Fantasy Football 2013: Making the Call on the Toughest Matchup Plays for Week 1

Jordan Heck@@JordanHeckFFContributor IIISeptember 5, 2013

Fantasy Football 2013: Making the Call on the Toughest Matchup Plays for Week 1

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    Fantasy football season is finally here.

    If you've been in fantasy long enough, you know that sometimes, some tough decisions have to be made. Even though a player could win your matchup one week, he could put up a goose egg the next week. Avoiding those goose eggs (or just a low point total) are important if you want to win.

    Here are some star players who face a difficult Week 1 matchup.

Josh Freeman vs. New York Jets

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    Josh Freeman can sometimes be a QB1 in fantasy. In 2012, from Week 6 to Week 11, Freeman was a top-10 quarterback for all but one game. Depending on the matchup, he could be a worthy start. This is not one of those matchups. 

    The Jets are a fun team to laugh at. They give us butt fumbles, walking out of the end zone for a safety and whatever it is Rex Ryan was doing at this press conference.

    Once you get past the jokes, there's actually some good on this football team. The Jets secondary was one of the best last year. The Jets defense allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2012. They even improved their defense with the selection of Dee Milliner in the first round of this year's draft.

    Another factor to consider here is that the Bucs may end up running the ball a lot in this game. It's Geno Smith's first start, and he faces a tough Buccaneers secondary. If he has a bad game and the Bucs get an early lead, they'll end up running it with Doug Martin.

DeAngelo Williams vs. Seattle

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    Jonathan Stewart is out for a while, which means DeAngelo Williams is the starter in Carolina. Williams gets a tough Week 1 assignment against the Seattle Seahawks.

    Seattle has a tough defense. Like, really tough. Its defense gave up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season. Combine that with the fact that Williams isn't an elite talent, and you run into problems.

    Williams is the starter only because Carolina doesn't have many better options. His performance in the preseason was a disappointment. On 21 carries, he gained just 51 yards (2.4 YPC).

    On certain weeks, Williams will be a strong flex play, but this is not the week.

Ravens Defense vs. Denver

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    The Ravens defense lost a lot of star power this offseason, but it's still a solid group. It could end up being a top-10 fantasy defense this year.

    Having said that, this is not a week you want it starting. It goes on the road to the Mile High City where it will face the high-powered Broncos offense. 

    Peyton Manning has too many weapons in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker to be slowed down.

Eddie Lacy vs. San Francisco

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    Welcome to the NFL, rook.

    Eddie Lacy should have a fantastic rookie season, but his highlight reel may have to start after Week 1. He faces a tough 49ers defense that allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs a year ago.

    Being in a pass-happy offense, Lacy is going to have a hard time putting up big numbers at any point this season. The last time Green Bay had a 100-yard rusher in the regular season was with Brandon Jackson in 2010.

    Combining the facts that it's his first NFL game, he's facing one of the toughest defenses in the league and he's in a pass-first offense, it equals a bad matchup.

    If you have a better option this week, go with it.

Mike Wallace vs. Cleveland

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    Mike Wallace is familiar with cornerback Joe Haden. These two talented athletes went at each other when they played in the same division. Wallace is in Miami now, but he can't escape Haden's coverage.

    Haden is a shutdown corner. He's been able to keep Wallace in check during their previous encounters, per Rotoworld's Evan Silva. He's just one of those players who can lock in on a team's top receiver and make sure he doesn't have a big game. 

    Chances are if Wallace is on your team, you don't have the luxury of benching him. That's understandable. Just realize that he could be in for a rough start to the season.

Cam Newton vs. Seattle

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    Remember when I said Seattle's defense was tough? I meant it. In fact, it was the toughest defense against quarterbacks in 2012. 

    Last season, it held Cam Newton to his lowest passing-yards total (141) and kept him from scoring a touchdown. His 42 rushing yards were nice, but they didn't make up for his lack of production as a passer.

    Seattle's defense hasn't gotten any easier, which means Newton is in for a rough first week. He's still a borderline QB1 because of his potential, but this isn't a game where he'll put up a lot of points.