NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Matchups: Vikings vs. 49ers

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Matchups: Monday Night Football 10:20PM ET Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers

Spread: Pickem

Over/Under: 41.5

With a low total this game looks to be a defensive battle. The 49ers have lost pretty much their whole defense in the off season. Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Chris Borland, Ray McDonald, Perish Cox, Chris Culliver are all gone. Then Aldon Smith gets another DUI and is released. This defense will look NOTHING like it did 3 years ago when they lost to the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile Minnesota has a promising young QB and receiving crew, a first ballot hall of fame RB, and an above average Defense. This is the story of a team on the rise vs one in a free fall.

With the 49ers depleted defense you can expect Minnesota to put up points. The only reason they are not favorites is because the books have a hard time quantifying all of these offseason changes. I mean when was the last time that a team lost half its starting defense for them to draw a comparison from? You can expect Adrian Peterson to have a big day against whoever the 49ers muster to put across from him. He is hands down my top RB for week 1. Norv Turner is responsible for turning Ladainian Tomlinson into a fantasy football cheat code for San Diego in the mid 2000s, now he is the OC for the Vikings. An offensive wizard, he should have no problem getting AP into space, and light a candle for anyone who tries to make an open field tackle on AP. Teddy Bridgewater closed out the season looking like the best QB in the draft last year. It was a weak QB draft but he still looked good enough to where you can have a barroom conversation about him being a franchise QB and not get laughed out of the room. Mike Wallace was brought into the fold and Charles Johnson is continuing to draw all the praise that saw him jump up the depth chart last year. Johnson and Bridgewater look to have a good connection, with Bridgewater hunting him down when he is under pressure. Wallace should be the biggest beneficiary of AP’s return, punishing teams for stacking the box with his deep threat speed. In this game I like Johnson more than Wallace, but like pretty much the whole Vikings Offense.

Minnesota’s Defense has a top D-Line and Secondary, both built around youth so you can expect improvement rather than regression. Their linebacking core is the real question mark. If I had to target one part of the 49ers offense to produce, it would be the run game. Carlos Hyde could see some play, depending on the price. He is certainly not a top back, but for a middle of the pack guy he should get a lot of carries. Do not take him if you also have AP, it is hard for two backs to produce tournament winning scores in the same game, since that means both teams are calling run plays which drains the clock. I want no part of the 49ers air attack. Kaepernick has regressed ever since he tried to become more of a pocket passer and is incredibly hit or miss. Normally Boldin would be a solid bet, but he is a year older and I am starting to believe that this is finally the year where he declines. Torrey Smith had trouble in Baltimore where he knew the playbook, I am not signing up for a new team and new OC that he will suddenly “get it”. Vernon Davis hasn’t looked the same since week 1 last year. Make him prove it before he sees your roster, betting on aging guys with injury histories is a losing bet.

Vikings to target: Teddy Bridgewater QB, Adrian Peterson RB, Charles Johnson WR, Mike Wallace WR

49ers to target: Carlos Hyde RB

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