Carson Palmer at Lions
The total of this game is set at 48, so we should see quite a bit of scoring in this one. The Lions gave up the third most points to QBs last season and they were the worst passing defense DVOA according to FootballOutsiders. With Darrius Slay covering the outside and rarely coming into the slot, I expect Carson Palmer to hook up with his boy Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson a ton in this game. John Brown is healthy for this game, Jaron Brown will see more playing time, and JJ Nelson will come in for some deep shots down the field, so the receiving core is somewhat stable at this point. From Week 8 on last year, Palmer threw for almost 300 yards and 2 TDs per game. I would expect him to have no problem getting those numbers against the Lions in Week 1. Palmer has a few more plus matchups over the next couple of weeks, so he’s the guy I would prefer out of this list.
Sam Bradford vs Saints
The Saints gave up the most passing yards per game last year, they were at the bottom of the league in DVOA, and they were sixth in most points allowed to QBs. The Saints’ top corner Delvin Breaux is on IR, and that doesn’t leave a whole for the rest of this defense. Bradford was very efficient last year, but kept most of his throws relatively short. With an improved offensive line, Bradford will have more time to throw. He’ll even have a running game this year with the additions of Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. With the emergence of Adam Thielen in the slot and moving Stefon Diggs to the outside, we could see an offense taking a big step forward this year, and there’s no better place to start than at home vs the Saints.
Tyrod Taylor vs Jets
This is going to be a low-scoring affair, but we all know that Taylor provides a solid floor because of his rushing yards; he averaged 40 yards on the ground per game last year. Taylor was a QB1 last year because of that floor; he averaged 18.2 fantasy points per game. If he throws a couple of touchdowns and adds 250 passing yards, he’s at 22 points in standard scoring. Against this depleted Jets team, we can definitely see that happening. Remember, he was without Sammy Watkins almost all of last year, and he was fine. His #1 receiver was Robert Woods. He’ll still have Jordan Matthews, rookie standout Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, and don’t forget about LeSean McCoy. This offense isn’t what it was, but he still has a few weapons left for him to be able to move the ball against the Jets.
Eli Manning at Dallas
I get nervous every time I put Eli into my starting lineup, but we can’t deny his matchup this week. Note, I would only play him if OBJ is active; since this is a Sunday night game, we might find out late, so if he doesn’t play, hopefully Bradford is still on the waiver wire for Monday night. The total for the game is 47.5 with the Giants as underdogs, so we might be seeing Eli trying to come back in this one. The Cowboys defense has lost six starters from last year on defense, and if Marshall and OBJ are on the field, Manning should have no problem moving the ball. Nolan Caroll and Anthony Brown are not going to be able to hold these two. This is a young defense, and they might get exposed Sunday night.