With the NFL season set to kick off tonight, let’s break down all of the skill positions and determine who should be starting and who should be benched:
Eli Manning (NYG): Yes, the Cowboys tried to improve their secondary, but one of those improvements is first-round pick Morris Claiborne. While he has tremendous talent, is it fair to expect him to try and stymy the Giants receivers in his first pro start? Last season, Manning torched the Cowboys 746 yards and five TD in the two meetings. In other words, if you don’t start him, either you are loaded at the position or just crazy.
Tony Romo (DAL): The injuries to the Cowboys receiving corps put Romo at a serious disadvantage. Couple that with the Giants' dynamic pass rush and it is no lock that Romo puts up huge numbers. I know the Giants' secondary is their weak spot, but you need time to throw the ball to take advantage of it. Romo should make plays, but I would consider him more of a low-end QB1 this week. I would be much more confident if he had his receivers at full strength. He’s usable, but it all depends on your options for later on in the week.
Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG): Did missing time in the preseason ultimately hurt Bradshaw’s stock? It definitely gave David Wilson a chance to prove how dynamic he is and now fantasy owners have to wonder how the Giants will be able to keep the rookie off the field. Obviously, Bradshaw remains the top back and should be considered an RB2, but don’t be surprised if Wilson ends up getting a lot more playing time than originally expected. That said, Bradshaw remains a strong play this week.
David Wilson (NYG): Until we see how many touches per game he gets, he is not an option that can be trusted. However, he is dynamic and could quickly become a major part of this offense (especially with the brittle Bradshaw ahead of him on the depth chart). He should be stashed on your bench in all formats.
DeMarco Murray (DAL): He is one of the few backs who could see the bulk of his team's carries in 2012. Yes, his splits with and without Tony Fiammetta in 2011 do concern me, but not nearly enough. Even against a strong Giants defense he as to be considered a RB1.
Felix Jones (DAL): If you are considering Jones, you must be extremely desperate. Don’t bother as he shouldn’t hold value this season barring an injury to Murray.
Victor Cruz (NYG): Last season’s darling gets a chance to make an instant impact in 2012. Like the rest of the Giants receivers, he absolutely torched Dallas for 12 catches, 252 yards and one TD. Not only is he a must-use option, but he is an elite choice for Week 1.
Hakeem Nicks (NYG): If it wasn’t for the injury concerns, I would like Nicks even more than Cruz. While he gets suppressed slightly, all reports have him not only playing (he is officially listed as questionable) but without any real limitations. He and Cruz should form a dynamic 1-2 punch and both light things up. Keep him active in all formats.
Dominick Hixon, Ruben Randle, Ramses Barden (NYG): Sure, the Giants may once again expose the Cowboys' passing defense, but these options are all way too risky to consider. There is just no guarantee that they receive regular targets. There’s no reason to take this big of a risk early in the week.
Dez Bryant (DAL): Like the rest of the receiving corps, he was a little banged up recently (knee), but his issues are the least concerning. He likely will be the main focus for Romo against a weak Giants’ secondary, making him a WR1 candidate and a must play in all formats.
Miles Austin (DAL): While Austin is back at practice this week, he missed the entire preseason due to a hamstring issue. You have to think that is going to have an impact on his timing, so despite the matchup, we have to be a little less optimistic about Miles. It really comes down to your other options, but I would consider him a mid-level WR2. I wouldn’t be against using him, but if you have a safer option playing on Sunday or Monday, you will want to consider giving Austin a week or two.
Martellius Bennett (NYG): He likely will want to show the Cowboys they made a mistake in letting him go and Eli Manning should give him opportunities to produce. That said, he still enters the season as nothing more than a sleeper option and one that needs to earn our trust. I would consider him a TE2 and only use him if you don’t have a more reliable option. However, with the depth at the position this season, I would think you have someone else worth using.
Jason Witten (DAL): Listed as doubtful, it would be shocking to see him on the field today. It’s a big blow, but fantasy owners will need to quickly hit the waiver wire in need of a replacement. I guess Bennett may not be such a bad play after all.
What are your thoughts for tonight’s game? Who should be used? Who should be benched?
Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings: