Sunday September 13th, 2015

Congratulations. No matter when you’re reading this, it will be less than 24 hours to kickoff on the first Sunday of the 2015 NFL season. Get ready with the supercharged version of our Cheat Sheet.

Every Saturday this season, we’ll preview every game still to come for the week. The Cheat Sheet will give you every team’s rank, in fantasy terms, against quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends (for this week, the numbers you’ll see reflect last year’s ranks). We’ll give you everything you need to know about how Vegas views each game, and how you can apply that to your fantasy matchup. We’ll highlight a matchup to watch that could swing the game, and get you caught up on any fantasy-relevant injuries. Finally, we’ll give you one parting shot, which could be anything from an under-the-radar stat to a player who could surprise to one who could fall short of expectations.

• Fantasy Football Week 1: Complete player rankings for every position

Ready for Week 1? You will be after reading the Cheat Sheet.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Packers 17th 15th 24th 9th
Bears 31st 20th 22nd 32nd

Vegas lines

Packers -7
Over/under 49
Packers o/u 28
Bears o/u 21

The Packers are one of the biggest favorites of the week, and the 49 points is the second highest total of all the games on Sunday. Both of those nuggets work in Eddie Lacy’s favor. The line is indicative of a game controlled by the Packers, something pretty much everyone with even an iota of football knowledge expects to happen. A bad Chicago run defense from last season got even worse in the off-season, and nose tackle Jay Ratliff will be serving the first of a three-game suspension on Sunday. Lacy is my No. 1 running back for a reason. The Bears will run out a few different combinations in the secondary, but none will be able to slow down Aaron Rodgers. The Packers removed their star quarterback from four blowouts in the fourth quarter last year. Don’t be surprised if he finishes this game wearing a headset, not a helmet.

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You’re starting Matt Forte if you own him, but this game could trend away from him quickly if the Packers get out to a big early lead. Remember, he’s not going to be the same sort of receiving threat he was when Marc Trestman was running the show in Chicago. Both Alshon Jeffery (calf) and Eddie Royal (hip) are dealing with injuries heading into Sunday. That makes Martellus Bennett a potential Week 1 superstar. If Jeffery, in particular, is out, Bennett could get 15 targets from Jay Cutler.

Matchup to watch

Davante Adams vs. Bears secondary

The moment Jordy Nelson tore his ACL, Adams’ draft stock began to skyrocket. Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb are all going to get theirs in this game. Anyone who drafted Adams after the Nelson injury did so with the expectation that he would be a WR2 this year. He needs to show that ability against what might be a very bad Chicago secondary. Kyle Fuller, Alan Ball, Tracy Porter, Antrel Rolle, Adrian Amos and Brock Vereen all have roles in this secondary. As you might guess from those names, the group looked terrible in the preseason. The Green Bay passing attack lit up the Bears twice last year. If they’re going to do it again Week 1, Adams will have to play a major role.

Injury report

Alshon Jeffery is questionable with a calf injury that had him limited in practice all week. Eddie Royal is also questionable, thanks to a hip injury. Both are worth starting if they’re able to go. Jeffery is a WR2, while Royal is a WR3.

Parting shot

The Bears are rolling out a 3–4 defense this year, but it’s not clear they have the personnel for such a scheme. If Pernell McPhee and Lamarr Houston can’t get after the quarterback as 3–4 outside linebackers, Rodgers might not get knocked down all day.

• Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: How to set your fantasy lineups for Week 1

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Chiefs 3rd 11th 10th 12th
Texans 11st 13th 29th 2nd

Vegas lines

Texans -1
Over/under 40.5
Texans o/u 21
Chiefs o/u 20

Neither the line nor total is much of a surprise here, as these are two teams with strong run-first identities and good defenses. The Texans, however, may not be able to hew too closely to that offensive identity without Arian Foster, who’s still rehabbing a groin injury. They may be forced to throw the ball a little more than usual, and that could mean big things for DeAndre Hopkins. He’s really the only Texan worth starting in most leagues. On the other side, we’re going to see a fun show from Andy Reid’s Chiefs. It’s hard to remember a team with this much talent at the skill positions getting less love, but I have a suspicion that won’t be the case after Sunday. It’s undoubtedly a tough matchup, but any team with Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce is going to be dangerous week in, week out.

