QB's Start 'Em
Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
The world will get an early look at Peyton Manning (4,659 YDS, 37 TD, 105.8 RAT) coming into his second season with the Denver Broncos this Thursday at Mile High Stadium. Not only does Manning pose a problem for any defense, ranking 5th in passing last season with 283.4 yards per game, but he's also added the experience of 10-year veteran Wes Welker
(118 REC, 1,354 YDS, 6 TD) to his arsenal of receivers to target across mid-field for maximum damage. Add that to the fact that the Baltimore Ravens
lost six crucial elements to retirement and free agency and Manning looks to continue where he left off in the 2012-13 season. Pssst! But, between you and me, 10-points is still way too much when facing the contending Super Bowl
champs. Bank on it... you know, if you're into that sort of thing or whatever.
Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
After finishing with a dismal 4-12 record last season, the Detroit Lions are looking to get back on track when they open play this Sunday at Ford Field against a Minnesota Vikings
secondary ranked 24th in the league last year, allowing 244.3 passing yards per game. In an offense plagued more by turnovers and troubles in the ground-and-pound game, additions like Reggie Bush
(227 ATT, 986 YDS, 6 TD) look to not only help Mikel Leshoure
(215 ATT, 798 YDS, 9 TD) and the Lions with a viable ground game, but hope to add to Detroit's still thriving passing attack, ranked 2nd in the NFL with 307.9 passing yards per game, by giving Matthew Stafford (4,967 YDS, 20 TD, 79.8 RAT) a solid and explosive check-down option. Hopefully Stafford gets it figured out again this season, because we already know Rodney Peete is probably somewhere throwing deep-fade routes to his children in hopes of a comeback. "Holly, grab the video camera... I'm back, baby!"
Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Matt Ryan (4,719 YDS, 32 TD, 99.1 RAT) and the 6th ranked passing offense of his Atlanta Falcons look to have a monster opener in New Orleans this Sunday. The Saints were absolute bottom-feeders last season in both rushing defense (32nd, 147.6 rushing yards per game) and passing defense (31st, 292.6 passing yards per game) which clearly leaves a wide open path for receivers like Julio Jones
, Roddy White
and Tony Gonzalez (who collectively totaled 264 REC, 3,479 YDS, 25 TD) en route to the NFC South championship. Anyone with an offensive player on the field at the Superdome this weekend should have a solid fantasy outing - for both the visiting Falcons and hometown hereauxs. You see what I did there? I'm just so clever!
RB's Start 'Em
Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots)
Not only has New England Patriots' star running back Stevan Ridley (290 ATT, 1,263 YDS, 12 TD) made a name for himself, he's also coming into his third year at the professional level. As you may or may not know, a player's third year out of college is usually the tipping point in the NFL to exert full "beast mode" potential and I look for Ridley to do just that - especially against a Buffalo Bills
defense guilty of giving up the third-most fantasy points to running backs on their home field, ranked 31st overall, allowing 145.8 yards per game on the ground. I mean, c'mon Buffalo... I know quarterbacks in the league who can't even throw for that many yards! **Place Mark Sanchez photo here**
David Wilson (New York Giants)
Allowing 125.2 rushing yards per game and giving up an average of close to 20 fantasy points per game on the ground at home, the Dallas Cowboys
, ranked 22nd in stopping the run last season, will have their hands full stopping New York Giants' newest premier back, David Wilson (71 ATT, 358 YDS, 4 TD). Although his numbers don't jump out from last season, you've got to remember that Wilson is only in his second year out of Virginia Tech and weighing the entire load since the loss of both Andre Brown
(73 ATT, 385 YDS, 8 TD) and Pro Bowler Ahmad Bradshaw (221 ATT, 1,015 YDS, 6 TD) to the... ummm... where'd he go again?! Ahhh, that's right, Indianapolis! Thanks again for that gem, fellas!
Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Doug Martin (319 ATT, 1,454 YDS, 11 TD) is a household name and fantasy badass, thanks to his rookie (yes, rookie) season last year coming out of Boise State. This season's crystal ball (no, don't ask me to look at it either... it doesn't like you... trust me... I just know, ok?!) shows that the future may be just as bright this year for the young back. Facing a New York Jets
team ranked 26th last season in stopping the run, giving up 133.6 rushing yards per game, will only further help put Martin on a pedestal, as well. He made me look like a genius last season and I feel like the same will be said this time starting in week one this Sunday. Nothing like sittin' back and allowing others to do the dirty work while you bask in the limelight... right, Chris Bosh? BOOM!!! FACE!!!
WR's Start 'Em
Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints)
Remember how I said both offenses were going to have a field day earlier? Up above. I said it in the quarterbacks section. Seriously?! Ughhh, anyway... I said it. Look for New Orleans Saints franchise quarterback Drew Brees' (5,177 YDS, 43 TD, 96.3 RAT) to target main receiving option Marques Colston (83 CAT, 1,154 YDS, 10 TD) all afternoon long against the Dirty Birds, who he has scored a touchdown in 3 of his past 4 games against their NFC divisional rival. Oooh, kill 'em!
Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)
If the Pittsburgh Steelers' 4th year wideout, Antonio Brown (66 CAT, 787 YDS, 5 TD), wants to make an even bigger name for himself, he should look to do it on Sunday against a Tennessee Titans
passing defense who ranked 24th last season, giving up 127.2 passing yards per game... not to mention a ton of touchdown passes to boot. C'mon Antonio, show us that you really don't need Mike Wallace's
help and you can burden the load. I betcha won't! (Shhh, that's reverse psychology, guys!)
Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Although Kansas City ranked 12th overall in passing defense last season, allowing only a respectable 220.8 passing yards per game last season, I still feel that Cecil Shorts (55 CAT, 979 YDS, 7 TD) will have an extremely solid outing to debut the 2013 season for Jacksonville. The man with arguably the best name in the NFL will just have to hope and pray his quarterback (whether it be Chad Henne
or Blaine Gabbert
this weekend) doesn't mess the bed, per usual.
QB Sit 'Em - Seriously, don't you even think about it, young man!
Robert Griffin, III (Washington Redskins)
Don't think for a second that Robert Griffin, III (3,200 YDS, 20 TD, 102.4 RAT) is going to resemble the RGIII you came to know last season... unless of course you got introduced somewhere along the second half of the Seahawks
game in the playoffs last year. I definitely feel as if they haven't given Griffin and his knee the kind of attention nor rehabilitation it deserves, especially for a franchise player. Don't look for RGIII to take off running with the ball and making sharp cuts as we've all grown accustom to in the past - at least not yet. As I heard earlier today, "You don't draft RGIII to get Alex Smith numbers." - Nameless Football Guru
RB Sit 'Em - Did I stutter?!
Arian Foster (Houston Texans)
Call me crazy (I've been called worse), but in my expert opinion (ok, mine and previous Stampede Blue heartthrob and current USA Football spokesperson Nick Ragsdale's expert opinions) we just don't see Houston Texans premier back Arian Foster (351 ATT, 1,424 YDS, 15 TD) sitting out the entire preseason, traveling across two time zones and playing at 10:20 pm on a Monday night, having a monster outing - especially if Ben Tate
is more than capable of carrying the load, averaging 5.7 yards-per-carry this preseason. Seriously think about keeping Foster on the bench until they bring him in for week two against a conference opponent. Arian has better things going on anyway, like Under Armour commercials and shizz!
WR Sit 'Em - Think about it again and you'll be grounded for TWO weeks, mister!
Mike Wallace (Miami Dolphins)
After signing a contract for $60 million over the next 5 years, Miami Dolphins star wideout Mike Wallace (64 CAT, 846 YDS, 8 TD) seems like a viable option to start this week, but don't underestimate the stopping power of the Cleveland Browns
, especially on their home field. Add to that, Joe Haden
is going to be pressing him harder than I do my boxers before a big date. Shut up, to each their own.