a low-end RB1 or high RB2 this week.


Defense and Kicking Game:

The Minnesota and Green Bay D/STs are both in the low end of streaming options this week, with Minnesota ranking as the slightly better choice by most experts. The kickers, Dan Bailey for Minnesota and Mason Crosby for Green Bay, should both be decent options this week as FGs may be settled for often, and will be easier indoors in Minneapolis.


IND @ JAX: O/U 45, IND -7.5

It’s a “new year, new team” for Philip Rivers. After starting for the Los Angeles Chargers since 2006 Rivers finds himself in a new town with a new set of weapons on offense. Historically Rivers has not been afraid to air it out and take shots down the field and we expect the same in 2020. This style of QB play should bode well for Indy pass catchers and even the RBs coming out of the backfield. The Indy offense gets a cake matchup Week 1 against the helpless Jacksonville defense who saw the departure of key defensive stars, most recently trading away franchise DE Ngakoue. The Jaguars appear to be committing to tanking the 2020 season and the Colts offense should have its way with them week 1.

Not much to preview for the Jaguars going into week 1. If this offseason is any indication the Jaguars are tanking for the 2020 season. They shipped out their key defensive pieces and released Leanord Fournette. This is clearly a rebuilding year.


COLTS Preview

Passing Attack:

If you are in need of week one streamer look no further than Phillip Rivers. The lack of defense from the Jags and the elite offensive line in Indy should make for a comfortable pocket all afternoon for Rivers to take shots down the field. TY Hilton is a solid WR2 out the gate and I expect him to see plenty of targets early on. Parris Campbell is a flex this week but you should have better options out there, especially in week one. Jack Doyle aka O’Doyle Rules! If you are streaming TE this year Doyle is a great option week 1. Rivers loves targeting his TE in the red zone and Doyle offers a big body to target in that high scoring area.


Rushing Attack:

Let’s keep this one simple. The Colts have a great O-line and the Jags do not have a defensive line to write home about. You are firing up both Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor for this one. I expect Mack to get the start and majority of the carries early on but this seems like a prime opportunity for some garbage time love, with Indy milking the clock with Jonathan Taylor to close out this game.


JAGUARS Preview:

Passing Attack:

The Jaguars offense is led by 2nd year QB “Uncle Rico” aka Gardner Minshew. Gardner should be an easy QB2 to open the season and probably most of the season based on volume alone as I predict they will be playing from behind and airing it out. Only WR to start and trust is DJ Chark, lock him in as a low end WR2 this week. Keep your eyes and bottom of your bench peeled for rookie Laviska Shenault who could be a future waiver add.


Rushing Attack:

The RB situation is as ugly as it gets, James Robinson and Chris Thompson are the only two RBs worth noting you can’t and shouldn’t feel comfortable starting either right out the gate. If you are desperate I would roll with Chris Thompson given the potential game script.


Defense and Kicking Game:

Start that Colts DST and that is all, but it needs to be mentioned that Rodrigo Blankenship may have the best name and picture combo in fantasy at the moment.


CHI @ DET: O/U 44, DET -3

This divisional showdown could get quite ugly for both real and fantasy football purposes given Kenny Golladay’s nagging hamstring, the Bears’ pass rush, and Mitchell Trubisky starting at QB for yet another game. Proceed with caution.


BEARS Preview:

Passing Attack:

After bringing in Nick Foles this offseason Matt Nagy is still going with Mitch Trubisky (eye roll). This seems like this will definitely be Mitch’s last chance and I would not be surprised if by week 3 we see Nick Foles get the starting job. Make no mistake, Mitch starting is terrible for any member of the Bears offense and severely caps an upside we hope to see. Hopefully you drafted other WRs not named Allen Robison or Anthony Miller. I do not feel comfortable starting either or these with Mitch under center. Look elsewhere for your WR options this week. Jimmy Graham is another year older and another year slower, he is a fade until further notice.


Rushing Attack:

David Montgomery is starting the season with a groin injury after slipping in practice. It looks like he is going to play and can make an impact given the Lions lack-luster defensive line. Tarik Cohen is not worth a start week 1 unless Montgomery is forced to miss this week. Cordarelle Patterson is also expected to be in the mix at the RB position but I expect you to sit him in your lineup unless you like losing.