Matchup to watch

Chiefs offensive line vs. Texans front seven

Whichever of these two units performs better will likely lead its team to victory. Given that the Chiefs feature more fantasy-relevant players in this one, that’s where the fantasy focus should be, as well. Everyone knows all about J.J. Watt, but he’ll be playing alongside Jadeveon Clowney and Vince Wilfork this year. Throw in Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus, and this is a defense that should be among the league’s best. If Alex Smith is going to stay clean, and Jamaal Charles is going to have holes to run through, the Chiefs’ O-line is going to have to do serious work up front. The Chiefs made a surprise decision on Friday, moving former first-round pick Eric Fisher to right tackle and inserting rookie Donald Stephenson in his old place on the left side. Another rookie, Mitch Morse, starts at center. Both will get a tough test in their first career starts.

Injury report

Chiefs star defensive tackle Dontari Poe underwent back surgery this summer, but he was a full participant in practice for most of the week. He may not play as many snaps as normal, but he’ll still be filling the middle for most of the game. Alfred Blue is not a recommended play in standard leagues.

Parting shot

DeAndre Hopkins got 14 red-zone targets last year, while Andre Johnson received 29 from Houston quarterbacks. Hopkins’ star turn begins this season.

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Browns 7th 22nd 15th 8th
Jets 26th 9th 19th 31st

Vegas lines

Jets -3.5
Over/under 39.5
Browns o/u 18.5
Jets o/u 21.5

This game has the lowest total of any Week 1 game, and that’s hardly a surprise given the teams involved. Cleveland is starting Josh McCown, Isaiah Crowell, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Gary Barnidge at the fantasy-relevant positions. There’s a chance that no Brown will rank inside the top-30 at his position this year, and that’s quite the feat. This could very well be a slow, plodding game, which would play right into Chris Ivory’s favor. Ivory turned into one of the most popular players in the league at the end of draft season, and the bet here is he satisfies this week anyone who bought in on him. Both Jets receivers intrigue me with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. They intrigue me so much, in fact, that…

Matchup to watch

Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker vs. Joe Haden and Tramon Williams

…they’re part of the matchup to watch. The Jets have long been the butt of the fantasy community’s jokes, but there’s a real chance that ends this season. Take a look around this roster. Ivory, Marshall and Decker are real talents, and Fitzpatrick is, at worst, a league-average quarterback. That’s more than could be said for most recent Jets quarterbacks, especially last year’s dreadful pairing of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. Marshall and Decker should both be top-30 receivers this year, and I’d be willing to bet that one finishes as a low-end WR2, at worst. I prefer Decker for this game, though the fact that Haden will likely shadow Marshall is just icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Decker managed to go for 74 receptions, 962 yards and five touchdowns last year. That’s an incredible performance given who was throwing him the ball. He can creep back up above 1,000 yards with a competent quarterback this year.

Injury report

There are no relevant injuries in this game.

Parting shot

Ivory forced 52 missed tackles last season. The only backs with more—DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Marshawn Lynch—all had at least 90 more carries than the unquestioned starter in the Jets’ backfield.

• Bold predictions: Hill will top Murray and McCoy, Eifert will excel, more

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Colts 14th 21st 5th 29th
Bills 2nd 6th 9th 1st

Vegas lines

Colts -3
Over/under 45
Colts o/u 24
Bills o/u 21

You can see Vegas’ respect for the Bills defense in the Colts’ over/under. They may not have a total as low as 24 again this season, save for perhaps their trip to Houston. The Bills will be a good test for Andrew Luck and the Colts right out of the gate, but that doesn’t mean you consider going away from any of them. Luck and T.Y. Hilton are auto-starts. Luck was such a great fantasy player last year because of his consistency, including against the league’s best defenses. It would be silly to expect him to fall short of that on Sunday. Frank Gore could find his way to the bench, but you’d have to be especially deep at running back to make that choice. The same is true of Andre Johnson, who has to feel like he’s in wide receiver heaven in Indianapolis. He could draw rookie Ronald Darby for much of the afternoon. Tyrod Taylor may have put on a show in the preseason, but the Colts are still a great defense to stream this week.

