Week 1 is here! Let’s get this season started. I’ve got four matchups I’m looking at in the opening weekend. Of course, as always with defenses, it’s hard to gauge what and who will be where, especially early in the season. Here are the wide receiver matchups I’m paying attention to in Week 1.
Week 1 Wide Receiver Matchups
Higgins is going against Martin Emerson. Emerson is in his second year, and the Browns are hoping he takes that next step. If Ja’Marr Chase gets double coverage, Burrow will be looking to get it to Higgins. Last year, in the one game against the Browns that Higgins played, he had a good day for fantasy managers. He was targeted six times with three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland is going to put pressure on Burrow and will try to stop him from throwing. They are hoping the calf is not 100% and will look to get to him fast. Burrow will have to make quick decisions, and fantasy managers with Higgins should expect few targets but big gains on those he will get. Hopefully, we see him in the end zone also.
This could actually be a really good day for Smith, as he will be lining up across from rookie Christian Gonzalez. You know what that means, right? The Eagles are going to try and see what they can get away with throwing Gonzalez’s direction. The Patriots’ defense looks very different this year, and the Eagles are looking to exploit that. I expect A.J. Brown and Smith to be very active in this game—lots of touches, yards, and end zone celebrations for both. Smith may have the advantage, as the Eagles will pick on the rookie. Can the young man handle his first NFL game against the NFC champions? Smith only had three games last season under 10 fantasy points. Tomorrow will not be one of those games.
The Broncos vs. The Raiders
This game is very interesting to me, for both offenses and defenses. For the Broncos, once again, it’s been a rough offseason for injuries and another new coach. However, this time around, the Broncos got it right. Coach Sean Payton will look to elevate this offense immediately. That will start with getting Courtland Sutton involved, especially with Jerry Jeudy not at 100%. The Broncos won’t want to take that chance in Week 1. Sutton needs to step up tomorrow, and he has that ability.
Last year against the Raiders, Sutton had 132 yards and one touchdown in two matchups. He will be going against Marcus Peters, an aging cornerback who came over from the Ravens. Peters allowed a 64% completion rate last season, and when the Ravens played the Broncos, he allowed 100%.
Now, let’s move to the other side of the ball, where we see Davante Adams. He will be lined up across from the one and only Patrick Surtain II. We all know they are both good; however, last season, Adams was unstoppable. He accumulated 242 yards and two touchdowns in two outings against the Broncos. Not good for Surtain. Tomorrow will be different. Surtain knows to be the best, you have to stop the best.
There are changes on the Raiders also, as they have a new quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. We all know Adams went to the Raiders to be with Derek Carr, and the results were great. How will Adams adjust to Garoppolo? Will Garoppolo even target Surtain? We’ll get the answers tomorrow. Am I saying sit Adams? No, but I can see a game where not a lot of targets head his way, although that was not the case last year. Surtain, in two games against the Raiders, had 19 targets with a completion rate of 68%. Josh McDaniels was not scared to throw his way. I’m not sure that will be the case tomorrow.