Fantasy Football Week 1 matchups to exploit

Players who are not every week locks, but might be on your bench and have a great chance to boost your lineup based on their matchups.

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Are you ready for some football?

Finally, Week 1 is here and it’s time to set those lineups. Obviously, if you drafted Patrick Mahomes, Justin Jefferson, or any of the other studs in fantasy football then it doesn’t matter who they are playing, you just plug them in.

For all your other players it only makes sense to look at their matchups and react accordingly. Another way of looking at this is to think of the Bills’ receivers. If I have Stefon Diggs as the first receiver I picked and he is my WR1 then you have to start him. Don’t overthink that. However, if I planned on having Gabe Davis as my WR3 then I might want to take a look at who else I can plug in. The Jets were the number one defense against wide receivers last year. I might want to plug in Courtland Sutton against the Raiders instead.

Let’s see if we can squeeze out a few more fantasy points for your team this week by looking at players who are not every week locks, but might be on your bench and have a great chance to boost your lineup based on their matchups.

QUARTERBACKS

Russell Wilson - Broncos vs Raiders - Projected Points 17

With Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams on the other side of the field, the Raiders should score points. That means the Broncos should be looking to score early and often. The Raiders last year gave up the fifth-highest point total to opposing QBs. With a coach now who knows how to exploit weaknesses and the Broncos playing at home, this is the perfect matchup for Wilson to have a much better game than expected.

Sam Howell - Commanders vs Cardinals - Projected Points 17

How much better matchup can you get? The Arizona Cardinals last year gave up the second most passing touchdowns. PFF has the Cardinals’ D-line ranked at 32 and the secondary ranked at 28th. The only thing that will keep Howell from having a big day at home is if they get up early and decide to let Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson kill off the clock.

RUNNING BACKS



Raheem Mostert - Dolphins vs Chargers - Projected Points 9.9

With Jeff Wilson, Jr on the IR and De’Von Achane coming back from a shoulder injury, Mostert will be on the field a lot. The Chargers last year gave up the second-most rushing yards to opposing running backs and the 6th most receiving touchdowns to running backs. If Tua, Hill, and Waddle can open up an early lead look for Mostert to have a big day.

Cam Akers - Rams vs Seahawks - Projected Points 10.7

If you drafted Akers he was probably as your RB3 This may be the week to start him. The Seahawks last year gave up the sixth most rushing yards, and the fourth most fantasy points to running backs. More importantly for this week though they also gave up the fifth most receiving yardage to RBs. The Rams will not have their number-one receiver and will need Akers to have a big game. In the two games played against the Seahawks last year, he averaged 16 fantasy points per game finishing RB4 in the first and RB12 in the second.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Michael Thomas - Saints vs. Titans - Projected Points 6.9

With Chris Olave getting most of the attention, Thomas, who is ranked as a WR39, could be a sneaky pick. The Titans last year gave up the third most yardage and the second most touchdowns to wide receivers. With Alvin Kamara suspended there should be even more opportunities for Derek Carr to be looking for someone other than Olave to throw the ball to.

Drake London - Falcons vs Panthers - Projected Points 10.8

While all eyes will be on Bijan Robinson, don’t forget about the Falcons’ first-round draft choice from a year ago. The second-year receiver is going against the team that gave up the fourth most yardage to wide receivers and the fifth most fantasy points. Playing at home, this is a great matchup.

TIGHT ENDS

Dalton Kincaid - Bills vs Jets - Projected Points 4.0

It’s always risky starting a rookie tight end, especially in game one. Since this is all about matchups he makes my list. While the Jets have an excellent defense, they gave up the sixth most yards and the fifth most catches to tight ends last year. Reports were that Kincaid was working with the ones a lot and almost always on passing downs. With all the weapons the Bills have that need to be covered, this matchup lends itself to a very nice debut for the rookie.

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Gerald Everett - Chargers vs Dolphins - Projected Points 4.6

Ranked as the TE16, Everett is a very underrated tight end on a very high-powered offense. The Dolphins last year gave up the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends. They also gave up the fourth most touchdowns and the fourth most receptions to TEs. While the Dolphins are trying their best to cover Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Joshua Palmer, Everett should have an easy matchup this week.

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