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Week 1 Matchups Analysis - Fantasy Football Advice

It's here, it's finally here! The 2018 NFL season is upon us and that means so is fantasy football. We all know how important start/sit decisions are in fantasy, and I'm here to help.

Unlike other articles that cover just a few players at each position, I am analyzing every player, for every game either with my written analysis or with the data tables. Technically this is a write up for the Sunday games only, but I do list the players for all games, though I will not be giving them specific write-ups.

Check back here each week to get the absolute best advice for your toughest start/sit decisions and take a look at our consensus rankings each week.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


How To Use This Information

  • "Matchups We Love" and "Matchups We Hate" mean that the player has an especially good or an especially tough matchup. It doesn't necessarily mean that player should be started or benched.
  • At the end of each positional section is a table that will show every fantasy-relevant player for the week and their corresponding matchup. If a player didn't get a write-up, it means their matchup didn't stand out for whatever reason, good or bad. Use the accompanying tables to find players who didn't get write-ups to see where they rank in terms of their matchup.
  • Opportunity is KING in fantasy football. Don't sit a player expected to get 20 touches in a bad matchup for a player expected to get eight touches in a good matchup. Use the matchups as a tie breaker for players in similar situations/tiers.

If you are a nerd like me and want to read about the data behind the matchups, and how I formulated the rankings, click here. Otherwise, on to the matchups!


QB Matchups We Love

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

By now you have likely heard all about his home/road splits, but have you heard about his Le'Veon Bell splits? In 13 career games without Bell in the lineup, Roethlisberger averages 20.1 PPG. In games with Bell, just 17.1. Assuming Bell doesn't play, which seems highly likely at this point, Roethlisberger could actually post BETTER numbers. But even if you ignore the Bell splits, the matchup is also very good. The Browns defense, while much improved, is still far from elite. The Steelers possess one of the game's best pass blocking lines, and Roethlisberger should have plenty of time to throw in this one against a good, but not great, Browns front. The secondary features a rookie in Denzel Ward, a cornerback who ranked 84th in Terrance Mitchell, and their best corner, nickel Brian Buddy-Calhoun ranked 35th. Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster should have no trouble giving Roethlisberger plenty of open targets and he is an easy start this week.

Case Keenum (QB, DEN)

Need a streaming option in Week 1? Look no further than Keenum. Going against a Seahawks defense that is practically gutted, and with two talented receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Keenum is in a great spot to continue where he left off in 2017. On the defensive line, the Seahawks lost Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson, and are now left with Frank Clark as their best edge rusher, who graded 51st at the position a year ago. The Broncos line should keep the pocket relatively clean for Keenum. The Seahawks also posses no one in the secondary who should be able to cover Thomas or Sanders. Keenum is a great option this week and my number one streaming choice.

Alex Smith (QB, WAS)

Like the Seahawks, the Cardinals defense is a shell of its once dominant self. Yes, they still have Patrick Peterson, but he was not the dominant corner we were used to in 2017. Jamar Taylor on the other side ranked just 70th, and they will likely use safety Budda Baker in the slot. Up front, Chandler Jones is a force, but the Redskins will pit Trent Williams against him, a beast in his own right. If Williams can win that battle Smith should have a clean pocket to operate from. While he doesn't have a receiver like Tyreek Hill anymore, he has enough weapons that he should be a solid start this week.

Blake Bortles (QB, JAC)

Bortles had a bit of a bounce-back year in 2017, leading the Jaguars to the AFC title game on his way to a QB13 finish. He looks to be another good option this week against the Giants defense. While the Giants do possess an above average pass rush, the Jaguars offensive line is one of the games best. In the secondary, Janoris Jenkins is coming off a down year and Eli Apple made strides but still has a long way to go. The downside with Bortles is the Jaguars propensity to be a run-first team which lowers his volume, but this is a good spot and he should produce solid numbers.


QB Matchups We Hate

Andrew Luck (QB, IND)

After missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, Luck is finally back and ready to go. Owners should be cautious, however, not just because he's playing his first game action in that long, but also because of the matchup. The Bengals have a strong pass rush, and although rookie Quentin Nelson looks like he'll be a great addition along the offensive line, Luck's pass protection is still not great. On top of that, the Bengals are strong in the secondary which isn't great for a team weak at the receiver position. I still like Luck's long-term outlook, but owners may want to let him ride the bench this week.

Eli Manning (QB, NYG)

Manning has one of the most loaded offenses he has ever had, with rookie running back Saquon Barkley, stud receiver Odell Beckham Jr., third-year receiver Sterling Shepard and second-year tight end Evan Engram. But not even all that talent can make up for the brutal matchup that he faces this week. The Jaguars were the league's top defense a year ago and there is no reason to think they won't be again. Talented from top-to-bottom, they should make life miserable for Manning. He should not be started in any format.