All eyes will be on Taylor in his first career start. The Bills feature a pair of potentially explosive fantasy players in LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, but Taylor will need to prove himself an effective quarterback for those two players to reach their potential. I’d avoid both McCoy and Watkins in daily formats in Taylor’s first start.

Matchup to watch

Sammy Watkins vs. Vontae Davis

One of the league’s best young receivers against one of it’s elite cornerbacks. This will be one of the best individual matchups of the weekend. Watkins's 2014 numbers were cosmetically pleasing—he had 65 catches for 982 yards and six touchdowns—but he had nine games with fewer than four fantasy points. That’s a shocking number for so talented a receiver. Not all of that was his fault, of course, but there’s no doubting that he was slowed by lesser corners than Davis last year. This is going to be a fun matchup to get lost in when the coaches tape is out next week.

Injury report

McCoy dealt with a hamstring injury at the end of the preseason that had his status for this game in doubt, but he is listed as probable. Watkins, too, is probable with a hamstring issue of his own. Veteran pass rusher Robert Mathis is likely out for the Colts because of an Achilles injury.

Parting shot

Keep an eye on the Colts’ usage of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. The former is likely the more talented player, but he can’t stay upright for a full season. If the Colts feature him, as expected, he could be a top-10 tight end.

Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Dolphins 8th 19th 23rd 10th
Redskins 32nd 3rd 31st 30th

Vegas lines

Dolphins -3.5
Over/under 43.5
Dolphins o/u 23.5
Redskins o/u 19.5

The Dolphins are the third-largest road favorite on the board, trailing only the Packers and Seahawks, who just happened to meet in last year’s NFC Championship Game. Even though they’re facing the league’s premier trainwreck, that should tell you all you need to know about how Vegas views the Dolphins. The game flow could be great for Lamar Miller, who’s coming off a 1,400-yard-from-scrimmage season. The reverse may be true for Alfred Morris, who’s also facing workload concerns thanks to the presence of rookie Matt Jones. The Dolphins could run away and hide in this one, and that would be terrible news for Morris owners.

This game may also serve as the unofficial coming-out party for Ryan Tannehill. Washington didn’t do much to address a defense that allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, second most to receivers, and third most to tight ends, last year. Tannehill may spend a lot of the final 20 minutes of the game handing the ball to Miller, but he’ll carve up this defense for the first 40. Jarvis Landry and Jordan Cameron are both must-start players, as well.

Matchup to watch

Washington offensive line vs. Miami defensive line

This game will be much more interesting, from a fantasy perspective, when the Dolphins’ offense is on the field, but you’ll want to have your eyes on the trenches when Kirk Cousins and company have the ball. The Dolphins already had a fearsome pass rush, thanks to Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, and then they went out and added Ndamukong Suh, the league’s most dominant interior defensive lineman (apologies to Aaron Donald). There are plenty of questions surrounding the Miami secondary, especially after the season-ending injury to Louis Delmas, but it might not have to be very good because of this line. Washington used its first-round pick on Brandon Scherff out of Iowa, and he, along with Trent Williams, will need to be as good as advertised in his first career start for Washington to have any chance at getting something going offensively.

Injury report

The Dolphins will have left tackle Branden Albert out there on Sunday. He’s probable with a knee injury. Rookie receiver DeVante Parker (foot) is also probable. Speaking of the Louisville product…

Parting shot

No team uses the 14th overall pick in the draft on a receiver who missed half of his last college season with a foot injury—with foot surgery on the horizon, no less—unless they believe he can a) contribute right away, and b) be a star in the future. We saw this exact scenario play out last year. The Giants drafted Odell Beckham with the 10th overall pick, then watched him miss the first four games with a hamstring injury. That worked out pretty well for everyone involved. I’m not saying Parker will lead all receivers on a points-per-game basis. I am saying that he’s going to be a WR3 this year.