LIONS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Matthew Stafford was a popular late round quarterback for 2020 fantasy football drafts after his season was cut short by a back injury. Had Stafford stayed healthy, he was on pace for top 5 fantasy QB numbers. While we are excited about his season long prospects, this game seems a little dangerous given the fierce Chicago front. That concern is coupled with the fact that Stafford’s number one WR Kenny Golladay is nursing a hamstring injury that caused him to miss significant practice time this week. If Golladay misses, fire up Marvin Jones with confidence and if Golladay suits up consider Jones a flex play with upside in a divisional showdown. As tempting as it may be we should temper expectations and wait and see with Hockenson, unless Golladay is hobbled and misses. Hockenson and Jones stand to benefit in a nice way should Kenny G sit.


Rushing Attack:

A couple injury-filled years after drafting Kerryon Johnson, the Lions spent a second round pick on the uber-talented D’Andre Swift. Both backs have spent this training camp nursing leg injuries as Kerryon Johnson is sporting a knee brace and D’Andre Swift has missed a pack of practices. This has led to the Belichickian disciple and Lions HC Matt Patricia to go and sign Eleventy-year old RB Adrian Peterson. Please treat this backfield like gas station sushi and avoid, especially in week one.


Defense and Kicking Game:

I would fire up both of these defenses this week. You have a very talented Bears Defense that is always capable of sacks, interceptions, and touchdowns. On the other side you have the Lions defense that is going against a young mistake prone QB. Matt Prater is a strong legged kicker for this matchup.


LV @ CAR: O/U 47.5, LV -3

The Carolina Panthers doubled down on their house cleaning efforts after firing Ron Rivera by cutting ties with former MVP and Super Bowl runner up Cam Newton. The Panthers will deploy their revamped regime at home against the Las Vegas Raiders in their debut as the Sin City squad.


RAIDERS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Maybe at a casual glance it would be hard to label the Raiders passing game as an “attack” but QB Derek Carr actually posted the most passing yards in a season in his career last season. Carr could provide some streaming upside but if you need him this week you may have botched your draft. Where it gets more interesting is in the receiving corps. After sending last year’s most explosive wide receiver to the IR in Tyrell Williams, the Raiders will look to 1st and 3rd round rookies Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards who were both named starters this past week. The desert believes this matchup will be one of the highest scoring of the week and therefore flexing either of these rookies in a tight spot could be warranted. Dad-Bod candidate of the year, Hunter Renfrow should not find a slot in your week one lineup but keep an eye on him for future waiver adds. The target leader in this offense in 2019 was Darren Waller and given the injuries and inexperience of the top of the WR depth chart, he is a great bet to lead them again.


Rushing Attack:

1st round pick in both fantasy football and in 2019’s NFL draft Josh Jacobs should be firmly placed in your starting lineup and his backup and recently paid Jalen Richard should be only considered in the most desperate of PPR situations and hopefully not for you this week.


PANTHERS Preview:

Passing Attack:

The Panthers started their new era with Matt Rhule as the head coach who hired Joe Brady who is credited as the author of maybe one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football: the 2019 BCS champion LSU Tigers. Rhule and Brady will be grooming everyone’s favorite comeback story at QB in Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy is a sneaky late round QB and this game could provide a deeper consideration. Bridgewater will rely heavily on 2019 standout D.J. Moore. Moore is a locked and loaded low end WR1. Behind Moore will be a battle for the deep threat between Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson, neither of which you can trust on Sunday. Despite the coaching staff and Carolina beat writers wanting Ian Thomas to be a thing at TE in fantasy football we are not buying until we see it.


Rushing Attack:

I am typing words in this section to “advise” you to start CMC. As if you needed my encouragement to start Christian McCaffrey.


Defense and Kicking Game:

My gut tells me this is a sneak bet for a shootout and highly profitable fantasy football gold mine but that does not include the defensive position on either side but PK Joey Slye is one of my favorite potential season long kickers and his audition officially starts this Sunday. Given Carr’s success moving the ball in Gruden’s offense Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson is a decent stream this week and could be a matchup based fantasy kicker going forward.


NYJ @ BUF: O/U 39.5, BUF -6.5

It’s a New York showdown week 1 between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. Both teams have two young talented QBs entering their 3rd year under center that should provide for an exciting football game as well as some solid fantasy options for your roster week 1.


PANTHERS Preview:

BILLS Passing Attack:

This offseason the Bills went out and made sure to put more talented weapons around Josh Allen by trading for Stefon Diggs and drafting Zach Moss. Since entering the league Josh Allen has been one of the top rushing QBs in the league and even led all QBs with 9 rushing TDs in 2019. This year I’m excited to see him unleash his rocket arm with his new weapons around him. Fire him up in your lineup as well as Stefon Diggs and lets have some fun on Sunday!. Josh Allen isn’t the only one that will benefit from Diggs’ arrival in Buffalo John Brown should see increased production with defenses focusing on Diggs. Brown should be a solid flex option week 1 and beyond with upside because of his speed. Dawson Knox showed flashes last year but he should be on your waiver wire until we see how targets pan out.


BILLS Rushing Attack:

When Frank Gore left Buffalo the Devin Singletary hype train picked up steam...but then the draft happened and the Bills drafted Frank Gore’s replacement Zach Moss and the hype train is moving much slower now. Without any preseason it is hard to decipher what this rotation will look like but my best guess is a 50/50 split RBBC. I would roll with the “veteran” Devin Singletary week 1 as a RB3 with upside. Stash Zach Moss on your bench this week. Stay tuned next week for a clearer forecast.


J-E-T-S Passing Attack:

Sam Darnold week 1 draws a tough matchup against the Buffalo Bills defense that allowed the 3rd fewest points to QBs in 2019. Darnold has a good arm and sneaky scrambling abilities and will be a top streaming option once bye weeks hit but do not put him in your lineup week 1. Sam Darnold has two new WRs in town Breshard Perriman, Chris Hogan alongside Jamison Crowder. Breshard Perriman a has been in the league for 5 years now and he has yet to make any sort of impact on the 4 different teams he has bounced around on, I expect the same to happen this year on the Jets. Chris Hogan returns home to the Bills who gave him a chance in 2012, but keep him on the waiver wire, this reunion is not going to be a happy one for Chris Hogan. Jamison Crowder is your best bet this week on the Jets, expect to see plenty of targets come his way as he is the only one with an established relationship with Sam Darnold. I like Chris Henderon this year as a sleeper TE but it won’t happen week 1 against the Bills.


J-E-T-S Rushing Attack:

Why does Adam Gase hate Le'Veon Bell? We may never know. You are starting a RB like Le'Veon Bell if you have him because you probably drafted him to be your RB2 or even your RB1. BUT set those expectations lower than usual 1. It’s a tough matchup against a solid Bills D-line and 2. Frank Gore is in town.


Defense and Kicking Game:

I would fire up the Bills DST in this home matchup against the Jets with confidence. They were a top defense last year and there is no reason to not expect the same this year. Fade on the Jets Defense this week. Go ahead and pass on the kickers of this game Sam Ficken on the Jets and Rookie Tyler Bass on the Bills.


CLE @ BAL: O/U 48.5, BAL -8

It’s a revenge game for the Ravens who didn’t lose much last season but suffered defeat at the hands of the Browns in week 4. After Vegas had the Browns as the clear underdogs, they beat the Ravens 40-25. I can’t see that happening this Sunday after the campaign Lamar Jackson led the rest of last season. Baker Mayfield and the Browns, meanwhile, see their 4th HC in 3 seasons after back to back to back losing seasons. With Lamar Jackson at the helm of a matured Ravens offense at home against the Browns, Vegas gives Baltimore a 8-point favor and I am sticking with it.


RAVENS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Lamar Jackson’s passing game will improve this year - you mark my words! He came off draft boards as early as the 1st round this year but all that hype comes with plenty of folks who think Lamar already hit his peak (cough, cough, *Travis Caples*). Here’s my take. Lamar heads into his third year wanting to turn off the wheels and put more emphasis on his throwing arm. Bad news if rushing yards mean more in your league but I can’t take that into consideration in this argument, sorry. Patrick Mahomes (ya, that Patrick Mahomes) said his biggest advancement in Year 3 was in reading defenses and guess what Lamar has been doing this offseason? From BaltimoreRavens.com “... Jackson has said that film study and reading defenses were some of his top focuses.” And I believe emphatically in the coaching staff who pioneered the use of data and analytics to determine schemes and turned Joe Flacco into a SuperBowl MVP. That’s the coaching staff working with Lamar. And that is all good news for folks who rostered Mark Andrews or Marquise Brown! They are both must-starts in this home-game matchup.


Rushing Attack:

The Ravens’ Running Back Depth Chart indicated the highly touted rookie JK Dobbins was slotted as the 4th RB and the fantasy community erupted. We all know the only two RBs here are him and Mark Ingram (who is good to start as your RB1). (Sorry Gus Edwards + Justice Hill). It sounds like JK Dobbins will get time but wait to roll him out if you can.


