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Last year was a fairly successful one for me, at least as far as fantasy football goes. I participated in one of the weekly leagues online and managed to turn in a decent profit for my efforts. It was enough to be able to gift myself with a new Dallas Cowboys jersey as a reward for my efforts. (Witten, if you are curious) and I am hoping for similar success this season. I made it a point to select players from my suggestions, so I am putting my money where my mouth is.
Week one of the fantasy season is always a crap shoot because we have so little to go on. There will be surprises, but things will even out. For now we are going to go with what we have and hope for the best. Without further ado, here are what appears to be the best and worst match ups of week one.
Tony Romo - You can call me a bit of a homer with this one, but this week's contest is a good opportunity for #9 to get off on a hot start. Twice last season the Cowboys tacked 31 points on the New York Giants, during the two games Romo put over 550 yards passing in the books and he threw for seven touchdowns. The Giants made strides to improve their secondary during the off season, but during training camp the football gods reared their ugly heads and said hold on. New York suffered several key injuries in the secondary and what looked to have improved has now regressed.
Matt Ryan - The Atlanta Falcons at the Philadelphia Eagles is projected to be the high scoring game of the week, and that translates to big numbers for passers. Under the right circumstances, Matty Ice can get it done, and he will find those conditions in Philly this weekend. The Eagles secondary was the third best match-up for quarterbacks last season and it does not look to be any better this season. If you have Ryan on the roster, this is the one time you should get him off of your bench.
Ryan Tannehill - Another passer facing a weak NFC East secondary, Tannehill will lead the Miami Dolphins against the Washington Redskins and the great maroon sieve that they call a secondary. The Skins pass defense was almost as bad as the one in Philadelphia last year, and Tannehill will have his opportunities.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - The Jets face the Cleveland Browns, and although the team from the shores of Lake Erie may not have a lot going for it, one thing the do have is an outstanding secondary. Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson will cause sleepless nights for the New York quarterback leading up to the game. If Cleveland manages to get any pressure on the Jets passing game, it will be a long afternoon for Fitzpatrick.
Colin Kaepernick - The San Francisco 49ers also face a stout pass defense in the Minnesota Vikings. If the passing game is not working, Kaep has the ability to go to the ground, but even that will not help him against Denver. Add in the fact that the new version of the Orange Crush will get heat on him, and you have plenty of reasons to keep Colin on the pine this weekend.
DeMarco Murray - A repeat of 2014 is unlikely but Chip Kelly will be looking to get a quick return on the Eagles investment. That will come as they face a NFL worst defense from Atlanta. One off season will not be enough for former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to work majic for the Falcons and DMM will be the first player to cash in against them this season.
Doug Martin - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open the season against a Tennessee Titans squad that gave up the second most yards to opposing runners last season. Martin is coming off of a solid preseason for the Bucs, and he is rearing to go. He has the starting role on lockdown in Tampa and now is the time for him to shine.
Jeremy Hill - The Oakland Raiders run defense struggled to keep enemy runners out of the end zone in 2014, and they were the best overall match up for running backs all season long. The Bengals top back will find himself in position to get off to a fast start when Cincinnati makes it's way westward. Hill is on the cusp of breaking in to the ranks of top tiered runners, and this contest could provide the boost he needs.
Alfred Morris - Mr. Morris meet Mr. Suh. The Dolphins run defense will improve with Ndamukong Suh filling the middle of the defensive front. Morris will be hampered by not having another running threat in the backfield this weekend as Kirk Cousins gets the start at QB. If you have Morris an your team, sit him this week and hope that Suh does not stomp on him during the game.
Frank Gore - Gore has gotten me a lot of points over the years, but this week the Colts face a Rex Ryan defense that is very solid against the run. Gore will still have his moments in the Indianapolis offense but that will not happen this weekend.
Jordan Matthews - Playing out of the slot will allow Matthews to line up against the least-talented of the Falcons cover men. This will give him a chance to exploit a weak secondary in a game that most experts anticipate being a high scoring affair. According to PFF, the Atlanta secondary was the fourth-worst in the league last season, and Matthews will likely be the biggest weapon the Eagles have through the air this weekend. I hate 'em, but when the football gods give you chances to earn big fantasy points you have to go with the best opportunities even if they are Eagles.
Brandin Cooks - With Drew Brees throwing you the ball you always have opportunities if you can get open, and Cooks will do that against a Arizona defense that was dismal in pass coverage last season and which has only gotten worse. Look for Brees and Cooks to strike early and often during week one.
Kendall Wright - Marcus Mariota likes Wright. He has become the rookie quarterback's go to guy during the preseason and that is not likely to change. Tampa Bay allowed the highest completion percentage in the league last season, and outside of Alterraun Verner their coverage is atrocious. The Tennessee passing game will get off to a fast start on opening day. Wright will be the one who does the bulk of the damage.
Terrance Williams - If you don't have Romo you can still hit paydirt by starting one of his receivers. The Giants will key in on stopping Dez Bryant, so look to his counterpart to play a role in the offense. Williams has come a long way and against the Giants secondary he will have a big outing. Call Williams my sleeper pick this week.
Steve Smith - Life is tough when you open against the first and 12th rated corners in the league, but that is what Smith will face in the Denver pass defense. Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib will shut down the Baltimore receivers this weekend so save Steve for a better matchup.
Brandon Marshall - Players love matching up against the Cleveland Browns, unless they are wide receivers. Marshall will face Joe Haden, who will likely shadow him all day, and that is not good news for his owners. Like Smith, Marshall would be best saved for another day.
Jason Witten - It is Jason Witten matched up against the Giants. Need I say more?
Travis Kelce - Travis is becoming a solid TE who will do well for you in any given week, but The Texans eat TE's for lunch. I would sit any TE that faces them this season. They surrendered less than ten points to every one they faced last season. Until things change, you do not start the tight end that faces them.