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Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Panthers 19th 17th 20th 14th
Jaguars 13th 28th 16th 18th

Vegas lines

Panthers -3.5
Over/under 41
Panthers o/u 22.5
Jaguars o/u 19

Only two games in Week 1 have a lower total than the Panthers-Jaguars tilt. We know the Panthers are going to lean on their run game, and that could create a good game script for Jonathan Stewart if they’re able to get ahead. Greg Olsen is going to lead this team in targets, and could very well lead all tight ends in receiving yards this year. Quite simply, who else is Cam Newton going to get involved? Who else does he trust? When Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL, Newton’s fantasy ceiling came crashing nearly all the way down to his floor. No matter who wins this game, it’s likely to be close. That’s good news for Stewart owners.

I really like the Jaguars in this game, and it’s because I believe they simply have more weapons on offense. Allen Robinson may be a star in the making at receiver, and T.J. Yeldon and Denard Robinson can be at least as good as what the Panthers get out of Stewart. Yeldon is a low-end RB2 for me this week, while Robinson will likely slot as a WR2 most weeks. It’s really all up to Blake Bortles, who did some really good things in his rookie season. He’s a low-end QB2 for owners in two-quarterback leagues this week. The Carolina secondary is old, featuring Charles Tillman and Roman Harper in its starting lineup. Bortles may be able to take advantage.

Matchup to watch

Greg Olsen vs. Jacksonville linebacker

If the Panthers are going to win this game, Olsen is going to have to be the hero. They can only get so much out of the rushing attack. Eventually, Newton is going to have to beat the Jaguars with his arm. Starting linebackers Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith and Dan Skuta aren’t necessarily the best cover backers in the league as a unit, while safeties Jonathan Cyprien and Sergio Brown also leave a bit to be desired on the back end. Olsen is going to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 targets in this game. These five players on Jacksonville need to be ready to work.

Injury report

Panthers center Ryan Kalil is dealing with a knee injury, but is expected to start.

Parting shot

Devin Funchess isn’t listed as a starter on the Panthers’ depth chart. I know everyone is ready to insert him in the starting lineup, but let’s allow the Panthers to do so first before we trust him in most fantasy formats.

SI's 2015 Fantasy Football Top 300 players

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Seahawks 1st 4th 1st 19th
Rams 9th 8th 25th 3rd

Vegas lines

Seahawks -4
Over/under 40.5
Seahawks o/u 22.5
Rams o/u 18.5

These teams turned in a couple of close, entertaining games last year, with each team winning at home. These are a couple of run-heavy teams with two of the best defenses in the league. The game script should be good for Marshawn Lynch in terms of volume, but this Rams’ defense is about as tough an assignment as he’ll get all year. Same goes for Russell Wilson, who vaulted to fantasy prominence thanks to his legs, not his arm, last year. We’ll see how this offense changes now that it has a go-to pass-catcher in Jimmy Graham. We could see more passes inside the 10-yard-line, last year’s scars from the Super Bowl notwithstanding. The receiver depth chart remains a wasteland.

The Rams’ formula for winning this game is pretty simple. They’ll need long drives to keep their defense fresh, and Nick Foles will need to play mistake free football while making at least a play or two through the air. That could be easier than usual with Kam Chancellor still holding out for a new contract. Todd Gurley has already been ruled out, and Tre Mason could be down because of a hamstring injury.

The starting gig would then devolve to Benny Cunningham. You do not want to start Benny Cunningham. The one Ram who could be of fantasy significance this week is Brian Quick, who was on his way to a breakout season in 2014 before being derailed by a shoulder injury. Think of him as a low-end WR3 this week.

Matchup to watch

Seahawks offensive line vs. Rams defensive line

Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn. Nick Fairley doesn’t even start. That’s a pretty darn good defensive line. Even the best O-lines in the league would have their hands full with that group. The Rams could very well force their way into the playoffs thanks to this defense, and it all starts up front. If Lynch and Wilson are going to do what they normally do, it’ll be up to the offensive line to give them room to operate. These 10 players will largely determine both the real-life and fantasy action.

Injury report

Tre Mason is questionable with a hamstring injury. Given the matchup, you don’t want to count on him.

Parting shot

We referenced Quick’s 2014 season earlier, but it bears a little more discussion here. The former 33rd overall pick out of Appalachian State had 25 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than seven games before shredding his shoulder. He’s going to dominate the targets for the Rams this season, both down the field and in the red zone. He’s got a tough draw with Richard Sherman this week, but don’t let that scare you. The Rams need him to make plays to win this game. Foles will be ready to challenge one of the league’s best corners.

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Saints 29th 29th 27th 27th
Cardinals 24th 5th 18th 4th

Vegas lines

Cardinals -2.5
Over/under 49
Saints o/u 22.5
Cardinals o/u 25.5

This would seem a high number for a game involving the Cardinals, but this defense may not be all its cracked up to be. Patrick Peterson gets a lot of attention, but he’s not a shutdown corner. Tyrann Mathieu is really the star of the secondary. Lamarr Woodley is on the back nine of his career, and the rest of the linebacker corps is nondescript. Darnell Dockett and John Abraham are gone. In short, this defense could take a step back this season. Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks will all be ready to take advantage. This game is my favorite over of the weekend.

The Cardinals have their role to play in that, too, and they will play it with aplomb. You see the grisly stats for the 2014 Saints defense. This year’s group might be worse. Carson Palmer and John Brown are both strong plays this week, and you could talk me into Michael Floyd if he suits up. The only problem with him is we probably wont know his status until game time, and this is an afternoon start. The running back situation is what you’ll want to watch in Arizona. We know Andre Ellington has home-run ability, but is he suited to be an every-down back? He didn’t look the part last year, yet he was still drafted as an RB2 this season. He might be a guy to shop if he gets off to a hot start.

Matchup to watch

Brandin Cooks vs. ???

There seems to be an expectation that Peterson will shadow Cooks. I’m not so sure that’s the case. As is stated above, Peterson isn’t really an elite cover corner. His athleticism is off the charts, but he’s not going to lock down a shifty receiver like Cooks. The Cardinals are better off bracketing Cooks, and definitely want Mathieu in his vicinity. He can use his size and strength advantage to slow down the new No. 1 receiver in New Orleans.

Injury report

Michael Floyd will be a game-time decision with the hand injury he suffered early in training camp. The Cardinals will be without Mike Iupati, who will miss the first few weeks of the season after undergoing knee surgery late last month.

Parting shot

There’s little doubt that the Cardinals love David Johnson. The rookie out of Northern Iowa had a strong preseason, and will have a significant role in the offense. Chances are this team will be at its best when both he and Ellington are carrying the ball and catching it out of the backfield. Pay close attention to how the two are used this week.

Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Lions 5th 2nd 8th 7th
Chargers 18th 14th 17th 16th

Vegas lines

Chargers -3
Over/under 45.5
Lions o/u 21.5
Chargers o/u 24

The most interesting nugget coming from Vegas is that they gave that half-point to the Lions, not the Chargers. That suggests a line of 2.5, but they set it at three. You’re essentially getting a free half-point on the Lions, and that might tell you what the experts out in the desert expect in this game. There might be some upset juice bubbling, and that would likely be the result of Matthew Stafford and the passing game leading the way. Calvin Johnson is going to have to deal with Jason Verrett, but remember that he’s coming off a season-ending shoulder injury. Golden Tate played like a WR1 when Johnson was out last year, but was more like a low-end WR2 when Johnson was healthy. That’s what he should be for the balance of the season, and in this game, as well. All eyes will be on the Detroit backfield, where buzzy rookie Ameer Abdullah and boring-yet-effective veteran Joique Bell will split the workload. Until we see how the Lions truly use them in a regular-season game, I’m calling Abdullah a low-end RB2 and Bell a high-end RB3. That Abdullah may return kicks is disconcerting. That’s almost always a net negative for a running back.

Melvin Gordon is the most interesting player on the other side of the ball. The rookie out of Wisconsin saw his draft stock slip toward the end of August and into September, but the idea that Danny Woodhead is going to significantly curb his value is laughable. Woodhead is a receiver and change-of-pace back. He can’t hope to bring to the field what Gordon does. As long as he holds up in pass protection, hes going to be just fine. Philip Rivers typically doesn’t fall apart, but does he have a go-to receiver on this team? Don’t give me Keenan Allen. He has four receptions on balls that traveled at least 20 yards in the air in his career. The loss of Eddie Royal will really hurt.

Matchup to watch

Melvin Gordon vs. free rushers

If Gordon is going to stay on the field enough to realize his potential this season, he’s going to need to prove that he can be steady in pass protection. He isn’t the first rookie running back to have that problem, but it could be his undoing if he cannot figure it out. The Chargers may try to minimize his exposure to pass blocking, but he’s going to have to do it every so often. If he’s successful, there won’t be much holding him back.

Injury report

Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy isn’t expected to play because of a hip injury. San Diego tight end Ladarius Green will be a game-time decision due to a concussion.

Parting shot

Detroit’s offense sort of flew under the radar this off-season, which isn’t typical of this team during the Calvin Johnson era. If the elite receiver is healthy all season, this team is going to be a fantasy powerhouse.

• Unhappy with your fantasy draft? Week 1's best waiver wire options

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Titans 16th 31st 12th 25th
Buccaneers 21st 23rd 30th 15th

Vegas lines

Buccaneers -3
Over/under 41
Titans o/u 19.5
Buccaneers o/u 22.5

There isn’t much to glean from the Vegas info for this game. Both of these teams are such unknowns with rookie quarterbacks at the helm. It’s not surprising that Vegas quickly tabbed the home team a three-point favorite and called it a day. I’d be a lot more bullish on Jameis Winston if he had a 100% healthy Mike Evans at his disposal. Even if Evans is able to play through his hamstring injury, chances are he won’t be his full self. That could turn Vincent Jackson into a strong play this week. Consider him a WR2. If Evans goes, you’re playing him, too. Doug Martin was one of the most dramatic risers at the end of draft season, and he could be in for a huge game if the Titans’ performance against the run last season carries over to this year. He’s a high-end RB2.

Marcus Mariota is going to be in the spotlight, but I’m more interested to see how Bishop Sankey performs. He has a real chance to take this job and run with it, and this offense simply has to be in better shape than it was last year. If Sankey can get off to a good start this season, he can hold onto the starting gig all year. Of course, Mariota bears watching as well. The most interesting thing will be to see if he already has a good relationship with any of his receivers. The depth chart in Tennessee is so muddled that anyone could realistically rise to the top if they get in good with Mariota early in the season. Delanie Walker should be a security blanket all season.

Matchup to watch

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota

Yeah, this might not be a matchup we actually see on the field. So what? These two guys are going to be inextricably linked all season long. Why not carry that over to the fantasy game, as well?

Injury report

Mike Evans was able to practice on Friday, but his balky hamstring will make him a game-time decision. If you plan on rolling the dice, make sure you have an option you can turn to who plays late. If you have an acceptable, though lesser, receiver playing in the early slate, you may want to go in that direction.

Parting shot

Tight ends typically don’t do much as rookies. Jimmy Graham caught 31 passes for 356 yards. Tony Gonzalez had nearly identical numbers, hauling in 33 balls for 368 yards. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a ho-hum rookie year, but he’s a monster at 6'5" and 262 pounds, and can be a huge target for Winston in the middle of the field. He may be a top-10 tight end.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Bengals 4th 27th 3rd 17th
Raiders 23rd 32nd 7th 23rd

Vegas lines

Bengals -3
Over/under 43
Bengals o/u 24
Raiders o/u 20.5

The Bengals are one of my favorite offenses this year, and I think they’ll put that all on display this week. Unlike last year, Andy Dalton has all of his weapons at his disposal. Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green are elite players at their respective positions. Tyler Eifert can be a top-five tight end. Marvin Jones is a real sleeper at receiver who can break into the top 30 at the position, if all goes well. Giovani Bernard is going to be a borderline RB2. There’s a lot to like about this offense. They’ll all show up against the Raiders.

The reverse is true about Oakland. Yes, they have a couple of fantasy darlings in Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray, but the last time the Raiders had a player finish the season within the fantasy starting class at any position was 2010, when Darren McFadden was the No. 6 tight end. I didn’t end up with any shares of Cooper or Murray because I don’t want to bet on this offense. I need Derek Carr to prove it to me first.

Matchup to watch

A.J. Green vs. D.J. Hayden

Hayden was average in coverage, at best, last season. That’s not the kind of guy you want going up against Green. Despite a foot injury that nagged him all season, Green still put up 69 catches, 1,041 yards and six touchdowns last year, and that was far and away the worst season of his career. Green owners are going to be very happy on Sunday.

