The season is finally here and it is time to set that lineup. Some of you were fully expecting to have Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck all season. His shocking retirement has shocked the fantasy football community and I am sure forcing some people to look for new options. There are some of you out there that intend to stream the quarterback, tight end, and defense this year. This is a strategy used by many and I want to help you make the right lineup decisions.
Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions has been a top 10 fantasy football QB every year until last season. Everyone is down on him and with the bevy of talent at the position, he is going undrafted in most leagues. Stafford had a rough season last year and reportedly played with broken bones in his back. He should have a bounce-back season and without Patrick Peterson due to suspension, I love this matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Look for Stafford to be playable as he has the weapons and the ability to put up good fantasy production in Week 1.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys is probably sitting on your bench as he was the 17th QB off the board in fantasy football drafts this offseason. Dak has a fantastic fantasy football matchup Week 1 vs. the New York Giants. Even if Ezekiel Elliott comes back or not, it’s set up to be a good week to start Prescott.
You may even end up keeping him in your lineup a few weeks as he opens up with three great matchups. Following the Giants, Dallas will play at the Washington Redskins in Week 2 then host the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. If Tony Pollard does play, you should see even more passing as he specialized as a pass-catcher in college.
Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Minnesota Vikings open up at home against the Atlanta Falcons in a fantasy football friendly matchup. This should be a great game with two teams that everyone is expecting to be in the playoff hunt. The Vikings offense should be explosive and favored against the Falcons defense. The offense for the Falcons is extremely high powered and could always turn this into a shootout. Everyone is starting wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs Week 1, they should do the same with Kirk Cousins.
Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
Mark Andrews has been drafted as the 14th highest fantasy football tight end this offseason. Unless you have one of the top six or seven guys on your roster, I would look to start the Baltimore Ravens’ tight end in Week 1. They get the Miami Dolphins, and Andrews could easily lead this team in targets as they lack a true wide receiver one.
Darren Waller – Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
The Oakland Raiders should be passing the ball a lot this season due to their weak defense. They get the Denver Broncos in Week 1, and we should find out quickly if the Darren Waller hype is real or not. This is a boom or bust fantasy football pick, but it just takes a big play or two in most weeks to be a top 10 fantasy football tight end.
Geoff Swaim – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This was a deep one and Geoff Swaim is most likely a free agent in your fantasy football leagues. The Jacksonville Jaguars open the season against the Kansas City Chiefs, and this could be a high scoring affair. New QB Nick Foles should have to throw the ball 30+ times. Foles has been known to target the middle of the field and the tight end position specifically. Swaim could easily see 8+ targets in this game and be a playable option for Week 1.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Seattle Seahawks went undrafted in most fantasy football leagues before they added Jadeveon Clowney yesterday via trade. Clowney might not play the full game on Sunday, but the matchup is too good not to mention the Seahawks. The Seahawks start the season at home versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals will be without high profile wide receiver A.J. Green, and their offensive line is in shambles.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
The New York Jets open the season at home versus the Buffalo Bills. No one is expecting this game to amount to a ton of points, and the Jets defense has some playmakers. Josh Allen has been prone to turnovers, and the Jets defense could be a nice fantasy football play if you are looking for an option off of the waivers wire.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Chiefs defense doesn’t jump off of the page as a team that you want to draft for fantasy football. They made a lot of changes, however, on their defense this offseason and should be much improved under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo calling the shots. Tyrann Mathieu should bolster that defense, and pass rusher Chris Jones should be in the Jacksonville backfield all day. Look for Jacksonville to be playing from behind which opens this up for sacks and interceptions, not to mention Tyreek Hill in the return game.
Matt Bryant – Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings
The Atlanta Falcons open up the season in Minnesota versus the Vikings and this game should be high scoring. The game is also indoors, which makes for ideal conditions. Matt Bryant was just signed yesterday so go scoop him up before you can.
Stephen Hauschka – Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka was just extended and has had a very consistent career. On a team that could struggle to score touchdowns, he should see a lot of work on Sundays. I like him in this matchup even versus a tough Jets defense.
Brandon McManus – Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
Brandon McManus has a huge leg and the Broncos have a great matchup. Denver should have its way with Oakland on Monday night, and McManus should stay busy.
David Heilman is a writer and Fantasy Football co-director for Pro Football Network. You can follow him at @DynastyDorks on Twitter.