Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Week 1 of the NFL regular season and the first Sunday of your 2013 fantasy season! Every week, I’ll be doing game capsules, much like I did the other day for the Denver/Baltimore game. But due to scheduling conflicts caused by the holiday weekend earlier in the week, there is little or no time for that to be done here. So instead, I’m just going to go game by game and throw you a relevant fantasy thought or two that may be helpful to you for this week.
New England at Buffalo
Gets those Patriots active this week against a soft Bills’ defense. Tom Brady should spread the ball around beautifully to Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins and the sleeper tight end who isn’t much a sleeper anymore, Zach Sudfeld.
As for the Bills, maybe C.J. Spiller has an ok game, but the team is going to be so far behind that EJ Manuel is going to have to air it out in the second half and that’s just not going to be good for anyone.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh
I think Chis Johnson is going to surprise a lot of people this year, but the guy on the field I’m really watching today is Antonio Brown. He was a big possession receiver for the Steelers last year but without Mike Wallace, the hope is that he becomes a big red zone target as well, something that eluded him most of last year.
Tampa Bay at New York Jets
As a lifelong Jets fan, there’s nothing more that I can do here but recommend you start all of your Bucs, including their defense.
Atlanta at New Orleans
It’s likely to be the shootout that everyone expects. I would start all my guys who are involved in the passing game from both sides and I would also put my trust in Steven Jackson this week. How the Saints’ backfield shakes out probably isn’t going to be much for fantasy owners.
Kansas City at Jacksonville
Both Jamaal Charles and Maurice Jones-Drew should be solid starts, but don’t underestimate Alex Smith. He was one of the top three rated passers for accuracy last year before the concussion and he should lock in to Dwayne Bowe early and often in this one.
Seattle at Carolina
My favorites in this one are going to be Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and the Seattle defense. I like Cam Newton for the long haul this season, but this is a tough match-up to start with, even if Seattle is coming across the country to play. He should put up some decent stats, but not the stats that made him such a high draft pick.
Cincinnati at Chicago
Look for Matt Forte to break out in this one and possibly even Martellus Bennett if the Bengals defense tries to clamp down on Brandon Marshall. For the Bengals, don’t underestimate BenJarvis Green-Ellis. Sure, Giovani Bernard is going to poach some carries, but The Law Firm is still the primary and he’s also the guy to get the call in short-yardage and goal-line downs.
Miami at Cleveland
Trent Richardson could have some trouble with the Miami run defense early on but should still have a solid day while Lamar Miller should find things similar on his end. I’m still not worried about Daniel Thomas and neither should you. Miller will be the one who gets the bulk of the work. The situation I’m watching most is how Mike Wallace is used in the Miami offensive scheme. Brian Hartline should get the possession work, so how many deep chances Wallace gets will be integral to his fantasy value.
Minnesota at Detroit
Obviously the Vikings will lean on Adrian Peterson for most of the day, while the Lions new-look offense could prove to be too potent. While Calvin Johnson will see the most targets, how Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles are mixed in should be vital to winning and losing the game. Reggie Bush is also supposed to be very active in the passing attack as well, so that should prove to be a fantastic pick for those who own him; even better in PPR play.
Oakland at Indianapolis
This one should be all Colts, all day long. Andrew Luck should pick apart the secondary and spread the ball around to all of his targets while Ahmad Bradshaw should get a significant amount of work when they go into clock-killing mode in the second half.
Arizona at St. Louis
There should be a significantly greater amount of passing in this one, given the fact that neither team has an overwhelmingly strong running game while both teams have underrated defenses. I like Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Givens to lead their respective teams in receiving yards and touchdowns.
Green Bay at San Francisco
Both teams will try to establish the ground game early so Frank Gore and Eddie Lacy should see decent first-half touches. But the passing attack should be big in the second half. The guys that I’m watching this week to see how valuable they’ll be over the course of the season are Jermichael Finley for the Packers and Quinton Patton for the 49ers. Patton, in my opinion, is going to be a huge asset this season.
New York Giants at Dallas
We all know how this one always ends up, so start your receivers and tight ends from this game this week. We’re expecting quite the second half shootout in this one. Should the Giants break out to an early lead, expect to see David Wilson get some serious attention though.
Philadelphia at Washington
All eyes will be on Robert Griffin III in this one and he’s likely to find his good buddy Pierre Garcon downfield on more than one occasion, but don’t sleep on Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. They might have the deck stacked against them all year in the NFL, but they’re all capable of shining bright in fantasy play.
Houston at San Diego
While the Chargers offense has plenty to prove, the guy I’m watching most is Vincent Brown. He’s capable of playing like a number one wideout, but needs to prove it on the field. As for the Texans, expect a lot of Arian Foster early with a switch to Ben Tate late when the Texans are up big in the second half. I’m not sure why Matt Schaub isn’t getting much love this year from the fantasy world, but I like him a lot with a healthy Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins at his disposal.
Good luck this week, and if you have any last-second questions, feel free to hit me up on my Twitter account. The info is just below…
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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