The column that never sleeps because it only hibernates from the end of December to the beginning of September... The Wednesday staple in your life you couldn't go without and for some reason you felt like there was a hole in your day... The column that has very few original thoughts save for the opening ramble like this... it's the Matt's Sports Musings Fantasy Football Column! Now with its own website tag! In existence since 2009, and maybe not any further beyond this season... let's begin the seventh season of fantasy football ramblings from someone who has only won his league once in nine years playing fantasy football!
Who to Start:
QB Tom Brady (NE) vs. PIT THU: It seems obvious. In fact, it seems too obvious. But don't you think Brady is going to have a little bit of extra juice for this game due to the circumstances? Not only is his playing the Steelers defense, which is uncharacteristically porous, Tom Brady has been dynamite against Pittsburgh even when their defense was respectable, throwing for an average of 331 yards per game and 18 TD's against them in his career.
RB Latavius Murray (OAK) vs. CIN: The Raiders offense is going to be more dynamic than one might expect this season, and Murray is going to be a large part of any successes. Jack Del Rio coached teams love to run the football, and Murray is going up against a Bengals defense sans Vontaze Burfict that wasn't amazing at stopping the run last season.
WR Jordan Matthews (PHI) vs. ATL MON: Though many have concerns about Sam Bradford's health, and for good reason, when he's healthy, every single Eagles offensive player could be a fantasy gold mine. He's a deep threat and also a threat to have 10+ catches in any game. The Falcons defense is improved, but it's nowhere near where it needs to be to keep Chip Kelly's madness in check.
WR Davante Adams (GB) vs. CHI: Aaron Rodgers is going to have to throw to someone this season, and Adams may as well be one of his prime targets. Without Jordy Nelson, the Packers are going to need to find someone else to ease the load, and Adams may well be a solid choice against a Bears defense that may as well be saloon doors.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB) vs. TEN: Jameis Winston is going to use his TE often this season, as rookie QB's tend to do. Seferian-Jenkins was a pleasant surprise for a bad Bucs team last season, and with a steadier hand at QB, he could be a nice sleeper this season across the board. It also helps that the Titans defense may be historically bad, too.
DEF New York Jets vs. CLE: Despite their offensive, well, calamities, Todd Bowles is a defensive guru, and he's inherited a unit with plenty of talent to work with. It might not get much better facing a Browns offense with Josh McCown at QB and a bevy of injured skill position players. This could be a feast for the Jets D.
Who to Sit:
QB Alex Smith (KC) vs. HOU: He's not someone you should be starting in any league unless it has 20 teams or is two QB's, but he's a risky play in any event. The Texans defense is still very, very solid, and it shouldn't be lost on anyone that the Chiefs did not have a WR catch a TD pass last season.
RB Frank Gore (IND-!!!!!!) vs. BUF: The change of colors from red and gold to blue and white is pretty stark for Frank Gore, but he still figures to have a pretty good season. It might not start early though, as the Bills defense is one of the stingiest in the NFL, especially against the run. And ever since Edgerrin James left for Arizona, the Colts successes with RB's have been... limited, to be kind.
WR Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs. IND: Until proven otherwise, Tyrod Taylor is going to be a fantasy drain on Bills receivers. He hasn't proven otherwise yet, so avoid Sammy Watkins.
WR Steve Smith (BAL) vs. DEN: He faded down the stretch last season, which isn't all that surprising considering his age. A fast start is unlikely this season against a Broncos secondary that was sneakily one of the best in football all of last season.
TE Vernon Davis (SF) vs. MIN MON: Vernon Davis must have been so frustrating to his fantasy owners last season, as his form and pedigree almost vanished overnight. The Vikings gave up only four TD's to opposing TE's last season, so this is matchup that is one to steer clear of Monday night.
DEF Dallas vs. NYG: Despite the Cowboys ability to rush the passer, and the return of the perpetually injured Sean Lee, the Sunday night game figures to be a shootout whatever way it ends up. Even though they may have a good season in the end, it might not start that way.
Three Super Sleepers:
QB Ryan Tannehill (MIA) vs. WSH: Tannehill is going to have to take the next step if the Dolphins are going to move from playoff contender to playoff team. He has the weapons to work with on offense, so it looks like that step may be possible. In Washington, he'll be facing a particularly bad defense, although that is the least among their worries.
TE Jordan Cameron (WSH) vs. MIA: He's basically the only DC TE left standing, which is good news considering Miami struggled defending TE's last season. Kirk Cousins is going to need a safe pair of hands to throw the ball to, and Cameron's paws are perfect for the purpose.
DEF Kansas City vs. HOU: Eric Berry is back after defeating cancer, Justin Houston is still Justin Houston, and the Texans don't have Arian Foster, a wide receiver of note outside of DeAndre Hopkins, and Brian Hoyer at QB. Advantage: Chiefs.
QB Russel Wilson (SEA) vs. STL: If you own him, you'll probably start him regardless of what I say here. But consider this: wasn't the scuttlebutt recently focused on how scary the Rams front seven is? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that's changed. And lest we forget, the Seahawks lost in St. Louis last season. This is a trickier than expected matchup for the defending NFC Champs.
Good Luck in Week 1 and happy football season to you all!
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