Week 1 fantasy advice: Start Mathews, sit Bortles, and more
For the past few seasons, the Matchups Machine column has focused on the best matchups at every position for each week. The goal was to find the most ideal play for DFS and season-long leagues based strictly on that player’s opponent.
This season, we’ll be doing things a little differently. We’ll still take a look at the best matchups of the week, but we’ll also explore the fringe players and let you know if you should start them or sit them.
We focused on QB, RB and WR because they are the positions that can be most accurately assessed. The TE spot is difficult to predict on a weekly basis because many teams vary how they cover them. Let’s jump right in.
The best matchups
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (vs. Cowboys)
Everyone who drafted Manning as a breakout QB for a mid-range price tag is freaking out after the preseason. How quickly we forgot that Manning threw for 188 yards, one touchdown and a 48.8 percent completion percentage in the 2014 preseason. He followed that up with another subpar preseason in 2015. In the real games that count, he’s thrown for 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in 2014 and 2015 combined. Throw out the preseason stats.
If those numbers didn’t sway you, a matchup with the Cowboys should. What’s the best remedy for an offensive line that is struggling to pass protect? The answer is arguably the worst starting defensive front on paper to open the season. Sure, the Cowboys can bank on Tyrone Crawford regaining form at the 3-technique defensive tackle position, but the Cowboys will kick off Week 1 without their top two pass rushers from 2015 (Demarcus Lawrence, Greg Hardy). They are counting on David Irving and Terrell McClain to provide some pass pressure as starters — the two combined for just 250 total defensive snaps and 11 total pressures in 2015. It’s ugly for the Cowboys and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme relies on front four pressure.