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Week 1 NFL Matchups Analysis: Start/Sit Advice (Part 1)


Welcome to our Week 1 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every contest from the Sunday slate, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other important information.

I will start us off each week by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday and Chris O'Reilly will take you home with his late-game analysis.

If you have any additional questions that I did not answer during this column, follow me on Twitter @Teeoffsports and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started for the opening week of the year!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Rams at Panthers

Matchups We Love:

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to include Christian McCaffrey into the love column during most weeks, but this is a matchup that I especially like from a statistical perspective. Despite the Rams featuring DT Aaron Donald, the unit as a whole struggled in 2018 when stopping the run. Los Angeles rated 19th in preventing explosive rushing plays - even though they were ranked first in total pressure. The blueprint of Wade Phillips' defense is rather simple. Speed, speed and more speed to prevent teams from catching up when they are forced into passing situations, but if you can get the Rams behind the 8-ball early, their quickness becomes a liability due to undersized defenders. Carolina is one of the slowest offenses when it comes to pace of play, so look for them to use McCaffrey to control the tempo throughout.

Matchups We Hate:

Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)
Cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters usually line up on the same side of the field every week and don't move around unless they are facing one of the premier pass-catchers in the game. For Samuel, this could potentially present the doomsday scenario where the Panthers allow Moore to have the much friendlier matchup against Peters, who graded out 78th at the position last year. I have no real concerns that Newton isn't going to play at this point of the week, but when you add in a slower pace on offense, tricky cornerback and injured quarterback, I don't want to take a shot on a player that I view more as a plug-and-play flex than an every-week starter. He'll have his big weeks, but I am pushing my chips onto D.J. Moore's side of the table against the Rams.

Other Matchups:

Cam Newton (QB, CAR)
It makes logical sense if you consider road games often require a more aggressive approach to pull off a victory, but Cam Newton has gone three straight seasons of throwing more touchdowns on the road than at home. That isn't necessarily a reason to bench the 30-year-old on Sunday, but it is one of many reasons why Newton is not a bonafide top-tier QB for me against the Rams. I don't necessarily believe he doesn't perform as a QB1, but possible precipitation, a bad ankle, a questionable shoulder and potential dodgy game flow makes me pump the brakes if I am looking for a home run out of the former Auburn product. For what it is worth, I think Carolina springs the upset and Newton provides mid-to-back end QB1 numbers, so I wouldn't be avoiding this contest if I didn't have a legitimate backup to play.

Jared Goff (QB, LA)
Jared Goff is one of my favorite values at the QB position in 2019, but Week 1 isn't as cupcake of a matchup at it may appear. The team had to replace both their center and left guard during the offseason, making 2018 draftees Brian Allen and Joseph Noteboom the next men up. All reports have indicated that both players will be quality assets, but as I mentioned earlier while discussing the Rams, their starters have barely had a chance to get into a rhythm with each other heading into the opening week. Goff was only pressured on 25% of dropbacks in 2018 - good for fifth-best in the leagues, but things crumbled for the offense when he didn't have a clean pocket. The 24-year-old saw his completion percentage fall to 43% and his passer rating drop by 59 points. There is a learning curve when you put two brand new pieces next to each other on the offensive line, and I'd imagine we see some of those growing pains take place on Sunday. Consider Goff a back-end QB1 or high-end QB2 until this offense starts to take form.

Todd Gurley (RB, LA)
If you own Todd Gurley, you are playing him, but it will be interesting to see what the 25-year-old brings to the table against the Panthers. Gurley is the biggest boom-or-bust bet in fantasy for 2019, and Sunday will make things a little clearer for what we should be expecting as the year stretches on.

*** Update: Head coach Sean McVay has stated that Gurley will not be on a pitch count in Week 1. If true, this is a massive upgrade for his prospects this season. 

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)
I believe I am correct that the Panthers will use D.J. Moore on the same side of the field that Marcus Peters is on, but if you could guarantee me of that matchup for 60 minutes, Moore would transcend into the love category against the Rams. Still, though, Moore should be viewed as a WR2 this weekend, which makes him a startable piece for just about any fantasy team and a week-winner if he is able to torch Peters over the duration of a full game.

