There are times a guy can have you feeling some type of way. That’s how I feel about some players based on their matchups and other factors each week. In this column, I’ll highlight some guys I’m vibing on for the week (Love ’em), and a few I will be leaving on the bench.
With that said, always start your studs! I won’t tell you to put players like Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas and Travis Kelce in your lineups each week. They are proven fantasy assets that you drafted for that reason, so you’re starting them regardless of their matchups.
DeSean Jackson, WR Eagles
Call it revenge. Call it a comeback. Call it whatever you want, but DJax historically has massive games when returning from injury or facing a former team. Jackson went off against the Washington Football Team in their season opener last year, whom he spent three seasons with, racking up eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. It was his only healthy game in a Doug Pederson offense. While it’s a small sample size and against a mediocre Washington secondary, it is still impressive.
Coming off a lost 2019 season since suffering a core injury in Week 2, the 33-year-old Jackson will seek redemption as he now faces Washington in back to back season openers. Jackson is known for his speed and still has a lot of gas. He has been lining up in the slot with the first-teamers in training camp at times, and the team may move him around the formation this season to take advantage of matchups. The Eagles are favored to win, and with both Alshon Jeffrey and Jalen Reagor out, Jackson has the fuel to make a lot of noise at FedExField. Oh, and Washington’s cornerbacks are banged up, too. A repeat of Jackson’s 2019 performance against them is not out of the question.
Aaron Jones, RB GB
Don’t let AJ Dillion’s quads distract you; Aaron Jones is still the man you should covet in this backfield. You’ll want him in your lineup on Sunday as well. Jones destroyed the Vikings last season, racking up 270 yards and three touchdowns in two games. The Vikings have since lost the services of Everson Griffin and Linval Joseph to other teams. Look for the Packers to funnel the offense through Jones this week.
Will Fuller, WR Texans
I’m really feeling Fuller this week. On paper, the contest against the Kansas City Chiefs defense doesn’t look tempting as they were 12th best in the league versus wideouts. However, when these two rivals meet, it’s a pretty high-scoring affair. Fuller averaged seven targets a game while sharing a field with DeAndre Hopkins. With Hopkins now out of the way, and Brandin Cooks officially questionable to play with a quad injury, the door is wide open for Fuller. This Thursday night season opener reeks of a shoot out. I like him to score in this one.
Diontae Johnson, WR Steelers
The offseason darling of hype gets a juicy matchup against the porous secondary of the New York Giants. The second-year receiver had a mini breakout the second half of his rookie season when JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled due to injuries and the quarterback situation. Johnson averaged 19.3 fantasy points per game during the playoffs with quarterbacks Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph. Imagine what he can do with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.
Editor’s Note: According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Diontae Johnson suffered a recent foot injury and missed practice Thursday. Keep on eye on the injury reports.
AJ Green, WR Bengals
Green probably won’t play a full complement of snaps against Los Angeles this week as he’s been nursing a hamstring. I love Joe Burrow, but it does take some time for rookie quarterbacks to get on the same page as their receivers. Combining the above with the fact that Green will likely face All-Pro Casey Hayward in zone-coverage makes him a solid bench warmer against the Chargers this week.
Amari Cooper, WR Cowboys
Cooper is the equivalent of a rollercoaster. At the end of the ride, his season points total makes him look all exciting and fun, but the truth is his ups and downs from game to game will make you an emotional wreck. This week, he has a date with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Maybe you’ve heard of him? In Week 15 last season, Ramsey held Cooper to a stat line of 0/0/0. Ramsey will be extra motivated this week, too, as he just got a 5-year, $105 million contract extension from the Rams. For Cooper, it’s a swipe left for me.
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets
I planted my flag on Herndon all offseason, snagging him in bestballs shortly after the Super Bowl and in the Scott Fish Bowl back in May. This week, he draws a matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who are notoriously stout against tight ends, only surrendering an average of 8.7 fantasy points a game to the position. You might not have a better tight end option, but don’t get down on him if he doesn’t come through this week.
Baker Mayfield, QB Browns
Don’t look now, but the Browns got all spiffy for us this offseason. With a new head coach and offensive system, and a pair of shiny new tackles, Cleveland projects well for a turnaround this year. The hype feels a bit like deja vu, but I hope it’s the case this season. I don’t have a lot of faith in them this week, though, as they face a stifling Baltimore Ravens unit. Odell Beckham Jr, albeit he was injured, and Jarvis Landry were stymied by CBs Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith last season. Add the fact that Mayfield seemingly lacks a penchant for throwing it deep, and we might see Beckham tussling with the kicker net again.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the sick graphic header my friend made me for this column. If you like his work, he’s for hire. Find him on Twitter @TheDiamondMike and tell him Bonnie sent you.