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Week 1 fantasy football matchups preview

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Nathan Peterman: Sit
LeSean McCoy: Beware
Kelvin Benjamin: Sit
Zay Jones: Sit
Charles Clay: Sit


Joe Flacco: Stream
Alex Collins: Start
Michael Crabtree: Flex
John Brown: Sleeper
Ravens DST: Start

In case you haven't been paying attention all week, we've been very pro-Ravens and very anti-Bills. We'll get our first real extended look at Buffalo's offense with Nathan Peterman in charge but we're not optimistic about the results against a defense that was the second-highest scoring in fantasy last season. It's hard to suggest sitting LeSean McCoy but it's also hard to be optimistic about his prospects. The Ravens, on the other hand ... get as many of them as you can into your lineup this week. The #Flacconaissance begins Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Blake Bortles: Stream
Leonard Fournette: Start
Keelan Cole: Flex
T.J. Yeldon: Deep Sleeper
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Stream
Jaguars DST: Start


Eli Manning: Sit
Saquon Barkley: Start
Odell Beckham, Jr.: Beware
Sterling Shepard: Sleeper
Evan Engram: Stream

The Giants defense was pretty pliable in 2017, which offers hope for a Jaguars offense that found its sea legs. When Blake Bortles keeps his turnovers down, good things happen. If he can do that this week, he could end up as a good streamer. Leonard Fournette should dominate the touches and have his way against Big Blue's front. T.J. Yeldon should see work as Jacksonville's third down back of choice. Tough luck that Saquon Barkley opens his career against such a tough defense but his production could be better than expected. Odell Beckham will lock horns with Jalen Ramsey. You're not sitting OBJ. You're just hoping that he can win a couple of those one-on-one matchups and give you a decent scoring day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Ryan Fitzpatrick: Sit
Peyton Barber: Flex
Mike Evans: Beware
Chris Godwin: Sleeper
DeSean Jackson: Beware
O.J. Howard: Sit


Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mike Gillislee: Sleeper
Michael Thomas: Start
Ted Ginn: Sleeper
Benjamin Watson: Stream
Saints DST: Start

The Bucs have a tough task to start the season, going against a division rival with Super Bowl aspirations -- and doing it with backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. That, combined with a matchup against star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, makes Mike Evans a scary start. It could open things up for Chris Godwin on the other side, though. Peyton Barber will get plenty of work but game script could work against him. Unless the Bucs have turned over a new leaf defensively, most of the Saints players can be started with confidence to begin the season.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Start
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Will Fuller: Flex
Bruce Ellington: Deep sleeper
Texans DST: Beware


Tom Brady: Start
Rex Burkhead: Flex
James White: Sleeper
Chris Hogan: Flex
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Beware

This has the makings of a high-scoring affair with both teams relying heavily on their quarterbacks. Last season, Deshaun Watson truly introduced himself to the NFL world by going toe-to-toe with Tom Brady in a close loss. Watson's presence elevated everyone on the Texans roster and should do the same in the 2018 debut. Until Tom Brady and the Patriots actually have the decline that many have predicted for years, then it's hard to go against them. After Gronk, Chris Hogan should be the next most targeted player in the offense. It could be a long day for both defenses.

San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Jimmy Garoppolo: Sit
Matt Breida: Sleeper
Alfred Morris: Sit
Pierre Garcon: Sit
Marquise Goodwin: Beware
George Kittle: Sit


Kirk Cousins: Start
Dalvin Cook: Start
Latavius Murray: Sleeper
Adam Theilen: Start
Stefon Diggs: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Stream
Vikings DST: Start

We have high hopes for the Niners from a fantasy perspective, but this isn't the week to count on any of their options. The Vikings defense didn't offer much hope in 2017 and it doesn't look like much will change in 2018. Matt Breida has deep sleeper appeal as the primary pass-catching back in the wake of Jerick McKinnon's injury. Minnesota's offense now has 100 percent more Kirk Cousins and should be ready to fire on all cylinders against a defense that hasn't put up much resistance in recent seasons. Even Latavius Murray has some deep sleeper appeal if he can snag a few goal line touches away from Dalvin Cook.

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Marcus Mariota: Sit
Derrick Henry: Flex
Dion Lewis: Flex
Corey Davis: Flex
Rishard Matthews: Sit
Delanie Walker: Start


Ryan Tannehill: Sit
Kenyan Drake: Flex
Frank Gore: Beware
Kenny Stills: Start
Danny Amendola: Flex
DeVante Parker: Sit

If you are paying attention to this game, you are either a fan of one of the two teams or have invested way too much fantasy capital in either of these rosters. This game is filled with question marks and possible headaches. The Titans could be a sleeper offense if Marcus Mariota finally has the long-awaited breakout. The Derrick Henry-Dion Lewis daily double could cause consternation all season long. Delanie Walker is the most certain option for this team. Someone needs to explain to me why I should have any real faith in the Dolphins offense. We'll also get an answer to how Adam Gase is going to deploy the duo of Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. Some fantasy managers could end up disappointed.

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Andy Dalton: Start
Joe Mixon: Start
Giovani Bernard: Beware
A.J. Green: Start
John Ross: Deep sleeper
Tyler Eifert: Start


Andrew Luck: Stream
Marlon Mack: Sit
Jordan Wilkins: Sleeper
T.Y. Hilton: Start
Ryan Grant: Deep sleeper
Jack Doyle: Stream

The Colts defense is like a warm hug to opposing offenses, which bodes well for Andy Dalton and his merry band of Bengals in Week 1. Joe Mixon figures to eat up most of the backfield touches so Gio Bernard is a quizzical play. Keep an eye on how opportunities are distributed in the backfield this week. John Ross has big-play potential, making him a better best ball pick. Andrew Luck is back -- you might've heard -- and that brings optimism to the rest of his offensive mates. T.Y. Hilton is a no-brainer start this week and Jack Doyle has some nice streaming potential. If you have the intestinal fortitude, give one of Indy's running backs a spin. In that case, godspeed.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Ben Roethlisberger: Start
James Conner: Start
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Start
Vance McDonald: Stream


Tyrod Taylor: Sit
Carlos Hyde: Flex
Duke Johnson: Flex
Jarvis Landry: Start
Josh Gordon: Beware
David Njoku: Stream

Yes, the Browns will be improved. But don't get too caught up in the Hard Knocks hype. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger has been inconsistent on the road in the past. But he hasn't always been bad. We're not likely to see Le'Veon Bell, so there could be a larger emphasis on the passing game. That doesn't mean James Conner won't be involved, though. He'll have plenty of opportunities. For the first time in recent memory, the Browns are fantasy relevant. Tyrod Taylor is a streamer at best but should probably be on the bench in most leagues. Josh Gordon will be a question mark but his upside makes him hard to sit. The running back rotation for Cleveland will be worth watching.

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS


Patrick Mahomes: Stream
Kareem Hunt: Start
Tyreek Hill: Start
Sammy Watkins: Flex
Travis Kelce: Start


Philip Rivers: Start
Melvin Gordon: Start
Keenan Allen: Start
Tyrell Williams: Sleeper
Mike Williams: Sleeper
Chargers DST: Start

This is yet another game that looks to be high-scoring. The Chiefs could be forced to throw the ball to keep up if their defense can't hold the Chargers in check. That could be trouble for Mahomes, who is making just his second career start. Kareem Hunt should be started but his touches could be limited if the Chiefs are forced to the air. Things look good for most of the Chargers options against a defense that was one of the NFL's most forgiving units in 2017. L.A.'s defense could give up some yards (and possibly points) in this one but it's also likely to grab a couple of picks from the young quarterback.

Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


Russell Wilson: Start
Chris Carson: Sit
Rashaad Penny: Sit
Doug Baldwin: Beware
Tyler Lockett: Sleeper
Brandon Marshall: Deep sleeper


Case Keenum: Sit
Royce Freeman: Flex
Demaryius Thomas: Flex
Emmanuel Sanders: Flex
Courtland Sutton: Sleeper
Broncos DST: Stream

As goes Russell Wilson, so go the Seahawks. The offensive line is still a major obstacle to this team's success, which makes either of the running backs risky starts this week. Wilson will have to once again be a superhero. A combination of injury and Chris Harris should worry anyone starting Doug Baldwin this week. The Broncos defense didn't have a great fantasy season last year but the pieces are in place for this group to rebound. Case Keenum doesn't inspire a lot of fantasy confidence but his receivers could still bounce back from a pair of lackluster seasons. Royce Freeman is the best back in the Broncos backfield. This is when we see how much of the hype is real.