Brandin Cooks (WR, LA), Robert Woods (WR, LA)
With the health concerns surrounding Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods have a respectable Week 1 matchup in front of them. Gurley remains a mystery when it comes to what we should be expecting to see this season, and although early reports have stated that Kupp should be all systems go to start the year, I'd like to see it to believe it. A lot of the uncertainty around the team stems from the fact that head coach Sean McVay has run a light camp during the offseason after last year's extended football into the playoffs, and most of the question marks that we entered the offseason with remain. It is difficult to know what exactly you are going to get with this offense, but matchups against cornerbacks James Bradberry and Donte Jackson should be good enough to produce starter-worthy results for your fantasy squad. The game has one of the highest totals of the week at 50.5 in Vegas and a lot of the sharp money is coming in on the Panthers to cover +3. All of this tells me that the Rams will have to pass if they want to win on the road, and it is hard to imagine you will have better pieces on your bench than two players that should be weekly WR2s for your crew.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LA)
I'm probably a little lower on Cooper Kupp this week than most inside the industry. I view him as a WR3/flex play with some of the risk surrounding him. If he fails to post a TD, we are probably looking at between 9.5 to 13.5 points. It still takes having a quality enough backup to replace him in your lineup, but Kupp isn't a must-start for me if you have other options.

 

Redskins at Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)
What is there not to love about Carson Wentz this week against a porous Washington Redskins squad? Not only did the Eagles upgrade their run game during the offseason, but the addition of DeSean Jackson should pay dividends throughout the year. Last season, Jackson ranked second in the NFL with an average cushion of 7.3 yards per route, which not only stretches out a defense that is looking to stop the deep ball but opens up all short and intermediate routes for everyone else. This has allowed QBs that have played with Jackson to feature a seven percent better completion percentage when he is on the field, and when you add in RB Miles Sanders, who displays explosiveness of his own, the offense has the makings of a Super Bowl contender in 2019.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)
Washington's front seven has the chance to be deceptively better after their horrendous 2018 campaign, but the loss of LB Rueben Foster for the season will leave Wentz and Ertz surgically operating short-to-medium routes all day. In Ertz's last 10 games against the Redskins, he has hauled in 68 of 84 targets and eclipsed 80 yards six of those times. I'd expect another high target share in a game that could get ugly fast and view Ertz as my TE2 for the week.

Matchups We Hate:

Washington Redskins (All of Them)
Let's just throw the whole team into the discussion for Week 1. Jordan Reed is questionable with another concussion. The offensive line has talent and depth issues after the Trent Williams' holdout, making the Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson situation even more clouded. And Case Keenum doesn't have a ton of offensive weapons at his disposal. I've been stressing fantasy owners to go out and pick up WR Terry McLaurin off the waivers whenever possible, but he isn't startable quite yet in leagues. Guice will be a player to monitor as a buy-low candidate as the weeks stretch on, but you are randomly throwing a dart at the wall if you are anticipating too much out of him to start the year. Can it happen? Sure. But I don't feel like starting Guice as an RB2 if it can be avoided. Consider him more of an RB3 with upside right now.

Other Matchups:

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI), Jordan Howard (RB, PHI)
The Washington Redskins' front line doesn't grade out horribly when you view just their individual player grades, but the unit was a disaster in 2018, ranking dead-last in defensive rushing success rate, 29th in adjusted line yards and 26th stopping runs behind the line of scrimmage. When we add in the fact that the Redskins will most likely be trailing in most contests this year, they better improve quickly if they don't want this season to turn into another unmitigated disaster. The issue with Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard is that I am not sure we can pencil out a defined role for either player in Week 1. I view both as RB3 options due to the committee nature but don't be surprised when one of them outpaces that and provides a solid return. It is just impossible to tell which one at this very moment.

Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI)
Alshon Jeffery is a back-end WR2/high-end WR3 for me this weekend against the Washington Redskins. The matchup is promising for an explosion, but it is always difficult to be overly optimistic when inserting Jeffery into your lineup. He is a volatile wideout that requires proper game flow to produce points if he doesn't score them early, and there is a chance that the 29-year-old could be left with his hand in the cookie jar if he doesn't acquire his totals quickly in a possible blowout contest. That isn't going to deter me from not playing him, but you always have to be aware of the volatility that Jeffery possesses.

DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)
DeSean Jackson is going to have some boom games this year for the Philadelphia Eagles, but I am going to pass on Week 1 because of two reasons. For starters, Jackson broke his ring finger on his left hand a week ago, and although the team has no concerns about his status, there is some decoy potential possible if the team sets it up properly with a deep throw to him to begin the game. If that happens, SS Landon Collins will most likely start providing help defense on deep passes, opening up the middle-to-underneath throws to Zach Ertz. The 32-year-old is nothing more than a shot in the dark WR4 against Washington.

 

Bills at Jets

Matchups We Love: 

None

Matchups We Hate:

Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)
The Jets and Bills feature the second-lowest total in Vegas at 41 points. We have seen that number climb up from 38, but I never love playing Robby Anderson in a game that is meant to be low scoring. Ranked 65th last year in red zone receptions and 97th in catchable target rate, Anderson has been a boom-or-bust option throughout his career, although head coach Adam Case has been adamant about turning his speedster into more than just a deep threat. I'll have to see it to believe it and don't love a matchup against CB Levi Wallace and FS Micah Hyde. Anderson isn't the only person we hate in this game, but he is the most likely quality player that could realistically be benched from the Jets.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)
Josh Allen is going to have moments this season where he looks like the overall QB1 with his rushing performances, but I am out on him on Sunday against the Jets. The Bills ranked dead-last in the NFL last season in yards to go on third down, averaging 8.3 yards. That partially helps to explain why Allen had nearly 20% of his throws go at least 20 yards - the most in the NFL by quite some margin. Allen will need to make quick and accurate throws this season if he wants to improve on some of his passing numbers, but I don't love his chances against a difficult front line of Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams and Steve Mclendon. It also doesn't help that Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams are two of the best safeties in the NFL.

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)
Many might not realize that Sam Darnold was the youngest starter in NFL history in 2018, which may help to explain why some close to the team are expecting the 22-year-old to take a massive leap during his sophomore campaign. The Jets were the 11th most injured team last season when it came to their WRs, and the unit struggled with dropped passes during the duration of the 16 games - finishing 10th worst in the NFL in drops. Left guard Kelechi Osemele will be a significant addition from Oakland if he can return to the All-Pro status that he saw in 2016, and center Ryan Kalil will need to stay healthy if the front five wants to improve and keep Darnold upright and healthy. I think the team will make massive strides this season, but I'm not running to my bench to insert Darnold this weekend.

Other Matchups:

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)
If you landed Devin Singletary late in your drafts before the Shady trade, congratulations. However, expectations need to tempered around the 22-year-old to begin the year. Singletary isn't inept when it comes to his ability to catch passes, but only 25 receptions during his final 26 collegiate games isn't necessarily a recipe for success. T.J. Yeldon should work as Buffalo's pass-catching back in 2019 and look for Singletary and Frank Gore to provide some form of a split on early-downs. The Florida Atlantic product is in the RB3 range for me in Week 1 and isn't a must-start.

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)
It seems possible that Le'Veon Bell will be eased back into action for the first few weeks of the year. The 27-year-old hasn't played in nearly 20 months, and this isn't unfamiliar territory for the Jets new bell-cow. In 2017, Bell averaged only 3.46 yards per carry in his first three games after holding out for all of training camp. This absence is obviously much more prolonged after missing all of 2018 because of another holdout, so it doesn't seem likely that we see Bell thrown back out to the wolves right away. You aren't going to bench your first or second-round selection but be aware that things are capable of getting off to a rocky start.

John Brown (WR, BAL)
I like John Brown this weekend. It is difficult for me to include him in my love category because I still view him as a WR3, but the speedster has a chance to catch the Jets sleeping throughout the game. New York ranked 31st in the NFL in 2018, allowing 10 percent of passing plays to grade out as explosive, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Brown burn his opposing corner a few times.

