QB: Michael Vick at WAS – Despite disappointing many owners who drafted him early last season, Michael Vick opens this season with a juicy matchup. Facing off against a Redskins secondary that allowed the 3rd most passing yards in the league last season, Vick should start the season on a high note.
RB: Steven Jackson at NO – Rushing against the worst run defense in the league last season, Steven Jackson should have a fast jump out of the gates. The Saints allowed a league high 147.6 rushing yards per game, coupled with a league worst 5.2 yards per carry.
Daryl Richardson vs. ARZ – Daryl Richardson faces off against a Cardinals defense that allowed 137 rushing yards per game – good for the 5th most in the league. The Cardinals are also lacking one of their best defensive playmakers, inside linebacker Daryl Washington, who was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. With handcuff Isaiah Pead suspended for Week 1, Richardson should see an extra hefty workload in this plus matchup.
Maurice Jones-Drew vs. KC – I’m not a big Maurice Jones-Drew fan so those who know me well may be surprised to see this. That doesn’t change the fact that MJD will receive a heavy workload against a Chiefs’ defense that gave up the 6th most rushing yards last season.
Shane Vereen at BUF – While the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to running backs last season, the Buffalo Bills finished 2nd – giving up 22.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. This is a prime opportunity for the Patriots to show what they have in store for Vereen this season – he’s an ideal flex play.
WR: DeSean Jackson at WAS – Even before Jeremy Maclin’s injury, the DeSean Jackson-Chip Kelly pairing was a very interesting proposition for fantasy owners. Now that Maclin’s hurt, it’s fair to assume that he’ll receive a higher percentage of Vick’s targets. Throw in the fact that the Redskins allowed the 3rd most points to opposing wide receivers last season and you have every reason necessary to put DeSean in your lineup this week.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. TEN – I’ve loved Sanders’ talent for years and finally, with Mike Wallace gone, he’ll have his chance to break out. With Le’Veon Bell out and a hodgepodge of misfits filling the void, expect the Steelers to rely on their passing game this week. It doesn’t hurt that the Titans were ranked 26th against the pass last season.
Kenbrell Thompkins at BUF – After a big preseason, it appears that Kenbrell Thompkins is the heir to Brandon Lloyd’s X position in the Patriots’ offense. That position comes with a healthy dose of targets. Throw in the fact the Stephen Gilmore and Jairus Byrd are both likely out and this already juicy matchup becomes even juicier.
Miles Austin vs. NYG – Finally healthy and facing off against the Giants, Miles Austin is a solid start this weekend. Last year, the Giants gave up the 4th most points per game to opposing wide receivers. Sunday night’s matchup will be a high scoring affair – the type of game you want your starters in.
TE: Antonio Gates vs. HOU – With the injury to Danario Alexander and the Chargers lack of proven targets, expect Phillip Rivers to look to Gates. The Texans also allowed the 4th most points to opposing tight ends last season – 9.1 fantasy points per game.
QB: Andy Dalton at CHI – Throughout his short career Andy Dalton has been better at exploiting the weak matchups than performing against the league’s top defenses. He’s never played the Bears before but the matchup isn’t a great one. The Bears allowed the 4th fewest points to quarterbacks last season while leading the league in interceptions. Let Andy sit this one out.
RB: Chris Ivory vs. TB – This is not the ideal week to start Chris Ivory. First off, he’s facing last season’s best run defense – the Buccaneers allowed just 82.5 rushing yards per game last season, at a clip of just 3.5 per carry. Only Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson topped 100 rushing against the Bucs last season. Secondly, Bilal Powell is “starting” this week and will likely split touches with Ivory. For the first week, this is a situation to avoid.
DeAngelo Williams vs. SEA – With Jonathan Stewart out, DeAngelo Williams is entrenched as the Panthers starter. While Williams will see a solid dose of carries, he’ll struggle to carve out a productive fantasy day against the Seahawks stout defense. It doesn’t help that Williams would be unlikely to see goal-line carries because of Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert and he remains uninvolved in the passing game.
Eddie Lacy at SF – I like Lacy’s chances of becoming the Packers lead back and outperforming his ADP but his date with the 49ers on Sunday is not going to be easy. The 49ers gave up the 3rd fewest points to running backs last season while giving up just 3.7 yards per carry. In two meetings against the Niners last season, the Packers didn’t have a rusher top 53 yards. The future is bright for Lacy, there simply isn’t a lot of space to run or goal-line carries to be punched in against the 49ers.
WR: Kenny Britt at PIT – Last season, the Steelers ranked 1st against the pass, allowing just 185.2 passing yards per game. This weekend Britt will square off with their top corner Ike Taylor. With Jake Locker throwing to him, this is a matchup to avoid.
Alshon Jeffery vs. CIN – While I like Alshon Jeffery for a breakout season, this isn’t a favorable matchup. Jeffery is facing an underrated Bengals’ pass defense that allowed the 3rd fewest points to wide receivers last season.
Mike Wallace at CLE – Obviously most owners don’t have the luxury to sit a player they drafted as high as Wallace but if you do, I would, and here’s why: Wallace and Tannehill had trouble connecting early in camp and while Wallace is going toe-to-toe with top corner Joe Haden, it’d be ideal to have a week to wait and see how he plays.
TE: Julius Thomas vs. BAL – There’s many reasons to love Julius Thomas’ talent but there are too many mouths to feed for him to be consistently productive in Denver. Throw in the fact that the Ravens allowed the least points to tight ends last season and he belongs on your bench.
Thanks for reading. Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!