The NFL season is finally here! Weeks and week of speculation are finally coming to an end as we get ready to kickoff week 1 of the 2016 season, and with it, the 2016 fantasy football season.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, so I’m excited to jump back into it. What have I been doing you may ask? Clearly, you haven’t checked out the TFA Podcast! Go check it out and let me know what you think. Hit me up on Twitter (@the1andonlypz) anytime with questions, comments and all your reactions to this first edition of the 2016 Studs and Duds for Week 1.
Kirk Cousins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Time to see if Mr. “You Like That” himself can follow up to his breakout campaign in 2015. He’ll get a great opportunity to start the year off right vs. the Steelers questionable secondary on Monday Night Football.
Brock Osweiler vs. Chicago Bears
Are you crazy? Osweiler week 1? We haven’t even seen him play! Nope… we haven’t, and I don’t necessarily trust him, but he’s playing a Bears team that I have even fewer expectations for. He’s got great weapons around him with Nuk, Fuller and Lamar Miller and a killer match-up vs. a weak Bears defense.
Derek Carr vs. New Orleans Saints
It’s not easy going down to the big easy opening weekend, but the Saints defense is still atrocious and I really like Derek Carr and this Oakland offense. Cooper, Crabtree, Murray and maybe even a dash of Clive Walford should make for a nice night for Carr and the Raiders.
Eli Manning vs. Dallas Cowboys
This looks like an easy game for Eli, but keep in mind he’s struggled as of late vs. Dallas, recording just 363 yards and ZERO scores in two games against them last season. It’s a new year, and a worse Dallas def, but it’s still a division game and I’m avoiding this match-up.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Arizona Cardinals
Don’t get too cute here. First of all, it’s week 1. Second of all, it’s Jimmy freakin’ Garoppolo vs. one of the best defenses in the league. It’s the Patriots and it’s Bill Belichick and I understand all that, but he’s a great coach, not a miracle worker.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Seattle Seahawks
Can’t wait to see what Gase can do with Tannehill this season, but he’s learning another new system, plus facing off against one of the league’s best defenses. If you ask me, that’s definitely not a recipe for success, especially in week one.
Christine Michael vs. Miami Dolphins
It looks like Michael is going to get the start in week one, and he get’s a fantastic match-up vs a Dolphins defense that was awful against the run last season, 5th worst overall in fact. They’ve added Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso to the front 7 in the off-season, but that’s not enough to convince me they’re up to the challenge.
Spencer Ware vs. San Diego Chargers
Jamaal Charles isn’t expected to go this week, and although most believe there will be a RBBC in his place, our own Kevin Steele begs to differ, pinning Ware as the go-to backup to Charles. Call me convinced. I’m starting Ware this week, are you?
Ryan Mathews vs. Cleveland Browns
He’s clearly the starter in Philly, and even in the train wreck that was the Chip Kelly led Eagles, he managed 5.1 YPC and 6 touchdowns. A good running game is a rookie QB’s best friend. That being said, I love him as a true sleeper this week against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Jeremy Hill vs. New York Jets
This Jets team won 10 games last year and still fields one of the best front seven’s in the NFL. While I like Hill for the season, I think he struggles in week 1, likely leading to an absolute fire sale of Hill shares leading into week 2.
CJ Anderson vs. Carolina Panthers
The Broncos are going to need to rely on their run game, and the Panthers know that. Given they’re sporting a top 5 defensive line and a “wreck-the-run” game plan, I think Anderson struggles to find any running room.
Jeremy Langford vs. Houston Texans
I don’t think there’s a more polarizing RB in fantasy football this year. Love him or hate him, he faces off against JJ Watt and a rejuvenated Jadaveon Clowney, along with the rest of the vaunted Texans defense, in his first game as the full-time starter. Ouch.
Wide Receiver Studs
Randall Cobb vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
That Jags defense has greatly improved, and Cobb had a tough year last year without Jordy on the other side, so it’s only natural for some players to be hesitant with Cobb here in week 1. Just remember, he had 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014 with Jordy in the lineup.
Golden Tate vs. Indianapolis Colts
Expecting a high scoring matchup here with two notoriously bad defenses and equally explosive offenses. Had a huge work-load in 2014 with Calvin nursing an injury, responded with a 99 catch, 1331 yard, 4 touchdown season. Guess what? Calvin retired, Tate’s in for a big year, starting in week 1 vs the no-named Colts defense.
Donte Moncrief vs. Detroit Lions
Sticking with the same game, Moncrief has quietly climbed into fantasy relevance and into a full-blown must have in most fantasy circles. Scoring 5 touchdowns in 7 games with Andrew Luck is huge, and now Luck is back, Andre Johnson is gone, and Moncrief is the #2 option on a Colts offense that most expect to return to their explosive form.
Wide Receiver Duds
Kelvin Benjamin vs. Denver Broncos
I’m one of the few Benjamin fans here at TFA, but there’s no way I’m starting a third-year guy, just coming back from injury, facing off against Aqib Talib. What if he lines up on the other side? Oh yeah, just Chris Harris. No thanks, if you can afford to bench him, I’d consider it.
Jordan Matthews vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns defense has arguably one good player, and that’s CB Joe Haden, who in all likelihood will be matched up with Jordan Matthews all day. Throw in the fact that rookie QB Carson Wentz is starting after not playing most of the preseason, and that’s not a situation I’m looking to jump on.
Jeremy Maclin vs. San Diego Chargers
This may come as a surprise, but Maclin faces off against one of the most underrated corners in the league in Jason Verrett. Mix Alex Smith into the equation, a guy who rarely, if ever, takes a risk, and I think we’re in for a down week 1 from Maclin.
Tight End Studs
Jared Cook vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Could it be? Will Jared Cook finally live up to the fantasy football hype he’s gotten all these years? Seems so, as he’s quickly become Aaron Rodgers third option this preseason and has a great opportunity here against a Jags defense that’s struggled against TEs in the past.
Jason Witten vs. New York Giants
The ageless wonder Jason Witten makes the studs list to start the season off. The Giants defense has greatly improved this offseason, so there’s no doubt in my mind they improve on last years inconsistencies against the TE. However, Dak is going to need an escape and Witten has a knack for being wide open just when the QB needs him.
Coby Fleener vs. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders defense struggled so badly against the TE to start last season, you could have started anyone vs them for a 20 point week. They rebounded and locked it up as the season went on, but it’s going to be tough for them to do so against Coby Fleener in New Orleans. Brees and Jimmy Graham had an amazing rapport, if he and Fleener have half that, it’s gonna be a great day for Fleener owners.
Tight End Duds
Jimmy Graham vs. Miami Dolphins
This shouldn’t really be news to anyone. Coming off a major injury and “starring” for an offense that doesn’t really utilize a pass catching TE, Graham’s value is at an all-time low. Miami played well against opposing TE’s last year, allowing the 6th fewest points to the position, now they’ve added the likes of Kiko Alonso in the middle.
Jordan Cameron vs. Seattle Seahawks
This has more to do with the struggles of Cameron than facing an elite defense, but that doesn’t help either. If you haven’t been paying attention to the Phins this offseason (and who has besides our fans) then you may have missed just how horrible Cameron has looked. My expectations for him are at an all-time low, and your best bet is to take the wait-and-see approach.
Antonio Gates vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Looks like a great match-up at first glance. Don’t skip that second glance though. Last season, Gates managed just 7 catches for 82 yards and no scores in two games vs. the Chiefs, making him anything but a lock for production in week 1.