 

Falcons at Vikings

Matchups We Love:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)
Gary Kubiak has been named the offensive advisor for the Minnesota Vikings heading into the 2019 season, and I have reasons to believe that he and Kirk Cousins will be a match made in heaven. Kubiak loves to run play-action schemes, which happens to be where Cousins has found the most success during his career. The Vikings QB only was put into play-action pass situations 20% of the time last year but featured an increase of a nine percent completion percentage in those moments. Cousins also ended the year ranked second in short-throw accuracy in the NFL and fifth in passes traveling a medium distance. Atlanta finished 2018 ranked 27th in passing defense and hasn't finished better than 22nd in total defensive efficiency in any of the four seasons under Dan Quinn. Consider Cousins to be an intriguing streaming option to use against Atlanta at home.

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)
The Atlanta Falcons struggled mightily to defend RBS during 2018, finishing last in receptions allowed and 27th in fantasy points conceded. Most of their strategy came down to the fact that they wanted to enable backs to catch passes in space but quickly close in on them and secure tackles for short gains. Unfortunately, that approach quickly failed after MLB Deion Jones missed 12 games during the year with a foot injury. The middle linebacker changes how the defense performs and does limit some of Cook's big-play upside, but the 24-year-old should be instore for a heavy usage through the air against Atlanta. If he is able to find the endzone on Sunday, we could be looking at one of the better performances from a running back that we see for the week.

 Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)
If Kirk Cousins is going to find success through the air, his two primary cohorts should be front and center for the show. The Falcons finished inside the bottom-five in touchdowns allowed to WRs and fantasy points surrendered in 2018. Cornerback Isaiah Oliver did show exceptional promise during his rookie season, but it won't be an easy task for him to maintain Thielen or Diggs over 60 minutes.

*** Stefon Diggs is expected to play but has a soft tissue injury. Give Thielen even more of an upgrade and Diggs moves into potential bench territory. 

Julio Jones (WR, ATL)
You could tell me that Julio Jones will have all 11 defensive players attempting to prevent him from catching passes, and I would still include him in my love category. Jones is a freak of nature that jumps off the page with his measurables of 4.39 speed, 6'3" height and a catch radius that places him inside the top 98 percent of all tested NFL players. Yes, Minnesota is a difficult defense, but please don't consider benching your star wideout anytime he takes the field this season.

*** Update: Rumors have started to swirl that Jones is considering holding out of Atlanta's opening week game as he waits for a new contract. This is a situation worth heavily monitoring

Matchups We Hate:

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL), Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)
Neither Tight end gets an ideal matchup to begin the year. Both defenses ranked inside the top-10 last season in points allowed against the position, and we would prefer to look elsewhere if you have another option at your disposal.

Other Matchups:

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
Matt Ryan has always been a QB that you consider playing in a dome and leave on your bench when faced with external conditions. If we still believe that to be the case, Ryan owners should be rejoicing with his schedule for the year. The Falcons gunslinger has his first nine contests inside of a dome and will play 13 of his 16 games in a closed environment. Last season, Ryan finished his crusade with a 73% passer rating in nine dome games, throwing 23 TDs and just three INTs. Minnesota isn't an opportunity that you are circling on your schedule, but you won't find me leaving him on my bench when he finds himself in an enclosed stadium if I didn't have a backup worth using.

Devonta Freeman (RB, ATL)
The Atlanta Falcons helped to bolster their offensive line by drafting Chris Lindstrom out of Boston College, and all indications point towards him being ready to produce from day one. The unit will need it after finishing second-worst in the league in stuff rate, but a lot of those deficiencies can be chalked up to Devonta Freeman only receiving 14 rushes on the entire season before coming down with multiple ailments that placed him on the injured reserve list. There is an opening for Freeman to perform well against a defensive line that does have a few holes that can be exploited, but the Vikings finished 2018 ranked second in only allowing nine percent of runs to grade out as explosive, so Freeman will have his work cut out. He is more in the RB2 category this week, but the 27-year-old is primed for a rebound season.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)
Calvin Ridley will draw CB Trae Waynes, who has gotten better at the position over the years but isn't what you would exactly call a cover corner. The Vikings had hoped that 2018 draftee Mike Hughes would take the step to fill the void opposite of Xavier Rhodes, but the 22-year-old was just removed from the PUP list, and while he might be ready for Week 1, I wouldn't expect him to start the year as anything other than their fourth corner as he continues to get into game shape. Ridley has a chance to torch Waynes and is well within the WR2 range on Sunday,