BROWNS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Unlike Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield went undrafted in most leagues. Sad. He was 6/7 round ADP last year and the hope fueling that has certainly diminished. But if 2020 has proven anything, diminished hope is exactly the fertile ground chaos loves to thrive. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game score much higher than Vegas predicts. I’d still hand it to the Ravens, but I bet a fiery and confident Mayfield takes the field ready to show people he is still worth hope. He’s buoyed by a rockstar receiver in Odell Beckham Jr who certainly loves his headlines. I hope these two pull off a few stellar stunts this Sunday to dull the noise surrounding Lamar and make it worth your OBJ roster start. Don’t bother with Mayfield though, my guess is his touchdowns will be followed by a fair share of interceptions.


Rushing Attack:

The Brown’s situation is both more clear and less clear than the Ravens with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt competing/not competing for the job. Nick Chubb is the lead back but he will be spelled by Kareem Hunt, who has just received a contract extension and may be eager to show people why. It’s said they may even split the backfield, and why not? From the coach’s perspective, these are two extremely dynamic running backs with varied skill sets who would put defenses on their heels. Remember: COACHES DON’T CARE ABOUT FANTASY FOOTBALL. Start Nick Chubb for sure and if you have options, wait and see how things look with Kareem after week 1.


Defense and Kicking Game:

Ravens have excelled in the kicker role for years with their main squeeze Justin Tucker. Start him and the Ravens DST this week if you’ve got em. The Browns are less sure of their kicker having drafted Austin Seibert with their 170th pick and resigned former Brown’s kicker Cody Parkey in late August. Just… stay away from these positions.


SEA @ ATL: O/U 49, SEA -2

The Hawks and Falcons will open their season to empty seats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and hope that’s not a symbolic outlook on long-term fanfare for this team coming off a 7-9 season. Atlanta is working for a win in this first matchup and prove competitive in their division. Seattle will bring the heat and Vegas projects them coming out on top in a close bout.


SEAHAWKS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Russell Wilson welcomed a son into the world this offseason and named him “Win”. That is some good energy and I’d want every part of that for my fantasy team. Both Seattle receivers are must-starts this week and everyone is eager to see who ends up on top this season. Tyler Lockett has built a serious rapport in his 4-playing years with Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf looks to improve on a stellar rookie campaign.


Rushing Attack:

The Seattle running game is legendary and leans heavy on a traditional lead running back system. Marshawn Lynch stole the show for years and it’s been Chris Carson’s stage recently. He looks to build on back to back 1,000 yard seasons having improved on his fumbling issues this offseason. With Penny on the PUP list with a knee injury and Carlos Hyde recovering from shoulder surgery in May, it’s Carson’s backfield to lose.


FALCONS Preview:

Passing Attack:

The QB-WR combos on the Falcons side of the ball are just as exciting. Matt Ryan is leading the charge for his 13th season with Atlanta and coming off a season finishing No. 3 in the league in passing yards (294.6) and No. 13 in scoring offense (23.8 points per game). He’ll be throwing the ball to Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, who are must -tarts on a week-to week basis pending injury, along with new tight-end Hayden Hurst who has excited in early previews. Matt Ryan may end up being a terrific late-round QB this season.


Rushing Attack:

Todd Gurley signed with the Falcons this offseason and is backed by old-Falcon backfielders Ito Smith and Brian Hill. He has the lead roll so long as he can carry it. He may be a far cry from the Todd Gurley of 2017, but let’s not forget he has had three years out of five with 1000+ rushing yards and in a high-powered offense like Atlanta, he will look to find his step again.


Defense and Kicking Game:

If Vegas gets the call right, this will be a close matchup. You’d be keeping your fingers crossed for a pick-6 if you started either defense and no one needs that stress. Younghoe Koo was named Special Teams Player of the Week twice last season with the Falcons and is only getting better. Seattle’s kicker situation hasn’t been the same since Hauschka departed in 2016. They will roll with Jason Myers at Kicker and until we see otherwise, you can find a better kicker out there to start on your team.


LAC @ CIN: O/U 43, LAC -3.5

The number one overall pick of the draft will play his first NFL snap on Sunday and all eyes are on Cincinnati. Both the Bengals and their opponents, the Chargers, have a new quarterback and Vegas gives the edge to the visiting team despite the Bengals coming out on top in 4 out of 5 of the last matchups.


