Week one of the National Football League 2020 season is finally upon us! With everything going on in the world, football is one of a few great escapes from reality for the time being. The build up for this season has been absolutely incredible and it will be everything we've been waiting for, and hopefully more. That being said, some players come out firing on all cylinders in week one. In 2019, players like Sammy Watkins and John Ross had incredible games that they could not repeat for the rest of the season. Which players will come out hot this season? And who could struggle to get going in week one?
1. The Bears Blowout the Lions
The Lions and the Bears have struggled in recent years, even though the Bears have either been in or just outside of the playoffs. Detroit has an a solid offense when Matthew Stafford is healthy, but he hasn't been able to stay on the field for the last two seasons. Their defense is still lack luster, but isn't the worst in the league. The Bears on the other hand have had a near elite defense for the last few years but have struggled to get their offense going under Mitch Trubisky. Well that's going to change week one this season.
Chicago is going to have a field day against their division rival and it's difficult to even type this, but they're going to be led by Mitch Trubisky. The Bear's signal caller will be a top 15 quarterback week one and could be started in a pinch, and here's why. Trubisky has always been good against the Lions. Last season he threw for a combined 511 yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception against Detroit. For some reason the Lions cannot stop him from having a good game. Aside from his consistency against the team, Trubisky has also won the starting over former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Reports in camp have stated that Foles is being conservative with the ball and not really stretching the field. Trubisky on the other hand has been throwing deep and hitting his targets regularly. I know this is just practice, but Trubisky finally sounds like he looks good. He's got solid weapons in Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet going up against an average at best Lions defense. Mitch Trubsiky will have a fantasy relevant week against Detroit and get everyone's hopes up once again.
2. Rookie Receivers Show Out
Young players typically take a couple of seasons to start producing in the NFL. With this shortened offseason, you'd expect it to take even longer. Well this past wide receiver class has the potential to go down as one of the best ever. The talent in this class, even into the fourth and fifth rounds of the draft, is absolutely insane. There are a few prospects in this class that could have a big week one of their rookie season just based on their matchups. The rookies that come to mind are Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Chase Claypool.
Jerry Jeudy is already a near elite route runner with reliable hands and great speed. He was arguably the best in this class and was drafted to the Denver Broncos in the first round. Drew Lock has shown flashes in his very limited time starting and can definitely support two fantasy receivers. The Broncos face off against the Titans in week one who have a solid defense, but nothing Drew Lock can't handle. Denver played some great defenses when Lock took over last season like the Chargers and Chiefs, and he played pretty well. Tennessee, although pretty good, does not have as good of a defense as those two teams. With Von Miller going down, they take a big hit to their defense and could be playing from behind, making it a positive game script for Lock and Jeudy.
Henry Ruggs III is a pretty easy explanation. Ruggs is debatably the WR1 on this team and was taken as the first receiver in this draft. He has blazing speed and a solid route tree. With comparisons to Tyreek Hill, this speedster should be in for a big week one against a poor Panthers defense.
Chase Claypool is literally a tight end playing receiver. He is in a slightly crowded offense with Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington, but the Steelers will be looking to air it out against the Giants. James Conner constantly struggles with injuries and the strength of this Giants horrid defense is on the interior of the defensive line. Claypool would not draw the number one or maybe even the number two cornerback on this team, and there's no way a CB3 or safety is stopping this monster of a man. All of these rookies could have a big week one.
3. Indy Runs Over Jacksonville
The Colts have the best offensive line in the NFL going up against the worst defense in the league. The strength will be the pass rush in K'lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen, but that's nearly all they have. The interior of the defensive line is garbage, the secondary is empty, and the linebackers are below average aside from Joe Schobert. Meanwhile, Indianapolis has a great backfield with Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor. This offense is led by Philip Rivers (who may have lost a step), but will focus on running the ball.
The big debate in this backfield is who will be starting in week one. The answer to this question is: it doesn't matter. The Colts will be in a positive game script for the running backs as they should be leading most of the game. Mack and Taylor will probably split carries, but both could see 12-15 a piece. With how bad this defense is, the Colts could push for nearly five yards per carry. Mack and Taylor both have big play ability and deep speed, meaning both have the potential to score on nearly any given play. Both of these backs could realistically have over 75 yards and a touchdown. These may not be the best games, but both would serve as great RB2s on a team for week one.