 

Ravens at Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)
Let the Lamar Jackson show begin on Sunday. The Miami Dolphins finished 2018 ranked 28th in the NFL in sack rate and are in line for an even more significant issue in 2019. Outside linebacker Cameron Wake signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans, and his 604 pressures in 10 seasons will not be easily replaced. Miami is trending towards being a bottom-end team once again in pressure and sack rate, and Jackson is the last QB that you want to provide extra time to make a decision. Despite having the lowest total on the board, Jackson is a clear-cut QB1 for me against an NFL-worst Miami squad.

Mark Ingram (RB, BAL)
Game script will dictate weekly what Baltimore does on offense with Mark Ingram and Justice Hil. Sunday's matchup against the Miami Dolphins should highlight Ingram, who figures to see much of the workload in a contest that could get ugly early. The 29-year-old is a high-end RB2 against a struggling Dolphins Defense that allowed 14% of rushing plays to grade out as explosive in 2018 - third-worst in the NFL.

Matchups We Hate:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is being thrown to the wolves against the Baltimore Ravens. The team traded away franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans and also lost right tackle Ja'Wuan James during the offseason to the Denver Broncos after Elway and company forked up 51 million dollars. Fitzpatrick does have some offensive weapons at his disposal, but it seems unlikely that the Dolphins will be able to keep him upright on Sunday. Miami ranked second-worst in the NFL in sack rate in 2018 after giving up 52 sacks in total, and 2019 doesn't look like things will be any better.

Kalen Ballage (RB, MIA)
If we took away Kalen Ballage's 75-yard scamper to begin the second half against the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, there isn't a ton for me to get overly excited about for the 23-year-old. I don't think Ballage possesses great vision or elusiveness and other than than the Dolphins feeling this incessant need to get him involved in the offense, we wouldn't even be discussing him. Kenyan Drake seems ready to go for Week 1, and I expect we see Drake/Ballage form a very similar dichotomy that Drake/Gore did last season. Ballage will provide around 10 carries a game of no real substance, while Drake will add some value with his pass-catching ability and elusive nature. I'd avoid the Ballage trap if at all possible.

Justice Hill (RB, BAL)
For all the reasons I liked Mark Ingram, Justice Hill falls into the opposite end of the spectrum. Hill will have his moments this season to steal work from Ingram in situations, but a negative game flow that should call for clock-eating handoffs is not one of those spots. Leave Hill on the bench and potentially buy-low if his performance is extremely subpar.

Other Matchups:

Albert Wilson(WR, MIA)
Of all the pass-catchers on the field for Sunday's game, I am most intrigued to watch Albert Wilson. Before getting injured last season, the 27-year-old was leading the NFL in yards after catch from the wideout position and also finished first in target premium and fantasy points per route run during his condensed schedule. It is difficult to start Wilson against a stout Baltimore squad, but he is someone you might want to consider making a move for before the season begins. Consider him a WR3/WR4 in Week 1, but the potential is there for a breakout campaign.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL), Miles Boykin (WR, BAL) and Willie Snead IV (WR, BAL)
I kind of like what Baltimore is doing with their WR core this season to help Lamar Jackson. Willie Snead IV is more towards the mold of Michael Crabtree, which obviously didn't work out great for Jackson's passing success rate in 2018, but Miles Boykin and Marquise Brown have been added for their speed and ability to stretch defenses. I am not sure this is the game where we get to see the full arsenal in action, but I'd keep a close eye on what Boykin or Brown can accomplish in the first few weeks of the year. All three shouldn't be viewed as anything other than bench options in Week 1, but there is potential for someone to emerge with more fantasy value than is realized.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)
Sunday likely won't transform into the best game script for Mark Andrews to find a plethora of success if he doesn't get his points early. Baltimore's run-first nature in a potential blowout isn't ideal, so downgrade Andrews to a low-end TE1/high-end TE2. With that being said, there is a potential buy-low window available if the 22-year-old doesn't breakout the way some are expecting him to in Week 1.

