FF Week 1: Green Light Matchups

The season is underway.

I know you enjoyed that 7-TD performance by the living legend that is Peyton Manning. Denver just put the league on notice in their Super Bowl quest. The Ravens will have to shake off some rust and that beating they took in prime time action. Manning was a surgeon on display with 452 yards, spreading the wealth between Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas. Denver’s defense did well, as did kicker Matt Prater, and you got to see how the backfield will be used.

Baltimore got worked. The gameplan was to go all out on Ray Rice, and force Joe Flacco to beat you and “lead.” In Fantasy Football terms, his 352 yards did the job. In defense of the fighting champions, they lost big but to an elite football team, so things will get easier than that for them.

Titans @ Steelers

Green: A. Brown (WR – PIT), PIT DEF

This game will be far from pretty. Pittsburgh has the better quarterback, but the offensive line is a weakness and there is a carousel at running back. Tennessee believes in Chris Johnson, unfortunately he will be a focal point for the defense and his teammates will struggle to take advantage. Take a wait-and-see approach with anybody else in Tennessee’s offense. Take a flyer on Emmanuel Sanders although Antonio Brown is Big Ben’s favorite target.

Patriots @ Bills

Green: T. Brady (QB – NE), S. Ridley (RB – NE), D. Amendola (WR – NE), NE DEF, C.J. Spiller (RB – BUF)

Although the Patriots play in a weak division, the path for them will not be as simple without some familiar faces on offense. The defense has gradually improved but C.J. Spiller will have himself a day. Stevie Johnson has the talent but isn’t always involved, and he does have a rookie QB at the helm. Stevan Ridley and Danny Amendola will do work underneath and just maybe, Tom Brady will respond to Peyton Manning’s 7-TD bid for MVP.

Falcons @ Saints

Green: Basically any player on offense for both teams

This will be a shootout and you have to feel good about your fantasy football player in any of these offenses. The Saints are good on the ground when Sean Payton is on the sidelines and calling the shots. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are dangerously armed with heavy artillery. This should be that game you sit back and enjoy the offensive show, knowing your player will get the points you need from him.

Buccaneers @ Jets

Green: D. Martin (RB – TB), TB DEF

All the mainstream coverage on the Jets is laughable. The Buccaneers defense will feast and Revis Island could take one to the house against his former team. Play Jets RBs at your own risk, Vincent Jackson has his ups and downs, he is a must-start but realize he has his moments. Tampa Bay’s offense will do enough to outscore the Jets, not the tallest task in the world.

Chiefs @ Jaguars

Green: J. Charles (RB – KC), D. Bowe (WR – KC), M. Jones-Drew (RB – JAC),

Quietly both teams have taken steps in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball. The standout RBs in this game should have their way, and there isn’t a Jaguar that can cover Dwayne Bowe. Cecil Shorts could wind up doing something here too, especially if they trail early, but you can’t feel comfortable with his QB situation.

Seahawks @ Panthers

Green: M. Lynch (RB – SEA), SEA DEF

Activate beast mode for week 1. Stash the PEDs and watch Seattle’s defense take over. Russell Wilson and Golden Tate have a good opportunity to piggyback off the playaction. Cam Newton is one of those dual-threats that is hard to sit, so you can play him with confidence because he should add to his stat line in garbage time. Steve Smith could make his presence felt with his speed but don’t necessarily bank on it.

Dolphins @ Browns

Green: T. Richardson (RB – CLE)

Cleveland is going to ride Trent Richardson all season long. He’s definitely going to get the carries and check downs. The offense is predicated around him, and despite the hype around receiver Josh Gordon, everyone else is a risk but these defenses will allow someone to have their moments. That could be Brian Hartline. If you have defensive players on your team, this is a good game to have a player or 2.