4. Jets Get Shut Down in Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills are looking like the best defense in the league at the moment. Tre'davious White leads one of the best secondaries in the league, Tremaine Edmonds anchors the linebackers, and Ed Oliver is becoming a great defensive linemen. Meanwhile the Jets have one of the most concerning offenses coming into the 2020 season. They have injuries throughout their receiving corps, the offensive line is still well below average, and they still have Adam Gase as a head coach. The prediction here is that not one player on the New York Jets finishes in the top 15 at their respective positions.
Sam Darnold is a solid quarterback, but can't put up numbers without weapons. Jamison Crowder doesn't get the yardage needed to finish that high. Le'Veon Bell can't carry this weak offense, and Chris Herndon has been out of the offense for so long, it's going to take some time to get back into it. All of these problems and the offensive line is still bottom five in the league. The Jets do not have enough fire power or raw talent to compete against this elite defense. This game should be pretty one sided and an easy win for the Bills.
5. Arizona Supports Players at Every Position
The Cardinals are building an amazing offense, especially after trading for Deandre Hopkins this offseason. They open their season against the 49ers in San Francisco which may not seem like a great start to the season, but these teams played each other to the last minute in both games last season. This prediction is really just the opposite of the Jets one; the Cardinals will have a player in the top 15 at each position.
Kyler Murray's rushing baseline nearly guarantees him to be a top 10 quarterback in most games this season. Even without his rushing, Murray has one of the most talented arms in the league. Deandre Hopkins should matchup great against this defense as he's a near elite route runner and has incredible hands. Nuk should be able find his way open between zones and make some big plays over Sherman and others in this secondary. Kenyan Drake is a little more in question due to the level of talent on the 49ers on the defensive line, but their strength is mainly in pass rush. Bosa and Armstead take the edge while Kinlaw and either Jones or Thomas take the interior. Losing Deforest Buckner hurts their run stopping ability and the Cardinals could exploit that. The boldest part about this prediction is the tight end position. Arizona has a couple of tight ends that could do it whether it's Maxx Williams or Dan Arnold. Being a top 15 isn't that difficult however. If Williams or Arnold has 30 yards and a touchdown, that should be enough a TE1.
6. Thursday Night Shootout
In a repeat of the 2019 AFC divisional round, the season opens with Houston versus Kansas City. Mahomes versus Watson. The two highest paid quarterbacks are going head to head in an epic rematch to open this long awaited season. Deshaun Watson will be looking for revenge on the Chiefs while Patrick Mahomes will be looking to keep their winning streak alive and beat the Texans. The Chiefs defense will look a little weaker with Bashaud Breeland and the Texans defense may not be able to stop a fired up Mahomes and company. My prediction for this game is that Mahomes, Watson, Hill, and Fuller combine for over 100 fantasy points.
This isn't ridiculously out of reach as all of these players could be in for big games. Patrick Mahomes is always a threat for 400 yards and three touchdowns while Tyreek Hill can easily get over 100 yards and two of the scores. The same goes for Deshaun Watson but with a slightly better rushing baseline so he could even run one in on his own. Will Fuller V is a little more difficult to predict due to his injury history, but he almost always has one huge game in the beginning of the season. Fuller could get over 100 yards on just a few receptions and could easily find his way into the end zone over these back up cornerbacks. This game is going to have a lot of fantasy points scored by everyone, but these four should put a lot of points and outperform their respective projections by a significant margin.
7. Scary Terry
The Washington Football Team struggled to get much of anything going on offense last season. They've been plagued by injures, offseason drama, and confusion on the depth chart so this offense looks like it'll continue to struggle. The one bright side they had last season was their standout rookie receiver Scary Terry McLaurin. Dwayne Haskins definitely has his struggles, but he started to look a little better by the end of last season. If he can continue to improve to even just slightly above average, he can support Terry McLaurin and make him a near elite fantasy option. My prediction is that Terry McLaurin finishes as a top five wideout in week one.
The matchup isn't the easiest as the Football Team faces off against their division rival. Philadelphia has a decent defense, but they have no linebackers whatsoever. The secondary is average, but Darius Slay is a very near elite cornerback. The defensive line is solid, but could struggle to get consistent pressure on Haskins. McLaurin has an incredible combination of speed, size, hands, strength, and football IQ. Dare I make this comparison, he reminds me an unproven Julio Jones. If Haskins can learn to rely on and trust McLaurin, this duo could be deadly. He will learn to do this week one against the Eagles and McLaurin will have well over 100 yards and at least one touchdown, finishing inside the top five at the position.