CHARGERS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Tyrod Taylor is in the QB role for the Chargers this year and will lean on veteran receiver Keenan Allen in the WR1 role. Big bodied receiver Mike Williams will be sidelined through September which will add pressure to Keenan Allen and give more receivers an opportunity to build chemistry with this new QB. I highly doubt anyone is considering a Tyrod start week one, but Keenan Allen certainly looks promising. Also Hunter Henry should be there to help carry the load for both you and Tyrod this week.


Rushing Attack:

Austin Ekeler is a go in this position and will likely see his fair share of passes as well as this team loves to line him up in the slot. This also presents a big opportunity for other backs on the team to play a more significant role. The team depth chart indicates Justin Jackson ahead of Josh Kelley but given the camp reports from Kelley, we expect to see him play a role. If you have Josh Kelly and not a lot of other options, give him a start and feel good about it.


BENGALS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Joe Burrow comes into the NFL as the Heisman Winner, #1 draft pick, and now the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. Dearly departed Andy Dalton held up a winning record but always lost in the playoffs and was let go this summer. The excitement surrounding Burrow is very real and with veteran A.J. Green in good health and Tyler Boyd who flashed serious WR1 on several weeks last season, Bengals fans have to be feeling good about their prospects.


Rushing Attack:

Joe Mixon was just signed to a 4-year extension and at 24 years old he is ready to carry the load for this Bengals offense. Giovanni Bernard will pick up any slack but Joe Mixon is locked in as RB1 on any week.


Defense and Kicking Game:

The Chargers DST might be worth a stream given that it is Joe Burrow’s first NFL game and there has been such limited pre-season play. Michael Badgley (Chargers) and Randy Bullock (Bengals) are non-starters and the same goes for the Bengals D.


AZ @ SF: O/U 47, SF -7

In a matchup featuring one of NFL’s best defenses and most exciting offenses, this is a divisional faceoff that has something for everyone. It’s tough to imagine anything happening in a Bay Area ravaged by wildfires, but we are keeping fingers crossed for good air quality to keep these players safe through game play at Levi Stadium.


CARDINALS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Sophomore Kyler Murray was gifted the most exciting off-season player acquisition in DeAndre Hopkins who just became the highest paid non-QB in the NFL. Cardinals fans are blind with excitement heading into the season. While an ageless Larry Fitzgerald returns to the field for what we fear may be his final season, Arizona fans have the future unfolding before their eyes. Homegrown and 2nd year player Christian Kirk rounds out an exciting WR corps playing against a tough San Francisco defense.


Rushing Attack:

At Running Back, Cardinals will start Kenyan Drake who had his way with the 49ers secondary in the 2019 showdown. If he can find a way around them, I think Cardinals will prove Vegas wrong on this one. Drake is supported by Chase Edmonds who showed flashes of real talent on the field in 2019 before ending an impressive three game stretch in injury. He is not a starter this week but may prove more valuable in weeks to come.


49ERS Preview:

Passing Attack:

Jimmy Garoppolo absolutely shredded the Cardinals twice last season and they’ve since added more support to their OL to keep him protected. While the 49ers are currently struggling with their receiving situation, Deebo Samuel thrived against the Cardinals last season and may prove to be a sneaky start this week if he can manage to get healthy in time coming back from his jones-fracture. And of course, George Kittle is a near-lock as an elite TE in a secondary that has been historically susceptible to tight ends.


Rushing Attack:

Raheem Mostert will get the start this season but the question remains who will carry the majority of the shares throughout the season. Jerick McKinnon was prevented from participating last season after an ACL tear in a pre-season practice but fans and coaches are hyped to give him a chance at the run. And then there’s Tevin Coleman lurking and likely to provide value at the pass catching role. Give the start to Raheem and hang tight if you picked up the other two until SF decides what to do.


Defense and Kicking Game:

The 49ers have the best defense in the NFL so if you have them congratulations. And Robby Gould is a top ranked kicker. The Cardinals have an exciting, play-making defense which may be able to take advantage of a loose week one 49ers offense and depleted receiving corps.


TB @ NO: O/U 49.5, NO -3.5

We may not have fans inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Sunday but when Drew Brees and Tom Brady face off we should have a party for fantasy football purposes.


