It’s time to get the 2012 fantasy football season started, but not without discussing a few players with favorable and unfavorable matchups.
Jay Cutler vs. Colts
Talk about serving up Chicago fans a fast ball, as they should see their talented offense light up the scoreboard in a Week 1 matchup against the Colts. Cutler is a candidate for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, so if you waited at quarterback and are torn between two options, go with Cutler.
Robert Griffin at Saints
The Redskins are a heavy underdog to win in New Orleans, but Griffin should have a nice stat line by game's end. Don’t panic if he starts a little slow, as the Super Dome will be loud, but he will pick up valuable fantasy points in garbage time, likely picking up over 50 yards on the ground as he works his way out of some muddy pockets.
DeAngelo Williams at Buccaneers
Williams has been a disappointment in recent years, but he could be in line for a bounce-back season. Defenses will continue to have their hands full with Cam Newton and with Jonathan Stewart nursing an ankle injury, expect Williams to benefit with RB2 numbers.
Rashad Jennings at Vikings
While Maurice Jones-Drew is back from his holdout, the Jaguars will start Jennings, and we should expect him to touch the football over 20 times. Jennings will be an active player beyond Week 1, but unless Jones-Drew falls to injury, this will probably be Jennings' best chance to make an impact on your fantasy squad.
Mark Ingram vs. Redskins
With Darren Sproles working his way back from a knee injury, we could see Ingram see a few more carries in this game. Consider it likely that the Saints will roll up a lead on the Redskins at home, and Ingram could see over 15 carries in this game. A decent flex play if your looking for options.
Stevan Ridley at Titans
Haven’t heard much from Shane Vereen after he injured his leg during the Patriots' third preseason game against the Buccaneers, but he lost his chance to start for now. Unless Jake Locker plays a clean game, New England should role up a lead and milk the clock in the fourth quarter.
Ridley should have a good game in this one, and he will need to in order to hold down the starting job.
Titus Young vs. Rams
The second-year receiver has had a terrific camp and is ready for a breakout season. Not sure how consistent he will be weekly, but consider his matchup against the Rams this week a terrific opportunity to have a big day.
Nate Washington vs. Patriots
We should expect Bill Belichick to have his secondary playing at a higher level than last year, but the Titans should still have success through the air. Kendall Wright and possibly Kenny Britt are the future starters in Tennessee, but Washington should be considered a WR3 in fantasy leagues for now.
Malcom Floyd at Raiders
Not a fan of the Raiders corners, and Floyd should have some opportunities for big plays in this division rivalry game. Antonio Gates is healthy again, and he presents problems to any defense that will open things up for receivers like Floyd.
Fred Davis at Saints
Davis may lose out to Pierre Garcon as the top target in the Redskins offense, but he will still be an active player. Washington would like to run the football and keep Griffin in manageable, high percentage plays, but that isn’t likely to happen this week. Still, we should see the rookie throw for over 300 yards, and Davis is a must-start.
Greg Olsen at Buccaneers
After a full practice on Sunday, it appears Steve Smith will be a go for the Panthers' Week 1 contest against the Buccaneers. Still, I like Olsen to have a nice game as he works the middle of the field, with rookie Mark Barron likely to be schooled by the veteran.
Bills Defense at Jets -
A big game for the Bills, and they need this win to send a statement to the rest of the league that they are ready to be the No. 2 team in the AFC East and a playoff contender.
Seahawks Defense at Cardinals
This may be the only time I put the Seahawks on this list mainly because they should end up as a top-five fantasy defense this year. Expect good things against as Seattle faces a team with a pathetic situation at both tackle spots.
Tony Romo at Giants
It looks like Jason Witten will be out against the Giants, but hopefully, we will see Austin play. Still, this will be a difficult matchup for Romo, as his offensive line is still searching for continuity and they will play against one of the better front lines in football.
Ben Roethlisberger at Broncos
Wallace is back in the lineup, but the Steelers will probably fall on the losing end again in Denver. This game is more about the return of Peyton Manning, and we should expect the Steelers to struggle with pass protection as Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil pressure Big Ben all game.
Maurice Jones-Drew at Vikings
The Jaguars will start Jennings, and we shouldn’t expect Jones-Drew to play much in this game. It’s probably for the best, as it will give him another week to get into football shape and learn the playbook.
Adrian Peterson vs. Jaguars
Peterson is quickly recovering from a brutal knee injury back in December. Maybe he will work with Toby Gerhart in a committee this week, but hold him out and let’s see how he looks.
Trent Richardson vs. Eagles
A great matchup in this one, but the Eagles will probably make quick work of the Browns who are without Phil Taylor and Joe Haden. Richardson is still working his way back form minor knee surgery, so keep him on the bench this week.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis at Ravens
A foot injury and a matchup in Baltimore are more than enough reasons to hold Green-Ellis out of your lineup. The veteran will be a worthy flex play in the future, but for now, we want to see how the Bengals use him before trusting him in lineups.
Beanie Wells vs. Seahawks
A poor matchup, coming off an injury and working with a better running back in Ryan Williams means Wells is likely to disappoint you. Don’t expect much, and we shouldn’t be surprised if he’s quickly in a backup role soon.
Sidney Rice at Cardinals
Russell Wilson probably has the best arm Rice has worked with since Brett Favre. That isn’t to say Wilson is on Farve’s level, but more that he needs someone that can make stick throws and 50/50 balls down the field.
Rice should benefit from Wilson as the season moves along, but a matchup against Patrick Peterson is one to avoid.
Miles Austin at Giants -
Let’s give him a week off, even if he gets back in the lineup, and cross your fingers he doesn’t suffer another hamstring injury.
Mike Wallace at Broncos
No way. Wallace needs to get back into football shape and is learning a new playbook. Maybe he will break loose for one long play, but don’t be surprised if he’s running deep routes to clear out underneath lanes for Antonio Brown.
Jermaine Gresham at Ravens
A knee injury against the Falcons may slow down a promising season for Gresham. He should be the No. 2 receiver in this offense even though he’s a tight end. Keep him on the bench against the Ravens, but he will be a starter soon.
Cowboys Defense at Giants
Rob Ryan got what he wanted in the offseason, and that was two corners that can play man-coverage. Expect more exotic blitzes as the season moves along, but the Eli Manning is likely to continue his dominance against this defense on Wednesday.
49ers Defense at Packers
Perhaps the best defense in the game, San Francisco will have a tall order to find success against in Lambeau.
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