Jim Coventry, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Let’s look at IDPs who have favorable Week 1 matchups, based upon season-long projections. IDP formats can be quite different, so we’ll list players of varying levels. Some will be players found on the waiver wire while in other leagues players will be automatic starters.
Everson Griffen, Vikings vs. Saints – Minnesota starts the year against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Vikings should be strong enough against the run to put the Saints into numerous passing situations. That should give Brees plenty of dropbacks, providing Griffen opportunities to find his way into the sack column.
Cameron Jordan, Saints at Vikings – Sure, the Vikings made some upgrades along the offensive line, but they still project to be a mediocre unit, at best, and it’ll likely take that unit a while to gel. In addition, it won’t surprise if this game is high scoring, making this a great spot for Jordan.
Johnathan Hankins, Colts at Rams – With Andrew Luck out, this should be a low-scoring game, which should allow the Rams to ride Todd Gurley. Assuming that’s the case, Hankins will have more opportunities than usual to pile up tackles, especially if the Rams can hold a lead late.
Geno Atkins, Bengals vs Ravens – The Bengals open the season against the Ravens, who lack a high-level talent in their rushing attack. In addition, their OL projects to be significantly weaker than it was last year. In what could be a lower-scoring divisional matchup, Atkins could be in position to be a dominating force.
NaVorro Bowman, 49ers vs. Panthers – With Cam Newton having missed much of preseason as he recovers from shoulder surgery, it’s a strong likelihood the Panthers limit their offensive attack to a heavy dose of the run along with short passing. Bowman should find himself frequently in the middle of the action, allowing him to post strong numbers.
De’Vondre Campbell, Falcons at Bears – After the Bears lost WR Cameron Meredith for the year, their limited receiving corps likely will force them to stick to a short-passing attack that leads to safety. In addition, they’ll run the ball as often as possible and likely will abandon the run only if the game gets out of hand. Either way, the potential for Campbell to start the year with a solid performance looks like a strong possibility.
Paul Posluszny, Jaguars at Texans – After preseason buzz that Posluszny would move to outside LB, the coaching staff had a change in plans and moved him back to the middle. However, he’s expected to primarily be used on early downs, potentially limiting his season-long upside. The good news this week is the Jags face the Texans, who don’t exactly have an explosive offense. In what could be a low-scoring game with plenty of running plays, Posluszny could outperform projections.
Robert Quinn, Rams vs Colts – It’s hard to ask for a better draw to open the season, as Quinn faces the weak OL of the Colts, and a backup QB. Although Indy will try to run the ball, it’s not likely it will have sustained success, and once the offense becomes one-dimensional, look out, as Quinn has a great chance to reward fantasy managers.
Whitney Mercilus, Texans vs Jaguars – Not only does the Jaguars’ offensive line have to worry about J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, but Mercilus is quite a force to be reckoned with. The best thing about this matchup is that Blake Bortles will be under center, and the Texans’ pass rushers should have a field day. Mercilus should see enough one-on-one assignments to wreak havoc.
Malik Hooker, Colts at Rams – The Colts likely will be limited on offense without Andrew Luck. As a result, the Rams could find themselves going with a very run-heavy approach, which should allow Hooker to find himself being in position to make a reasonable number of stops.
Joe Haden, Steelers at Browns – This is more about the narrative of this being a revenge game for Haden, who was let go by the Browns last month. From spending the offseason with the team, he’ll likely know DeShone Kizer‘s weaknesses quite well and that could put him in position to make a big play or two. In addition, he’ll have also squared off with each of the Browns WRs, which also could help him find his way onto the stat sheet.
Andrew Sendejo, Vikings vs. Saints – The Saints are masters at using the middle of the field in both their rushing and passing attacks, so opposing safeties often have opportunities for posting big stats. Sendejo, behind the solid front seven of the Vikings, should be in line for a strong outing.