NFL Week 1 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch

2MA83E6 Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

• An intriguing matchup in the season opener: Jawaan Taylor earned a massive contract from the Chiefs despite finishing the 2022 season with a 59.5 grade. He’ll face one of the league’s up-and-coming stars in Aidan Hutchinson, who graded as the No. 21 edge in the NFL last season.

• Back Jahmyr Gibbs to go over 25.5 receiving yards: The Lions drafted Gibbs to be a weapon in the passing game, so expect them to use him early and often. And with Detroit being a 6.5-point underdog, expect them to throw a lot in this contest.

• Get ahead of the game: PFF's Best Bets Tool uses PFF data to uncover the biggest edges in the betting market. Click here to see the best bets for this week.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes


Week 1 is upon us! On Thursday night, the Detroit Lions will descend on Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, and the 2023 NFL season will officially be underway.

To kick off the season and a week full of intriguing matchups, here is an NFL Week 1 preview, with matchups to watch, fantasy advice and a best bet for every game.

Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Chiefs RT Jawaan Taylor vs. Lions Edge Aidan Hutchinson

Taylor earned a massive contract from the Chiefs despite finishing the 2022 season with a 59.5 grade. He’ll face one of the league’s up-and-coming stars in Aidan Hutchinson, who graded as the No. 21 edge in the NFL last season.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: RB David Montgomery

With Chiefs star interior defensive lineman Chris Jones unlikely to play on Thursday, the Lions should have no problem running the ball upfront. Montgomery should see 15-plus carries and will be highly efficient against the young and unproven front of Kansas City.

Favorite bet: Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs Over 25.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

The Lions drafted Gibbs to be a weapon in the passing game, so expect them to use him early and often. And with Detroit being a 6.5-point underdog, expect them to throw a lot in this contest.

PFF's Best Bets Tool uses PFF data to uncover the biggest edges in the betting market. Click here to see the best bets for this game.

Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Falcons TE Kyle Pitts vs. Panthers S VONN BELL

The Panthers have done an excellent job of holding Pitts in check so far, as he's caught just 14-of-27 targets for 182 yards and one score across four games, good for a 69.3 PFF grade. But Pitts will have a massive side advantage against the linebackers and safeties of the Panthers. Expect newcomer Vonn Bell to match up with Pitts a ton in Week 1.

FANTASY FADE: TE Kyle Pitts

Pitts is one of the most unique talents in the NFL, but his role in the offense for the Falcons appears to be decreasing. If you can fade Pitts in Week 1 until we better understand his role in Arthur Smith's offense, that will probably be a wise play against a defense that was very good at stopping tight ends a year ago.

Favorite bet: Panthers +3.5 (-108)

Neither of these teams was very good last year, and Week 1 games tend to be a bit random. With both teams starting unproven quarterbacks, taking the 3.5 points here in what should be a close game is a smart play.


Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) vs. Cleveland Browns

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Bengals LT Orlando Brown Jr. vs. Myles Garrett

Garrett finished the 2022 season as PFF’s highest-graded edge rusher (92.5), but he will get a test in Week 1, as Brown will get his first start with the Bengals. If Brown can slow Garrett down, the Bengals should be able to have a lot of success on offense.

Myles Garrett: Pass-rush matchups since 2017 (min. 50 matchups)
Name Matchups Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Pressure rate
George Fant 36 0 0 8 8 22.2%
Cedric Ogbuehi 36 2 1 3 6 16.7%
Kolton Miller 60 1 1 6 8 13.3%
Donovan Smith 86 3 2 5 10 11.6%
Orlando Brown Jr. 80 1 1 7 9 11.3%
Garett Bolles 36 1 1 2 4 11.1%
Dion Dawkins 46 1 1 3 5 10.9%
Dan Moore Jr. 103 2 4 5 11 10.7%
Jonah Williams 95 3 2 4 9 9.5%
Alejandro Villanueva 180 3 4 7 14 7.8%
Kelvin Beachum 53 2 0 2 4 7.6%
Ronnie Stanley 94 1 1 5 7 7.5%
Charles Leno Jr. 32 1 0 1 2 6.3%
Terron Armstead 39 0 0 2 2 5.1%
FANTASY FADE: QB Joe Burrow

In five games against the Browns, Burrow has a PFF passing grade of just 71.0 and has been sacked 18 times. Now he’s coming off a calf injury and almost no practice time ahead of Week 1. Last year, Burrow struggled mightily in Week 1 after missing most of camp, turning the ball over five times at home against the Steelers. Burrow is still one of the best fantasy quarterbacks, but consider leaving him on your bench this week.