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)

Carr is coming off a disappointing 2017, and starts his 2018 against one of the league's best defenses. With DPOY Aaron Donald signed and ready to go, the Rams should put tons of pressure on Carr and force quick throws. When he does have time, the secondary is loaded at all positions and should be able to clamp down on the receivers. It's hard to see a scenario were Carr does well on Sunday, and owners should look elsewhere.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, TAM)

Fitzpatrick gets the start for suspended Jameis Winston, and draws a brutal matchup against a defense that hit the lottery with draft picks in 2017. Led up front by Cameron Jordan, and with stud corners Marshon Latimore and Ken Crawley, the Saints will make things extremely difficult on Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is rarely a reliable option anyways, and this week is no different.


QB Matchups Data

Below is a positional data table for this week's matchups based on a variety of factors (you can read about the process here). The players are ranked by RotoBaller's PPR consensus staff rankings. The "Matchup" column is a numerical representation of the players matchup, a higher number is better. Use this matchup data as a tie breaker for players in similar situations/tiers:

Player Team Opponent RBRank Left Middle Right Pressure Coverage Matchup
Aaron Rodgers GBP CHI 1 35 30 35 10.8 -10.365 -4.965
Tom Brady NEP HOU 2 40 30 30 -0.44 3.48 3.04
Drew Brees NOR TAM 3 40 20 40 4.21 13.62 17.83
Cam Newton CAR DAL 4 40 20 40 -4.34 -5.55 -7.72
Matthew Stafford DET NYJ 5 35 30 35 7.01 12.635 16.14
Deshaun Watson HOU NEP 6 40 25 35 11.28 0 5.64
Kirk Cousins MIN SFO 7 33 33 33 -3.07 -1.1253 -2.6603
Russell Wilson SEA DEN 8 35 30 35 12.71 1.51 7.865
Ben Roethlisberger PIT CLE 9 33 33 33 15.22 12.0813 27.3013
Philip Rivers LAC KCC 10 35 30 35 -5.82 4.66 1.75
Andrew Luck IND CIN 11 33 33 33 -11.16 -10.065 -15.645
Jared Goff LAR OAK 12 40 20 40 1.3 5.69 6.34
Andy Dalton CIN IND 13 33 33 33 -5.36 4.125 1.445
Marcus Mariota TEN MIA 14 40 25 35 7.61 -1.89 1.915
Matt Ryan ATL PHI 15 35 30 35 2.08 5.775 7.855
Alex Smith WAS ARI 16 35 30 35 1.94 2.925 3.895
Tyrod Taylor CLE PIT 17 35 30 35 1.69 -6.205 -5.36
Dak Prescott DAL CAR 18 35 30 35 -7.9 5.655 1.705
Patrick Mahomes KCC LAC 19 33 33 33 14.32 -14.652 -7.492
Blake Bortles JAC NYG 20 33 33 33 17.79 4.3923 13.2873
Case Keenum DEN SEA 21 35 30 35 8.72 1.375 5.735
Jimmy Garoppolo SFO MIN 22 33 33 33 -3.45 12.177 10.452
Nick Foles PHI ATL 23 40 15 45 12.35 -6.23 -0.055
Mitch Trubisky CHI GBP 24 30 25 45 -6.68 -3.2 -6.54
Sam Bradford ARI WAS 25 33 33 33 -9.99 2.1483 -2.8467
Joe Flacco BAL BUF 26 30 35 35 5.61 -2.625 0.18
Derek Carr OAK LAR 27 35 30 35 1.54 -20.575 -19.805
Ryan Tannehill MIA TEN 28 33 33 33 9.19 -1.4223 3.1727
Sam Darnold NYJ DET 29 33 33 33 11.83 8.712 14.627
Eli Manning NYG JAC 30 33 33 33 -5.32 -8.646 -11.306
Ryan Fitzpatrick TAM NOR 31 35 30 35 -7.32 -11.04 -14.7
Nathan Peterman BUF BAL 32 33 33 33 1.07 -0.627 -0.092


RB Matchups We Love

Alex Collins (RB, BAL)

Collins broke-out over the second half of last year, and could continue that level of play against a Bills team that has one of the league's worst rosters. The Bills have no elite run-stoppers on their defense and are starting rookie Tremaine Edmunds at linebacker. While Edmunds has a bright future in this league, it's a lot to ask of a rookie in his first start, and Collins should find plenty of running room in this one.

Dion Lewis (RB, TEN)

While Lewis and teammate Derrick Henry will likely split carries, Lewis appears to be the team's preferred option in the passing game. He gets a plus matchup on both fronts in this one against a Dolphins defense that struggles against the run, and whose linebackers struggle in coverage. Lewis isn't getting talked about much, but he has sneaky appeal this week in a game that should favor the Titans.

