Every Saturday morning, I'll take a quick look at all the week's games, offering my own brief take on what I think will happen, as well as touching on significant injury news since our Weekly came out. I'll check in over the course of the day to answer questions, too.
What follows is a brief look at all the games with how I'd react in my own lineups to injury developments or other news. The official rankings are the ones in the Weekly. Those take precedence. But sometimes players are very close, and in those cases I'm glad to offer opinions on how I'd approach those situations. Sometimes I like certain players more or less than Ian, and sometimes I have different risk tolerance with injuries etc.
Welcome back to what I think is the eleventy-billionth year of doing this Saturday morning column! Will try to answer questions over the course of the day. Good luck in all your leagues.
Panthers at Falcons: Bijan Robinson is the key player here, with us finding out if the No. 8 overall pick will be featured, or if it will be more of a committee with last year's 1,000-yard rookie. Will Miles Sanders be featured? Will the Falcons remember that Kyle Pitts can catch and throw a few passes his way? Interesting game to watch. I also have Adam Thielen in a few leagues as a late pick and am hoping he is the No. 1; he has an ankle issue but is almost certainly playing. Should be a good game.
Texans at Ravens: Not the ideal opening matchup for C.J. Stroud. Maybe Baltimore's defense has a little more reputation than performance (maybe?), but I think Baltimore should win this game comfortably. Will be interesting to see if OBJ is still OBJ, if J.K. Dobbins is featured, and if Dameon Pierce can overcome the offense around him and the tough matchup.
Bengals at Browns: Not sure what to make of the Browns, most of the uncertainty hinging on Deshaun Watson. Will he be more like the franchise quarterback he was a couple of years ago in Houston, or the shell he was here last year? In general, I'm thinking this one might be a little lower scoring, but there's star talent enough on both sides of the ball that maybe I'm wrong. Should be a good game, anyway, with the AFC North likely to be a very competitive division.
Jaguars at Colts: High expectations for the Jaguars this year, which I share. I wish I had Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley in more places than I do, and there are a lot of other interesting skill guys on the Jaguars. For the Colts, it's Anthony Richardson's debut, and also a whole bunch of running backs throwing their hats into the ring. I am not interested in using Zack Moss even if he's active. If I had to use a Colts running back (yikes) it would be either Deon Jackson or Evan Hull. Moss getting in limited practices this week might mean he wasn't touched because his broken arm is still healing.
Bucs at Vikings: Couple of interesting new starting running backs here. Will Rachaad White or Alexander Mattison prove worthy of their team's faith? Or will those of us stashing Ty Chandler and Sean Tucker soon be rewarded? I'm also wondering just how good Chris Godwin and Mike Evans will be with Baker Mayfield at quarterback. I'm expecting a forgettable year for the Bucs and a fairly easy win for the Vikings, but we'll see.
Titans at Saints: The Derek Carr era begins. If I were desperate for a running back starter I'd consider Jamaal Williams this week, with the Saints not having much available. One probable occurrence this week is that Taysom Hill scores at some point, causing everyone to start him next week where he proceeds to get shut out. I'm wary of Derrick Henry this season, with him getting older, the line around him not being as good, plus this is a good defense and things might not start out very well. DeAndre Hopkins the new addition for Tennessee, interested to see how that goes. And let's see if Michael Thomas can get through a game and reward those who believed he'd have a bounce-back year (not me).
49ers at Steelers: Pittsburgh was one of the more impressive teams in the preseason, which granted might mean nothing at all. But I do think they'll be good and I have plenty of stock in George Pickens and Najee Harris specifically. Tough matchup though. Similarly for San Francisco, will be very interesting to see if Brock Purdy and the passing game are effective, how Christian McCaffrey fares against a traditionally tough defense, and just how good both these teams are. Definitely one of the games I'm most interested in as an NFL fan. Injury wise, George Kittle was on the report but I'm comfortable he's playing.
