Patrick Mahomes, KC (DK – $7,500/FD – $9,000)
Mahomes proved to matchup-proof in Week 1 when he torched the Jaguars’ pass defense for 378 yards and three TDs while gaining 11.5 yards per pass attempt. He had six completions for 20 yards or more with four of those passes gaining over 40 yards. Mahomes did lose his top WR (Tyreek Hill) for multiple games plus pick an ankle injury. Last year he passed for 576 yards and six TDs in his two games against the Raiders. Oakland struggled to cove the Broncos’ top two WRs (12/206/1 on 15 targets) leading to Joe Flacco gaining 8.6 yards per pass attempt. A favorable matchup, but Mahomes does have a top-shelf salary while missing an impact player.
Lamar Jackson, BAL (DK – $6,700/FD – $8,200)
Heading into Week 1, the Dolphins game planned to take away the running the ability of Jackson by moving up their safeties. This decision led to single coverage in the deep passing game with no one in centerfield. The Ravens attacked via the passing game leading to a career game by their QB (324/5) while only attempting 20 passes. His receivers gained over 19 yards per catch. Arizona struggled vs. Matthew Stafford (385/3) with much of the damage coming from two players (T.J. Hockenson – 6/131/1 and Danny Amendola – 7/104/1). Baltimore won’t have as easy in the passing game, but they will pound the ball on the ground while playing tough defense. His jump in salary does require a much higher score to be in play in the daily games. The hot hand makes sense helped by some low-value hookups.
Deshaun Watson, HOU (DK – $6.600/FD – $8,500)
Watson looked great on Monday night (308 combined yards with four TDs), but the Jaguars did sack him six times. In his two games vs. Jacksonville in 2018, he passed for 373 yards with one TD with some success running the ball (79/1). The Jaguars struggled in coverage in Week 1 to Patrick Mahomes (378/3), which was an area they expected to be strong in 2019. The Texans have an improved WR core, and their offensive line should improve as the season moves on. I expect the Jaguars’ defense to bounce back in Week 2, making Watson more of an against the grain play.
Aaron Rodgers, GB (DK – $6,500/FD – $8,000)
In Week 1, Rodgers failed to make an impact (203/1) vs. a tough Bears’ defense. His WR core behind Davante Adams only had one player that looked to be improved (Marquez Valdes-Scantling). In his two games against the Vikings in 2018, Rodgers passed for 479 yards with two TDs. After breaking out with a big early lead, Minnesota allowed 304 passing yards to Matt Ryan with two TDs and two Ints. This game could be high-scoring, but last year history and the current receiving core the Packers points to only a steady game.
Tom Brady, NE (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,800)
Brady went from draft day afterthought to potential Fantasy stud after the signing of Antonio Brown. In Week 1, he looked sharp in his 33-3 victory over the Steelers when he passed for 341 yards and three TDs. In 2018 in his two games vs. the Dolphins, Brady passed for 632 yards and six TDs. Miami struggled in all areas on defense leading to New England favored by 18.5 points in this week’s matchup. Upside matchup for sure with Brady’s only risk coming via a bunch of rushing TDs.
Dak Prescott, WAS (DK – $6,300/FD – $7,700)
The Cowboys’ offense in Week 1 looked electric thanks to the right arm of Prescott (405/4). He finished seven completions over 20 yards. Amari Cooper played like a stud (6/106/1) followed up by an explosive game by Michael Gallop (7/158). Last Prescott passed for 562 yards and three TDs vs. the Redskins while also chipping in on the ground (51/2). Washington focused the Eagles to throw last week after jumping out to an early lead, but their defense couldn’t handle Carson Wentz (313/3) or his receivers. Progression game, but game flow may lead to much more runs if Dallas plays form the lead.
Russell Wilson, SEA (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,600)
Seattle barely threw last week (14-for-20 for 196 yards and two TDs). They played from the lead while the Seahawks struggled to get the Bengals’ passing offense off the field. A trip to Pittsburgh points to battle on the scoreboard, but both offenses will run the ball if they are having success. Pittsburgh had no answer for the Patriots’ passing game (341/3), but they did play well defending the run (29/99 – 3.4 yards per rush). I expect a much better game offensively from the Steelers, which will force Wilson to be more active in the passing game. A dark horse QB option in Week 2.
Drew Brees, NO (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,000)
The Brees edge at home (370/2) played out again in Week 1. His top two players (Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara) played well while also seeing Ted Ginn (7/101) make some big plays. This week New Orleans plays a high-scoring opponent in the Rams. In 2018 in his two games at home vs. LA, Brees passed for 595 yards with six TDs. The Rams held Cam Newton to 239 yards and no TDs. New Orleans tends to be a much better passing offense at home, but this game should be wide open, giving him a chance to be in the mix in the daily games.
