You've been pacing the floor. You can't stand it anymore. You're giddy like a six year old at Christmas. Why? Week 1 of the NFL season is finally here. Ray Flowers will, each and every one of the seventeen weeks of the fantasy football season, break down the matchups to help you to decide which players you might want to bench or start based upon the matchups. This is but one piece of what we will be offering for you at FantasyAlarm, what we hope will be the best fantasy football experience of your life. With that, let's stop wasting time and just get to the Week 1 matchups.
Here's a link to the Fantasy Alarm WEEKLY PLAYER RANKINGS.
Since we have no data for the 2014 season to build on yet, here are the rankings of defenses from 2013. Note this is just a guide since teams have changed personal and schemes in many instances.
|2013 Defensive Rankings||Games||Rush||Pass||Total|
|New Orleans Saints||16||19||2||4|
|San Francisco 49ers||16||4||7||5|
|New York Giants||16||14||10||8|
|New York Jets||16||3||22||11|
|St. Louis Rams||16||9||19||15|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||15||17||17|
|San Diego Chargers||16||12||29||23|
|Kansas City Chiefs||16||22||25||24|
|Green Bay Packers||16||25||24||25|
|New England Patriots||16||30||18||26|
Thursday, Sept. 4
Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 8:30 p.m.
Last played each other 9/24/14: Packers 12 at Seahawks 14. Seattle defense records 8 sacks & Seahawks WR Golden Tate catches 2 TD passes, including 24-yard game winner as time expires.
Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback in league history with 5-straight years with a QB Rating of 100. He is also 4-0 as a starter on Thursday Night football.
The Seahawks led the NFL in takeaways last seasons. They had 39 of them including 28 interceptions, a rate of 1.75 picks per game. Rodgers threw six interceptions in nine games last season and has 31 interceptions over his last four seasons. The Seahawks also held teams to 14.4 points a game last season, the lowest mark in football. Rodgers has also been sacked 139 times since 2010, and that's the most in football (remember he didn't even play a full season last year). Who can forget the eight sack beat down he suffered in Seattle in 2012?
Russell Wilson is the only rookie QB in league history with a QB Rating of 100 in his first two seasons. He also has 28 wins his first two years, including the playoffs, the most ever. Then there is this. In 16 starts at home the Seahawks are 15-1 thanks in large part to his excellent work there: 3,142 yards passing, 31 scores and 459 yards rushing and two more touchdowns.
Sunday, Sept. 7
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Drew Brees has thrown for 5,000 yards in 3-straight seasons. No one else has done it back-to-back. He was also second in the NFL in yards (5,162), touchdowns (39) and completions (446) last year.
Jimmy Graham is the first tight end with 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons. He also recoded 100 yards six times last season, tied for the most ever for a TE in a season.
Keep an eye on the usage of Mark Ingram. Nine times he's had at least 14 carries. In those nine games the Saints are 8-1. Running mate Pierre Thomas has produced 89 yards from scrimmage in four of the last five matchups between these two teams. In three of those games he caught at least five passes.
Kenny Still should be getting more love? He led the NFL last season with a 20.0 YPC mark (32 receptions for 641 yards).
Steven Jackson leads the NFL with 10,681 rushing yards since 2004. Wow. He also carried the ball 27 times for 140 yards in two games last season against the Saints. He scored once on the ground while also hauling in eight passes.
Roddy White has six 1,000 yards efforts in seven years.
Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
Last played each other 12/16/12: Vikings 36 at Rams 22. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson rushes for 212 yards, including 82-yard TD. Vikings LB Chad Greenway leads defense with 13 tackles & sack.
Matt Cassel had a 103.3 QB Rating last year in his three wins as a starter. He also had a 85.7 accuracy percentage when under pressure this preseason. That was the second best mark in football.
Cordarrelle Patterson has scored in 5-straight games. He scored three rushing and three receiving scores in that time. Greg Jennings has averaged four receptions, 89 yards and 0.5 touchdowns a game in four career matchups with the Rams.
Adrian Peterson has run for 10,115 yards and 86 rushing scores. Both those marks are the best in football since 2007. A.D. – and it's NOT AP – also has run for double-digit scores in each of his seven seasons. The last time he faced the Rams, you saw it above, he ran for 212 yards.
Yes Jared Cook went for 141 yards and two scores in Week 1 last season. Who cares. In his last seven games at home he's only scored twice and he's gone over 50 yards just one time.
Shaun Hill will be under center for the Rams taking on one of the worst pass defenses in recent memory. The Vikings allowed 37 passing scores and an average of 287 yards a week through the air last season.
Robert Quinn had six sacks in his last three games last season. His total of 19, a franchise record, was second in the league.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Last played each other 12/29/13: Browns 7 at Steelers 20. Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown has 9 catches for 87 yards. Steelers rookie RB Le’Veon Bell rushes 20 times for 90 yards & TD.