Favorite bet: Under 47.5 points (-110)

With Joe Burrow returning from a calf injury and a new-look offensive line, it could be tough sledding for the Bengals in Week 1 on offense. Both teams want to run the ball and lean on their defense, which could make scoring a bit more difficult. Expect a 24-21 type of game, with the total going slightly under in Cleveland.


Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley vs. Colts CB Dallis Flowers

One of the biggest mismatches of the week will feature Ridley going against Flowers, an undrafted free-agent cornerback from 2022. Ridley hasn’t played football since 2021, but he should be in for a massive Week 1 performance against an unproven secondary.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: WR Calvin Ridley

Speaking of Ridley, he is someone who is going to be a must-start in Week 1. Christian Kirk has a tougher matchup inside against Kenny Moore II, so Ridley should see a ton of targets. Ridley is in line for a 10-plus target game in his first contest with the Jaguars.

Favorite bet: Under 45 (-110)

There is so much uncertainty with the Colts offense that the smart bet here is to take the under. Anthony Richardson will likely struggle out of the gate, and the rushing attack won't be as dynamic without Jonathan Taylor. Look for the Colts to struggle to score 20-plus points in this matchup.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings (-6)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Buccaneers CB Jamel Dean

No one can stop Jefferson, but Dean is one of the better cornerbacks in the league and might be able to slow him down some. Expect Dean to get a lot of safety help, but these elite players should see a ton of time against each other in Week 1.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage, or the individual defenders.
FANTASY FADE: RB Alexander Mattison

Tampa Bay has one of the NFL's best run defenses, especially when everyone is healthy. Mattison will likely get a ton of work in Week 1 but don't expect him to be very efficient against a stout defensive front.

Favorite bet: Over 45.5 (-110)

The Vikings have a lot of new pieces on defense, which could be an issue early on in stopping the Bucs. However, the offense should be elite and the Buccaneers have talent on that side of the ball, as well. Don't expect this game to be a shoot-out, but both teams should be able to score 23-plus points in Week 1.


Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints (-3)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Titans RT Chris Hubbard vs. Saints edge Cameron Jordan

There might not be a bigger mismatch all weekend than the offensive line of the Titans vs. the defensive line of the Saints. Jordan should have a massive day against Hubbard, who has graded above 50.5 just once in the last four years.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: WR DeAndre Hopkins

Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (leg) is questionable to play in Week 1, which sets up Hopkins to have a massive game with his new team. Even with Lattimore on the field, Hopkins should see extended work against a pretty unproven cornerback unit.

Favorite bet: Saints QB Derek Carr under 1.5 passing TDs (+115)

Everything is set up for Carr to have a big season with the Saints, but don't expect him to come out hot right out of the gate. The Titans have a strong defense and are one of the best-coached units in the league. Take Carr under 1.5 passing touchdowns here with plus value on the under.


San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

MATCHUP TO WATCH: 49ers RT Colton McKivitz vs. Steelers EDGE T.J. Watt

This is a nearly impossible spot for McKivitz. He'll face a fully healthy T.J. Watt and might not have the help of George Kittle (ab injury) to him on the edge. The 49ers will undoubtedly try to double Watt, but McKivitz will need a lot of help to get through this game without having Watt wreck it.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: WR Diontae Johnson

George Pickens got a ton of hype in the preseason, but Johnson still dominated the targets for the Steelers. He'll have a strong matchup against Deommodore Lenoir (61.0 grade in 2022) and should see a lot of action here in Week 1.

Favorite bet: Over 41 (-110)

This game could have more scoring than initially anticipated. Both teams should be able to score, making the over a really enticing bet heading into Week 1.


Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Commanders (-7)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cardinals RT Paris Johnson Jr. vs. Commanders EDGE Montez Sweat

The Cardinals traded up to No. 6 to select Johnson in the 2023 NFL Draft for this exact reason. The Commanders have two stud edge rushers, including Sweat, who graded as the No. 8 edge defender during the 2022 season. This will be an excellent test for Johnson in his first NFL game.

