Finding the right Week 1 match-ups to avoid and exploit can be a tricky endeavor. One obvious reason is because we don't have a solid gauge on many players outside of the marquee names like Calvin Johnson or Arian Foster.
As each week passes we here at Fantasyknuckleheads.com will be bringing you weekly match-ups to avoid and exploit. These weekly pieces will target match-ups that perhaps many of you wouldn't consider valuable while staying away from obvious mentions.
Honestly, you don't need me to tell you that Calvin Johnson against the Rams is an excellent matchup to exploit, right?
Match-ups to Avoid:
TE, Coby Fleener - IND versus Chicago Bears: Fleener is bound to eventually come into his own as a Colts TE, but his usage this preseason was limited at best. QB Andrew Luck utilized his WRs quite often with great success which limited Fleener's role. Chicago's outside defense isn't the greatest situation for a rookie TE to play against either, so if you have another option, I say use it and avoid Fleener this week.
WR, Miles Austin - DAL versus New York Giants: Many consider Miles Austin a true starter so this mention may come off a bit taboo, but hear me out. I am concerned that Austin's hamstring will act up again considering its unreliable nature. I am also concerned with the Cowboys O-Line against one of the best defensive lines in all of football. If you have another marquee WR on your roster, use him instead of Austin this week. I would avoid Austin if possible this week.
RB, Maurice Jones-Drew - JAX versus Minnesota Vikings: As an award for his outstanding preseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars have given the starting nod to fellow RB Rashad Jennings over MJD. Jones-Drew is more than likely to get involved in this matchup, but considering he is still learning a new playbook, and considering he is facing a team that has been historically excellent against the run, I definitely say avoid starting Maurice Jones-Drew this week.
Match-ups to Exploit:
WR, Titus Young - DET versus St. Louis Rams: The Rams are bringing very little to the table regarding pass defense so it will already be difficult enough to find an answer for Calvin Johnson. This opens up the flood gates for Titus Young who has already had a stellar preseason and camp. Many feel that Titus Young is about to have a breakout season in 2012, and I am one of them. I think it all starts with his matchup against the Rams making Young an excellent matchup to exploit.
RB, Stevan Ridley - NE versus Tennessee Titans: Stevan Ridley basically owned the Patriots preseason and clearly earned the starting role for the Pats. New England is more than likely to pass early in the game to help establish a comfortable lead they can lean on.. This approach will allow the Pats to neutralize Titans RB Chris Johnson, as well as, control the clock. Stevan Ridley is deceptively explosive and the mounting game conditions really point towards a matchup you can exploit.
TE, Dustin Keller - NYJ versus Buffalo Bills: If you're looking for a solid TE 2 option with more boom than bust potential, look no further than Jets TE Dustin Keller. The Jets' offense looked absolutely miserable this preseason, but you can attribute a lot of that to a banged up group of receivers that did not play all that much—a scenario that will not exist in this very important Week 1 contest. New York will be at "full strength" against a Bills defense that was the league's worst at defending against the TE in 2011. Keller versus the Bills is a nice matchup to exploit in Week 1.