The Colts defense, and particularly their secondary, is looking very vulnerable this weekend. Without their shutdown corner Vontae Davis, they will have to rely heavily on Antonio Cromartie who was just signed in late August, and Darius Butler who suffered an ankle sprain in week 3 of the preseason. Marvin Jones Jr should get most of his looks against Cromartie, who is coming off a poor year with the Jets and figures to be rusty after such a short camp. Boldin figures to work primarily out of the slot in 3WR formations, which should allow him plenty of chances to victimize Butler.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (vs DET)
Darius Slay had a very strong year in 2015, and he figures to shadow T.Y. Hilton this week. That should leave Moncrief with a very inviting matchup against Nevin Lawson, who is physical but still raw after taking over as a starter midway through last season. In a game that’s expected to see plenty of points scored, Moncrief looks like a great option.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN (vs TEN)
The Vikings offense should get a boost from the addition of rookie Laquan Treadwell eventually, but it’s too early to count on much from him. That should leave Diggs as the clear #1 WR, and he should see plenty of targets from Shaun Hill while working primarily against Jason McCourty. McCourty is better than he showed in limited action a year ago, but is far from a shutdown corner and Diggs seems like the type of WR (small, extremely quick) that he has trouble with.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA (vs MIA)
The Dolphins may have a solid claim for one of the weakest groups of cornerbacks in the league this year. They are going to start Byron Maxwell, who is trying to rebuild his career after going bust with the Eagles in 2015. The other starter figures to be rookie Xavien Howard, who missed almost the entire preseason while recovering from an injury. With Doug Baldwin holding onto most of the slot duties in Seattle, Lockett (and Kearse) should become a very inviting target on the outside regardless of which corner he lines up against.
TE Clive Walford, OAK (vs NO)
One would hope the Saints figured out some of the issues they had last year on defense, but this group led the NFL in points allowed to tight ends in 2015. The personnel hasn’t changed much though, and it’s reasonable to assume they will be much more concerned with the Raiders WRs outside.
TE Jason Witten, DAL (vs NYG)
In a down year, Witten still caught 77 balls for 700 yards a year ago. Dak Prescott is certainly an unknown variable at QB, but chances are the rookie will rely heavily on the steady TE. Meanwhile, the Giants were right up there with the Saints in terms of fantasy points allowed to TEs last year as they showed a complete inability to stop almost anybody at the position.
WR Mike Wallace, BAL (vs BUF)
The Ravens brought in Wallace to improve their depth and add some deep speed to the outside of their defense. He should help complement Kamar Aiken and Steve Smith, but this looks like a very tough matchup as the Bills boast two of the best outside cover corners in the league. Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby should be able to keep Wallace in check.
WR Kevin White, CHI (vs HOU)
White missed his entire rookie season, and has been mostly invisible throughout the preseason when he wasn’t making unforced errors. He could wind up seeing plenty of Jonathan Joseph this week as well, which shouldn’t do him any favors.
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT (vs WAS)
It’s tough to know exactly how Washington will plan to slow down Antonio Brown this week, but the addition of Josh Norman gives them two very strong corners to use as they see fit. Whether it’s Norman or Breeland that Wheaton lines up against, that’s probably a matchup that will favor Washington.
TE Antonio Gates, SD (vs KC)
The Chiefs only allowed 2 TD passes to the TE position in all of 2015 and very few tight ends had any success against Eric Berry and company. Gates is obviously a threat to have a good game against anybody, but the Chargers have enough other weapons that they won’t have to force him the ball herel.
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