As you get ready to set your fantasy football lineups for Week One, I will take a look at my top ranked player at QB, RB, and WR, as well as a lower ranked player at each position that will provide useful fantasy numbers his week. The top ranked quarterback for week 1 is Phillip Rivers, as he faces the Vikings at home. Rivers is among the game’s elite, and has his full complement of pass catchers at his disposal. The Vikings will be without the Williams’ up front, forcing them to stack the box to stop the Chargers running game. Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson can exploit single coverage’s, and Rivers will take full advantage. A QB to watch this week is Tampa Bay’s Josh Freemen. He plays at home against another NFC North team in the Detroit Lions: a team that has a dominate front four when healthy. However, rookie Nick Fairley will not play against the Bucs, giving Freemen time to sit in the pocket and expose the Lions weak secondary. They will use the power running of LeGarrette Blount to set up an effective passing game. Freemen could very easily produce multiple TD’s to go along with 200+ yards, not bad from a QB who won’t be played in most leagues.
The top ranked RB on the week may surprise, as he likely wasn’t a top 5 pick in your league. LeSean McCoy gets the nod as the most trusted back this week, as he battles the Rams in Saint Louis. The turf surface will greatly benefit the high octane offense of Philadelphia. I expect the Eagles to take a big lead early and thus run more often than a typical Andy Reid led team. The Rams gave up 4.5 yards per rush last year, and with their focus on the electrifying Mike Vick, I expect McCoy to average more than that. He should surpass 130 total yards, and get into the end zone. A lesser valued option this week is Beanie Wells against the Panthers. Wells has impressed all preseason, and looks to continue that trend against a porous Panther D. Carolina allowed 20 TD’s on the ground last year, second most in the NFL. The Cardinals will stay committed to the run in order to keep newly acquired Kevin Kolb comfortable. Wells should get at least 20 carries this week, and 100 total yards to go along with a score is reasonable.
Roddy White headlines my receiver ranks for Week One. No shocker here, as White is one of the two most gifted receivers in the game. He matches up favorably against the Bears, who defense seems to be aging. The Bears will pack it in, considering how much the Falcons rely on the power running of Michael Turner. But Matt Ryan has grown into a very good pro QB, and is capable of changing the play at the line of scrimmage. More often than not, he changes the play to go White’s way, as White is one of those receivers who can make a play, even when the defense defends him perfectly. A sleeper receiver this week, Davone Bess takes on the Patriots on Monday Night Football. The Patriots defense isn’t getting any younger, and the Fins have plenty of speed to spread them out. Reggie Bush will be a major concern for the Pats linebackers, while deep threat Brandon Marshall will garner most of the safeties attention. Chad Henne is a capable QB who will take what the defense gives him, and in this matchup, that seems to be Bess. The Dolphin WR averaged 5 catches per contest last year, and I expect him to top that total in Miami on Monday Night.