Are you sitting down? This might shock you: You should start Calvin Johnson in your fantasy league.
The unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver is an automatic starter each and every week he plays. If he spends anything more than his bye week on your bench, you don't deserve to win any of your games.
Johnson's Week 1 matchup should mean a big point total. The Minnesota Vikings weren't great against the pass last year, and they won't be much better without Antoine Winfield. Xavier Rhodes was a great selection in the first round; however, the Vikings are asking a lot of him to produce in the first week of the regular season.
Johnson is just one of many wide receivers who are set for big performances. Here are the top 15 wideouts going into Week 1, followed by three who will have huge days against weaker defenses.
Dez Bryant vs. New York Giants
Last year, the New York Giants didn't have a terrible secondary. According to Football Outsiders, they were 16th against the pass. Dez Bryant totaled nine receptions and 195 yards in the Dallas Cowboys' two games against the Giants last year.
New York didn't make a lot of changes to the secondary, opting instead to let the players it had grow and improve organically. Unfortunately, Stevie Brown is going to miss the entire season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. That's a big loss for the Giants.
In order to improve from last season, they'll also need a big jump from Corey Webster, who has to return to his 2011 form.
Until Webster and the rest of the Giants secondary display some consistency, the unit is a big question mark. That spells big things for Bryant on Sunday night.
Julio Jones vs. New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton's return should mean the New Orleans Saints defense will improve, especially with the additions of Rob Ryan, Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis. Just how great that improvement will be remains to be seen.
Since the Saints are integrating so many new pieces, starting off with the Atlanta Falcons is about the worst possible situation in Week 1. The Falcons had one of the best passing games in the league last season, and they'll only get better as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones gain more experience.
Jones should be able to have a huge game against the Saints. According to The Associated Press via ESPN.com, Roddy White seems confident he'll be on the field. That's a big boost for Jones, as that's another solid weapon that will be drawing the defense's attention.
Dwayne Bowe vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Nobody is going to consider Dwayne Bowe an elite receiver. With Alex Smith at quarterback, you should see Bowe return somewhat to his production between 2007 and 2011. Smith is the best signal-caller Bowe will have had during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs.
When you throw that in with Andy Reid's offense, Bowe should get enough targets to eclipse 1,000 yards and notch at least five touchdowns for the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars did a nice piece of business by drafting Jonathan Cyprien. However, they still haven't done a lot to improve a pass defense that was one of the worst in the league last year.
In what should be a bit of a comeback season for Bowe, this has the potential to be one of his best performances of the season.
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