You have to love Week 1 of the NFL Season. We finally got a chance to see every team, starters against starters. Let’s just say that the results were a mixed bag. Some players proved what fantasy insiders were saying all off-season, and others tanked (I’m looking at you, Greg Olsen). This week I chose to highlight some players with tough matchups and some bargains that could be on everyone else’s team. Let’s dive into the red flag situation.
Tom Brady at Buffalo - $8,300
I don’t know Rex Ryan personally, but if I had to guess, I think he starts every morning with affirmations like “I will beat Bill Belichick this year.” And “We will sack Tom Brady.” He is obsessed. As far as his track record against the Patriots, well, it’s a mixed bag. Rex does best in the first match up of each season. In fact, over the last six years, Brady has only scored seven touchdowns to five interceptions and averaged only 235 passing yards per game in the first meeting against Rex Ryan. Don’t worry too much, Brady usually dominates the second meeting, but Rex is working with arguably the best defense he’s ever had. Look for the Bill defensive line to put pressure on Brady all game long.
Carson Palmer at Chicago - $7,800
Hear me out… I love Palmer this week, but so does every other daily fantasy site. The guy scored two or more touchdowns in every game he completed going back to the beginning of last season. Sure, his injuries held him out for a majority of the 2014 season, but when he played, he was great. Palmer’s on a hot streak, and a ton of people will play him and pair him with a cheap John Brown at $6,200. That doesn’t mean you can’t win a ton of 50/50’s if you do the same, but for GPPs you’ll be one of the crowd.
Adrian Peterson versus Detroit - $9,000
There is a very distinct possibility that Peterson has a bounce back game against the Lions. My problem is that he’s still the most expensive running back on the board. You could make an argument that he’s a solid contrarian pick, but why pay premium prices for a guy who only rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries and caught 3 passes for 21 yards. Certainly we have to assume that the Vikings will get him more involved with the game after last week’s disaster, but again, I don’t want to pay $9,000 until I’m sure.
A.J. Green versus San Diego - $8,100
Five catches for 63 yards isn’t exactly an elite performance, but those were Green’s numbers at Oakland. Last week San Diego held Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate to 63 yards combined. Last week Andy Dalton targeted Green eight times as compared to the 12 targets for breakout tight end Tyler Eifert. I like Green going forward this season and think the fear is a little overblown, but this week there are cheaper options with better matchups. Let defenses figure out Eifert and then go back to the A.J. Green well for production.
Brandon Marshall at Indianapolis - $7,400
Last week Brandon Marshall proved a lot of doubters wrong and dominated cornerback Joe Haden. This week he goes up against another elite defender, Vontae Davis. Almost every Bills players had a nice game when they upset the Indianapolis Colts. Except Sammy Watkins. Davis held Watkins to zero catches. Will Davis hold Marshall to zero catches as well? Probably not, but Marshall’s price tag is tied for the 13th highest among wide receivers and it’s hard to imagine him outplaying or even living up to that salary. Jordan Matthews is $400 cheaper. Terrance Williams is only $6,300. There are other No. 1 receivers in better matchups at lower price points.
Jimmy Graham at Green Bay - $7,100
This is all about price. Jimmy Graham will be involved every week, but the extent of his production when compared to his peers is not as dominate as it used to be. Last week he scored in the St. Louis game, and he still was only the 9th highest scoring tight end on the week. Fading him has nothing to do with whether or not you think he’ll score, but rather if you think he’s worth a whole $1,000 more than the next highest priced option, Martellus Bennett. You can get Tyler Eifert and his 12 targets for $5,900. Jordan Reed is $5,000. There are so many quality options that will allow you to use your salary elsewhere, so it’s hard to add Graham to you lineup at his current price point.