Players With Tough Week 1 Matchups
We all have those superstars on our rosters who should be automatic starters week after week, right? Not so fast. I don’t believe in the old adage “always start your studs”, as it’s sort of lazy and not entirely accurate if you want the most out of your fantasy squad.
In this new column at 4for4, each week I’ll take a look at individual matchups and point out the players who I think could struggle, even if they’re elite. I’m not saying to sit them without question, but as the title goes, these are players with tough matchups, meaning you'll have tough lineup decisions to make.
Aaron Rodgers @ Bears
Chicago's defense owned Rodgers in 2018, and there’s no reason to think they’ll take their foot off the gas pedal in Week 1. He was sacked seven times in their two meetings last season and failed to throw a touchdown pass at Soldier Field.
I’m sure most, if not all, of you drafted Rodgers to be your QB1 and want to lead with him to start the season, but you’ve been warned.
Cam Newton vs. Rams
Newton is surrounded by a wealth of question marks to start the 2019 season. He’s returning from last year’s shoulder surgery and also recovering from a foot injury he sustained in Week 3 of the preseason. Even if Newton’s cleared, health-wise, the 30-year-old signal-caller faces a stout Rams pass rush on Sunday that could give him some trouble right off the bat.
We could see some conservative play calling for Newton which could also hinder his fantasy production, so start him with caution.
Derrick Henry @ Browns
Some of you believed in Henry’s end of 2018 explosion enough to draft him in the fourth round and are fired up to plug him in right away. You may want to weigh the risks before automatically sliding him into a starting roster spot. The Browns defense is no joke and is actually ranked third by 4for4’s resident forecaster, John Paulsen, in this week’s rankings. Henry will also be running behind an offensive line sans star left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is serving a four-game suspension due to a PED violation.
Henry is projected to post RB28 numbers on the week so there could be a better option or two on your roster already.
Tyreek Hill @ Jaguars
A divisive player on morality alone, Hill is a player drafters either flocked to at his lower ADP or decided there’s no conscience in fantasy football and pulled the trigger in the first round once he was cleared for NFL action. He’s usually a no-brainer start, especially to kick off the season, but Week 1 could be tough going for Hill.
In one of the premier matchups of the week, he’ll have one of the league's best cover corners in Jalen Ramsey glued to his hip all game long. This could potentially cause Patrick Mahomes to throw elsewhere or if he tests the duo, it could be a battle Hill has the potential to lose.
Calvin Ridley @ Vikings
Atlanta's offense is projected to be highly productive for fantasy purposes this season, but they could find themselves stifled at the starting blocks, especially Ridley. A road game is tough enough, but the second-year wideout also has to contend with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes in the Minnesota secondary.
It’s likely Ridley has trouble finding space in the open field on Sunday, so you may want to pump the brakes on that starting roster spot.