Finally. Actual NFL football games are going to be played this weekend. No more preseason snoozefests and Madden simulations to get your fix. It’s time for some games that actually matter. And with that comes fantasy football season. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups across the league and give my thoughts on the guys you should start, the ones you should sit and the ones you should keep your eye out for on the waiver wire. Now I’m not going to waste my time and tell you to start Adrian Peterson and Aaron Rodgers. That goes without saying. Rather, I’ll be focusing on those guys who you may be waffling back and forth on each week. Let’s take a look at week one, shall we?
>> Tony Romo, QB, DAL vs. NYG
Romo was a beast at home last season and he’s taken advantage of the Giants secondary throwing for more than 300 yards in four of his last six outings against them. While Romo has been what many consider to be a disappointment in his time as the Dallas starter, he’s been a steady fantasy competitor over the years and that should continue this week.
>> David Wilson, RB, NYG @ DAL
Wilson looks to be the featured back for the Giants with the loss of Andre Brown and the Cowboys defense was anything but strong against the run last season. Look for the Giants to try to take some pressure off Eli Manning and the passing game and build Wilson’s confidence with plenty of touches to start the season.
>> T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND vs. OAK
Hilton sits at the third on the depth chart behind Reggie Wayne (not getting any younger) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (battled inconsistency throughout his career). Hilton had a solid rookie campaign last year and showed that same playmaking ability in the preseason. Look for him to be an impact player for the Colts offense all season starting against the Raiders this week.
>> Owen Daniels, TE, HOU @ SD
Daniels had a solid preseason and the Chargers aren’t a scary matchup for the Texans offense. Expect Houston to move the ball consistently and Daniels should get his share of targets.
>> Washington, DEF, WAS vs. PHI
The Redskins pass rush has been steady and impressive so look for plenty of pressure on Michael Vick – who has been known to make mistakes under duress throughout the years. The Eagles offense may move the ball with Chip Kelly’s system but expect to see a few turnovers and sacks early on.
>> Cam Newton, QB, CAR vs. SEA
While Newton is usually a surefire start every time out, the Seahawks D is nasty. In his week five matchup with Seattle last season, Newton had less than 200 total yards and no touchdowns. Roll the dice with caution if you don’t have a viable backup or take a look at the waiver wire and see if someone like Sam Bradford (vs. ARI) and Matt Schaub (@ SD).
>> Arian Foster, RB, HOU @ SD
Foster missed the entire preseason with back and calf injuries but is slated to start for the Texans this weekend. He’ll split carries with Ben Tate – who has proven to be more than a capable option in Foster’s absence – and the pair will likely split carries until Foster proves he is back to his old self.
>> Stevie Johnson, WR, BUF vs. NE
Despite being one of the top targets in Buffalo going against an average New England secondary, Johnson is a risky play this week until the quarterback position gets settled in Buffalo. He’s also struggled to find the endzone against New England in three of the last four matchups of the two teams.
>> Jermichael Finley, TE, GB @ SF
Finley is hit or miss as it is playing in a Packers offense that loves to throw it downfield to the receivers. Going up against a stingy 49er defense with two of the top linebackers in the league won’t help Finley’s chances of catching Aaron Rodgers eye this week.
>> Baltimore, DEF, BAL @ DEN
There’s a lot of fresh faces on the Ravens D this year. Facing Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the first week out isn’t exactly an ideal scenario. It will be trial by fire as the new look Baltimore unit will try to slow down the explosive Denver passing game.
>> Jacoby Jones, WR, BAL @ DEN
The starter opposite of Torrey Smith is owned in only 29% of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues. With Anquan Boldin off to San Francisco, Jones should emerge as a solid option in PPR league as he is projected to catch around 50 passes this year. Solid option turns into great option if your league gives points for return yardage as Jones is projected to handle both in Baltimore.
>> Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL @ NO
You can’t trust Steven Jackson. Especially not to tote the rock 300+ times this year. Rodgers has been the heir apparent in Atlanta the last two seasons behind Michael Turner and even though Jackson should see more carries, Rodgers’ could be spot starter in most PPR leagues. He is available in almost 70% of Yahoo! leagues.
Each week I’ll feature a tasty recipe you need to make for watching the games with a cold one. This week I’m going with personal experience. I made these last week to celebrate the opening of college football weekend and OH MY GOD THEY’RE DELICIOUS.
Jalapeno Brat Poppers
8-10 fresh Jalapenos
8 oz cream cheese (I used the jalapeno cheddar kind)
1 cup of cheddar cheese
16-20 slices of thick cut bacon
1. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove the insides.
2. Remove the casing of the bratwurst with a knife and brown the meat in a pan. Drain.
3. Mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and cooked bratwurst.
4. Scoop your cheesy brat mixture into the half jalapenos.
5. Wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick.
6. Lay some tinfoil on your grill and cook at low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes turning every 10 minutes OR throw ‘em in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes depending on how crispy you like your bacon.
Shart of the Week
I’m nothing if I’m not honest so that’s why I have reserved this space to shame myself with a gamble I made the week before that turned into a messy situation. This week I’m letting myself off the hook since there hasn’t been any games played.
Good luck in your fantasy quests this season, friends!