The drafts are alive and well. The Fantasy articles for football are coming at us in a torrent pace, and in just under four weeks the regular season will open up, ushering in a new season filled with hopes and promises—both of which are on the plate of coaches and Fantasy managers.
As we get set, week one will introduce some interesting matchups that will surely have the advantage of yielding a great start out of the gate. Conversely, there are some other matchups that may be worthwhile staying clear of.
The first week of football is always the hardest. It is a time that is shrouded in more guess work than actual stats since it is…well, the first game of the year.
Let’s take a look at some games that could, or could not, be advantageous.
Minnesota @ Cleveland: Advantageous
The high powered rushing attack of the Vikings will start the year against Cleveland’s 26th ranked defense of last year. The Browns made some adjustments in the offseason but to think they are at the caliber of play to handle Minnesota’s myriad of weapons would be giving the Browns way too much credit.
Peterson should have a field day against a rather mediocre Cleveland D-line, and considering Favre will be the starting QB for the Vikes you can bet Peterson will be utilized both on the ground and out of the backfield to help neutralize the defense.
Detroit @ New Orleans: Advantageous
I think it is important to mention that Detroit’s defense was ranked 12th overall and they really weren’t all that bad. It is also worth mentioning that Drew freaking Brees is passing the ball—nuff said.
One of the other points to this matchup could be the points garnered from the Saints’ defense. Their defense will be significantly better, and considering last year’s collapse down the stretch this team is going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder and Detroit will be the first unlucky victim.
Tennessee @ Pittsburgh: Disadvantageous
This has all the markings of a low scoring non-productive contest for Fantasy owners straight across the board. The Steelers were the No. 1 ranked defense; the Titans No. 7.
Last year the Titans held the Steelers to just 73 yards on the ground and stole two picks from Big Ben. The Steelers held Johnson to a measly 69 yards rushing while grabbing a pick of their own in route to a 31-14 victory.
The offensive side of this lopsided score were primarily due to goal line scoring; something that won’t be as easy this time around against Pittsburgh.
San Diego @ Oakland: Advantageous
Rivers is healthy, Gates is healthy and the word out of camp is that L.T. has his mojo back. If you add in Jackson, Sproles, and the Charger defense that is sure to be far better than a year ago, fantasy managers who own anyone with a Charger jersey are sure to reap some benefits in this matchup.
The Raiders, on the other hand, were at the bottom of the ranking barrel last year and the Chargers beat up on them pretty good in both contests—par for the course this year.
Chicago @ Green Bay: Chance
The last time these two teams opened the season the Packers were blanked 26-0 by the Bears; that was 2006.
Last year, the Packers gained 487 yards in the air and 265 on the ground in two combined meetings.
The Bears gained 444 yards in the air and 287 on the ground in two meetings.
Green Bay has a new defensive system that they think will pay dividends, and the Bears have a new quarterback, Cutler, who they think will give the team a better edge.
Cutler is 0-1 vs. Green Bay and the season series at Lambeau is tied 37-37-4.
I don’t see the ground game doing anything special for either team and if anything at all Rodgers may have a good game. This one is a pick, take your chances if you’re feeling lucky.
Other Points of Interest for September:
Kyle Orton has the best opportunity in September to post big numbers in the air as his Broncos will face the Bengals, Browns, and Raiders in the month.
Adrian Peterson has the best opportunity in September to post big numbers on the ground as the Vikings will face the Browns, Lions, and 49ers in the month.
Kevin Boss should see plenty of endzone TDs against Washington, Dallas, and Tampa considering the receivers will still be adjusting.
The Vikings, Chargers, and Steelers all have favorable games in September for managers looking to generate points for the defensive side of the ball.
The Dolphins, Panthers, and Rams will have their hands full in September so start any players you have from those teams cautiously.