Philip Rivers, LAC (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,700)
The Chargers threw the ball well in Week 1 (333/3) highlighted by Keenan Allen (10/123/1) and Austin Ekeler (154 combined yards with three TDs and six catches). LA possibly lost their second wide receiver (Mike Williams) due to a knee injury. The Lions attacked rookie Kyler Murray for three quarters only to see him find his way late the game. Detroit allowed 308 passing yards and two TDs. Both teams have talent on offense while relying on the passing game to score in the red zone. The status of Williams does hurt Rivers in the red zone.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,000)
The 49ers looked sluggish on offense in Week 1 against a poor NFL defense (Tampa). Garoppolo gained on 6.1 yards per pass while San Fran struggled to run the ball (32/98) while lacking any reliable WRs in the game. The 49ers only threw two balls to their RBs. Their next stop is on the road against the Bengals. Cinci held Seattle to 2.9 yards per rush and 268 combined yards. Fade for me until I see better structure in the passing game.
Jared Goff, LAR (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,600)
The Rams’ offense flashed on the ground in Week 1 (32/166/2), but their passing game fell short of expectations (186/1). On the positive side, Todd Gurley ran the ball well despite losing touches to Malcolm Brown. Cooper Kupp looked healthy while Robert Woods remained active in the passing game (8/70). Last year Goff passed for 584 yards and four TDs in two games on the road against the Saints. New Orleans did show risk vs. the run (21/148/1), which may lead to some easy rushing TDs by Gurley. Plenty of passing firepower in what should be a higher scoring game.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,600)
There was a whole lot of ugly in the Steelers’ game plan in Week 1. Roethlisberger gained only 5.9 yards per pass attempt with no TDs and one Int. Their top WR (JuJu Smith-Schuster) suffered a toe injury, which may or may not be a factor in his value in this matchup. Pittsburgh’s passing game is rated high in Week 2, but it will be downgraded severely if Schuster doesn’t play. The Seahawks struggled to defend the Bengals’ receivers in Week 1 (418 yards and two TDs), which gives Fantasy owners the green light for this matchup this week. Look for Pittsburgh to bounce back in a big way offensively in this matchup.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,800)
For a team that wants to be in the mix with the top NFL offenses in the league, the Bears and their coaching staff failed miserably vs. the Packers. They played tight to the vest with the run game in the first half while failing to establish a good rotation with their RBs. Trubisky was late on his throws with poor accuracy. His expected rising WR2 (Anthony Miller) only saw the field for 16 plays. Denver has pass-rushing talent, but they had no value in Week 1 with Oakland playing from the lead, helping the Raiders’ run game. Too many ifs here to take this dance on the road in the daily games.
Kyler Murray, ARI (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,500)
It took Murray a while to find his rhythm in his NFL debut, but his final stats (321 combined yards with two TDs and one Int) ranked 12th in QB scoring in Week 1. The Lions attacked with the pass rush, which led to a short passing window for about three-quarters of the game. When given time to throw, Murray flashed his upside. The Ravens will try to build off the Lions early game plan, but a second week of game action should lead to more growth in the Cardinals’ offense. I expect more value in the run game in this matchup for Murray, but his TD upside won’t match the top QBs in this week’s action.
Andy Dalton, CIN (DK – $5,400/FD – $7,100)
For the second straight season, the Bengals’ offense is going to produce a top free agent WR after the first game of the year. John Ross became Fantasy relevant after his best game of his NFL career (7/158/2) helping Dalton pass for 418 yards and two TDs. Cinci’s top RB Joe Mixon did suffer an ankle injury in the game. In essence, Ross picked the slack for the injured A.J. Green. The 49ers’ defense held Jameis Winston to 194 passing yards with one TD and three Ints. Two of his errant throws ended in defensive scores. The direction of the Bengals’ offense looks positive, but there are trust issues with the overall receiving core. Don’t chase last week success with Dalton in this matchup.
Kirk Cousins, MIN (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,300)
Cousins will go down as a Week 1 bust play in all formats, but it wasn’t his fault. Game score led to him only attempting ten passes leading to 98 yards and one TD. The Vikings ran the ball great (30/172/30 setting up an overall exciting season for their offense. Last year Cousins passed for 767 yards and seven TDs in his two games vs. the Packers highlight by his game (425/4) on the road. Green Bay played well on defense helping them steal a division game on the road against the Bears. The Vikings have better WR talent than Chicago plus their lead RB looks poised for an impact season. Great value especially if the Aaron Rodgers plays better.
Josh Allen, BUF (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,500)
Allen started off slow vs. the Jets, but he finished as the 15th highest scoring QB in Week 1. He gained 292 combined yards with two TDs and two Ints. The Bills receiver core did look improved while Allen still has top QB value with his legs. New York struggled on defense against a very good Cowboys’ offense in Week 1. Look for the Giants to tighten up their defense in this matchup while running the ball a ton to control the clock. Allen still has a shot to be productive if he scores at least one TD on the ground. I expect him to run the ball well in this matchup.
