The NFL opened its 2019 campaign with a never-a-dull-moment slate.
Fantasy football owners quickly learned to expect the unexpected. By the end of Week 1, the standard scoring leaders were Sammy Watkins, Lamar Jackson, Austin Ekeler and Dak Prescott, per Fantasy Pros.
Just like we imagined, right?
Case Keenum finished with 0.1 fewer points than Patrick Mahomes. The San Francisco 49ers led all defenses while surpassing their 2018 interceptions total. Rookie T.J. Hockenson not only paced the tight end position (19.1 points), he nearly scored more than Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz combined (19.6).
Two lessons can be learned from the first week. For starters, fantasy football can be a bit random week-to-week, so be careful not to overreact to a single-game sample. But also, favorable matchups can lead to some monster stat lines.
We'll concern ourselves with the latter by compiling standard-scoring point projections for those with exploitable matchups at each position.
Matchups To Love
QB: Tom Brady, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (Projected Points: 30)
QB: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (24)
RB: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts (24)
RB: Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (19)
WR: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (20)
WR: John Brown, Buffalo Bills at New York Giants (18)
TE: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (15)
TE: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (12)
K: Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints (13)
D/ST: Cleveland Browns at New York Jets (13)
Tom Brady's Week Could Be One for the Record Books
With the Dolphins content to float in their fish tank until the 2020 draft, every quarterback must be salivating over a matchup with Miami.
When Lamar Jackson visited South Beach last weekend, his NFL career highs were 204 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. By the time he left, he had bumped those numbers to 324 and five, respectively, and he only played three quarters (and only threw three incomplete passes!).
Putting Tom Brady across from this defense feels like letting a professional Madden gamer play on easy (even more so if Antonio Brown suits up). He just demolished the Pittsburgh Steelers with 24-of-36 passing for 341 yards and three scores. He could zoom past those stats in this game, even if the game gets so lopsided that his day ends early like Jackson's did.
"Call me crazy, but Tom Brady, six touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins," NFL Network's Michael Fabiano said Wednesday on Fantasy Live. "Why not? Heck, he had a huge game last week, the Dolphins' defense looked awful, and Brady may actually do this in three quarters."
The last time Brady faced the Dolphins (Dec. 9), he threw for 358 yards and three touchdowns. That feels like his baseline for Week 2.
Amari Cooper Could Obliterate Redskins Again
Flash back to Nov. 22, 2018. It's Thanksgiving, and Amari Cooper is ferociously carving up something.
Only, it isn't a turkey or any other holiday meat. It's the Redskins defense, the same one he'll draw on Sunday.
That was his breakout for Dallas. After a few solid-but-unspectacular showings following a midseason trade, Cooper erupted in that contest. He caught eight of his nine targets and took them for 180 yards and two scores.
Washington might have had flashbacks to that contest during Week 1 when it couldn't contain DeSean Jackson, who compiled a Cooper-like eight catches (on nine targets) for 154 yards and two scores. Cooper, who tallied six grabs for 106 yards and a score in the opener, might be headed for another mammoth performance.
Derrick Henry's Hype Train Is Gaining Speed
Since selecting Derrick Henry 45th overall in 2016, the Titans have been hesitant about giving him a featured role.
He opened his career behind DeMarco Murray and finished second on the team in rushes in his first and second seasons. Henry finally took the team lead in 2018, but he averaged fewer than 14 carries per game and only ended the campaign with 60 more than pass-catching back Dion Lewis.
Maybe it's too early to say this, but Henry finally appears firmly in the driver's seat. His first game under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was a monster. Henry turned 20 touches into 159 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. No other back had more than six touches.
This looks like a continuation of what we saw late last season, when the Titans let Henry run wild late and he delivered 585 rushing yards and seven scores between Weeks 14-17.
He should continue cementing himself as an RB1 with a matchup looming against a Colts defense that surrendered 154 scrimmage yards and three scores to Chargers running back Austin Ekeler in their opener.