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


Dak Prescott: Sit
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Allen Hurns: Sleeper
Cole Beasley: Deep sleeper
Michael Gallup: Deep sleeper


Cam Newton: Start
Christian McCaffrey: Start
Devin Funchess: Flex
Torrey Smith: Sit
D.J. Moore: Sleeper
Greg Olsen: Stream
Panthers DST: Stream

There isn't a lot to be optimistic about with the Cowboys offense. There are injuries along the front line and Dak Prescott is breaking in a group of new targets. But there's always Zeke. He'll be the main weapon in all facets for the Dallas offense and will obviously be a must-start every week. The Cowboys defense isn't a pushover but it could have trouble with Cam Newton's dual-threat ability. The same goes for McCaffrey, who looks like he'll have a large workload this year. D.J. Moore has plenty of fantasy analysts excited, though only the most brave will consider starting him in his NFL debut.

Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


Alex Smith: Stream
Adrian Peterson: Beware
Chris Thompson: Flex
Josh Doctson: Sleeper
Jamison Crowder: Flex
Paul Richardson: Deep sleeper
Jordan Reed: Start


Sam Bradford: Sit
David Johnson: Start
Larry Fitzgerald: Start
Ricky Seals-Jones: Stream
Cardinals DST: Stream

Washington's new look offense gets its first spin with Alex Smith at the helm. Adrian Peterson will start and could be the primary rusher but the matchup isn't necessarily a favorable one. Look for Chris Thompson to get a lot of snaps if this turns into a track meet. The outside receivers have the potential to be breakout players this year. Beyond David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, lots of things about the Cardinals offense are a mystery. The defense might not be as feared as it once was but there's still the possibility that the Redbirds could be a playmaking unit.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC


Mitchell Trubisky: Sit
Jordan Howard: Start
Tarik Cohen: Sleeper
Allen Robinson: Flex
Taylor Gabriel: Sit
Trey Burton: Stream
Bears DST: Beware


Aaron Rodgers: Start
Jamaal Williams: Flex
Davante Adams: Start
Randall Cobb: Sit
Jimmy Graham: Start

Matt Nagy and the new-look Bears offense starts with a tough task on the road against a division rival. Mitchell Trubisky didn't show much in the preseason and shouldn't be in your starting lineups just yet. Jordan Howard will be a big part of what the Bears do while Tarik Cohen could get some targets. Allen Robinson and Trey Burton should figure heavily in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams will renew their on-field bromance. Plus we get the regular season debut of new red zone darling Jimmy Graham in green and gold. Jamaal Williams will be the main running back. The volume will be there but the results aren't guaranteed.

New York Jets at Detroit Lions, 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN (Monday)


Sam Darnold: Sit
Isaiah Crowell: Flex
Bilal Powell: Sleeper
Robby Anderson: Flex
Jermaine Kearse: Sit


Matthew Stafford: Stream
LeGarrette Blount: Sleeper
Theo Riddick: Sit
Kerryon Johnson: Deep sleeper
Golden Tate: Start
Marvin Jones: Flex
Kenny Golladay: Deep sleeper

The Jets surprised plenty of fantasy enthusiasts with their production last season. This season more people are looking out for them. They're not a squad you should totally avoid but there aren't a ton of options you should rush into your lineup, either. Sam Darnold has a bright future but he's not your fantasy starter just yet. The Lions passing game is as it was. Matthew Stafford will sling it -- mostly to Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Kenny Golladay has big-play potential as well. As for the running backs? Well, good luck figuring that out. LeGarrette Blount has the biggest upside as the back who could handle the goal line work.

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders, 10:20 p.m. ET, ESPN (Monday)


Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Brandin Cooks: Start
Robert Woods: Start
Cooper Kupp: Start
Rams DST: Start


Derek Carr: Sit
Marshawn Lynch: Flex
Amari Cooper: Flex
Jordy Nelson: Beware
Jared Cook: Sit

The Rams had the NFL's highest-scoring offense in 2017 and there's no reason to believe this Raiders defense (now minus Khalil Mack) is going to slow them down. Start any of your Rams players with confidence. On the other hand, any Raiders in your lineup should concern you a little bit. The Rams allowed a lot of rushing yards last season, but it will be hard for Oakland to rely on Beast Mode if Los Angeles runs out to a quick lead. The more realistic possibility is that Amari Cooper and the passing game get going in garbage time on Monday night.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for and a man who can't keep on losing you over complications. Tell him about the people you can't seem to hold onto via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9).

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