Jordan Cameron didn't exactly come up big against the Steelers last season. In the two matchups he caught eight balls for 101 yards. Not horrible, but not top-5 TE stuff either.
Brian Hoyer is old, inexperienced and not exactly overly talented. Still, in three starts last season he threw for 615 yards and five passing scores.
Le'Veon Bell rushed for 90 yards an a score in the last meeting with the Browns. Talk of LeGarrette Blount stealing tons of work is likely overblown.
The last give games that Antonio Brown has faced the Browns he's averaged 5.6 receptions and 88.4 yards per contest. He's also scored three times.
Heath Miller has five touchdowns against the Browns. That's his second best career total. At the same time he's failed to record a double-digit fantasy point output against the club in four of the last five matchups.
Ben Roethlisberger has only lost one of 18 starts against the Browns. That's pretty good, no? He's 9-0 at home as he's thrown for 27 scores in the nine contests. Yowzahs.
The last four games that Lawrence Timmons has faced the Browns he's produced three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception that he returned to the house for a score. Fellow defender Troy Polamalu has four interceptions in his last six contests against the Browns.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Toby Gerhart has carried the ball 276 times in his career, about the total of a lead back in the NFL in 2014. He's run for 1,305 yards and five scores. He's also caught 77 balls for 600 yards and three more scores. That would be a big time season would it not?
Marcedes Lewis has scored in four of his last five games. I know, right?
Cecil Shorts is finally healthy. In his last six games against NFC opponents he's caught 33 balls for 485 yards.
Riley Cooper finished the year with 521 receiving yards and six touchdowns over the Eagles final eight games last season.
Zach Ertz could have a field day. The Jaguars were hideous against the tight end last year as one of only four teams to allow 1,000 receiving yards to the position.
Nick Foles threw 27 scores and just two interceptions, the best TD/INT ratio in league history while his 119.2 QB Rating is the third best single season mark. The Jaguars allowed nine quarterbacks to toss multiple scores last season.
Jordan Matthews caught 15 of his 19 targets in the preseason.
Darren Sproles has caught 232 passes since 2011. He's also scored 16 times as a receiver. LeSean McCoy produced 2,142 yards from scrimmage. That's a franchise record. The Jaguars also fielded the 4th worst run defense last year.
Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Derek Carr makes his first NFL start. The Jets front seven is imposing, but their defensive backfield is a dumpster fire. Antonio Cromartie is gone, Dee Milliner has a high ankle sprain and Dimitri Patterson was cut after going A.W.O.L. Do you have a good feeling Jets fans about Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls? As a result it's highly like the the Jets will blitz the youngster relentlessly. As a Jets coach Rex Ryan has gone 7-1 against rookie quarterbacks holding them to a 48.3 completion percentage and 61.1 QB Rating.
Maurice Jones-Drew is second among active players with 68 rushing scores (A.D. has 86). The last three times MJD faced the Jets, though with the Jags, he had three rushing scores and 311 yards from scrimmage. It was 2011, but the last time Darren McFadden faced the Jags he ran for a career-high 171 yards and he scored twice. Hell, Marcell Reece ran for 123 yards, a career best, the last time he faced the Jags. All of this running success will likely come to an end this week. You just don't consistently have success on the ground against the J-E-T-S.
Rod Streater had the best game of his career in the last matchup. Rod set career bests with seven receptions and 130 yards. He also scored in the game.
LaMarr Woodley has a sack in his last two outings against the Jets.
Different situation, but Eric Decker has scored four times in five games against the Raiders. He actually leads AFC wideouts with 32 touchdown receptions the past three years.
Calvin Pace has four sacks and two forced fumbles over his last three games against the Raiders.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m.
The Bengals returned for interceptions for scores last year. The most in football.
Geno Atkins has three sacks in his last four contests against the Ravens.
Andy Dalton gets bashed all the time but he, Cam Newton and Peyton Manning are the only three quarterbacks in league history who threw for 3,000 yards in each of their first three seasons. However, he's thrown for multiple scores in just two of the six matchups with the Ravens.
A.J. Green has recorded a touchdown in his last two games. He's also caught 260 passes his first three seasons, the highest total for any wideout through his first three seasons. Only Randy Moss (4,163) had more yards through three seasons (3,833).
Joe Flacco has never lost a home game in the month of September. He's 11-0. He also has 62 wins over his first six seasons. That's the most ever by a QB through six campaigns.
Dennis Pitta has gone for five catches and 62 yards in three of his last four games in the matchup. He's also scored twice.
Torrey Smith has scored in two of the last three games against the AFC North. He also went for 1,128 receiving yards last season, the second most in team history (Michael Jackson had 1,201 yards in 1996). He's really struggled of late against the Bengals though with only one score and not a single game over 60 yards in the last five matchups.
Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Last played each other 11/7/10: Bears 22 at Bills 19. Chicago QB Jay Cutler completes 17 of 30 passes for 188 yards & 2 TDs (97.6 passer rating). Bears defense forces 3 turnovers (1 FF & 2 INTs).
The Bills defense had 57 sacks last season, the most in the AFC.
The last four times C.J. Spiller has run against an NFC defense he's produced 377 rushing yards and two scores. He was also second in the AFC in rushing yards in December 2013 (Ryan Mathews ran for 534, Spiller 426). Oh yeah, the Bears also allowed a league worst 161.4 yards a game on the ground last season.
Robert Woods saw 26 targets in the preseason. He only caught 15 of those passes for a poor 57.7 percent catch rate. Paging a quality NFL quarterback are the Buffalo Bills...
Martellus Bennett seems to like the month of September. In his last eight games in the month he's scored six times.
Jay Cutler has won the last eight games against an AFC opponent in which he's attempted 15 passes. Should be able to do that in Week 1, right? Cutler is also, when posting a QB Rating of 100, the owner of a 28-3 record. Last season the Bills did allow nine quarterbacks to throw for at least two scores in a game.
Washington Redskins vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
The only quarterback in football who has thrown for 6,000 yards with 1,300 rushing yards and a QB Rating of 90.0 the past two seasons is Robert Griffin III. Remember that before you completely dismiss his 2014 outlook because of a slow start in the preseason.
Alfred Morris has run for 1,200 yards each of the past two seasons. He has 20 rushing scores the past two seasons.
The last two times that Ryan Fitzpatrick faced the Redskins he has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 471 yards, three scores and one interception. According to Pro Football Focus Fitzpatrick was behind only three men from Weeks 10-16 last season in points per dropback (Brees, Foles and Peyton).
Arian Foster leads the AFC with 4,806 rushing yards since 2010. The last 10 games he's been on the gridiron against an NFC squad he's run for 893 yards and caught passes for 403 yards. He's also scored 10 times. The last time he faced the 'Skins he had 69 yards rushing, 69 yards receiving.
Andre Johnson averages six receptions a game, the highest mark in NFL history (minimum 100 games played).
J.J. Watt is now a very rich man (six years, $100 million). He's also a dynamic football player. Since 2012 he leads the NFL with 31 sacks. He has 7.5 sacks in his last eight games against NFC opponents.
Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Jake Locker made seven starts last season. He only threw for eight touchdowns while averaging a mere 179.4 yards a game though the air.
Nate Washington just won't go away. In the matchup last December against the Texans he had six receptions for 117 yards an a score.
Delanie Walker faces a tough Chiefs defense that was murder on tight ends last season. They were one of the five toughest defenses against tight ends.
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Since 2011, over 40 starts, an average Alex Smith effort has resulted in 204.9 yards and 1.33 touchdowns. Over 16 games that would result in 3,278 yards and 21.2 touchdowns. He also ran for 431 yards last season, the 6th most for any signal caller in the league. The Titans allowed just 15 passing scores in 2013.
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Tom Brady, and we're all jealous of him (it's OK to admit it), has gone 17-7 against the Dolphins in his career. Per game he's averaged 1.75 touchdown passes and 0.8 interceptions per contest.
Julian Edelman caught 13 balls for 139 yards an a touchdown the last time he faced the Dolphins.
Rob Gronkowski has scored 42 times in 50 career games. He has a TD catch in four of the last five games he's actually suited up.
Stevan Ridley is always on the cusp of being benched, but were you aware that his 19 rushing scores the last two years are the most of any runner in the AFC? He's also scored four times in his last four games against the Dolphins.
Charles Clay is on the TE1 radar this season but he only caught six balls for 43 yards in two games with the Pats last season.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.
Cam Newton is the only player in football with 50 passing scores and 25 rushing scores the past three years (64 and 28). In six games against the Bucs he's thrown for 10 scores and he's run for six scores. That's 16 scores in six games for those of you that are without a calculator.
Jonathan Stewart has averaged 5.3 yards a carry in eight games against the Bucs. He's run for an average of 72.2 yards a contest. DeAngelo Williams ran for 43 yards an a touchdown on eight carries last year against the Bucs.
Greg Olsen is the only tight end in the league who has scored at least five times every season since 2008.
Lavonte Davis was the only defender in football with 100 tackles, five sacks and five interceptions (144, 7 & 5). He and Brian Urlacher (2007) are the only two players who have ever reached all three of those milestones in one season.
Doug Martin has run for 233 yards and added 46 yards as a receiver in two games against the Panthers.
Gerald McCoy has 7.5 sacks in his last eight games.