FANTASY FADE: WR Marquise Brown

Brown should receive a ton of targets against Washington, but this isn't the game that you want him in your lineups. Washington has one of the best defenses in the league, and the expectation is that Kendall Fuller (76.6 grade in 2022) will match up with Brown. Wait for the Cards' quarterback situation to settle down before inserting Brown into your fantasy lineup.

PFF's Best Bets Tool uses PFF data to uncover the biggest edges in the betting market. Click here to see the best bets for this game.
Favorite bet: Cardinals +7 (-110)

The Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL. But Sam Howell is getting just his second start in his NFL career and probably shouldn’t be favored by seven points. Expect Washington to win this game but Arizona to keep it close and cover the touchdown spread.


Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens (-10)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Ravens WR Zay Flowers vs. Texans CB Tavierre Thomas

Flowers flashed in the preseason, and the Ravens can't wait to unleash their first-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft. He'll be matched against Thomas, one of the better slot defenders last season (75.0 coverage grade).

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Texans WR Nico Collins

Collins has a strong Week 1 matchup, as Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (foot) will miss this game. That means he'll likely see either Rock Ya-Sin or Brandon Stephens on the outside, which is fantastic news for Collins. With the Texans having to throw a bunch in this game, Collins could be an intriguing flex option in Week 1.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage, or the individual defenders.
Favorite bet: Over 43.5 (-110)

Over the last five seasons, the Ravens have generated 0.203 EPA per play and 6.4 yards per play in Week 1 games. This offense usually starts the year off hot, and that should be the case again here against the Texans. Plus, the Ravens are decimated by injuries at cornerback, which should allow the Texans to move the ball through the air. The 43.5-point total feels far too low for this contest.


Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (-1)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Packers WR Christian Watson vs. Bears CB Jaylon Johnson

The Packers are relying on Watson to become a No. 1 receiver this year, and he'll be tested in Week 1 against Johnson, who has outstanding size and length. Look for the Packers to take a few shots to Watson down the field early in this matchup.

FANTASY FADE: Packers TE Luke Musgrave

Musgrave has been one of the biggest risers of the summer, but rookie tight ends rarely put up big numbers in Year 1 and certainly not in Week 1. The Bears are pretty talented at linebacker and safety, which should limit Musgrave’s production in his debut.

Favorite bet: Under 43 (-110)

Both teams want to run the ball and limit the opponent's possessions. With Jordan Love making just his second start in the NFL, it's fair to expect some miscues for the Packers. Look for both teams to struggle to score 20-plus points in this NFC North matchup.


Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos (-4)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton vs. Raiders CB Marcus Peters

Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) is likely out for Week 1, which means Sutton will step into the WR1 role. The Raiders have a new outside cornerback in Marcus Peters, who should match up well with Sutton. Both players regressed slightly in 2022, so this is an opportunity to get their careers back on track.

FANTASY FADE: Broncos TE Greg Dulcich

Dulcich should get more work in Week 1 with Jeudy likely out of the lineup, but his role still might be too small to rely on, as Dulcich doesn't play on a lot of early downs as Sean Payton usually opts for better blockers at the tight end position.

Favorite bet: Raiders +4 (-110)

The Raiders have won their last six games against Denver, so it won't be a surprise if they can keep this game close. Denver is banged up on offense and could struggle to outscore Las Vegas despite being at home.


Philadelphia Eagles (-4) vs. New England Patriots

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Eagles TE Dallas Goedert vs. SS Kyle Dugger

There might not be a player in the NFL more equipped to stop tight ends than Dugger. However, he'll have his hands full in Week 1, as Goedert is one of the most well-rounded tight ends in the league. Look for the Patriots to use multiple defenders, including Dugger, to slow Goedert down.

FANTASY FADE: RB Kenneth Gainwell, RB Rashaad Penny

There is still so much uncertainty in the backfield for Philadelphia that it's better to wait until we have more information. Plus, the Patriots were one of the best defenses in the league at stopping the run last year, holding teams to 4.1 yards per carry.

