MOST INTRIGUING MATCHUPS - WEEK 1
And we’re finally back! 214 days have passed since we last saw real football, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. There’s no more speculating over potential breakouts, sleepers or busts; it’s time to sit back and enjoy actual meaningful games. My favorite thing to do every week after I’ve finally recovered from the whirlwind of emotions that accompany the wins and losses of my fantasy teams is to look ahead to the matchups. This doesn’t always mean looking for the “best” matchups or the matchups between teams with great records. I enjoy looking at matchups with players or teams that I want to see prove something, whether that’s an individual player or a set of players backing up the hype. Throughout the 2021 season I will be breaking down my most intriguing matchups every Friday, and with the boring, explainy part out of the way, let’s get to it.
Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts
This is my favorite matchup of Week 1 for fantasy and it isn’t even close. There will be plenty of tidbits to take from this game, starting with the production we see from the Colts offense. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year, you’d know that Carson Wentz had a bit of a rough 2020 football season, eventually leading to his trade from the Eagles to the Colts. There will be an immense amount of pressure on Wentz to produce early and often for this Colts team that has high expectations and plenty of fantasy relevant players to accompany those standards. Jonathan Taylor is looking to back up the production we saw out of a great rookie year while Michael Pittman Jr. is looking for his sophomore year breakout. On the other side of this game, we have the Seahawks, who despite all the pleas from fantasy managers to just let Russ cook, seem more intent than ever to establish the run game. Russell Wilson has two top end fantasy wide receivers at his disposal in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Pair that with the bruiser running style of Chris Carson and this Seahawks offense should finish as an easy top-10 offense by the end of the year. The big questions for both of these teams are how their play style will adapt as the season progresses and how much trust will they put on their quarterbacks to carry their respective teams. Both teams have above average defenses, so it shouldn’t be a complete shootout. However, I do expect points to flow early and often.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Washington Football Team
This game will truly give us a look at the strengths of these teams and will shine some light on areas in which they struggled last season. The Chargers biggest strength was the play by rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, who looks to continue that success into the 2021 season. For the Washington Football Team, their strength was the stout defense, mostly focused on their defensive line. At the start of this season, however, the questions are focused on the Chargers defense and Washington’s offense. The Chargers enter the year quite healthy, which is a surprise considering they have had absolutely awful injury luck over the last few seasons. Derwin James and Joey Bosa are expected to lead this defense and show they can live up to the hype built from seasons past. Washington had their fair share of struggles on offense last year, mostly due to the incompetent and inconsistent quarterback play of Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith. Bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer to all of their issues, but it is a huge improvement from what they had last year. I have little worries about the Chargers offense and Washington’s defense; my focus will be on their counterparts, how they look and what we can expect going into the season.
Green Bay @ New Orleans
There is a lot of quarterback controversy and drama involved in this matchup between the Aaron Rodgers offseason saga and the quarterback competition in New Orleans. Well, Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay for the time being and Jameis Winston is the starter for New Orleans, at the moment. The Packers are looking to make a run at a Super Bowl while the Saints are looking to their path forward without Drew Brees. The most fantasy relevant information we will get from the Packers out of this game is what the secondary pieces of this offense look like. We know that Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones are all integral parts of the offense, so the focus will be on players like A.J. Dillon and MVS to see what role they have in this offense. For the Saints, it’s going to be a learning experience and an experiment throughout the season. Do not be shocked if they start slow. Jameis has always been a wild quarterback, especially in his last season as a starter where he threw over 30 TDs and 30 int, so you could say there is some roller coaster type play in Jameis’ game. Alvin Kamara should have value regardless of the quarterback, so the bigger question is who steps up in the passing game. The consensus is that Marquez Callaway is the man to step up, but until we see it on the field, it’s all speculation.