Buccaneers Preview

Passing Attack:

The biggest storyline of this offseason was that of Tom Brady’s exit from the New England Patriots organization after two decades and 6 championships. Brady took his talents down south to Tampa Bay and will join forces with former teammate Robert Gronkowski, dynamic pass catchers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. All of this talent in one spot being coached by one of the most aggressive coaches in the NFL in Bruce Arians. With a near 50 point over/under in this NFC south showdown Brady and the offense look poised to showcase their offensive prowess right off the bat. Tom Brady is now 43 years of age and seems to prove haters wrong each and every year. This should continue in week 1 and if you drafted Brady you likely did so to start him. If you can’t start Brady here when can ya? One of the biggest conundrums for fantasy football GMs and analysts this offseason was projecting how Brady will utilize Mike Evans and Chris Godwin respectively. Evans’ elite production could be in jeopardy as he is nursing a hamstring which is the same injury that cost him 2019. Monitor his situation closely. If Evans is to miss time Gronk and even O.J. Howard could be sneaky starts in this potential shootout.


Rushing Attack:

It was almost as if Bruce Arians was taunting the rest of us when we said the Tampa pass catchers were the most loaded player group on this roster because he has bolstered this RB corps as well. After ditching Peyton Barber this offseason Arians and the Buccs will roll Ronald Jones out as their “starter.” But lurking ever so loudly behind Jones is a former 1st round Jacksonville reject Leonard Fournette. Never shying away from seasoned vet, Arians also added the potentially washed LeSean McCoy. The ever fluctuating ADP of Fournette and even Jones probably means that you can afford to not start them as you wait and see how the shares of this backfield shake out but I don’t hate flexing either in this profitable matchup as it is anyone's guess who will get the goaline plunges in this one.


Saints Preview

Passing Attack:

Whereas Tampa Bay has a whole new look on offense in a lot of ways the Saints are quite the opposite. Being able to boast maybe the most continuity of any NFL offense, the Saints will be led for the 14th time by Drew Brees who is playing in his 19th NFL season. Brees will have a trusty #1 Michael Thomas fresh off his record breaking season last year catching 149 balls for the most in the NFL all time. Behind Michael Thomas is Emmanuel Sanders and training camp darling Tre’Quan Smith. While both could have some appeal in this matchup, starting one would be foolishing as we have not seen Sanders on the field with either Smith or Brees in live game action yet. Brees’ tight end is none other than Jared Cook who scored 9 TDs last year, 7 of which were from the slot where Sanders spends a lot of this time. Cook is the only other non MT pass catcher I would trust in this matchup, especially given where you drafted him.


Rushing Attack:

Despite some heated contract negotiations that have reached trade speculation boiling points, Alvin Kamara is set to lead the Saints backfield in a much healthier fashion than he did in 2019. Nursing a back injury and some ankle issues last year Kamara disappointed but he is fresh off what many have called a minor epidural for his back and he is ready to lead you and your team after you selected him in the first round. His backup Latavius Murray, however, should not be trusted in this game or until, god forbid, anything happens to Kamara.


Defense and Kicking Game:

I am not a fan of starting either defense in this one if you can help it and on the other hand you can rock with both Ryan Succop and Wil Lutz with confidence.


DAL @ LAR: O/U 51.5, DAL -3

A long awaited and a well deserved Sunday of football will conclude with Jerry’s Cowboys visiting the newest and most expensive NFL stadium and home of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. This is Vegas’ bet to be the second highest scoring game on the slate and it has plenty of intriguing and tantalizing fantasy football implications.


Cowboys Preview

Passing Attack:

It’s a contract year, again, for Dak Prescott who is playing under a hefty $31.4 million franchise tag for 2020. Whether from Dallas or someone else, Dak’s imminent payday is one of the storylines that encourages Fantasy GM’s about his 2020 outlook. The other is the fact that this offense will keep it’s offensive line mostly intact and have improved the weapons around Prescott. In the WR room Amari Cooper is the defacto #1, with Michael Gallup statistically not far behind him. Dallas spent a first round pick on what many NFL draft experts deemed as the best WR in this year’s class: CeeDee Lamb. For this game we could be seeing alot of Cooper facing the newly paid Rams CB Jalen Ramsey. Unfortunately for you if you are rostering Amari you likely cannot afford to bench him in this one. Ramsey’s shadow coverage on Cooper is what makes Gallup one of my favorite WR2/FLEX plays this week. Lamb is an intriguing prospect but we should see how the target share shakes out before trusting the late round fantasy pick in our lineups this year. With 190 vacated targets from 2019, Dallas has the 2nd most opportunity up for grabs in 2020. This has made Blake Jarwin a popular late round TE target and if he is your only tight end you could fire him up here in a projected shootout.