Injury report

There are no relevant injuries in this game.

Parting shot

Jeremy Hill ran for 1,124 yards last season, and he wasn’t even the starter until mid-season. The Raiders allowed the most fantasy points to running backs last year. My pick to lead the league in rushing is going to get off to a great start.

• Your complete guide to the NFL's opening weekend

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Ravens 15th 1st 28th 13th
Broncos 25th 10th 2nd 26th

Vegas lines

Broncos -5
Over/under 48
Ravens o/u 22
Broncos o/u 27

Clearly Vegas isn’t yet buying into the demise of Peyton Manning. Fantasy owners shouldn’t either. The team may feature the run more frequently than it has over the last few years, especially with Gary Kubiak at the helm, but Manning is still going to be surgical in the pocket. The Ravens were tough against the run last year, though that team had Haloti Ngata. You’re obviously playing Anderson in season-long formats, and don’t shy away from him in daily leagues. One substantive change you could see with the Broncos this year is more running when they have the lead in the second half, so as to keep Manning out of harm’s way. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have made due with this version of Manning just fine. That won’t change at all this year.

The Ravens are viewed as a favorite to at least make the playoffs in the AFC, but this might not be a great game for their fantasy-relevant players. Joe Flacco will leap up into the QB1 class from time to time, but this won’t be one of those games. Justin Forsett may not find much room to run against this Denver defense, and could have one of his worst receiving days given the speed of the Broncos’ linebackers. Steve Smith is going to have to spend his entire day opposite Aqib Talib. This is a bad matchup for the Ravens.

Matchup to watch

Peyton Manning vs. Dean Pees

We know that Manning cannot throw the ball deep down the field with the accuracy and effectiveness he used to. That means the ball typically gets out of his hand more quickly than it used to. Can Ravens’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees dial up the right defenses to confuse Manning and get pressure on him before he gets rid of the ball? The winner of that mind game could end up being the winner of the actual game, as well. And for fantasy purposes, if Manning comes out ahead, so, too, will Thomas, Sanders and Anderson.

Injury report

Timmy Jernigan (knee) will likely be listed as questionable. His absence would be huge for the Broncos.

Parting shot

Peyton Manning has thrown 131 of his touchdowns to tight ends, including 24 to Julius Thomas in the last two years. Owen Daniels can probably sleepwalk to a top-10 tight end season.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Giants 28th 26th 13th 28th
Cowboys 20th 18th 6th 24th

Vegas lines

Cowboys -6
Over/under 52
Giants o/u 23
Cowboys o/u 29

This game has the second highest over/under of Week 1, with the Cowboys seemingly leading the way. Both Tony Romo and Eli Manning should be able to feast on their rival’s defense. The Giants were terrible against quarterbacks last year, and didn’t do much to rectify that issue during the off-season. Who on this team is going to get after the passer? Romo is going to have all night to find Dez Bryant against an overmatched New York secondary. Expect Jason Witten to have a larger role in the offense than he did last year. There’s not a DeMarco Murray on this roster. No back is getting 392 carries this season. Speaking of the backs, you’ll likely want to play Joseph Randle if you drafted him, simply because you spent a high pick on him, but he could be looking at a timeshare, especially in Week 1 as the Cowboys continue to figure out their backfield mix. Darren McFadden isn’t worth a start this week, but he could be an intriguing player depending on how this situation develops.

The Giants won’t have Victor Cruz (calf) active, but that shouldn’t slow Manning down. A lot of that has to do with that Odell Beckham guy, who just might be the best receiver in the league. Beckham had one of his best games last year against the Cowboys, catching 10 passes for 146 yards and two scores. All told, he found the end zone four times against the Cowboys. Rueben Randle is a sneaky play, too, with Cruz inactive. As for the backfield, Rashad Jennings looks like a low-end RB2, at best.

Matchup to watch

Odell Beckham, Dez Bryant and disappearing secondaries

Beckham and Bryant could be the best fantasy receivers this year. The Cowboys and Giants could feature two of the worst secondaries in the league. Dallas was already likely to be undermanned before Orlando Scandrick’s season-ending injury. The Giants, meanwhile, look a lot like the defense that gave up the fifth most points to quarterbacks last year. Beckham and Bryant will put on a show on Sunday night.

