By Alex Kurpeski
We’ve got a thrilling slate of games lined up for this weekend featuring plenty of favorable fantasy football matchups for you to exploit. Here’s a quick preview of each game:
1PM ET Games:
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
What To Look For From Miami: New England presents a tough defensive matchup. The Dolphins could look to establish the run against a unit that lost several key pieces this past offseason, so Jordan Howard could be a sneaky value in this one. If they fall behind in this contest we could see a lot of Mike Gesicki action, as Devante Parker and Preston Williams should be shadowed by Stephon Gilmore and J.C Jackson. In general it’s tough to love anyone from this offense as a start, unless you’re super desperate.
What To Look For From New England: The Patriots are gonna run the ball. Then they’re gonna run. Then they’ll run some more. Whoever leads this backfield in touches will likely have a big day, but just who that player is we have no idea. Cam Newton perhaps?
Fantasy Player of the Game: Cam Newton
Newton has an excellent matchup against a Dolphins secondary that could still use some work. His running ability will keep the defense honest, and I expect the Patriots to lean on that aspect of his game heavily. Newton should have a good shot at a QB1 finish in what looks to be a very favorable game script.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
What To Look For From Chicago: I imagine the Bears are going to look to get the ball to Allen Robinson a lot. Tarik Cohen should also see some run as a receiver in this contest. Depending on how Mitchell Trubisky plays this could even be a decent David Montgomery game. Detroit’s defense is average at best, so as long as Chicago can avoid losing the turnover battle everyone could have a decent day.
What To Look For From Detroit: Detroit’s running back situation is a mess. With Kerryon Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and D’Andre Swift all in line to get carries, the distribution of touches will be hard to predict. For that reason I’m fading Detroit’s backfield in this matchup, and I’ll continue to fade them until we get a better understanding of how this timeshare will work out. With Kenny Golladay out, Marvin Jones should have a very nice matchup against a deflated Bears secondary, giving Matt Stafford a nice upside in turn. If Detroit’s O-Line can keep their QB clean, this could be a huge game for Stafford and the Lions pass-catchers.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Marvin Jones
Jones is going to see so many targets in this contest. He’s a great bet to tally triple digit yardage and at least a touchdown.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
What To Look For From Cleveland: The Browns should run the ball early and often. Time of possession will be the key to victory here and the Ravens secondary is full of playmakers who can create turnovers if Baker Mayfield plays too loose. Expect a lot of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt action. Jarvis Landry could be a nice PPR start, while Odell Beckham Jr. will need to see some deep targets in order to “boom”.
What To Look For From Baltimore: Lamar Jackson is gonna do his thing. A run-heavy approach is to be expected from the Ravens in this, but Mark Andrews should also be in-store for a nice output. Everyone besides Jackson, Andrews, and Mark Ingram is an inadvisable start in standard formats.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Nick Chubb
The Browns are gonna ride Chubb in this one. I see him scoring at least one touchdown, while also catching a few passes and tallying triple digit yardage totals.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
What To Look For From Indianapolis: Against a poor Jaguars defense anything is on the table for Philip Rivers and the Colts. I think everyone on their offense is in-play as a startable player. The Colts should run the ball a ton, so both Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack are worthwhile starts.
What To Look For From Jacksonville: The Jaguars are gonna be losing, so Gardner Minshew is going to throw the ball (a lot). Volume alone makes him a strong QB1 candidate this week. Passing down back Chris Thompson should also see a decent amount of tread, as I expect Jacksonville to be trailing for most of this game.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Gardner Minshew II
Minshew may turn the ball over a few times in this one, but he should throw for a lot of yards and a couple touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team
What To Look For From Philadelphia: The Eagles should trounce Washington in this one. Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, DeSean Jackson, and Zach Ertz are all great plays here. The Eagles defense is also a great streaming option.
What To Look For From Washington: I wish I knew the answer to this but I don’t. Just steer clear of this offense until we see it in action.
