In fantasy football, Week 1 is a difficult week to forecast. Of course, there are the ones you should consistently start unless they’re on a bye, but there are always those who are still a mystery. New offenses, new coaches, and new weapons can raise a lot of question marks, especially in Week 1. These teams could end up being anything!
Before the season starts, we’re going to try our best to rationalize who to sit and who to start during the first week in the NFC North. We have one NFC North rivalry matchup, while Minnesota and Detroit have difficult games both inside and outside of the conference.
Aaron Rodgers, QB
Bears @ Packers
This is a given, but needs to be acknowledged in light of the Bears’ acquisition of Khalil Mack. It’s a matchup that we could be talking about for years now. Mack is an all-world defensive player and it really perplexes me that Jon Gruden traded him out of Oakland. Seriously, if I’m power ranking defensive players it’d go: Aaron Donald, Mack, and Jalen Ramsey, in that order.
But Mack doesn’t play defensive back, defensive tackle, or inside linebacker. What I’m saying is that the Bears didn’t fix their entire defense. While Mack may be able to elevate them, there are still other areas of opportunity for Rodgers to exploit them. And Aaron Rodgers has owned the Bears during his career to the tune of 42 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in 19 games.
Adam Thielen, WR
49ers @ Vikings
Don’t be worried about starting Thielen against the Niners. Richard Sherman is the new top guy in San Francisco, but he’s coming off an Achilles injury. Those are tough to come back from even with today’s advancements. The backpedaling and the need to plant and change direction for a defensive back at age 30 is paramount to success. The Niners were still 27th in DVOA against WR1’s last year so that’s a long way to climb even with Sherman.
Matthew Stafford, QB
Jets @ Lions
In case you waited for a deep round quarterback selection, I hope you went with Stafford. The Jets shelled out good money for Trumaine Johnson this offseason, but he can’t cover Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay all at once. Morris Claiborne is still the CB2 for the Jets, but he’s still not good.
At home last season, Stafford threw 17 touchdowns and only three picks last season. There could be some early season rust, but being at home makes it easy for Stafford.
Jamaal Williams, RB
This is the hill I’ve been willing to die on all offseason. Williams is fine, but I’m fading this option in Week 1. I think the Packers would be best served getting Rodgers acquainted/reacquainted with his pass catchers. While Williams may find the end zone, he only had three games over 100 all-purpose yards last season with one of those being 100 yards on the ground. I’m not expecting over four yards per carry.
Allen Robinson II, WR
Bears @ Packers
You probably drafted Robinson to be a flex or WR2 which is great, but you’re counting on a lot to click right away with the Bears offense. Not only did the Bears add a ton of weapons, but they’re instituting a new offense with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm. Robinson also hasn’t played in a year after an ACL tear in week one of 2017. The Packers have a lot to be left desired with their secondary as well, but I’d want to start more of a sure thing.