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Fantasy Football 2014: Week 1 Key Matchups

Matchup Plays and Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 1 in Fantasy Football

September 6, 2014

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The bulk of the NFL action will be happening tomorrow, and fantasy owners everywhere are chomping at the proverbial bit with anticipation. While we’re counting down the hours until kickoff time, let’s take a look at a few players across the league who might be outperforming their expectations out there on the field this weekend thanks to their building buzz and favorable matchups.

Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets: We doubt anyone is starting Smith this week, save for two-QB leagues, but he’s a better matchup play than most people realize and definitely someone to keep your eye on for down the road (assuming he can fend off Michael Vick and retain the starter’s job all season).
Smith had some bafflingly ugly moments last season, but he also showed some flashes of promise--especially late in the year. Now that he’s actually got someone to throw to (Eric Decker and promising new TE Jace Amaro), fantasy owners should be a little more confident.
Smith and the Jets are taking on the Oakland Raiders at home tomorrow. There’s not much to get excited about on that side of the ball, so Smith shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the chains. This should be an audition for him to endear himself in the minds of fantasy owners searching out a backup.

Fantasy Football 2014: Week 1 Key Matchups


Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills: Even after the head-slappingly futile campaign the Bears defense had last season, it’s still weird talking about their deficiencies on that side of the football. The Dick Butkus/Mike Singletary days seem eons away, as the Monsters of the Midway look like puppies when it comes to stopping opposing offenses.
That said, enter Jackson. He’s behind fellow RB C.J. Spiller on most fantasy depth charts, but deserves some love as well. Jackson will likely get plenty of work, and given the fact that he’s playing against such a porous defensive unit, we like his chances for success.
We’re not sure about Jackson’s chances for the rest of the year (actually, we think Bryce Brown will emerge eventually), but for right now he’s a definite start candidate.

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: Tate is a fairly popular choice for a breakout fantasy season, and it’s not too hard to see why. He’s playing opposite the best wide receiver in football (Calvin Johnson), and with Megatron drawing double coverage throughout a game, he should have plenty of one-on-one matchups with opposing corners.
The Lions start things off this year on the big stage of “Monday Night Football” against the Giants. Now, New York has a pretty good secondary, but we feel like the presence of Megatron will negate the extra talent. Expect Tate to get plenty of attention from QB Matthew Stafford, and if he can pull down a few of those targets he’ll be well on his way to the top tier of fantasy wide-outs in 2014.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Eifert is another pretty popular sleeper candidate, and we think he’ll do pretty well on Sunday. He had a great preseason and should get some extra attention his way thanks to the fact that No. 1 WR Dwayne Bowe is suspended this week.
He’ll be matched up against the Titans, who allowed some pretty good numbers to opposing tight ends last season. Try to contain your expectations, but don’t be surprised if Kelce goes off tomorrow.

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.


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