Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Top Players to Start for Week 1 Matchups
The first week of the regular season starts on Wednesday and all fans—casual and die-hards—are looking forward to the start of fantasy football. The best plays for Week 1 are the players who have had success against their opponent in the past or players who are facing a matchup against a bad defense.
The Colts don't have much talent for their 3-4 defense and should get dominated easily by even a weak Bears offensive line. Add in the screen game that Forte dominates other teams with and the Chicago back would be perfect for a PPR league play. Even in non-PPR leagues, Forte should be able to get at least 15 points as a solid running back play for Week 1.
Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This one has more to do with past results over a true matchup issue. Cam Newton has had excellent games in each of his first two matchups against a Buccaneers defense that is relatively the same as it was in 2011.
In his first game versus the Buccaneers, he had 204 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 54 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns for 35 points. In the second game, he had 171 passing yards, three passing touchdown, 65 rushing yards and one rushing touchdowns for 30 points. So if you want a solid 30-point boost to your fantasy team, playing Cam Newton just makes sense.
Houston Texans Wide Receiver Andre Johnson vs. the Miami Dolphins
Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver over the past six years. He is looking to be completely healthy after hamstring injuries held him back in 2011. The Miami defensive backs are weak at best.
Lester Jean is starting to look like a legitimate option for the Texans offense as well, and that will add to Johnson's effectiveness. Sean Smith and Richard Marshall are average corners at best and won't be any match for the top wide receiver in the NFL.
Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Julio Jones vs. the Kansas City Chiefs
Brandon Flowers is still fighting an injury, and if he is not healthy enough to play, Julio Jones will play across from Javier Arenas. Arenas is a 5'9" cornerback who has primarily played at nickel in his career and isn't known for being fast enough to cover the burners like Julio Jones.
Add in that Julio is 6'3" with long arms and great burst, and he could have a career day against the diminutive cornerback. This would be a solid play even if Flowers was healthy and Jones was lining up against Routt, but it could prove to be a monster game—around 200 yards—if Flowers can't play.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.
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