Football is finally back, and that means fantasy football owners can rejoice. It can be hard to predict which players will have a favorable matchup in Week 1 since we haven’t seen most of the teams at full strength. However, there are arrows pointing up for more than a few players in Week 1. With that in mind, here are six players with great Week 1 matchups:
In Justin Herbert’s four-career games against the Las Vegas Raiders, he’s averaging 24.5 fantasy points a game and has never scored less than 21 fantasy points in those four games. (This is not an attempt to jinx him). The Raiders defense has improved with the addition of Chandler Jones, but the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive line has seen major improvements over the past couple of seasons as well.
On top of all that, the Chargers offense scored the fifth-most points per game last season and there’s a chance it gets better this year. They already have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but Joshua Palmer and Gerald Everett should give Herbert and the Chargers offense a new dynamic.
Yes, Melvin Gordon is still in the backfield, but Javonte Williams’ talent is undeniable. Williams led the league in broken tackles with 31 last season but finished 15th in total rushing attempts. He’s one of the best young running backs in the league and his first matchup of the year is more than promising.
Last season, the Seattle Seahawks gave up the second-most points to running backs on a per game basis at 29.1. Seattle’s defense hasn’t improved since last season, so it’s a perfect opportunity for Williams to establish himself as the unquestionable lead back in the Denver Broncos’ backfield.
Since the Cleveland Browns have been one of the run-heaviest teams the past couple of seasons – and with Jacoby Brissett under center Week 1 – Nick Chubb should see at least 20 rushing attempts against the Carolina Panthers. Brissett was underwhelming for the Miami Dolphins last season when he took over for six games. Because of that, the Browns will most likely try to control the game on the ground.
In his four-year career, Chubb has never averaged less than five yards a carry for a season, establishing himself as one of the best pure runners in the NFL. Kareem Hunt will still get his usual workload, but per usual, Chubb will control the ground game.
With George Kittle unlikely to suit up for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Brandon Aiyuk’s target share should see a spike. By all reports Aiyuk and Trey Lance built a strong rapport over the offseason and Sunday is their first chance to put that on display.
Aiyuk got off to a rough start last season, but he rebounded in the second half of the season by averaging 13.2 fantasy points a game. With Lance and his cannon taking over under center – and Aiyuk being the Niners’ best deep threat option – Aiyuk is in position to have a strong Week 1.
Christian Kirk was paid the big bucks this offseason to be Trevor Lawrence’s go-to guy. Kirk’s first chance to prove that he’s a reliable option will come against the Washington Commanders, which is good news for Kirk. Last season, the Commanders surrendered the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers at 38.9.
In a crowded Cardinals offense, Kirk finished as WR26 last season and with Kirk as the clear No. 1 in Jacksonville, he could become one of the more consistent fantasy wide receivers.
Michael Gallup is still working his way back from a torn ACL, so Dalton Schultz is in line to become Dak Prescott’s second option against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers gave up the 11th most points to tight ends last season, so the likelihood of Schultz having a fantasy-friendly performance is high.
Schultz should see a bigger role in the Cowboys’ offense this year, and he already has proven he’s one of the best tight ends in fantasy. He finished as TE3 last season – and with Amari Cooper’s departure – Schultz is clearly one of the more reliable fantasy tight ends this season.