Chris Thompson (RB, WAS)

With the injury to Derrius Guice, and senior citizen Adrian Peterson being named the starter, Thompson should once again have a large role in this offense, especially in the passing game. That is great news for his owners, as he gets a Cardinals linebacker group that struggles in coverage. Thompson was hyper-efficient a year ago, and will likely come back down to earth, but still offers solid value in Week 1, especially in PPR formats.

Duke Johnson (RB, CLE)

With Carlos Hyde locked in as the starter, and rookie Nick Chubb looking like nothing more than a bench warmer, Johnson should re-assume the role that saw him finish as PPR RB12 in 2017. While the addition of Jarvis Landry may hurt his value some, he's in a great spot against a Steelers linebacker group who is missing their best player. Johnson should have the advantage in this one, and makes for a good value in PPR leagues.

Javorius Allen (RB, BAL)

Allen doesn't offer much in the run game with Alex Collins leading the way, but he possesses plenty of upside in the passing game. Against a Bills defense weak at the linebacker position, Allen should be able to get open at will and is a sneaky start in deeper PPR leagues. If you're one of the unlucky owners who drafted Le'Veon Bell or Jerick McKinnon, and you're in a pinch, Allen can bail you out.


RB Matchups We Hate

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

I know. You drafted him in the first round. You have to start him. But man, what a tough way to make your NFL debut, against the league's number one ranked defense. Whether on the ground or through the air, Barkley will face tough matchups. If he excels this week he is the real deal and the sky's the limit. You have to start him, of course, but owners should temper expectations.

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Mixon is another breakout candidate for 2018, but he gets a tough first test against the Colts tough run defense. Most people don't realize this, but the Colts front is loaded with run-stoppers. In 2017 they were a classic funnel defense, good against the run and bad against the pass. Not much has changed for 2018 and Mixon may find running room tough. While the Bengals did improve the offensive line, the Colts front is still much better and should win this battle.

LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF)

McCoy is in one of the worst situations of his career, on an offense that may finish the year ranked dead last and running behind one of his worst offensive lines. It doesn't help matters that he faces an extremely strong Ravens front this week, who will likely focus on stopping McCoy and making Nathan Peterman beat them. If there is any hope for McCoy, it is in the passing game where he does have an advantage over the Ravens linebackers. Still, in a game the Bills are expected to lose handily, it's hard to see the upside with McCoy.

Alfred Morris (RB, SF), Matt Breida (RB, SF)

While no one knows who will actually start for the 49ers in the wake of the McKinnon injury, what we do know is it probably doesn't matter. The Vikings boast one of the league's strongest run defenses, and should shut either Breida or Morris down. With the uncertainty in this backfield, and the tough matchup, both should be left on benches this week.

Marshawn Lynch (RB, OAK)

Lynch was a lot better in 2017 then people gave him credit for, as he was a victim of terrible play calling and game script. While bigger things are expected for him this year, it may take a while to get rolling. Facing a Rams defensive front that may be the most talented in the league, the Raiders offensive line is likely to get whipped in this one. With Lynch offering little in the passing game it seems he is nothing more than touchdown dependent in Week 1.

Carlos Hyde (RB, CLE)

The Browns look set to make Hyde the starter with rookie Nick Chubb nothing more than a backup. Hyde is a talented runner, but he has a tough test in front of him against a Steelers defense that is strong up front. While the Browns do have a good offensive line, the Steelers front is better and they should limit Hyde's room. The volume should be there for Hyde, the results not so much.


RB Matchups Data

Below is a positional data table for this week's matchups based on a variety of factors (you can read about the process here). The players are ranked by RotoBaller's PPR consensus staff rankings. The "Matchup" column is a numerical representation of the players matchup, a higher number is better. Use this matchup data as a tie breaker for players in similar situations/tiers:

Player Team Opponent RBRank Role Rushing Receiving Matchup
Todd Gurley LAR OAK 1 3 8.1 22.13 30.23
David Johnson ARI WAS 2 3 8.38 12.3 20.68
Alvin Kamara NOR TAM 3 3 5.26 24.37 29.63
Ezekiel Elliott DAL CAR 4 1 -4.84 -20.37 -4.84
Christian McCaffrey CAR DAL 5 3 -5.05 11.2 6.15
Leonard Fournette JAC NYG 6 1 -9.07 10.03 -9.07
Melvin Gordon LAC KCC 7 3 -10.06 0.67 -9.39
Kareem Hunt KCC LAC 8 3 3.51 13.87 17.38
Saquon Barkley NYG JAC 9 3 -27 -20.3 -47.3
Dalvin Cook MIN SFO 10 3 6.6 -19.87 -13.27
Joe Mixon CIN IND 11 1 -18.29 -11.1 -18.29
Devonta Freeman ATL PHI 12 3 1.665 5.73 7.395
Alex Collins BAL BUF 13 1 11.53 -20.07 11.53
Jordan Howard CHI GBP 14 1 -11.89 -31.2 -11.89
Lamar Miller HOU NEP 15 3 -10.54 20.13 9.59
LeSean McCoy BUF BAL 16 3 -10.55 8.03 -2.52
Duke Johnson CLE PIT 17 2 -8.24 24.23 24.23
Kenyan Drake MIA TEN 18 1 -4.88 -15.2 -4.88
Rex Burkhead NEP HOU 19 1 -12.75 10.53 -12.75
Royce Freeman DEN SEA 20 1 -10.8 -19.2 -10.8
Jay Ajayi PHI ATL 21 1 8.55 -17.23 8.55
Dion Lewis TEN MIA 22 3 9.06 18.97 28.03
Tarik Cohen CHI GBP 23 2 -12.69 14 14
Carlos Hyde CLE PIT 24 1 -10.29 -23.87 -10.29
Derrick Henry TEN MIA 25 1 5.46 -11.23 5.46
Chris Thompson WAS ARI 26 2 -5.14 27.2 27.2
Jamaal Williams GBP CHI 27 1 -6.61 -26.2 -6.61
Tevin Coleman ATL PHI 28 3 -1.485 16.83 15.345
Marshawn Lynch OAK LAR 29 1 -10.99 -8.63 -10.99
Chris Carson SEA DEN 30 1 -2.31 -21.57 -2.31
James White NEP HOU 31 2 -12.05 3.03 3.03
Peyton Barber TAM NOR 32 1 -9.92 -1.5 -9.92
Kerryon Johnson DET NYJ 33 1 -8.19 -16.9 -8.19
Ty Montgomery GBP CHI 34 2 -4.31 -1.5 -1.5
James Conner PIT CLE 35 3 -2.19 -13.57 -15.76
Bilal Powell NYJ DET 36 1 -8.41 -8.9 -8.41
Giovani Bernard CIN IND 37 2 -23.54 6.5 6.5
Adrian Peterson WAS ARI 38 1 -7.24 -28 -7.24
Sony Michel NEP HOU 39 1 -17.25 -24.57 -17.25
Isaiah Crowell NYJ DET 40 1 -11.96 3.6 -11.96
Alfred Morris SFO MIN 41 1 -12.01 -4.93 -12.01
Matt Breida SFO MIN 42 1 -8.86 -17.23 -8.86
Ronald Jones TAM NOR 43 1 -19.67 -10.7 -19.67
Jordan Wilkins IND CIN 44 1 -10.51 -4.67 -10.51
Rashaad Penny SEA DEN 45 1 -16.46 -30.37 -16.46
Marlon Mack IND CIN 46 1 0.89 -0.87 0.89
Theo Riddick DET NYJ 47 2 -0.59 9 9
Devontae Booker DEN SEA 48 2 -4.95 -1.8 -1.8
C.J. Anderson CAR DAL 49 1 1.3 -15.8 1.3
Latavius Murray MIN SFO 50 1 1.4 5.73 1.4
Frank Gore MIA TEN 51 1 -11.08 -1.9 -11.08
Corey Clement PHI ATL 52 2 8.2 8.97 8.97
LeGarrette Blount DET NYJ 53 1 -0.39 -9.8 -0.39
Nick Chubb CLE PIT 54 1 -18.49 -15.17 -18.49
Austin Ekeler LAC KCC 55 2 -12.61 11.37 11.37
T.J. Yeldon JAC NYG 58 2 -8.77 15.63 15.63
Rob Kelley WAS ARI 61 1 -10.39 -14.6 -10.39
Jeremy Hill NEP HOU 62 1 -14.75 -6.47 -14.75
Mike Gillislee NOR TAM 63 1 -1.84 -12.03 -1.84
Doug Martin OAK LAR 65 1 -21.54 -16.53 -21.54
Javorius Allen BAL BUF 66 3 1.18 12.13 13.31
Chris Ivory BUF BAL 67 1 -19.2 16.13 -19.2
Kyle Juszczyk SFO MIN 68 2 -19.61 -18.23 -18.23
Spencer Ware KCC LAC 69 1 -11.69 -12.93 -11.69
Wayne Gallman NYG JAC 70 1 -14.8 -16 -14.8
Kalen Ballage MIA TEN 71 2 -20.53 -18.9 -18.9
Nyheim Hines IND CIN 72 2 -10.51 -4.67 -4.67
C.J. Prosise SEA DEN 73 2 -12.66 -14.27 -14.27
Phillip Lindsay DEN SEA 74 2 -10.8 -19.2 -19.2
John Kelly LAR OAK 76 2 -5.1 -15.67 -15.67
Chase Edmonds ARI WAS 77 1 -0.77 -27.7 -0.77
Alfred Blue HOU NEP 78 1 -11.44 8.63 -11.44
Jonathan Stewart NYG JAC 79 1 -22.8 -25.7 -22.8
Corey Grant JAC NYG #N/A 2 4.23 30.73 30.73
Jalen Richard OAK LAR #N/A 2 -15.99 16.87 16.87
Darren Sproles PHI ATL #N/A 3 1.3 7.17 8.47
Le'Veon Bell PIT CLE #N/A 3 -4.69 12.73 8.04
Jacquizz Rodgers TAM NOR #N/A 2 -14.97 0 0
Deandre Washington OAK LAR #N/A 2 -21.09 -3.13 -3.13
Cameron Artis-Payne CAR DAL #N/A 1 -4.65 -11.8 -4.65
Tyler Ervin HOU NEP #N/A 2 -17.89 -4.97 -4.97
Kenneth Dixon BAL BUF #N/A 1 -6.92 -8.87 -6.92
Rod Smith DAL CAR #N/A 1 -9.49 -6.17 -9.49
Malcolm Brown LAR OAK #N/A 2 0.7 -10.77 -10.77
Trenton Cannon NYJ DET #N/A 1 -17.66 -12.2 -17.66


