Saturday - Apr 20, 2019

Home / Commentary / Week 1: Start with the Key Match-ups

Week 1: Start with the Key Match-ups

It’s the Brew Crew Corner season kickoff edition. This Thursday kicks off the season with the New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings. The defending champions are 6-0 in Thursday season openers. The Saints will have a tough time with the Vikings, but I think they will keep the streak alive.

With drafts now over and the football season here, you need to start your weekly management of the teams you own. Here are some thoughts:


Start a legal lineup. It is a very simple task that someone in your league will mess up. There are owners that forget to submit a lineup, some that start the wrong number of players and then there are the owners that forget to draft a kicker or a tight end. Make sure you are not that owner.

Free Agents

Teams have cut rosters down to 53. Make sure a player you drafted isn’t one of them. Check to see if a player listed ahead of yours on the roster has been cut. This could lead to an increase role if he was third or fourth on the depth chart. Follow the players that have been cut to see if they sign with another team.

Waiver Wire

For the rest of the season, your best option for improving your team or to fill a spot for players that are injured or on bye weeks is through the waiver wire. Always know what is available on your leagues waivers. Be active every week on the waivers even if you do not plan to make a move. I like to use a strategy sometimes of playing defense against other owners I’m matched up with or are in my division by picking up players they may need. This strategy works better in larger leagues where starters are scarce on the wire.

The Golden Mug Award (Preseason)

Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.

Terrell Owens – Owens landed in the best spot he could this offseason and will have a chance to put up some decent stats this season.

Jonathan Dwyer – Keep an eye on Dwyer as I can see this guy getting a shot sometime this season. He saw a good amount of carries during the preseason and should factor in.

The Urinal Cake Award (Preseason)

Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.

Jake Delhomme – He had three fumbles lost during the preseason. Cleveland will see why the Carolina Panthers decided to let him go.

Matt Leinart – This guy had one of the best receivers in the league and pretty good talent around him, but still lost his job to Derek Anderson who has been awful his last year starting. If you haven’t dropped him as your back up, do so.


Good quarterback matchups this week:

Jay Cutter against the Lions
– Cutler had a disappointing season last year with all the interceptions he threw but still finished 13th overall among quarterbacks. I like quarterbacks in year two on a new team and he will be settled in. Also, if he is up to speed with the Mike Martz system then Cutler will be one of the best values in this year’s fantasy drafts. Detroit was 32nd in the league last season on pass defense and even though they have made upgrades on the front line with Kyle Vanden Bosch and rookie Ndamukong Suh. In Cutler’s last game against the Lions in Week 17 he torched them for 22-for-36 completions with 276 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Philip Rivers against the Chiefs
– This game will be a test of where Rivers and the offense is without Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill. This is a good matchup against a poor Chiefs’ defense that ranked 22nd last year. Rivers has a great start to the season with Jacksonville, Seattle and Arizona to follow Week 1. I expect Rivers to use Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates early. Last year, Rivers threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in his first matchup with the Chiefs and then in Week 12 threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns.

Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Chad Henne against the Buffalo Bills. Henne has gone undrafted or late as a QB2, but this is a great week to have him in your lineup. Even though he faces a Bills team that ranked second in the league in pass defense, their run defense was 30th in the league which will allow Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to make it easier for play action and will force the Bills to leave receivers into single coverage. The Bills are going to be bad this season and during the preseason were giving up 27.8 points a game. I expect a big game from Brandon Marshall and Henne to have a good game.

Good running back matchups this week:

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams against the Bills
– There is a lot of concern for the Bills defense, a team switching to a 3-4 scheme and ranked 30th last year against the run. Last year, Williams averaged 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns against them while Brown rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns in Week 4. They dominated the Bills with 5.31 yards per carry for Williams and 5.75 yards per carry for Brown. The running game will help Chad Henne open up passing lanes and this could get ugly early.

Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells/Tim Hightower against the Rams
– Wells is dealing with an injury so stay up to date with his status until kickoff. Good news is that they don’t play until 4:15 p.m. Eastern time. The bad news is if you have a backup option that plays at 1 p.m., you’re going to have to make a decision early. It would be a shame if Wells missed this game as the Rams make for plenty of scoring points. The Rams ranked 27th in the league in rushing defense and led the league with 24 rushing touchdowns allowed. With Larry Fitzgerald seeing his first action since his injury and Derek Anderson still new to the offense, I will expect the Cardinals to run more then usual.

Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Jerome Harrison/Peyton Hillis against the Buccaneers. Harrison jumped on the fantasy raider last year taking over for Jamal Lewis but this season rookie Montario Hardesty had owners doubting Harrison’s job security. Harrison slipped in draft but now that Hardesty is out, he can once again get the bulk of the carries. He faces a Buccaneers team that is still rebuilding and finished last season 32nd in the league against the run. They also lead the league with allowing 25 run plays of 20 yards or more. No other team in the league gave up more than 17. Hillis is a player that has had success in fantasy before. He has been the best running back during the preseason for the Browns and could steal some scores.

Bad quarterback matchups this week:

Joe Flacco against the Jets
– Tough matchup out of the gates for Flacco. He has new weapons but will take time to develop with T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Anquan Bolden will have Darrelle Revis to deal with leaving just Derrick Mason as his best option. The Jets defense was No. 1 last year and had 17 interceptions. If you have a better option at quarterback, consider not playing Flacco this week.

Matt Moore against the Giants
– I don’t buy that this is a good matchup for Moore. Even though the Giants passing defense fell apart last season, the Panthers offense stunk this preseason. Moore didn’t throw a single touchdown and Steve Smith practiced this week for the first time. The Giants are stacked up front and will make it difficult to for Moore to find receivers. Who will step up behind Smith? It doesn’t look good, so expect the Panthers to run the ball as often as they can and for John Kasey to work extra. Don’t forget that the Giants open the stadium and will have all the old Giants’ veterans present. This team will be pumped up for this game.

Bad running back matchups this week:

Justin Forsett/Julius Jones/Leon Washington against the 49ers
– Seattle has made a ton of changes this offseason. They cut Jones which looked as if Forsett would get the starting spot, but brought Jones right back. This is going to be a heavy rotation of the three running backs which will kill all their stats. They will be facing the 49ers who were ranked sixth last year in rushing defense. Forsett’s last game against the 49ers resulted in just five carries for nine rushing yards. Avoid at all cost.

Maroney/Fred Tayler/Sammy Morris against the Bengals
– In my preseason article I pointed out that the Patriots will have the league’s oldest group of running backs. Maroney is again dealing with injuries and can’t stay healthy. This is another committee platoon where anyone could start. They will face a Bengals team that ranked seventh in run defense last year. This team will face a tough start to the season with two division games against the Jets and Dolphins. Let these players keep the bench warm until the schedule gets better.

Week 1: Now that it is finally here, enjoy the ride. Don’t overreact to how your team performs.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 1. Follow

About Fantasy Sharks began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.