The countdown to the opening kickoff of the 2016 NFL season continues to tick along. This year the season will kick off on Thursday September 8th with a rematch of last years Super Bowl as the Carolina Panthers will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos.
Now while we all are looking forward to some great football in Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season, for us we are turning our early attention to some of the top potential fantasy matchups to open up the first NFL weekend of the season. That being said many things could change from now till then with training camps not even underway yet.
One of those fantasy matchups we like in week 1 is Amari Cooper for the Oakland Raiders going up against an New Orleans Saints team that was horrible against the pass last season. As a rookie last season Cooper hauled in 72 catches for 1,070 yards to go with six touchdown passes.
Meanwhile the Saints defense allowed the second most passing yards in the NFL per game last season at 413.8 while also allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Along with Cooper his quarterback Derek Carr is an interesting option in week 1 as well as the Saints defense allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks last season according to ESPN’s Fantasy Point Against numbers.
The Saints will also be learning a new defensive scheme this season as the team moved away from Rob Ryan. The team will also need second year corner back Delvin Breaux as well as their very talented group of safeties to play a bigger role in slowing down opposing passing attacks. Till we see this during the regular season we will ride with wide receivers and quarterbacks going up against the Saints.
Here are some other key fantasy matchups in week 1 of the 2016 NFL Season.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams against the San Francisco 49ers: One thing we know entering this season is the 49ers defense struggled last season as well as the Philadelphia Eagles. Now add Chip Kelly who coached the Eagles and his fast paced offense to that 49ers defense and we could see of ton of scoring going up in games featuring the 49ers. Luckily for Gurley he will get a shot at these defense twice during the regular season. Last season Gurley ran for 133 yards with one touchdown in his only meeting against the 49ers after missing the start of the regular season.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers against Josh Norman, Washington Redskins: Now before we get into this primetime matchup on Monday Night we will go on the record to say we like the Redskins defense entering the 2016 NFL season including the addition of Norman to their secondary. That being said we saw Norman rise his stocks last year slowing down some of the games top wide receviers including limiting Odell Beckhams production, holding Mike Evans to 132 yards in two games and allowing Allen Robinson just one catch for 27 yards. Now Norman will have his hands full in week 1 against one of the NFL’s top wide receivers.
Sam Bradford & Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles against the Cleveland Browns: Another offseason is in the books and another reason to believe the Browns will be at the bottom of the entire AFC. This team has some key big names but their lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball is very alarming. This has been the same trend for this team showing up in the numbers last season as the team finished 28th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed per contest. The other question is will Joe Haden be fully healthy to help solidfy their secondary? For us we like the Eagles passing attack in week 1 against the Browns.
The other fantasy options we like in week 1 include DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Latavius Murray, Laquon Treadwell, Seattle Seahawks defense, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr and Andrew Luck.