Rushing Attack:

Not much to discuss for your lineup this week with consensus top three fantasy football pick Ezekiel Elliott and potentially the most valuable handcuff in fantasy in Tony Pollard. You are starting Zeke and you are not starting Pollard. The interesting question for the whole season will be how much Zeke will go from 1st and 2nd down pounder to a more dynamic pass catching option in this offense. New Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been on record saying he wants to get Zeke more involved in the passing game and that he mostly wants this to be Dak’s team.


Rams Preview

Passing Attack:

Nursing their Super Bowl hangover the Rams were pretty underwhelming last year by real football standards but they had some key fantasy football assets. A potential bounce back year could be in store for LA signal caller Jared Goff. Goff will be sans Brandin Cooks but will have the familiar weapons of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to lead in garnering his attention. Last year even though he spent the back half of last year being frustrating and very inconsistent, Kupp finished as the WR4 in many formats. What happened down the stretch? The Rams moved to much more 12-personnel on the field and caused Kupp to cede snaps to Cooks/Reynolds opposite of Woods. The big question will be whether the Rams will duplicate more of their 2019 first half or back half. You can lock Woods into your lineup in this week’s SNF game but Kupp may be someone you want to pause on to see how McVay plays his receiver corps. If Kupp becomes risky it will be because Van Jefferson or Josh Reynolds are stealing the snaps. Keep an eye on either to emerge for future waiver adds. Additionally Tyler Higbee was a major beneficiary of the 12 personnel and should be a nice TE target for this contest.


Rushing Attack:

Two years after signing Todd Gurley to the highest RB contract at the time, they cut ties with the 2-time fantasy football MVP. After drafting Darrell Henderson in 2019 with one of their very few picks in 2019, the Rams turned right around this year and drafted FSU’s Cam Akers in the 2nd round. Akers played behind a fairly poor offensive line at Florida State and should be able to create offense behind a subpar Rams line in the NFL if given the opportunity. Henderson on the other hand was likely to mix in heavily had he not suffered a hamstring issue in camp that McVay remains hopeful on. All of this and I have yet to mention the fact that journeyman Malcolm Brown has been named the “starter” for week 1. Given Akers talent and Henderson’s status up in the air Akers is the best bet to hit pay dirt in this game and should be the only back you trust if you are forced to play one.


Defense and Kicking Game:

Outside of Jalen Ramsey and potentially the best football player in the world Aaron Donald this Rams D/ST is in need of talent. They were a season long fade for me and especially in this barnburner on SNF. Same goes for the Cowboys D/ST but points can be had from the kicking game from these teams. In maybe the biggest revenge game of week 1 Dallas kicker Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein will debut against his former team in the Rams. Sam Sloman is the Rams kicker and given McVay’s track record of putting points on the board he is as good a bet as any in week one.

PIT @ NYG: 47.5, PIT -5.5

One of the best things about kickoff weekend of the NFL is that on Monday night we get not one, but two games! The first game of the MNF doubleheader features Big Ben’s return from Tommy John surgery on his elbow facing off against Daniel Jones and the new Giants coaching regime under Joe Judge. The sneaky high over/under and primetime nature of this game sets up nicely for fantasy football purposes, well maybe on the New York side of things.


Steelers Preview

Passing Attack:

The Steelers passing attack has been a popular one to invest in for fantasy football GMs this fall given the prospect of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was forced from the field last year with a left elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery and caused him to miss the rest of the season. There are likely not many softer opening matchups for Ben then this one against a depleted secondary of the New York Football Giants. Although most of the weapons in the Steelers offense did not miss their 2019 season they are in comeback mode in 2020 with their big signal caller back under center. JuJu Smith-Schuster tops the depth chart and is one of our favorite bounce back candidates this year. Along with Schuster you can feel extremely confident starting Diontae Johnson as long as he shakes off the foot issues that have been ailing him in recent practices. Monitor his status but if he misses a “what the heck” flex could be warranted in the case of James Washington. Rookie Chase Claypool has received some hype this offseason and could find himself on future waiver wire lists in the coming weeks. If you thought the WR corps was stacked then take a look at this tight end group which includes Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald. While I won’t be starting either of these TEs in this game I am even more encouraged about this offense heading into 2020 and that begins and ends with Ben Roethlisberger.


