Quarterback – Andy Dalton vs Indianapolis Colts
Andy is blessed with facing probably the worst defense in all of football entering week 1. With the offseason acquisitions of Cordy Glenn and Billy Price, Dalton will have a lot more time to put the ball down the field. John Ross seems to have taken a step up in his game since last year, Joe Mixon showed he can be a force in the passing game and A.J. Green is healthy. I expect Dalton to dice up the Indy defense.
Running Back – Royce Freeman vs Seattle Seahawks
If you watched the preseason, you know that Freeman is the best running back on his team. I expect he will solidify himself as the bell-cow RB throughout this game. Seattle, on the other hand, has lost a ton of talent from their defense, especially their defensive line. I expect they will struggle to move the ball against the Denver defense. This is a recipe for a huge day for the rookie back.
Wide Reciever – Cordarrelle Patterson vs Houston Texans
I wrote about this guy in the AFC East Fantasy relevant players article and I’m sticking with my guy here. With Julian Edelman out for the first four weeks, Patterson will have plenty of opportunities to win the vacant job of WR1 left by Brandin Cooks.
When the Pats acquired Patterson over the offseason they told him that they were going to make him the receiver he was supposed to be. In his first week starting for the Patriots, he faces a defense that gave up the most points to wideouts in 2017.
Tight End – Vance McDonald vs Cleveland Browns
In the playoff game against the Jags, Vance had 10 receptions on 16 targets for 112 yards. Although he probably won’t see that type of volume in this game, McDonald finally developed chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger and will be an excellent target this weekend as they play one of the worst defenses in defending the tight end. In 2017, the Browns allowed the 4th most points to the TE. If you think the offseason acquisitions will fix that, look at Nick O’Leary’s 35-yard TD during the second preseason game.
D/ST – Baltimore vs Buffalo Bills
If you read my article about the AFC East and my thoughts about the Bills, you will see that I expect their offense to disappoint this year, and that’s putting it lightly. Baltimore returns with the same defense from last year, and they will destroy Nathan Peterman under center for the Bills as the Ravens allowed the second-fewest points to the QB in 2017.
K – Justin Tucker vs Buffalo Bills
Tucker is the best kicker in the league, and I expect the Ravens offense to move the ball to at least field goal range in almost every drive.
Quarterback – Russell Wilson vs Denver Broncos
Like I said with Royce Freeman above, I don’t expect Seattle to move the ball efficiently in this game and it’s in Denver. The offensive line was not addressed appropriately during the offseason and Seattle lost their best red zone weapon in Jimmy Graham. I expect Russell to make magic happen as he did in 2017, but this is a match up I want to avoid.
Running Back – LeSean McCoy vs Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore will shut down the Bills offense by shutting down LeSean McCoy and force an inexperienced Peterman to beat them. Not to mention he lost three of his offensive linemen from last year. Honestly, I would try to trade him while you still can. I just helped a friend of mine trade him and a piece for Jordan Howard. That would be the ideal target.
Wide Receiver – Sammy Watkins vs LA Chargers
I believe in Sammy this year, but he hasn’t had the time or opportunity to develop a solid chemistry with Pat Mahomes yet and he is facing a stout Chargers defense. Low volume and a tough match up makes it very difficult to start when you more than likely have other options.
Tight End – George Kittle vs Minnesota Vikings
Kittle faces a defense that allowed the least number of points to a tight end in 2017, and they return most of their defensive pieces entering the 2018 season. I would expect the RB and WR to get most of the targets in this game.
D/ST – New England vs Houston Texans
Last year, Kansas City destroyed this defense in the opener and they have lost their defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia and defensive centerpiece, Malcolm Butler. They open with potentially one of the most dynamic young QBs in the league with a stud receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. This game could end up being a shoot-out.
By Matty Daniels @MattyD285