Many people would have loved a crystal ball in order to see ahead of time the amazing fantasy football performance Dallas Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree had against the New York Giants. His 114 yards and two touchdowns were a surprise, but he will not be the only receiver to shock the fantasy football world in Week 1. Take a glimpse of the near future.
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin is definitely ready to have a big game against the Cleveland Browns. DeSean Jackson will draw the coverage of the Browns’ best corner Joe Haden, but the depth behind Haden is very questionable.
The Browns defense will also be occupied with LeSean McCoy, who rushed for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. The Browns ranked No. 30 in run defense and the loss of DT Phil Taylor for the first part of the season means Cleveland will likely stack the box if it hopes to neutralize the Eagles' run game.
Maclin will face a lot of one-on-one coverage, and the former first-round pick out of Missouri will flourish.
Another guy is receiver Mike Williams of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he will face a slightly tougher overall defense than Maclin, Carolina’s defense is similar to that of the Browns in that it lacks depth outside its No. 1 corner.
Chris Gamble will cover Vincent Jackson, and if Gamble is anything like his 2011 self, then Jackson will have a quiet night. On the other hand, the 6’2” Williams will be covered by the 5’8” Captain Munnerlyn.
Munnerlyn struggled last season and did not record an interception. Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com reported that Munnerlyn will even be moved into the slot on passing situations and rookie Josh Norman will cover the other outside receiver with Gamble covering the No. 1 guy. This will hopefully minimize the opposing team’s size advantage over Captain.
Whether it is Munnerlyn or Norman, though, Williams looks like a lock for a double-digit fantasy performance. He will either have a huge size advantage or he will have a huge advantage in experience.
The final guy who will have a big opening week is Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon as he faces the Minnesota Vikings.
I expect many people to think, “Huh???” when seeing Blackmon’s name. The Vikings have Jared Allen, who had 22 sacks last season, and Blackmon is a rookie with Blaine Gabbert throwing to him.
While Allen is still a threat and it is almost a guarantee he will sack Gabbert, he will not be the guy covering Blackmon. Blackmon is a big, physical 6’1” receiver, and his ability to make big plays after the catch is why he averaged over 1,600 yards in his last two seasons at Oklahoma State.
The Vikings have an unproven secondary and the team’s leader in interceptions last season was safety Jamarca Sanford with two interceptions. Minnesota also plans on giving third-year corner Chris Cook a chance to cover the better receivers this year, according to Brian Hall of FoxSportsNorth.com. Hall also mentioned that Cook has only played 12 games in his three-year career.
All Gabbert will have to do is find a way to get Blackmon the ball, and each time he could turn the catch into six points. Look for Blackmon to explode onto the NFL scene.