Fantasy Player of the Game: DeSean Jackson
Jackson tends to feast in Week One and he’s got a golden opportunity to do so against his former team in this contest. Expect at least one touchdown off of a deep throw from Wentz.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
What To Look For From New York: Lots of Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder checkdowns. Like an absurd amount.
What To Look For From Buffalo: Typical Bills stuff. Josh Allen running around a little too much. A lot of diving catches from Cole Beasley because Allen’s throw sailed 10 yards further than it should have. Stefon Diggs throwing his hands up at least once or twice when Allen’s throw sails over his head. Devin Singletary losing the red zone carries to Zack Moss.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Jamison Crowder
Crowder caught 14 passes against the Bills in Week One last season and he could somehow surpass that number this time around. The Jets are hurting in the playmaker department so expect a ton of slot targets for Crowder. He is PPR gold.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
What To Look For From Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers tends to remind us why he’s “the baaad man” in Week One almost every year. Against a suspect Vikings secondary I expect him to do so once again. Look for Green Bay to run all over this Danielle Hunter-less defense.
What To Look For From Minnesota: The Vikings should continue to ride Dalvin Cook this year, but Adam Thielen’s target volume will also rise with the departure of Stefon Diggs. Thielen and Cook will be the catalysts for the Vikings in this one.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Davante Adams
It’s gonna be Target City for Adams, who knows how to turn targets into points.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers
What To Look For From Las Vegas: The Raiders offense will look to establish the run with Josh Jacobs, moving the ball through the air only when absolutely necessary. Expect Henry Ruggs to see some action on Jet Sweeps and Screens.
What To Look For From Carolina: Christian McCaffrey.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Christian McCaffrey
And it’s not even close.
Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons
What To Look For From Seattle: The Seahawks like to run the ball. Russell Wilson thrives off of play action looks. You know the drill.
What To Look For From Atlanta: To keep up with Seattle, Matt Ryan is going to throw the ball early and often. I like the Falcons receivers a lot in this contest. Hayden Hurst is a lovely tight end start as well.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Russell Wilson
It just feels like a big Wilson game is coming here.
4 PM ET Games:
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
What To Look For From Los Angeles: Tyrod Taylor’s mobility should open up lots of RPOs for the Chargers offense. Cincinnati had one of the worst defenses in the league last season so this will be a good chance for the new look Chargers to beat up on them. Taylor is a borderline QB1 for this week.
What To Look For From Cincinnati: Joe Burrow’s debut will be interesting. Considering he’s yet to play even an exhibition contest, this game could be a disaster. I’m fading him, but I do like Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is gonna catch a bunch of passes out of the backfield and carry the ball at least 10 times. Volume breeds upside here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (3CoSports Game of the Week)
What To Look For From Tampa Bay: The Bucs have an All-Star team on offense, so expect Tom Brady to throw the ball a ton. Leonard Fournette should steal a touchdown in this as well.
What To Look For From New Orleans: Oh you know, Drew Brees, MT, and Alvin Kamara. The usual suspects.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Michael Thomas
Thomas is gonna get fed per usual. He’s a safe bet to score the most points of any receiver this week, especially in PPR.
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
What To Look For From Arizona: Kenyan Drake tortured the 49ers defense in his first game as a Cardinal last season, so I imagine the team will turn to him in a similar capacity this time around. Against a tough defense it’s hard to love Kyler Murray as a start here.
What To Look For From San Francisco: Arizona’s defense was notoriously poor against tight ends last season, making George Kittle the start of the week at his position. Other than Kittle, expect the Niners to feed their backfield and maintain control of the game clock.
Fantasy Player of the Game: George Kittle
Kittle should dominate against a porous Cardinals defense.
Sunday Night Football:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
What To Look For From Dallas: I’d like to think that the Cowboys will throw a decent amount in this contest, although who knows what to expect from Mike McCarthy.
What To Look For From Los Angeles: Hopefully a clear lead back emerges in this game. In the meantime Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods will carry the Rams in the passing game.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Ezekiel Elliott
Something tells me that Zeke is gonna eat this week.