Just to make it clear, I tried to not pick obvious starters in this piece, since it is obvious that if you own Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson or Andre Johnson you will start them regardless.
1. Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City – No Vincent Jackson, but no problem against a pathetic Chiefs secondary.
2. Tony Romo vs. Washington – I like the Redskins’ defense, and despite a poor preseason, I feel like the Cowboys offense will get it going in this rivalry game.
3. Carson Palmer vs. New England – The Patriots will be without Leigh Bodden, and don’t have a secondary player older than 27. Plus, the pass-rush isn’t what it has been and Palmer has more weapons than ever before.
1. Vince Young vs. Oakland – No elite WR for VY, plus I think Oakland will have a top 15 defense this season.
2. Sam Bradford vs. Arizona – The Cardinals defense may be without some big name players, but they are still strong up-front, which is something that can’t be said for the St. Louis offense.
3. Matt Ryan vs. Pittsburgh – There is nothing fun about facing the Steelers on the road, to open the season, especially when the Pittsburgh defense knows it needs to carry the team for the first four weeks of the season.
1. Jerome Harrison vs. Tampa Bay – No Montario Hardesty, no real back-up option, and that means plenty of carries and catches for Harrison.
2. Frank Gore vs. Seattle – Pete Carroll is known for his defense, but trying to stop Gore with a below-par front seven will be too much to ask.
3. Tim Hightower vs. St. Louis – Hightower will get the start, and while he might actually play less than Beanie Wells, he will catch plenty of passes and get some goal-line looks as well.
1. Felix Jones vs. Washington – The Skins will once again be a tough team to run against, and with questions on the offensive line, Jones will have a tough time finding room to run.
2. LeSean McCoy vs. Green Bay – He may catch some passes, but McCoy is not the first choice in the redzone, which hurts his chances of scoring big points.
3. Matt Forte vs Detroit – Like McCoy, but slightly better, Forte will catch some passes, and while he will get redzone looks, his offensive line is below-average.
1. Brandon Marshall vs. Buffalo – The Bills have a decent secondary, so I don’t expect a lot of catches for Marshall, but I could see 5 catches for 80-100 yards and a score or two.
2. Calvin Johnson vs. Chicago – Megatron has a second-year quarterback throwing him the ball now, a better supporting cast, and he appears to be healthy. Look out NFL, and in week one a porous Chicago secondary.
3. Mike Wallace vs. Atlanta – Sure, Big Ben is suspended, but Atlanta’s secondary hasn’t proven to be anything special, and Dennis Dixon showed in the preseason he likes throwing to the speedy Wallace.
1. Kenny Britt vs. Oakland – Britt is a big, talented target for Vince Young, but he won’t do anything of not against Nnamdi Asomugha.
2. Wes Welker vs. Cincinnati – Welker may get 6-10 catches, but he won’t get over 100 yards, no touchdowns, and will have a tough time on his still injured knee and against Johnathan Joseph.
3. Mike Sims-Walker vs. Denver – Champ Bailey may not be the league’s best corner anymore, but he is more than good enough to stop MSW.
1. Chris Cooley vs. Dallas – Donovan McNabb loves his tight ends, and the one thing Dallas’ defense is lacking is good cover safeties and linebackers.
2. Kevin Boss vs. Carolina – Eli Manning’s top target in the redzone, Boss should find open spaces while defenses focus on New York’s other options.
3. Zach Miller vs. Tennessee – Jason Campbell has already found Miller to be his safety valve on offense, and he is sure to be Campbell’s first option near the goal line as well.
1. Owen Daniels vs. Indianapolis – Daniels is still recovering from ACL surgery, and will be limited to 15-20 plays. Plus, the Colts have a very fast defense, which is not a good combination for fantasy success.
2. Brent Celek vs. Green Bay – Kevin Kolb will have problems facing the Packers’ front seven, and Celek will find a problem getting open against an athletic linebacker corps.
3. Jermichael Finley vs. Eagles – Finley will get some looks in the redzone, but Ernie Sims will give Jermichael problems with his athleticism.
1. Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis – Sam Bradford’s first career start, and Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and co. smell blood.
2. Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo – Another pathetic offensive line in Buffalo must deal with a hyper-aggressive Mike Nolan defense.
3. San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle – Patrick Willis is the league’s best defensive player, and he will dominate a lackluster Seahawks offense.
1. Chicago Bears vs. Detroit – I see an 8-8 type year out of the Lions, led by an offense with plenty of weapons. The Bears will benefit from Brian Urlacher’s return, but their secondary is below average.
2. New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati – See Carson Palmer.
3. Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston – The Texans seem to finally have a grinding, north-south running back in Arian Foster, and Matt Schaub continues to improve.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.