Kenyan Drake (RB, MIA)
I wouldn't scoff at the idea of Kenyan Drake providing flex value if he is healthy and ready to suit up against the Baltimore Ravens. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be scrambling for his life behind a weak offensive line, and Drake should turn into a safety valve to help prevent taking extra hits. The Ravens lost veterans Eric Weddle and Terrell Suggs on defense, as well as breakout performer Za’Darius Smith and perennial Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley, and there is potential for Drake to provide a higher floor than a lot of choices you may be considering.

 

Chiefs at Jaguars

Matchups We Love:

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)
The Jacksonville Jaguars will go as far as Leonard Fournette can carry them in 2019, and I am all in on the idea that the former LSU product can transform himself back into a first-round pick for fantasy drafts next season. His added usage in the passing game will pay dividends and during the teams' last dress-rehearsal in Week 3 of the preseason, Fournette received three of Foles' 10 targets before the offensive starters exited the game. In case you were wondering where the seven additional pass attempts traveled, keep reading the love column.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)
For as good as the Jacksonville Jaguars have been on defense over the years, defending the tight end position wasn't one of their strengths in 2018, finishing in the bottom half of fantasy points conceded and touchdowns allowed to TEs. Travis Kelce is my TE1 for the week and should be able to find success against a system that will be attempting to slow down other big-play threats.

Dede Westbrook (WR, JAX)
I flirted with mentioning that a particular WR experienced all seven targets that didn't go to Leonard Fournette during the Jags' Week 3 preseason game and can now say it was Dede Westbrook. Westbrook's matchup isn't ideal against a very solid slot corner in Kendall Fuller, but the volume should be there for the 25-year-old to make a big splash on the national scene against the projected Super Bowl favorites.

Chris Conley (WR, JAX)
Chris Conley gets a revenge spot against the Kansas City Chiefs after playing the first four years of his career in the town between 2015 to 2018. Conley's matchup against CB Bashaud Breeland is tantalizing and is made even better when you view the speed numbers for both players. Of all projected WR versus CB matchups that could see a handful of snaps against one another, Conley versus Breeland is the third-largest discrepancy in 40-yard dash time during Week 1 games. Don't be shocked to see the 26-year-old haul in multiple deep passes throughout the contest.

Damien Williams (RB, KC) 
Damien Williams gets one shot to show coach Andy Reid that he deserves to receive the majority of the work in Kansas City's offense going forward. LeSean McCoy should be on a limited touch count after being signed by the team last week, and Williams is shaping up to be an underrated asset in a high-scoring contest. Vegas has posted the game as the second-highest total of the week at 52 points, and Williams has a shot to enter RB1 territory if he can find the endzone on Sunday.

Matchups We Hate:

LeSean McCoy (RB, KC)
After getting signed just a few days ago, let's wait a week before trying to insert LeSean McCoy into our fantasy lineups. Perhaps it eventually trends in the direction of the 31-year-old taking over the backfield in Kansas City, but he should be viewed as nothing better than an RB4 that will receive a few touches at best.

Other Matchups:

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)
Tyreek Hill draws an extremely challenging duel against Jalen Ramsey on Sunday. I'm not in love with the situation, but Hill provides way too much upside to ever be benched. Consider him a WR2 for Sunday's clash.

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)
Not quite to the same extent as Tyreek Hill, but Patrick Mahomes also doesn't have a picture-perfect setup against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road. However, you didn't draft Mahomes to bench him, and the reigning MVP is still a top-five play anytime he takes the field.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)
Sammy Watkins hasn't posted a top 40 fantasy season since 2015, but injuries have been a big culprit behind that statistic. Until proven otherwise, I am treating Watkins as if he is a WR3, even if he does provide WR2 upside in Kansas City's prolific offense.