Injury report

Victor Cruz is out due to calf inflammation. Jon Beason is also out with a knee injury.

Parting shot

The Cowboys may like Randle best of all their running backs, but McFadden is going to have a role in this offense. From a fantasy perspective, the usage of these two players will easily be the most important takeaway from this game.

BEDARD: Predicting every single game of the regular season

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Eagles 28th 25th 32nd 5th
Falcons 22nd 30th 26th 6th

Vegas lines

Eagles -3
Over/under 56.5
Eagles o/u 30
Falcons o/u 27

Given the teams and location of this game, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has, by far, the highest total. Both of these teams, especially the Eagles, play fast on offense, and you can’t help but play fast at the Georgia Dome. Those of you playing daily games will want to find a way to get invested in this one, because the scoreboard is going to be lit up early and often. Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones and Jordan Matthews are all automatic starts, and could all be 1s at their respective positions. Tevin Coleman is a borderline RB2 because of the situation and expected game-flow, and should be considered a strong flex option. Those of you in deeper leagues could even think about playing Ryan Mathews, even though he might only be in line for 14 to 15 touches. You’re going to want to get players in this game active.

Matchup to watch

Sam Bradford vs. the injury bug

No one has ever doubted Bradford’s talent. No one doubts Chip Kelly’s offense, or Bradford’s ability to run it. The only question here is can he stay healthy? If he can, chances are he’ll be a top-10 quarterback this season. After all, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez were both effective quarterbacks the last two years, and Bradford is head and shoulders above them, from a talent perspective. Staying healthy, however, has been the problem for him. The Eagles, as well as his fantasy owners, will be holding their breath with every hit he takes.

Injury report

Zach Ertz was limited in practice with a groin injury. There’s no reason to consider him this week.

Parting shot

In the last three seasons, Matt Ryan has thrown for anywhere between 4,500 and 4,700 yards, and 26 and 32 touchdowns. Why he gets little love from fantasy owners is beyond me.

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Vikings 12th 24th 11th 11th
49ers 6th 7th 14th 22nd

Vegas lines

Vikings -2.5
Over/under 41.5
Vikings o/u 22
49ers o/u 19.5

The Niners already aren’t getting any respect from Vegas, catching 2.5 points at home against a Vikings team that went 7–9 last year. Of course, that Vikings team didn’t have Adrian Peterson, and this one does. Peterson is the most expensive running back on daily platforms, and that’s justified, even though this will be his first game in more than a year. The Vikings, as a whole, match up well with a San Francisco defense that has been gutted since last season. Teddy Bridgewater is a high-end QB2 this week, while Charles Johnson can break into starting lineups as a WR3. Mike Wallace is a bit more of a long-range play. Let’s see how Bridgewater looks throwing the deep ball before really trusting a guy like Wallace.

While the 49ers defense is in disarray, there’s actually a lot to like about the offense. Colin Kaepernick has a high floor thanks to his rushing numbers, and you can bet that he’ll hit paydirt more than the one time he did last year. He can also do more through the air, with the perennially underrated Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith lined up out wide for him. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde is a legitimate breakout candidate this year. The Ohio State product didn’t get to show what he could do last year, but he won’t have any competition in the San Francisco backfield this season. He’s a high-end RB2 this week.

Matchup to watch

Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde vs. Vikings edge-setters

We know the 49ers are going to come up with creative ways to use Kaepernick and Hyde to confuse defenses. This game could very well be won or lost based on this matchup. It will be up to the edge-setters for Minnesota, likely one of defensive ends Brian Robison and Everson Griffen, and linebackers Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway, to keep contain. If Kaepernick and Hyde are able to regularly break outside, the Vikings’ season could get off to a rough start.

Injury report

There are no relevant injuries in this game.

Parting shot

During Boldin’s two seasons in San Francisco, he has averaged 1,120.5 yards and six touchdowns. In his four seasons in the league, Smith has never finished worse than WR23. Kaepernick has legitimate receiving weapons this year. Boldin and Smith will not disappoint.

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