It’s finally here. The opening weekend of the regular season. Thursday night kicked off the year with a brutally violent Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. A missed 50-yard field goal by Graham Gano with 9 seconds left in the game left Carolina 1-point shy of avenging their Super Bowl loss. What a game, and an excellent precursor to the season that is ahead.
Now comes the question that all fantasy players ask themselves before the start of the Sunday slate of games. Who do I start and who do I sit? Well here is my advice to you that should give you the best opportunity to open your season with a Week 1 victory.
Ryan Matthews – RB Philadelphia Eagles
With Demarco Murray leaving for Tennessee, Matthews is now the featured back in Philly. Having had somewhat of a disappointing career, he will be looking to show that he can handle the workload in Doug Pederson’s run heavy offense. The Eagles play the Browns in Week 1 who finished 30th in the league last season against the run. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is getting the start so you can be confident that Matthews will be relied on heavily.
DeSean Jackson – WR Washington Redskins
Washington squares off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 who finished 30th in the league last year against the pass. This game could turn into a shootout, as Pittsburgh has one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL meaning Washington may be playing from behind and Jackson should get a lot of targets as the number 1 receiver for QB Kirk Cousins. “You Like That!!”
Latavius Murray – RB Oakland Raiders
Great matchup here. New Orleans ended last year 2nd worst in run defense, and Murray is a big strong back that will look to expose the Saints weakness. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper will get Oakland down the field, but Murray should vulture a couple of touchdowns in the red zone.
Arian Foster – RB Miami Dolphins
I usually love Foster in any matchup but not in Week 1 of the 2016 season. Foster is coming off of a significant injury and is being thrown into a new system, one of which the entire team is still learning. Oh, and did I mention that he will be going up against the number 1 rush defense from last year, the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t expect much production out of Foster in Week 1.
Alshon Jeffery – WR Chicago Bears
Jeffery’s matchup with the Houston Texans could prove to be a tough one. Houston finished 3rd against the pass last season and will look to start the year off stingy. The chemistry between Jay Cutler and Jeffery hasn’t been quite the same ending last year and into the preseason. I still think Jeffery will have a very productive year, but not Week 1 against Houston.
Melvin Gordan – RB San Diego Chargers
If Gordan fans expect him to have a bounce-back year, it will not be against the Kansas City Chiefs. He only averaged 3.5 yards per carry last season and the Chiefs finished 8th in the NFL against the run. The game is in KC at Arrowhead, and the Chiefs are always difficult to move the ball on at home.