Week One is finally here, and football is back! It’s been a strange year so far and will probably continue to surprise us, but that doesn’t change the fact that as of right now, they will be playing football this Sunday. We don’t have any bye-weeks to deal with the first few weeks, so making roster decisions is a little easier. For the most part, the studs you drafted should be in lineups to start the year. This is a weekly article highlighting a few players at each position that have favorable matchups that could lead you to a victory and less favorable matchups that should be avoided.
Ben Roethlisberger QB Pittsburgh Steelers (at Giants)
Big Ben played in just two games last season, but is back at full strength for this year and is ready to go. He gets a matchup with a Giants team this week that gave up the fifth-most passing yards and eighth most touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks last year. He will also have a healthy James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster at his disposal to start the season. The Giants have a new Defensive Coordinator in Patrick Graham, who will be implementing a new system, and with a limited off-season, I think this is the perfect game for Big Ben to find his footing.
Marlon Mack RB Indianapolis Colts (at Jaguars)
Mack has been the forgotten man this off-season with the Colts drafting stud rookie Jonathan Taylor, but this is an excellent spot for him to open the season. The Colts will be in Jacksonville, taking on a Jaguars team that seemed to have thrown in the towel before playing a game this season. They gave up the fourth-most yards to running backs last year along while surrendering the second-most touchdowns on the ground. Mack can still get it done, and although the Colts didn’t extend his contract, I believe he will still make an impact this year, and it starts this week with the Jags.
Raheem Mostert RB San Francisco 49ers (vs. Cardinals)
Mostert closed out the year on a tear, finding the endzone at least once in each of his final six games. He also closed out the year with double-digit carries in five of the last six games as well. Mostert opens the season against the Arizona Cardinals, who gave up the ninth-most rushing yards last year but were very stingy, giving up touchdowns to running backs, surrendering just nine on the year. With Matt Breida shipped off to Miami this past off-season, Mostert is now the lead back and should pick up where he left off last season.
Terry McLaurin WR Washington Football Team (vs. Eagles)
McLaurin had a great rookie campaign catching 58 balls on 93 targets for 919 yards and seven scores. The Washington Football Team will open the season playing host to division foe the Philadelphia Eagles in a game that should feature a lot of back and forth action. The Eagles were a bottom-five defense last year against wide receivers. McLaurin has excellent chemistry with quarterback Dwayne Haskins (the two played together in College in addition to last year), and that should continue to blossom this season as well. Washington’s running game is a mess right now; McLaurin should be in for a busy day.
Allen Robinson WR Chicago Bears (at Lions)
Robinson finished the season with 98 grabs on 154 targets and compiled 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll look to keep things rolling with a matchup with Desmond Trufant and the Lions to open the season. Last year Trufant gave up 3.7 catches per game along with 15.2 yards per reception. Mitch Trubisky has won the Bears starting job (for now) but should be on a short leash. The Lions were among the worst team in the league last year, giving up 3,036 yards through the air and 20 touchdowns to the wide receiver position. There is very little competition for targets on this team; Robinson is in a prime spot this week.
Tyler Higbee TE (vs Cowboys)
Higbee came on late last year and made for a popular “sleeper” pick in drafts this year. He finished out the year catching 69 balls on 89 targets for 734 yards and three scores. He also saw double-digit targets in the last four games. He gets a plus matchup this week against a Cowboys team that last year finished as the third-worst team against the tight end, giving up 1,016 yards and six touchdowns.