A massive part of succeeding in fantasy football is playing the match-ups and setting the right lineup. Obviously there are some players, like Antonio Brown and David Johnson, that should never be left on your bench no matter their opponent, but for most this is not the case. Below are my picks for who you should start and who you should sit this week.
Sam Bradford v NO
Although the Saints defence has improved this offseason, they're still along way away from being elite and remain a good fantasy matchup for quarterbacks. Like most Saints games, the contest is likely to be high scoring with Bradford having to attempt to keep up with Drew Brees and his high powered offence. Add to this that Bradford actually has some good weapons around him with Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph and Cook and the Vikings QB looks like a good option to start this week.
Carson Palmer v DET
At the end of last year Palmer started to return to his impressive form of 2015 and I think he might continue to produce at a high level as we start the season. With both Jon Brown and David Johnson healthy and Larry Fitzgerald seemingly showing no signs of ageing, I can see Palmer exploiting a reasonably average Lions defence and being a solid play for week one.
Eli Manning v DAL
I'm not as optimistic as most when it comes to the potential of Brandon Marshall this year, but I am predicting great things for rookie TE Evan Engram. With these additions, the Giants passing offence looks like one of the best in the league and, with the Cowboys secondary looking like one of the worst in the NFL, I fancy Eli to put up top 10 fantasy numbers this week.
Philip Rivers v DEN
As much as I think Rivers and the Chargers have a big year ahead of them, a Monday night game in Denver is probably the worst start possible when it comes to fantasy, I'll be benching the gun slinger this week.
Andy Dalton v BAL
The Bengals lost a lot of talent on the offensive line this offseason and failed to adequately replace it. I think the strong Ravens defence will shut down Dalton and the Bengals offence, leaving the fantasy owners of the NFL's second favourite ginger quarterback disappointed.
Dak Prescott v NYG
Despite Zeke being cleared to play in week one, I expect Dak to struggle against one of the league's most formidable defences. Janoris Jenkins is likely to take Dez Bryant out of the game and without him I can't see Prescott delivering high end fantasy numbers this week.
Isaiah Crowell v PIT
With it being rookie DeShone Kizer's first proper NFL game I expect Hue Jackson to lean heavily on the run game against the Steelers, so Crowell is likely to see a large volume of carries. On top of that, many RB's exploited the Steelers' subpar run defence last year (none more so than Jay Ajayi) and I can see it still being a weakness for Pittsburgh in 2017.
Christian McCaffery v SF
After an electric preseason McCaffery is all set to light up the league and he has a great chance to do just that against the 49ers. With Newton still not fully recovered from shoulder surgery, the Panthers will most likely try to protect him by having Cam check the ball down to McCaffery rather than scrambling out of the pocket making the rookie a great PPR option this week.
Todd Gurley v IND
I'm calling the Gurley bounce back this year and a game against the Colts is a great way to get that ball rolling. The Indianapolis defence struggled against the run in 2016 and I can't see things changing much this year despite their offseason additions. McVay also seems to want Gurley catching passes out of the backfield, further improving his fantasy output.
Leonard Fournette v HOU
The rookie out of LSU is still struggling with a foot injury and, with the Texans defence looking frighteningly good upfront, I can't see Fournette having a good week. This season Fournette looks to be in for a large amount of carries but with a niggling injury and poor offensive line play looking like it will play a big factor, I'd leave Leonard on the bench this week.
Joe Mixon v BAL
Marvin Lewis has a history of working rookie running backs into the lineup incredibly slowly and I don't see things being any different with Mixon. Despite his undeniable talent, I just can't see Mixon having enough volume in the run or passing game to be a starting fantasy RB just yet. Add to this that the Baltimore defence looks to be one of the league's best and it's clear to me that Mixon should be left on the bench in week one.
Kareem Hunt v NE
I fully expect Andy Reid to get a great season out of Kareem Hunt in 2017, however I also expect Bill Belichick to find a way to keep him quiet in the NFL's season opener. The Patriots were the worst fantasy match-up possible for an RB last season and I have no doubts that they will continue to be a fantasy players nightmare in 2017.
Pierre Garcon v CAR
Garcon thrived under Kyle Shanahan back in Washington and, if the preseason is any indication, the 49ers new number one wideout looks likely to be receiving an awful lot of targets in 2017. With a favourable match-up against an poor Panthers secondary, I feel comfortable with Garcon as a top flex play this week, maybe even a WR2.
Michael Crabtree v TEN
Despite the Titans adding to their secondary in both free agency and the draft, I still see it as the biggest weakness in Tennessee. Crabtree has been more productive in fantasy than Cooper over the past two seasons mainly due to his higher touchdown rate and I wouldn't be surprised to see him grab a few more TD's this Sunday.
Jamison Crowder v PHI
The addition of Ronald Darby will certainly help but the Philadelphia secondary remains a big worry for both the staff and fans of the Eagles. Crowder already has a well established connection with Kirk Cousins and I don't think 8 or 9 receptions is out of reach this weekend, making Crowder a must play in PPR.
Keenan Allen v DEN
Receivers don't score well against Denver. Ever. That is all.
Davante Adams v SEA
Receivers don't usually score well against the Seahawks either and I don't feel Adams has the talent to find holes in the Legion of Boom.
T.Y. Hilton v LAR
Scott Tolzien looked incapable of getting the Colts offensive going in the preseason so I'd stay well away from all the pass catchers in Indy until Luck returns to the lineup.
Zach Ertz v WAS
I predict that Ertz will lead the Eagles in receptions come the end of the year and I expect to see him make a good start against a team that he seems to enjoy playing against. Last year he had 10 receptions for 112 yards against Washington and I hope to see similar totals this time around.
Coby Fleener v MIN
Last season, when Snead was missing, Fleener's fantasy points tended to improve and with the receiver out with a three game suspension, Coby will be the number two target in one of the league's most pass heavy offences. Unless you have one of the top 5 tight ends, put Fleener in your lineup this week.
Kyle Rudolph v NO
Rudolph was Bradford's go to guy last year and even though I expect the Vikings to open up the offence a bit more this season, the TE is likely to be targeted quite a few times against the Saints.
Hunter Henry v DEN
Until Antonio Gates breaks the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end, Hunter Henry will remain behind Gates in the pecking order so until the veteran goes into the record books, I'd keep Henry out of your lineup.
CJ Fiedorowicz v JAX
The combination of Tom Savage and the Jags defence is not good for CJ by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe he'll want Brock back?
Eric Ebron v ARI
I worry that Eric Ebron will have Tyrann Mathieu covering him for a lot of this game and if that's the case, I'd look to start another tight end.
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Mowlem is a sports writer from Reading, United Kingdom. All articles are written by Reece Mowlem (unless stated otherwise).