Cardinals at Commanders: It's not often a team's starting quarterback wasn't even on the roster two weeks ago. That's what the Cardinals are looking at with Joshua Dobbs. If I had James Conner I'd be starting him, and that's literally the only Cardinal I'd consider. I suppose Marquise Brown has to catch some passes. But it's a rough matchup, and he has a hamstring injury, so it will need to be confirmed he's even active. By the way: I talk about my Survivor Pool in this column regularly, and I'm picking Washington this week. Nice matchup for them.
Packers at Bears: Felt better about the Packers offense when Christian Watson was healthy, but he's not playing after picking up a hamstring injury. Romeo Doubs also has a hamstring injury, but he should play and he's one I'd take the risk on; somebody has to catch passes here. The running backs also look good against a suspect Bears defense. Justin Fields should be productive which isn't quite the same as saying he's good, but definitely an intriguing guy in fantasy leagues (we're lower on him than most, we'll see how that ages). Bears backfield should be interesting, I'm anticipating a committee, many like Khalil Herbert. We'll see.
Raiders at Broncos: The Sean Payton Era begins, as does the Jimmy Garoppolo Era. I expect the Raiders to be bad but that won't stop Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs from being huge, which I think they will be this year, again, barring injury. For Denver, I liked Jerry Jeudy a lot pre-injury. Sounds like he's playing, but I'm a little nervous to use him. And I expect a committee backfield, at least to start, so despite the great matchup I'm looking elsewhere for starters. I suppose Courtland Sutton is my preferred Denver starter here.
Dolphins at Chargers: Raheem Mostert, seriously, is of interest to me here. Should see some soft defensive fronts with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle terrifying defenses. Should be a good game and I drafted Justin Herbert again in my biggest money league where he was a huge letdown a year ago, not sure how that happened. But I guess he gets a second chance. Another good later game on the Sunday slate.
Eagles at Patriots: On paper, the Eagles should win this game easily and put up big numbers. But the Belichick mystique at least raises the possibility of an interesting, competitive game. I will pass on the Patriots offense except for Rhamondre, who was apparently sick on Friday, so make sure he's OK before gametime. For the Eagles, I drafted Kenneth Gainwell late in a few leagues. Others swear by D'Andre Swift. This game should give an indication as to who the preferred option will be. Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, I'm starting them all and hoping they'll be fine despite the less than ideal matchup.
Rams at Seahawks: Rams looked horrible even before Cooper Kupp got hurt. The only player from this team I'd be interested in starting this week is Cam Akers, maybe Tyler Higbee. I'd stash Puka Nacua on a bench. That be it. It's nothing personal; prices must be paid for salary cap manipulations and giving away draft picks year after year. For Seattle, I'm starting Kenneth Walker. Not really buying the committee talk with Zach Charbonnet. We'll see. Seattle wideouts, sure.
Cowboys at Giants: Feels like it might be higher scoring, although that's what I thought about Detroit-Kansas City. Dallas didn't play anyone in August, we'll see if that results in a sloppier game for them. Good week to use the running backs, who are currently healthy and will be big part of the run and receiving game, I think. Darren Waller popped up with a hamstring injury this week, reminding everyone why they were hesitant to draft him. I expect him to play, but might be worthwhile to have a Plan B with this being the Sunday night game.
Bills at Jets: Josh Allen against Aaron Rodgers, Stefon Diggs and Garrett Wilson, Thurman Thomas and Curtis Martin. No, just seeing if you're paying attention, it will be James Cook against Dalvin Cook, I'm sure that angle will be mentioned once or three billion times on the broadcast. The NFL has opened with a pair of Monday night games for as long as I can remember, I wonder what changed this year. Anyway, they're starting off with a really good one that could go either way, with the Jets defense a tough matchup for Buffalo. Credit where it's due though, the schedule-makers gave us some entertaining matchups in Week 1.
Enjoy the games.