WR Matchups We Love

Michael Thomas (WR, NOR)

Thomas is our chalk play at wide receiver this week, facing a Tampa defense without its best corner in Brent Grimes. It will now be up to Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith and rookie Carlton Davis to shut down Thomas. No chance. Fire him up everywhere you can.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

In 2017, Fitzgerald ran 62% of his routes from the slot and should once again dominate snap slots. He gets a fantastic matchup against nickel corner Fabien Moreau who was one of the worst graded corners a year ago. With Sam Bradford under center, Fitzgerald should be a target machine and is a must start this week.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

Drafters were a bit low on Green this year compared to season's past, but they shouldn't be as he dominated the Bengals targets and air yards. Those who have them on their fantasy team should expect a big reward Sunday. Primarily playing on the outside, Green will get looks at both Kenny Moore II (graded 70th) and Nate Hairston (graded 107th). Green should have his way with these corners and has top-5 upside.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

With the addition of Brandin Cooks the Rams now feature a three-headed monster at receiver, but Kupp's role out of the slot is safe. Running 60% of his routes from the slot, Kupp will get Raiders slot corner Leon Hall who ranked near the bottom of all corners in 2017. With the Raiders having decent corners on the outside, Kupp should be the beneficiary in the softest matchup of the three.

Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN)

It's likely there will be weeks where Thomas is the play, and weeks where Emmanuel Sanders is the play. This week it is Thomas. The one bright spot amongst the Seahawks corners is slot corner Justin Coleman, who ranked 31st a year ago. Sanders has been moved to the slot, which will leave Thomas outside against Shaquill Griffin (ranked 76th) and Dontae Johnson (ranked 114th). Thomas should have little trouble getting open and is a solid start.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS)

Crowder should benefit from the addition of new quarterback Alex Smith, but also has a plus matchup in Arizona this week. With the departure of Tyron Mathieu, the Cardinals are likely to use second-year safety Budda Baker in nickel packages. While Baker looked great in 2017, he struggled in coverage, grading at just 57. Crowder should win this matchup with ease, and makes for a great start especially in PPR formats.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

With DeAndre Hopkins facing shadow coverage from Stephon Gilmore, Fuller will be left on the Patriots weakest corner, Eric Rowe. Rowe graded at 109 a year ago, and with DeShaun Watson back, Fuller has tons of upside in this one. The Patriots play almost entirely man coverage, so Fuller will get to attack Rowe all game. Start him with confidence if you've got him.

Keelan Cole (WR, JAC)

With Marqise Lee out for the season, Cole appears to be the Jaguars number one receiver. If you drafted him he's in a great spot to role out Week 1. Lining up all over the field, he'll get chances against Janoris Jenkins (ranked 60th), Eli Apple (ranked 79th) and B.W. Webb who missed all of 2017. Cole has limited upside in a low-volume attack, but he makes for a solid start especially in PPR formats.


WR Matchups We Hate

Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR, NYG)

Look, you are starting Beckham regardless of matchup, but this is as tough as it gets. He will spend the majority of his afternoon being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, the leagues best corner in 2017. Beckham is a stud in his own right, and this is must-watch TV, but owners might want to temper expectations this week.

Mike Evans (WR, TAM)

Many are expecting a bounce-back year from Evans, but he has a tough first game, drawing shadow coverage from Marshon Latimore. Latimore was a sensation as a rookie a year ago, ranking seventh among all corners. You may not have a better option than Evans, and you made need to role with him, just temper expectations.