Nick Foles (QB, JAX)
Outside of two-QB or 16-person plus leagues, it will probably be difficult to find a way to insert Nick Foles into your lineup, but I really like the potential of the 30-year-old in Week 1. Perhaps this is more of a GPP or betting recommendation than anything else, but Foles and the Jaguars shouldn't be taken lightly against Kansas City.

 

Titans at Browns

Matchups We Love:

Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)
Outside of the big-six TEs, I don't see much of a separation between everyone else, and it is one of the many reasons I have been advocating waiting until late in drafts if you miss the first crop of players. Most fantasy teams that don't own one of the premier options will most likely be playing musical chairs based on matchups, and Delanie Walker is one of my favorite names to consider for opening week. After suffering a gruesome ankle injury during Week 1 last season, the 35-year-old is ready to regain his stature near the top of the position and should be helped by Marcus Mariota's conservative nature. A friendly matchup against a bottom-seven team in the league last season against TEs is a good place to start.

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE), Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)
We finally get to see what Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. can do on the field together. Beckham suffered a 2018 season with Eli Manning where only 50% of the passes thrown in his direction were deemed as catchable, but Baker Mayfield will have to improve his numbers if he wants to provide the wideout with better looks. Mayfield ranked 32nd in the league when it came to depth adjusted accuracy at 51%, but I wouldn't worry too much about that statistic for two reasons. For starters, Tennessee finished last year allowing 47% of passes to grade out successfully, ranking 25th in the league, and it seems likely that an improvement in the quality of WR will help Mayfield take the next step in his maturation process.

*** Update: Beckham's hip injury that has limited him in practice sounds very minor, but it is still worth staying on top of the situation. If he is restricted in any fashion, Landry and Njoku would see significant boosts. 

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)
With Kareem Hunt not eligible to return until Week 10, Nick Chubb is going to be asked to handle as much of the workload as possible. Last season, Chubb ranked seventh in breakaway percentage and 10th in juke rate, and if he can add some work into the passing game, the sky is the limit. The 23-year-old is an RB1 against an overrated Titans Defense, but it must be noted that offensive line members Greg Robinson, Eric Kush and Chris Hubbard will need to improve from last season if they want to provide Chubb cleaner running lanes.

Matchups We Hate:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)
Derrick Henry earned 60% of his fantasy points last season during five weeks of the year. That doesn't exactly exude confidence that Henry can be trusted on to provide weekly production, and his matchup in Week 1 should add additional trepidation to that matter. Henry has been dealing with a calf strain for the past few weeks, and even though he does appear to be all systems go, a matchup against the vaunted Browns front four is going to be less than ideal. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is suspended for the first four games of 2019, and we would prefer to avoid Henry during the opening week if at all possible

Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN), Corey Davis (WR, TEN)
Marcus Mariota has been dealing with the same issues since back in his college days at Oregon. The 25-year-old recorded the fifth lowest aggressive pass percentage in the NFL in 2018 and also completed only 37% of passes inside the 10-yard line. Those are the kind of statistics that have hurt Corey Davis the past few seasons, and a showdown against Denzel Ward isn't how the Western Michigan product would prefer to begin his year. As one might suspect, Mariota is FAR off my radar as a startable option and Davis is nothing more than a back-end WR3 against the Browns.

Other Matchups:

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

David Njoku appears to have fully gotten over the knee soreness that caused him to miss part of training camp earlier this month. Njoku will have to compete for targets against Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and it is difficult to view him as anything more than a back-end TE1 against a defense that allowed the fewest touchdowns to the position in 2018.

Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

Jarvis Landry has a difficult matchup against slot corner Logan Ryan, but the field should open up for him slightly with extra attention being placed on his friend Odell Beckham Jr. Despite that being positive news, Landry is more of a flex play for me in Week 1 against a Titans team that will be looking to slow the pace of play down.

Dion Lewis (RB, TEN)
The Cleveland Browns allowed 80 receptions to RBs in 2018, 13th best in the NFL and only conceded one TD throughout the entire season through the air to the position. Dion Lewis is no more than a change-of-pace back and passing-down specialist, but the 28-year-old should see some extra work in a game that Tennessee could trail throughout. Unfortunately, his upside is capped, making him nothing more than a high floor/low ceiling flex option.

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