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Fantasy Football Sleepers: Players Who Are Must-Start in Week 1

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay CutlerJonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Justin GoldmanCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2012

With the start of the 2012 regular season just a day away, it's time to think about setting your Week 1 lineup. As always, there are a few matchups in the opening week that could get your sleepers off to a hot start this year. I'll take a look here at some of the less heralded players who nonetheless could be the difference between a loss and a win for your fantasy squad.

QB: Jay Cutler, Chicago

Matchup: Vs. Indianapolis

Jay Cutler was playing phenomenally last season before going down to injury, and he will look to build on that in Week 1 against Indy. The additions of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at receiver give him two targets who should give the Colts fits.

The Colts were 15th against the pass last season, but they traded for Vontae Davis to help solidify their secondary. However at only 5'11", Davis will struggle against the bigger and stronger Marshall, who should be able to win the match up consistently.

Cutler appears ready to have a big game. Projections put him close to 300 yards with three touchdowns. That would make him an elite start for Week 1. Unless you have one of the big four (Stafford, Rodgers, Brees, Brady) then you should highly consider starting Cutler.

RB: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

Matchup: Vs. Carolina

In 2011, the Carolina Panthers were abysmal against the run. They gave up the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs. That alone should be enough to convince you to start Doug Martin.

The Bucs clear-cut starter should find holes with ease against a lackluster Panther defense. The addition of Carl Nicks to Tampa Bay's offensive line should also help Martin in his transition to the NFL.

CBS Sports projects him to go for 100 total yards with a touchdown. 16 fantasy points would be a great week for any running back, so don't think twice and give Martin the start.

WR: Malcom Floyd, San Diego

Matchup: At Oakland

Floyd has as good of a matchup as any receiver in Week 1. The Oakland Raiders have an awful secondary, and Floyd is the No. 1 receiver in San Diego. If you drafted Malcom Floyd you will be looking like a genius this week.

With Robert Meachem struggling to find his feet the only threat to Floyd's production is Antonio Gates. But both players should have great games against the Raiders.

Fantasy Sharks think Floyd will end up near the 100 yard mark, and CBS Sports expects him to find the end zone once. That would make him a must-start in all leagues for Week 1.

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