Amari Cooper (WR, OAK)

Like Evans, many are expecting a bounce-back from Cooper, but he draws a tough first test against one of the league's best defenses in the Rams. Wherever Cooper lines up he'll be at a disadvantage. New additions Aqib Talib (ranked 14th) and Marcus Peters (ranked 15th) man the outside, while Nickell Robey-Coleman (ranked 17th) man's the slot. Cooper was taken in the first four rounds of most drafts, so he's hard to bench, but if possible, owners should consider it.

Jordy Nelson (WR, OAK)

See above.

Randall Cobb (WR, GBP)

Big things are expected from Cobb in 2018 with the departure of Jordy Nelson, but Cobb owners may have to wait a week. Playing 77 percent of his snaps from the slot, he'll primarily get slot corner Bryce Callahan who ranked 25th among all corners a year ago. Cobb always has touchdown upside in an offense led by Aaron Rodgers, but you should find other options if you can.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

Watkins had a disappointing 2017 and now starts 2018 facing off Chargers stud corner Casey Hayward, who was the NFL's second-best corner. It's hard to see Watkins getting the better of this matchup, and Hayward could completely shut him down. If you have any decent options on your bench you should probably start them.


WR Matchups Data

Below is a positional data table for this week's matchups based on a variety of factors (you can read about the process here). The players are ranked by RotoBaller's PPR consensus staff rankings. The "Matchup" column is a numerical representation of the players matchup, a higher number is better. Use this matchup data as a tie-breaker for players in similar situations/tiers:

Player Team Opponent RBRank L% S% R% Matchup
Antonio Brown PIT CLE 1 50 14 36 31.9
Michael Thomas NOR TAM 2 47 24 29 33.365
DeAndre Hopkins HST NEP 3 52 16 32 3.1
A.J. Green CIN IND 4 43 15 41 22.531
Julio Jones ATL PHI 5 41 24 35 23.503
Keenan Allen LAC KCC 6 27 51 21 13.743
Davante Adams GBP CHI 7 45 20 34 3.286
Larry Fitzgerald ARI WAS 8 17 62 19 24.326
Odell Beckham Jr. NYG JAC 9 34 13 53 -21.8
Stefon Diggs MIN SFO 10 25 24 50 9.379
T.Y. Hilton IND CIN 11 21 36 43 -3.502
Mike Evans TAM NOR 12 46 22 33 -25.5
Golden Tate DET NYJ 13 9 80 11 20.611
Jarvis Landry CLE PIT 14 16 65 17 1.569
Adam Thielen MIN SFO 15 27 52 20 6.402
Chris Hogan NEP HOU 16 18 47 34 -4.64
Demaryius Thomas DEN SEA 17 51 18 30 14.733
Doug Baldwin SEA DEN 18 9 73 14 9.131
Tyreek Hill KCC LAC 19 31 36 30 -2.091
Corey Davis TEN MIA 20 50 11 39 -8.254
Amari Cooper OAK LAR 21 38 22 40 -19.112
Allen Robinson CHI GBP 22 33 33 33 8.118
Michael Crabtree BAL BUF 23 41 20 38 4.851
Jamison Crowder WAS ARI 24 10 75 14 12.859
JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT CLE 25 17 58 23 9.211
Marvin Jones DET NYJ 26 44 12 44 12.684
Brandin Cooks LAR OAK 27 55 18 27 1.73
Cooper Kupp LAR OAK 28 29 59 12 17.751
Josh Gordon CLE PIT 29 26 23 51 1.497
Emmanuel Sanders DEN SEA 30 29 28 42 4.48
Robby Anderson NYJ DET 31 31 28 41 8.983
Randall Cobb GBP CHI 32 8 77 8 -11.297
Pierre Garcon SFO MIN 33 26 24 49 14.991
Nelson Agholor PHI ATL 34 7 86 6 6.459
Robert Woods LAR OAK 35 12 31 55 8.765
Sammy Watkins KCC LAC 36 50 31 19 -23
Marquise Goodwin SFO MIN 37 48 26 25 13.206
Kenny Stills MIA TEN 38 26 48 26 -4.934
Jordy Nelson OAK LAR 39 31 31 38 -14.958
Sterling Shepard NYG JAC 40 5 84 10 7.788
Will Fuller HST NEP 41 28 25 46 11.8
Kelvin Benjamin BUF BAL 42 50 20 31 3.538
Devante Parker MIA TEN 43 44 20 36 -1.88
Devin Funchess CAR DAL 44 38 22 40 1.182
Allen Hurns DAL CAR 46 11 75 14 14.058
Keelan Cole JAC NYG 47 32 36 32 11.148
Mohamed Sanu ATL PHI 48 15 68 17 16.669
Rishard Matthews TEN MIA 49 22 33 44 10.527
John Brown BAL BUF 51 22 47 31 -4.379
DeSean Jackson TAM NOR 52 35 21 44 -5.448
Kenny Golladay DET NYJ 53 32 26 41 5.664
Geronimo Allison GBP CHI 54 27 41 31 -23.411
Josh Doctson WAS ARI 56 44 20 35 -2.461
Calvin Ridley ATL PHI 57 33 33 33 -15.576
John Ross CIN IND 58 33 0 67 -3.861
Michael Gallup DAL CAR 59 33 33 33 -5.181
Tyler Lockett SEA DEN 60 16 52 31 -5.185
Anthony Miller CHI GBP 61 33 33 33 -10.296
Danny Amendola MIA TEN 62 5 83 11 7.799
Ryan Grant IND CIN 63 31 34 33 -6.924
Tyrell Williams LAC KCC 64 29 38 32 -8.161
Dede Westbrook JAC NYG 65 49 10 41 -3.294
Mike Wallace PHI ATL 66 51 13 35 -3.41
Ted Ginn NOR TAM 67 27 33 40 9.422
Quincy Enunwa NYJ DET 68 33 33 33 7.326
Paul Richardson WAS ARI 69 54 17 29 0.988
Phillip Dorsett NEP HOU 70 20 37 41 -9.048
Courtland Sutton DEN SEA 72 33 33 33 -12.54
Donte Moncrief JAC NYG 74 61 17 22 -2.336
Cole Beasley DAL CAR 75 5 87 6 -0.252
Taywan Taylor TEN MIA 78 23 61 15 -0.074
Seth Roberts OAK LAR 86 6 83 10 -28.147
Zay Jones BUF BAL 87 41 31 27 -11.876
Antonio Callaway CLE PIT 89 33 33 33 -25.08
Cordarrelle Patterson NEP HOU 90 31 33 35 4.804
Jaron Brown SEA DEN 91 38 27 34 -9.141
Travis Benjamin LAC KCC 93 26 37 37 -3.039
Chester Rogers IND CIN 95 31 41 28 -16.842
Chris Conley KCC LAC 97 42 12 45 -24.834
Torrey Smith CAR DAL 98 38 16 46 -19.63
Taylor Gabriel CHI GBP 99 41 15 44 1.294
Laquon Treadwell MIN SFO 100 63 8 29 -19.324
Adam Humphries TAM NOR 101 10 83 6 -26.077
Trent Taylor SFO MIN 103 10 76 13 12.852
Tyler Boyd CIN IND 106 6 89 4 -6.634
Bruce Ellington HST NEP 109 15 67 16 -18.5
Jeremy Kerley BUF BAL #N/A 11 78 11 11.135
Jermaine Kearse NYJ DET #N/A 26 52 21 11.06
Jarius Wright CAR DAL #N/A 9 80 9 10.111
Austin Carr NOR TAM #N/A 33 33 0 -1.122
Willie Snead IV BAL BUF #N/A 18 59 21 -2.369
Justin Hunter PIT CLE #N/A 40 17 44 -2.752
Cody Latimer NYG JAC #N/A 19 57 23 -2.754
Chad Williams ARI WAS #N/A 29 28 41 -5.674
J.J. Nelson ARI WAS #N/A 38 26 35 -7.233
Shelton Gibson PHI ATL #N/A 60 0 40 -17.24


TE Matchups We Love

Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)

Walker seems to get no love from the fantasy community, but each year he puts up solid numbers for his owners. He is a great start this week against a Dolphins defense starting two rookie linebackers and weak at safety. Walker appears fully healthy entering Week 1 and owners can fire him up with confidence.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

With the return of Andrew Luck, all of the Colts pass catchers stock has risen, and that includes Doyle. With Jacoby Brissett, Doyle finished as TE7 last year and gets a Bengals defense whose linebackers struggle badly in coverage. They are also starting a rookie safety. Doyle should be heavily targeted by Luck and should find plenty of room against this defense.

Eric Ebron (TE, IND)

See above. Makes for a good streamer in deeper formats.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

Njoku was a breakout start in preseason for the Browns, and looks to be headed for a larger role in 2018. With Tyrod Taylor under center, Njoku should see plenty of opportunity. He's in a plus spot here against a Steelers defense missing Ryan Shazier and starting rookie safety  Terrell Edmunds. Njoku is a big red-zone threat as well and has a nice ceiling in this one. Fire him up with confidence.

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE, ARI)

Seals-Jones burst onto the scene in 2017 with a pair of big games before eventually fading out again. But the second-year tight end has been named the starter and appears ready to see a big uptick in snaps. He'll benefit not only from having Sam Bradford under center, but from playing a Redskins defense whose linebackers struggle covering tight ends. Seals-Jones is still a risky start, but if you're looking for a streaming option you could do much worse.