Vincent Jackson has gone for 1,000 yards in five of his last six seasons. Among active players, with a minimum of 200 receptions, his 17.4 YPC mark is tops in the league.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
The Niners are without Navarro Bowman, Glen Dorsey and Aldon Smith. The Cowboys should be able to rack up the yards against a beat down SF unit with relative ease.
Honestly, if Michael Crabtree doesn't have at least 15 fantasy points in a PPR setup against the horrific defense of the Cowboys he should receive a grade of an “F” for Week 1.
Vernon Davis scored 13 times during the regular season and then twice more in the playoffs. He leads all tight end with 51 scores since the starts of the 2009 season (includes the playoffs).
When Colin Kaepernick has a QB Rating of 100 the Niners are 13-0. They face a miserable Cowboys defense but it should be noted that Colin didn't throw a score in the preseason and averaged barely five yards a completion. Ah hell, he'll still light up that putrid defense across the field.
Dez Bryant has scored in 5-straight games. He's also scored 23 times in 24 games and his total of 34 receiving scores since 2011 is the most in football. He's the only Cowboy every to have back-to-back seasons of 90-1,000-10.
Tony Romo has faced the Niners twice. He's thrown for five scores, 686 yards and not a single interception. The 'Boys are 2-0.
Terrance Williams has a lot of hype entering the year. He should. He only scored five times last season but he also had a stretch in which he scored in 4-straight contests.
Jason Witten had seven receptions for 102 yards the last time he faced the Niners.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m.
With 8,196 yards Andrew Luck has thrown for more yards in his first two seasons than any other quarterback – ever. The last time he faced the Broncos, see above, he had three passing scores.
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Trent Richardson has 14 rushing scores since 2012. That's the 4th best mark in the AFC.
In their matchup in October last season Peyton Manning threw 36 passes completing just 19 for 150 yards. It was his worst game of the season. It was windy, but still something to think about.
New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions, 7:10 p.m.
Victor Cruz has averaged 80 receptions, 1,209 yards and 7.7 scores the past three years.
Mathias Kiwanuka had two sacks an a forced fumble the last time the two teams met up.
Eli Manning has gone 8-4 on Monday Night Football. He's started 151-straight games for the Giants, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Joique Bell killed the Giants in Week 16 last season. He ran the ball 20 times for 91 yards and a score. Oh yeah, he also went off for 10 receptions and 63 receiving yards (Reggie Bush had 12 carries for 34 yards and two catches for 10 yards in the matchup).
Calvin Johnson has averaged 111.7 receiving yards a game since 2011. He's also the only wideout to ever have 5,000 receiving yards over the course of just three seasons.
Matthew Stafford is the only QB in league history to have three 4,500 yard passing seasons in his first five years in the league. Since 2011 he's thrown for 14,655 yards, the second most in football.
San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals, 10:20 p.m.
Last played each other 10/3/10: Cardinals 10 at Chargers 41. San Diego QB Philip Rivers throws for 241 yards & 2 TDs. Chargers TE Antonio Gates catches 7 passes for 144 yards & 2 TDs.
Not saying you bench Keenan Allen, pretty much can't, but it's also worth noting that Patrick Peterson could shut hum down.
Malcolm Floyd is healthy and figures to have a roll in the Chargers offense. He's averaged 4.5 receptions and 78 yards a game the last four times he's faced an NFC opponents.
Antonio Gates caught 73 passes last year though no one noticed. The Cardinals also allowed the most points to tight ends last year of any team in football.
Ryan Mathews finished last season strong. He ran for 100 yards in three of his last four games. As noted above, he led the NFL with 534 rushing yards in December. The only time he faced the Cardinals he only had nine carries but he ran for 55 yards an a score. The Cardinals only allowed two teams out of eight to rush against them for 100 yards in a home game last season, though they aren't the same unit they were last season.
In two starts against the Cardinals Philip Rivers has thrown for 472 yards and four scores with one interception. His main target has been Antonio Gates. Gates has gone for 200 yards and three scores in those game.
Andre Ellington averaged 5.53 yards a carry last season. That was the best mark in football of any runner who had at least 100 carries.
Larry Fitzgerald has scored 96 times (including the playoffs) since 2004 to lead the NFL.
Carson Palmer led the Cardinals to seven victories over the last nine games in 2013. In six career starts against the Chargers he's thrown for 14 scores, only three interceptions, and an average of 339 passing yards a game.
Make sure you tune in to the Drive at 7 PM EDT, Monday through Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius210, XM87), to hear Ray Flowers pontificate about football. He will also be on Sunday nights at 7 PM EDT breaking down the action of that day's NFL games.
Cam Newton completed 10-of-28 passes for 151 yards with one interception and one lost fumble. He also added seven carries for 43 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers 28-10 loss to the Saints on Thursday.
Drew Brees completed 24-of-34 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also adding four carries for two yards and a touchdown in the Saints 28-10 win over the Panthers on Thursday.