Favorite bet: Eagles -4 (-110)

The Patriots have major questions on their offensive line, especially now that starting RT Riley Reiff was placed on the injured reserve list. Look for the Eagles' pass rush to dominate, as they should win this game by at least a touchdown.


Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers (-3)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Chargers LT Rashawn Slater vs. Dolphins EDGE Bradley Chubb

The Chargers get back their stud left tackle after Slater played just three games during the 2022 season after suffering a pectoral injury. He'll have a challenging task in Week 1, as he'll face Chubb and Jaelan Phillips. The offensive line for the Chargers looks much improved, but this pass rush of the Dolphins is among the best units in the league.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Chargers WR Mike Williams

The plan is for Williams to move all around the field to exploit matchups this season. That should be the case in Week 1, as the Dolphins don't have a lot of talent opposite of Xavien Howard at cornerback. With Williams fully healthy, he should dominate the unproven secondary of the Dolphins.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage, or the individual defenders.
Favorite bet: Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa under 1.5 passing TDs (+110)

The Dolphins have significant question marks on the offensive line, as Terron Armstead (leg) could miss this game. The Dolphins will still create chunk plays in the passing game, but this might be a bad matchup for Tagovailoa on the road, as he went just 10-28 for 145 yards and one touchdown in their meeting last season.


Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rams QB Matthew Stafford vs. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner

After one season with the Rams, Wagner is back in Seattle wearing his old No. 54 jersey. Can Stafford find ways to expose Wagner in coverage, or will the All-Pro linebacker know all of the secrets of the offense for the Rams? Either way, this should be an incredible matchup to watch on Sunday.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett

No player in the NFL has a juicier matchup in Week 1 than Tyler Lockett. He'll see second-year cornerback Derion Kendrick, who finished the 2022 season with a grade of 43.7, the second-worst among all cornerbacks. Lockett will see a ton of single coverage and should have a monster performance in Week 1.

Favorite bet: Under 46.5 (-110)

Cooper Kupp (hamstring) won't play in Week 1, so it’s hard to envision the Rams putting up many points on the road. At the same time, the Seahawks could be without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who was slated to start in the slot. Early-season division games tend to be a bit lower scoring, so expect that to be the case here in Week 1.


Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) vs. New York Giants

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Giants TE Darren Waller vs. Cowboys SS Jayron Kearse

Waller is finally healthy and is ready for a monster year in New York. But the Cowboys can throw multiple safeties at Waller, including a 6-foot-4 Jayron Kearse. Look for the Cowboys to use several players to try to stop Waller, who will be the No. 1 target for Daniel Jones in the passing game.

FANTASY BREAKOUT: Cowboys WR Brandin Cooks

CeeDee Lamb is expected to see a lot of Adoree' Jackson in coverage, which means that Cooks will be covered by either rookie CB Deonte Banks or Tre Hawkins III. Either way, that is a significant advantage for Cooks, who is one of the savvier route runners in the league. Cooks is a fantastic FLEX option in Week 1 with a healthy Dak Prescott under center.

Favorite bet: Under 46.5 (-110)

The Cowboys did not play a single starter on offense in the preseason, so it’s only fair to that unit to have some growing pains early in the year. Dallas also has one of the best defenses in the league and held the Giants to a combined 36 points in their two meetings last year. Expect this to be a 23-17 type of game in New York on Sunday Night Football.


Buffalo Bills (-2.5) vs. New York Jets

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Bills WR Stefon Diggs vs. Jets CB Sauce Gardner

Best on best. What more can we ask for? Diggs is one of the best route runners in the league and has been incredibly productive every season with Buffalo. He'll be covered by the best cornerback in the NFL in Sauce Gardner, who appears ready to make another leap in Year 2.

FANTASY FADE: RB Breece Hall

The expectation is that Hall will be active for Week 1, but so will Dalvin Cook. The Jets are expected to ease Hall into the offense and will increase his workload as the year progresses. But against the Bills, he should be left on your bench or in your FLEX spot (at best), as he'll only get a few opportunities against one of the top defenses in the league.

Favorite bet: Bills -2.5 (-110)

The Jets could be one of the best teams in the NFL this season, but it won't happen overnight. The Bills are still the more talented team, and their continuity on both sides of the ball should help them early in the season. Taking the Bills -2.5 feels like a steal heading into the final game of the week.


 

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