Rushing Attack:

Maybe one of the most heart-warming stories in the NFL is that of James Conner. The cancer survivor and Pittsburgh native is now in his contract and 4th year with the typically stingy Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe boasting the strongest body he has yet in the NFL and equipped with the full confidence of his coaching staff, Conner is ready to assume the bell-cow role in a Big Ben offense. The direct handcuff for Conner is Benny Snell but is not worth any fantasy consideration especially in week one.


Giants Preview

Passing Attack:

In his rookie season Daniel Jones posted some nice fantasy football numbers in favorable spots. Jones even outscored Rodgers, Murray, and Rivers on a points per game basis. This is NOT a favorable matchup. Between Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, the vaunted Steelers defense is likely to spell pain for Jones his fantasy GMs and his real life wide receivers: Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate. Predicting these pass catchers and their season-long value is hard enough, I don’t advise trying it in week one against his defense. Surprisingly enough, I think the only pass catcher that can be invested in is Evan Engram and that may be solely because you may not have other options. His athletic ability and the fact that he is the most healthy he has been in years means it's all systems go for Engram.


Rushing Attack:

Maybe the only argument against taking CMC at #1 overall in 2020 has been the case for Saquon Barkley. You obviously cannot bench Saquon but you can temper expectations. Neither Dion Lewis nor Wayne Gallman deserve even a mention in this week one tilt.


Defense and Kicking Game:

Pittsburgh DST is one of my favorites to finish as the overall top defense in 2020. And Chris Boswell can be fired up in this one. Chandler Cantanzaro and NYG defense? No thanks.


TEN @ DEN: O/U 41, DEN -2.5

The final game of the week one slate features an optimistic Denver Broncos hosting the Tennessee Titans. Vegas completely changed the line of this game after Von Miller’s heartbreaking ankle injury on the last play of practice on Wednesday. Regardless of Denver’s defense the game does present some interesting fantasy football storylines.


Titans Preview

Passing Attack:

Believe it or not over the last half of 2019, Ryan Tannehill was the QB3 in fantasy football. Tannehill parlayed a pounding run game and the at times elite efficiency of A.J. Brown in 2019 and will likely attempt to replicate that success again this year. Brown should dominate in this matchup because without a pass rush Denver will struggle to contain Brown’s explosiveness. Hoping to do his best DeVante Parker impression is Corey Davis who will not be worth a start in week one and may not be worth one in all of 2020 with Tennessee’s low volume passing attack. On the flip side, Jonnu Smith is a favorite of our staff to soak up the secondary targets and move the chains for this offense and can be trusted this week against a reeling Broncos D.


Rushing Attack:

Derrick Henry is the Big Dog. You must let the Big Dog eat. Period. Darrynton Evans should be rostered if you have Henry, otherwise, move along.


Broncos Preview

Passing Attack:

The Broncos, knowing that they have to face the high powered Kansas City Chiefs offense twice a year, decided to fully commit to the Drew Lock experiment. Denver’s commitment to Lock is exciting for Lock and the weapons around him including Cortland Sutton, newly drafted rookie Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos also drafted K.J. Hammler but we shouldn’t count on one and especially not two rookie WRs to produce for fantasy football purposes. Sutton is nursing a AC Joint injury that he suffered in Thursday’s practice and has been labeled “day to day” by the coaching staff after an MRI. I would bet that Sutton does not play and so rookie Jerry Jeudy becomes very interesting in this matchup just from a pure volume standpoint. The Titans have added Jadeveon Clowney and add to a very effective pass rush and secondary but their defense can be had through the middle of the field and so trusting in Denver tight end Noah Fant especially with the uncertainty surround Sutton this week will likely be a profitable option.


Rushing Attack:

The Broncos made Melvin Gordon the 9th highest paid RB in the NFL this offseason all the while they still roster the annual overachiever in Phillip Lindsay. The question with this backfield from week to week will be how the work division will be split from week to week. Gordon should be fired up here given his ability to catch passes in case Lock and the Broncos offense turns ugly but Lindsay could mix in and annoy Gordon GM’s from time to time. Gordon can be trusted with expectations lowered against a tough defensive front due to likely receiving work but Lindsay is a “hold” player at this point.


Defense and Kicking Game:

The Titans recently signed Clowney as mentioned and also Stephen Gostkowski as their PK. You will likely be able to start both for most of this season and week one is no exception. Brandon McMannus is a fine if not uninspiring kicker to trust in and without Von Miller and with Bradley Chubb on a pitch count the Broncos DST is not one to invest in for your fake football rosters.


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