With fantasy football taking over the center of the sports betting world, more focus than ever has fallen on the game that has become almost a national pastime. But what do you need to succeed in this ever popular spectrum?
Below is a list of players I think will do well in their Week 1 matchups(studs), followed by some you would do well to avoid in the first week of the season(duds).
Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Facing a defensive unit with potential to be the worst in the history of the league should be just what the doctor ordered to jumpstart the 49ers offense.
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions
Though the Giants have a much-improved secondary, there is still a void in the pass-rushing department in New York. Furthermore, Detroit’s plethora of offensive weaponry creates matchup nightmares for the Giants on defense.
Arian Foster, Running Back, Houston Texans
Washington is one of the league’s softest units in the front seven. And Arian Foster is looking to prove he remains amongst the league’s elite
Montee Ball, Running Back, Denver Broncos
Fear not the appendix, as Ball has an appointment for destruction. Indianapolis’ ranked 26th against the run in 2013 and has not improved in that area this offseason. Ball will be a great complement to Peyton Manning all season long, starting on Sunday Night against the Colts.
Marshawn Lynch, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks
The heart of the Super Bowl champion Seahawks will once again be in beast mode in the season opener against Green Bay. Seattle will control the tempo and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field by running Lynch early and often. Lynch’s value is also helped by a recent report that backup running back Christine Michael will miss the game.
Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
Facing a Bills’ defense decimated by injury and with the second string defensive back to worry about, Jeffery is in for another monster year that will start against the Bills.
Vernon Davis, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick’s favorite target will find the open space in Dallas’ zone.
D/ST: Kansas City
Nothing scares me about the Tennessee Titans offense, so go with a unit that was dominant over the course of the first half of the 2013 season.
Phil Dawson, Kicker, San Francisco 49ers
See Kaepernick, Colin
Philip Rivers, Quarterback, San Diego Chargers
Heading for a productive season, Rivers will have a tough test early as his Chargers will open against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Rivers will get his, but a unit led by Patrick Peterson will be too much for Rivers to overcome in the team’s first game of the year.
DeMarco Murray, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
Facing a tough run defense and little defensive backing of his own, this game will quickly turn into a real shootout leaving Murray out of the equation.
Doug Martin, Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Facing a Carolina Panthers’ defense that placed second against the run last year is no time to start a comeback.
Toby Gerhart, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Steer clear from the Jaguars workhorse in Week 1, as Jacksonville will not be able to keep the scoring pace with Philadelphia. Not to mention the Eagles were top-10 against the run as season ago.
Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Richard Sherman is a matchup nightmare for Nelson as the former is both faster and stronger with good size opposite Nelson. Sitting players against the Seahawks defense is typically a good call, and Nelson falls under that fold this week.
Miles Austin, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
With Brian Hoyer at quarterback and the ninth ranked passing defense from a year ago on the slate, this starting wide out is one to avoid for the first week of the season.
Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
A big rookie campaign should be in store for the Florida State product, but Week 1 will be a tough test against the likes of Alterraun Verner and the Buccaneers ferocious pass defense.
Dennis Pitta, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Expecting a big year from this guy, but a matchup with the Bengals is not a great way to start the year. Facing a talented crop of linebackers and safeties, the opener will be an uphill battle for the Ravens’ offense and Pitta especially.
D/ST: New Orleans
A unit expected to rely on sacks faces a tough opponent in Week 1. Atlanta’s offense is ready to go with Julio Jones back and healthy. Expect a shootout in this one.
Blair Walsh, Kicker, Minnesota Vikings
The Blair-Kick project has no questions about his own ability, just the offense he finds himself a part of. The Rams are an incredible defensive team and will keep the Vikings far from the end zone in this one.
Photo: Mercury News