TE Matchups We Hate

Jared Cook (TE, OAK)

Cook has sleeper appeal in 2017 on a Raiders team lacking in pass catchers, but he could get off to a slow start. The Rams linebackers and safeties are above average in pass coverage, and the entire defense should make things tough on this offense. Cook still has plenty of value, but owners should leave him on the bench this week.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

After Hunter Henry was lost for the season, George Kittle assumed the mantle of tight end sleeper that everyone loved. Tied to a good quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, and coming off a solid rookie season, it made sense. But things may be rough out of the gate against a Vikings defense whose linebackers are good in coverage, but have two of the best safeties in the game in Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo. Kittle will likely need a touchdown to pay off this week.

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB)

Moving from Seattle to Green Bay was likely a great move for Graham's long-term outlook, but short-term he draws a brutal matchup against a Bears defense that just added Kalil Mack. The Bears have one of the best linebacker groups in coverage, and are also very strong at safety. Wherever Graham lines up the Bears should make things difficult, and he'll need to find the end-zone to make his owners happy.


TE Matchups Data

Below is a positional data table for this week's matchups based on a variety of factors (you can read about the process here). The players are ranked by RotoBaller's PPR consensus staff rankings. The "Matchup" column is a numerical representation of the players matchup, a higher number is better. Use this matchup data as a tie breaker for players in similar situations/tiers:

Player Team Opponent RBRank LBRating SafRating Matchup
Rob Gronkowski NEP HOU 1 16.13 31.15 23.64
Travis Kelce KCC LAC 2 24.17 26.95 25.56
Zach Ertz PHI ATL 3 25.67 20.6 23.135
Greg Olsen CAR DAL 4 -0.9 0.8 -0.05
Kyle Rudolph MIN SFO 5 15.53 -5.05 5.24
Jimmy Graham GBP CHI 6 -12.9 -13.95 -13.425
Delanie Walker TEN MIA 7 23.27 21.2 22.235
Jordan Reed WAS ARI 8 2.1 -23.5 -10.7
Trey Burton CHI GBP 9 1.7 8.4 5.05
Jack Doyle IND CIN 10 13.63 7.9 10.765
Evan Engram NYG JAC 11 -4.4 -2.75 -3.575
Austin Seferian-Jenkins JAC NYG 12 -0.77 -5.65 -3.21
David Njoku CLE PIT 13 5.93 22.75 14.34
Tyler Eifert CIN IND 14 1.8 4.1 2.95
Jared Cook OAK DAL 15 -8.5 -6.8 -7.65
George Kittle SFO MIN 16 -0.73 -18.95 -9.84
O.J. Howard TAM NOR 17 4.1 -2.85 0.625
Benjamin Watson NOR TAM 18 -16.93 -13.25 -15.09
Jesse James PIT CLE 19 -8.47 -4.1 -6.285
Ricky Seals-Jones ARI WAS 20 12 16.9 14.45
Cameron Brate TAM NOR 21 14.1 7.15 10.625
Charles Clay BUF BAL 22 6.33 0.9 3.615
Eric Ebron IND CIN 23 15.23 9.5 12.365
Mike Gesicki MIA TEN 24 -18.9 -13.6 -16.25
Austin Hooper ATL PHI 25 3.73 -19.45 -7.86
Jake Butt DEN SEA 26 -19.2 -36.25 -27.725
Luke Willson DET NYJ 27 -8.1 -0.8 -4.45
Antonio Gates LAC KCC 29 -5.23 14.1 4.435
Garrett Celek SFO MIN 30 4.87 -13.35 -4.24
Tyler Higbee LAR OAK 31 -4.97 0.85 -2.06
Vernon Davis WAS ARI 32 5.8 -19.8 -7
Ryan Griffin HOU NEP 33 6.43 -15.1 -4.335
Dallas Goedert PHI ATL 34 -12.53 -17.6 -15.065
Nick Vannett SEA DEN 35 -23.67 -5.55 -14.61
Gerald Everett LAR OAK 36 -13.37 -7.55 -10.46
Tyler Kroft CIN IND 37 -0.6 1.7 0.55
Jonnu Smith TEN MIA #N/A -0.23 -2.3 -1.265
Nick Boyle BAL BUF #N/A 2.83 -28.95 -13.06
Jeff Heuerman DEN SEA #N/A -6.5 -23.55 -15.025
Christopher Herndon NYJ DET #N/A -12.2 -27.5 -19.85
Mark Andrews BAL BUF #N/A -8.87 -40.65 -24.76
Blake Jarwin DAL CAR #N/A -24.97 -26.25 -25.61


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