September 6, 2022, 6:54 pm
The 2022 regular season kicks off with a possible Super Bowl preview featuring two powerhouses that share a lot in common in fantasy — first-round wide receivers, QBs on opposite ends of the QB1 spectrum, a prolific but committee-based backfield, and also elite Top-5 fantasy D/ST units. There should be tons of fantasy points to be had on both sides of the ball in a likely high-scoring affair (O/U 51.5) between the defending Super Bowl champions at home vs. a long-tortured visiting squad that’s still licking their wounds after a third-straight devastating playoff exit. These two teams did not meet last season, so this will be their first matchup since September 2020 (Bills won 35-32).
The man with the most talked-about elbow of the preseason, Matthew Stafford, appears to be all-systems-go despite the lingering elbow tendinitis in his throwing arm. Head coach Sean McVay has very intentionally downplayed any concerns all offseason, recently telling The Athletic on Sunday that his QB has “no limitations” in practice or game-planning. Stafford is a borderline QB1 at home against the top-ranked pass defense from last year, but one that is without All-Pro corner Tre’Davious White (PUP for torn ACL recovery) for at least the first month.
Reigning top non-QB scorer Cooper Kupp (who actually did outscore his own QB by 18 total fantasy points in half-PPR) returns with a ring and three-year extension in hand, and not much different on the field except Allen Robinson taking over the X-receiver role and absorbing a chunk of the targets vacated by Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. Kupp will likely be going up against Taron Johnson (81% of 2021 snaps were in slot and 16th-best PFF coverage grade was even better than White’s) with help from two Top-6 PFF-graded cover safeties in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, but it’s basically moot as he is ironclad matchup-proof.
The aforementioned newcomer Robinson will instantly step into the best QB situation of his career even if it kicks off against the top-ranked pass defense of Buffalo. He’ll likely line up opposite rookie corner Kaiir Elam, over whom Robinson has a 27-pound size advantage that should give the latter the red-zone edge to make him an easy WR2 start with a high ceiling.
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