NFL Week 1 is finally here!
No more beautiful words in the English language, I tell ya. Let’s jump right in to all the Week 1 matchups, including burning questions and some very important answers. Time for kickoff!
Want more data-driven stats and tools to help you win your fantasy league? Check out the Razzball Fantasy Football premium subscriptions for $0.00 upfront with our 3-day free trial!
Answer: Not really, but I do think the Lions will hang around in this game. Everyone will be taking the Chiefs on national TV to kick off the NFL season, so I like the Lions and possibly a good PPR performance from Jahmyr Gibbs out of the backfield. The Lions will have no answers for Travis Kelce defensively, but I still expect the Under to hit in this game.
Burning question: Will rookie QB Bryce Young be ready to produce right out of the gate?
Answer: I think you might be inclined to think ‘good matchup’ here, but the first game for a rookie quarterback is usually a rough one, regardless of the opponent. NFL team defensive speed is just somethin’ else. You just need to keep experiencing it first-hand. This could actually be a good fantasy game for both defenses. Not a lot I’m interested in, offensively.
Burning question: Will Joe Burrow be fully ready to go, under center?
Answer: Yup, ‘Joey B’ is back to practice and should be mostly himself in Cincinnati’s season opener. I’m not a big believer in the Browns this season, so I expect good games out the gate from Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
Burning question: Will rookie QB Anthony Richardson be able to fly high right out of the box?
Answer: I’m sure Richardson will get his scrambles, but otherwise, this is a good game for the Jacksonville D. I already picked them up in one of my mainstay leagues. On Jacksonville’s side, I expect Calvin Ridley to want to make an impression from the get-go. In the backfield, keep an eye on the touch splits between Travis Etienne and Tank Bigsby.
Tampa Bay Bucs (+6) at Minnesota Vikings
Burning question: Can the combination of Baker Mayfield and Todd Bowles generate any offense at all?
Answer: I don’t like this coach/QB combination throughout the long haul of the season, but maybe game 1 presents one of their better opportunities as a duo. If you’re ever going to use Mayfield, Mike Evans (but keep an eye on his contract situation), Chris Godwin and Rachaad White in DFS, maybe this is the time. The Minnesota defense has talented individual players with a questionable whole. This spread might be just a tad too high in Minny’s favor.
Answer: This is one of the tougher games on the Week 1 schedule. On the one hand, the Titans have to play with some urgency. This is a ‘last hurrah’ situation for Tannehill, Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins, and if they get off to a slow start, we’ll see Malik Willis or Will Levis sooner rather than later. So, the urgency bodes well for the Titans against the spread. Still, Carr plays better at home in his career, as do the Saints in general. With an over/under of just 41, I could see the Over hitting with Tannehill and Carr both having decent starts to their respective seasons.
Answer: Hmm, hmm, hmm… tough one. On the one hand, the 49ers, as just 2.5-point favorites, look tasty. On the other, the Steelers’ defense in a home opener vs. an inexperienced quarterback? This is a pick-your-poison kind of matchup. Fantasy-wise, I don’t really like anyone on the Steelers in this matchup. On the Niners side, it should be a good game for Christian McCaffrey dump-offs in full-point PPR. Could also be a fast start for George Kittle at the tight end position.
Arizona Cardinals (+7) at Washington Commanders
Burning question: Can the Cardinals tank enough to lose all 17 games?
Answer: When you have a really bad team, your best shot to shine is generally the first game of the season. Emotions are running high; guys are playing extra-motivated. But I simply can’t buy that here. I think Eric Bieniemy is gonna have fun with his new toys in Washington. I like Sam Howell, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson in DFS for NFL Week 1. So yeah, maybe the Cardinals can go 0-17.
Burning question: Can rookie QB C.J. Stroud handle a tough Baltimore defense in his debut?
Answer: Certainly doesn’t look like it – just look at that spread. Very telling number, this early in the season. Lamar Jackson also tends to do well early in the year, so this feels like a potential 21-28-point victory for the Ravens. Fire up Lamar, J.K. Dobbins, Odell Beckham, Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews in fantasy. Multiple guys are gonna pop off for the Ravens.
Answer: Not a big enough spread for the Bears at home, here. This indicates a scrappy, tough performance from the Packers to me. I like Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon and Romeo Doubs out the gate in fantasy. Might take Fields a couple of weeks to settle in with new personnel.
Burning question: Can Sean Payton turn Russell Wilson’s career back around?
Answer: No, I don’t really think so. As a matter of fact, I love the Raiders in game 1 here. Josh Jacobs is back, Davante Adams hasn’t been traded yet and Josh McDaniels needs to save his job. This should be a good fantasy week for Jacobs on the Raiders side and RB Javonte Williams on Denver’s side.
Burning question: Will this be Bill Belichick’s final season as the head coach of the Pats?
Answer: Probably, yeah. The Eagles are going to mop the Patriots right out of the gate. Expect big games from Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, in particular. I think the Eagles are gonna win by 3-4 scores.
Burning question: Will this finally be the season Justin Herbert wins a playoff game?
Answer: No, I don’t think so. And I think +3 might be a little too disrespectful to Tua and the Dolphins in the opener. I like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Week 1 fantasy. On the Chargers side, Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen should pile up receptions early.
Answer: I think so, yeah, but not immediately. This line is pretty generous for the Rams, actually. Injured rookie WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba may return for Seattle’s opener, but he’ll be playing at less than 100 percent, if anything. Later on down the line this season, I like the idea of Geno Smith rocking with “JSN,” D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at full strength. For now, though, it’s a good matchup start for Stafford, Cam Akers and Week 1 sleeper Tyler Higbee. We have to keep an eye on Cooper Kupp’s health situation, obviously.
Burning question: Will the Giants take another step up with head coach Brian Daboll in year 2?
Answer: It might be too crowded in the NFC for them to do that. And in Week 1, right out of the box, I don’t like this betting line at all. Why are the Cowboys -3.5 on the road? Very bad sign for the G-Men. This could be a monster start for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard and Brandin Cooks. Bad indicators for the Giants right away.
Answer: I expect this to be a lower-scoring game than people anticipate. When you see ‘Aaron Rodgers vs. Josh Allen’ on Monday Night Football, you might immediately think high score. But this isn’t the defense the Jets want to start against, I promise you. I think this game is gonna be a surprising grind on both ends. Not a great fantasy week for Allen, Rodgers and Stefon Diggs, right off the top.
Best of luck in both fantasy and betting!
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 19 years. For more of his Razzball content, plus more, Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football, basketball and baseball throughout the year.