Matthew Stafford, DET (DK – $5,200/FD – $7,000)
The Lions’ passing offense was much improved in Week 1 (385/3) helped by the quick impact of rookie TE T.J. Hockenson (6/131/1). Stafford now has three viable WRs, an upside TE, and pass-catching value at RB. The Chargers held Jacoby Brissett to 190 yards and two TDs, but they did show risk on the ground (33/203/1). The structure of Detroit’s receiving talent does make sense at this level helped by Los Angeles pushing the issue on the scoreboard.
Derek Carr, OAK (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,600)
The Raiders survived the Antonio Brown debacle in Week 1 by dominating the Broncos at the line of scrimmage. Carr threw the ball well (22-for-26 for 259 yards and one TD) helping set up two other TDs on the ground. Their new young stud RB (Josh Jacobs) finished with 113 combined yards with two TDs and one catch on 24 touches. The Chiefs’ defense did look porous vs. a Jaguars’ offense that played most of the game without their starting QB. Last year Carr passed for 285 yards and three TDs at home against Kansas City. Tough to trust his receiving core, but Oakland will need to throw the ball to win this week.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (DK – $5,000/FD – $7,400)
Fantasy owners had Mariota just about buried in the preseason, but he played well in Week 1 (272 combined yards with three TDs). His success in the passing game was driven by three completions over 40 yards. Corey Davis was a no show in Week 1, but Delanie Walker and A.J. Brown flashed their upside. Last year Mariota left his only game early against the Colts. Indy allowed over 300 yards passing to the Chargers with three TDs. Their failure came defending Austin Ekeler in all areas. Tennessee could never beat Andrew Luck, but the tide is turning toward a more favorable passing offense for the Titans. May surprise helped by a rebound game by Davis.
Jacoby Brissett, IND (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,000)
Brissett won’t make the big impact throws to win games, but he’ll avoid those disaster turnovers to lose contests. In Week 1, he turned in an efficient 190 yards and two TDs with strength in his completion rate (77.8). Only two of his completion gained over 20 yards. The Titans gave up 285 yards to Baker Mayfield with a TD, but they picked off their passes. I’m sure Indy would like to run the ball to keep game score in line, which falls into the same plan of Tennessee. Fade for me on the road.
Case Keenum, WAS (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,900)
The Redskins tested the Eagles’ questionable secondary in Week 1, which led to two long TDs (48 and 69 yards) over the first 20 minutes of the game. Keenum finished as 6th highest scoring QB with 380 yards and three TDs. His top WR (Terry McLaurin) caught five of his seven targets for 125 yards and one TD. Dallas held the Giants to ten points through three quarters, but New York still gained 460 combined yards with most of the damage coming from two players (Evan Engram – 11/116/1 and Saquan Barkley – 139 combined yards with four catches). The Cowboys have talent on defense, and I don’t expect Washington’s WRs to have the same success in the deep passing game. Fade.
Eli Manning, NYG (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,400)
Manning finished 306 yards and one TD, which was better than expected after seeing the final score of the game. Overall, New York had open receivers with some success running the ball (25/128/1). Their top WR Sterling Shepard may miss this week’s game with a concussion. Buffalo held the Jets’ passing attack to 175 yards and one TD while creating four sacks. Wrong type of swing on the road vs. a good pass defense.
Joe Flacco, DEN (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,400)
Flacco did throw the ball with success in Week 1 (268/1) while gaining 8.6 yards per pass attempt. His top two WRs (Courtland Sutton – 7/120 and Emmanuel Sanders – 5/86/1) played well while Noah Fant did look the upside part at TE. Denver would like to run the ball better to keep their offense balanced. The Bears have a top defense, and they held Aaron Rodgers to 203 yards and one TD in Week 1. Donation only if a Fantasy owner is looking for an island play.
Gardner Minshew, JAC (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,400)
Fact or fiction will be the question Fantasy owners will be looking for in Week 2 with Minshew. In a relief role vs. a bad Chiefs’ defense, he passed for 275 yards and two TDs while completing 88 percent of his passes. In 2018 at Washington State, Minshew passes for 4,779 yards with 38 TDs and nine Ints. Houston struggled on defense vs. the Saints, which wasn’t a surprise. They should attack the QB this week to see if he can make quicker decision under fire. Only a gamble, but Minshew may turn out to be a nice upside QB prospect.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,200)
The fun days in Tampa are over for Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins lack talent at WR while trading away their starting left tackle just before the start of the year. Fitzpatrick passed for only 185 yards and one TD in Week 1 vs. an attacking Ravens’ defense. If he struggles again this week, Josh Rosen would be called on to take over the starting job. The Patriots held the Steelers to three points last week, but they don’t have an elite defense. An easy avoid for me.