Vikings @ Lions

Green: A. Peterson (RB – MIN), C. Johnson (WR – DET), M. Stafford (QB – DET)

The NFC North has some of the finest players at their respective positions. A.P. and Megatron are unstoppable, don’t you ever consider benching them as long as they play in the NFL. A.P probably won’t be getting traded this year like he did in some leagues last year (mine). Matthew Stafford is my number one ranked QB, it’s the volume of passing attempts and the addition of Reggie Bush that puts him atop my list for this season.

Raiders @ Colts

Green: A. Luck (QB – IND), R. Wayne (WR – IND), D. McFadden (RB – OAK)

Since day one Andrew Luck has been the real deal. He’s had a bigger load, more leadership, and the team on his back, in comparison to the other young QBs that are fortunate to have stronger teams. Luck is the man, play him with confidence week in and week out. Let the backfield clear up before you go all in on Ahmad Bradshaw, or Vick Ballard for that matter. Reggie Wayne is going to get his and you could get away with playing a different Colts target (WR/TE). Right now, all the Raiders have to lean on is Darren McFadden, enjoy his healthy days.

Bengals @ Bears

Green: B. Marshall (WR – CHI), M. Forte (RB – CHI), A.J. Green (WR – CIN)

Two of the best wide outs in the game that can dominate. Tough defenses won’t completely shut down these gazelles. Matt Forte is more valuable in fantasy football this year than the past few. He is now the cog to the offense and rightfully so. The QBs will be hit and miss as usual, and besides, there are plenty of better options. Giovani Bernard has my vote for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but this is huge challenge to start that campaign. Jermaine Gresham should be involved as a safety valve, not so sure he hurts pay dirt though .

Cardinals @ Rams

Green: L. Fitzgerald (WR – ARI)

Opening the season with a division rival slug fest. Both teams pride themselves in defense and that should come to fruition now before playing somebody you will regret. Bruce Arians will bring another passing option to the surface after Larry Fitzgerald draws the attention, but you can’t pinpoint who yet. If you like Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, or Jared Cook against a feisty linebacking core and secondary, then by all means go for it. I don’t.

Packers @ 49ers

Green: A. Rodgers (QB – GB), C. Kaepernick (QB – SF), F. Gore (RB – SF), V. Davis (TE – SF)

The chains will be moving and plays will be made. The Packers got to see some of San Francisco’s softer spots last postseason. All Green Bay passing targets are yellow-light plays for me, whether it’s an injury or someone is thrust to play a bigger role than they’re used to (like James Jones starting). The 49ers duo of Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick will pave the way against a mediocre Packers defense, and they better not under-utilize Vernon Davis in this contest.

Giants @ Cowboys

Green: T. Romo (QB – DAL), V. Cruz (WR – NYG), DAL WRs/TEs

Much like the Falcons @ Saints, sit back and enjoy the fireworks. Hakeem Nicks and Miles Austin could flourish but you know they can also get lost in the fold. The RBs could pop off some nice runs and finish at the goal line, but it’s almost a no-brainer that both QBs fling the ball for 300-yards. Don’t underestimate Brandon Myers.

Eagles @ Redskins

Green: A. Morris (RB – WAS), L. McCoy (RB – PHI)

Of course you want to play Michael Vick and RGIII. I hope you have another option at QB because you never know which game they will be predictably knocked out of. RGIII comes into the season wearing protection to avoid injuries he’s recovering from, and Vick frequently gives the ball away to the other team. Points will be scored on MNF, and you can place your best bets on both RBs. When it comes to WRs/TEs, someone will do some damage you just have to figure out who. Stay away from the defenses for week 1.

Texans @ Chargers

Green: A. Johnson (WR – HOU), A. Foster (RB – HOU), HOU DEF

It’s not like Houston to blow their opponent out, they just get the job done and grind it out. Andre Johnson is, and always has been, elite. This is a opening night homecoming for Arian Foster, and he perform how you expect. After only seeing glimpses of Vincent Brown, I like him to lead the team in receptions this season, even though Antonio Gates is no slouch. If Gates can totally back the clock like Tony G. and Witten, just make sure there’s another TE on your roster.