Top Week 1 QB Matchups
Ben RoethlisbergerMarcus Mariota vs Raiders
The secondary in Oakland should eventually be much better than what we saw here over the past couple seasons, but it won’t be in week one. One of our biggest takeaways from watching 1’s vs 1’s this preseason was that the Oakland secondary looked atrocious. They gave up a QB rating of over 100 to every starter they faced, have no experience, and are riddled with injuries. Marcus Mariota looked sharp in his final warmup before the preseason, putting up 13 fantasy points in the first half against the Bears.
Top Week 1 RB Matchups
Todd Gurley vs Colts
We are excited to see what a healthy Todd Gurley can do in Sean McVay’s system, and a week one game with the Colts is about as good as it gets in terms of matchup. The Colts have PFF’s 31st ranked front 7, and are coming off of a season in which they gave up 4.7 YPC and over 120 YPG. Look for Gurley to see around 25 touches, including 4-5 receptions, and our projected total on FanDuel and DraftKings is in the 18-26 point range.
Christian McCaffrey vs 49ers
While I like Newton in this matchup with the 49ers as well, I believe that Carolina will go run-heavy against what was one of the all-time-bad run defenses last season. For one, they need to protect their porous secondary from Kyle Shanahan, because he will have a gameplan and Brian Hoyer ready. For two, they have to be entering this season wanting to keep Newton upright. He has been hit as much, if not more, than any other quarterback in the NFL, and is coming off of a major offseason shoulder surgery.
While Jonathan Stewart makes a nice contrarian play, given McCaffrey will likely have high ownership % while Stewart gets the goal line work, we know what Stewart’s ceiling is. McCaffrey’s role in the passing game makes him an ex-factor, and his top end speed could allow him to break a long touchdown against a defense that gave up a ton of them last season.
Top Week 1 WR Matchups
Martavis Bryant vs Browns
We already touched on why we love Bryant in this matchup. Sure, he won’t get the volume targets that Antonio Brown will, but he also won’t see the Browns top corner, and faces a young and mistake-prone pair of safeties. Look for the Steelers’ killer B’s to beat up the Browns underneath, then bust big plays over the top with Bryant.
Top Week 1 TE Matchups
Zach Ertz vs Redskins
Washington gave up 77.1 YPG to opposing tight ends last season, ranking them dead last in the NFL. Ertz enters this matchup looking like Wentz’s favorite target in the Eagles short passing game. We expect to see him in the form we saw towards the end of last season, where he saw 13+ targets in 3 of the final 5 games. While the addition of Swearinger should help the secondary overall, Ertz is too skilled and Pederson is too good of a play caller for Ertz to not tear up the Redskins on Sunday.