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Top 50 Fantasy Football Big Board for NFL Week 1

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 8, 2016

Top 50 Fantasy Football Big Board for NFL Week 1

1 of 51

    So, um, that Peyton Manning guy is pretty good, eh?

    Manning's seven touchdowns and 462 yards netted him in the second-highest scoring total for a quarterback in the fantasy era, and Week 1 is off to a legendary start. Fantasy totals are already in midseason form one game in.

    We wish we could go back in time and put him as the No. 1 quarterback in our Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings and maybe acknowledge the breakout candidate that is Julius Thomas. Also, the Broncos threw a curveball and started Knowshon Moreno over Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, giving Moreno the bulk of the workload in the first half.

    We learned a lot about Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos' running back rotation, but that is all in the past now. We are still looking ahead to the rest of Week 1 with our Top 50. These won't be the highest-scoring players, as those are mostly quarterbacks.

    This 50 represents the top half of the quarterbacks (six), running backs (12), wide receivers (18) and tight ends (six) in a standard league. We tossed in a few defense/special teams for argument's sake, and a couple of bonus picks at the premium positions.

    Click through this packed slideshow as we take a look ahead to Week 1.

     

50. K Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

2 of 51

    Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 14th

    Analysis: We figured we needed to have one kicker in the mix, so we go with the one who benefits from the Patriots offense. Tom Brady and Stevan Ridley are going to move the ball, but the newness of the receiving corps and absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski (back) can lead to some struggles in the red zone. That should make for a busy day for Gostkowski.

    Projection: Three field goals and four extra points

49. TE Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

3 of 51

    Opponent: at Detroit Lions

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 23rd

    Analysis: Kyle Rudolph isn't a high-volume receiver in the run-heavy Vikings offense, but he posted the most productive day for a tight end against the Lions defense last year, reeling in seven balls for 64 yards and a touchdown. Christian Ponder is not a real passing threat, but Adrian Peterson's running will put Rudolph in position for a score here. That is enough to rate among the top half of the Week 1 tight ends.

    Projection: Three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown

     

     

48. QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

4 of 51

    Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 26th

    Analysis: Tony Romo has been bested by Eli Manning each of the past four times in Dallas, but he was great against the Giants in the season opener in New York last year. The Giants secondary is banged-up, as is their pass rush, and DeMarco Murray is healthy and a difference-maker when the Cowboys go with play action. Romo is a must-start in this matchup.

    Projection: 295 yards and two touchdowns

47. D/ST Cincinnati Bengals

5 of 51

    Opponent: at Chicago Bears

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 17th

    Analysis: The Bengals have one of the most underrated defenses in football, and it starts with guys like Geno Atkins up front. The Bears should find it frustrating to move the ball, even if the West Coast offense suits Jay Cutler better. Cutler is always good for sacks and turnovers.

    Projection: 20 points against, 325 total yards, two turnovers and one touchdown

46. QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

6 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Minnesota Vikings

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 28th

    Analysis: Two of the four 300-yard games thrown against the Vikings last year came at the hand of Stafford, who guides the most pass-happy offense in the NFL. The Lions still need to find a second receiver to complement Calvin Johnson, but they will use Reggie Bush as a receiver out of the backfield. Stafford is a must-start quarterback in all weeks.

    Projection: 300 yards and two touchdowns

45. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

7 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Green Bay Packers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 14th

    Analysis: Kaepernick ran roughshod on the Packers in the playoffs last year, so rest assured the Green Bay defense will be ready for the multiple looks the 49ers give it. Being ready and being able to stop a weapon like this on the road are two different things. Kaepernick rates as one of the top 10 fantasy producers right now, even if we called him a bust because of his relative value with respect to draft position.

    Projection: 210 yards and two touchdowns, 40 yards rushing and one touchdown

44. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

8 of 51

    Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 7th

    Analysis: The 49ers have had the Packers' number the past two meetings, but expect Rodgers to be ready for the looks they will throw at him now more than ever. He remains too promising to sit in any fantasy league no matter the matchup. There is a reason you picked him in the early rounds. You did it to play him every week.

    Projection: 290 yards and two touchdowns, five yards rushing and one touchdown

43. WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

9 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 18th

    Analysis: Darrius Heyward-Bey might be starting at the No. 2 receiver spot for the Colts, but that doesn't mean you should expect anything less from T.Y. Hilton in terms of production. The Raiders are going to get blown out in this one, and Hilton is going to find the end zone on a big play for Andrew Luck.

    Projection: Four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown

42. WR Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

10 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 18th

    Analysis: Reggie Wayne might not be a big threat for touchdowns, but he remains the leading target for Andrew Luck—despite being the oldest fantasy receiver owned in a significant number of fantasy leagues. Consider him a must-start against that bad Raiders defense. Luck is going to light them up.

    Projection: Six catches for 85 yards

41. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

11 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 9th

    Analysis: With all of the production to come out of the Falcons-Saints shootout, you have to pick Drew Brees' leading wide receiver to be a part of this big 50. Colston admitted he wasn't 100 percent this preseason, but he should be plenty productive to serve as a fantasy starter in all leagues, particularly in such an expected wide-open game.

    Projection: Five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown

40. WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants

12 of 51

    Opponent: at Dallas Cowboys

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 16th

    Analysis: Victor Cruz was rested at the end of the preseason but is active for Week 1. The Giants will face a reworked Dallas defense (the old Tampa Cover 2), so Cruz should have a busy day working underneath. We like Hakeem Nicks slightly ahead of him this week, but fantasy owners shouldn't be concerned about his heel bruise.

    Projection: Six catches for 85 yards

39. WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13 of 51

    Opponent: at New York Jets

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 1st

    Analysis: Vincent Jackson had a dynamic first year with the Bucs, but this matchup with the Darrelle Revis-less Jets is much tougher than you might think. The Jets were the best team in fantasy against receivers a year ago. Jackson remains a must-start, despite the unfavorable matchup.

    Projection: Seven catches for 85 yards

38. RB David Wilson, New York Giants

14 of 51

    Opponent: at Dallas Cowboys

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 28th

    Analysis: The loss of Andre Brown can make David Wilson a big-time star, but we will proceed cautiously with him here until he proves capable of a full workload. He has had his moments, but he hasn't been a feature back yet. The Cowboys will be better against the run this year, but Wilson is still a must-start ace back.

    Projection: 15 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, two catches for 15 yards

37. RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

15 of 51

    Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 15th

    Analysis: DeMarco Murray won't get the 131 yards he got on the Giants defense in the 2012 opener, but he is still a No. 1 running back when healthy, which is what he is now. He was merely drafted as a No. 2 because of the injury risk. Consider him a must-start in all leagues until he proves otherwise.

    Projection: 20 carries for 80 yards, three catches for 20 yards

36. RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

16 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Miami Dolphins

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 10th

    Analysis: Many are excited about how Norv Turner is going to make Trent Richardson into a fantasy monster, but this Week 1 matchup is a tough one for him. The Dolphins have an underrated defense—particularly against the run—and Richardson is going to get a lot of attention, particularly with Josh Gordon (suspension) not there to stretch the field in the passing game.

    Projection: 20 carries for 85 yards, four catches for 20 yards

35. RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

17 of 51

    Opponent: at New York Jets

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 25th

    Analysis: The Jets were bad against the run last year, but you can bet on Rex Ryan having that part of the game squared away. It is what he does: defense. The Bucs are a Doug Martin-reliant team—particularly against a still-solid Jets secondary—but Martin is going to be facing a lot of eight-man boxes. Expect mediocre first-week numbers by his lofty standards.

    Projection: 20 carries for 90 yards, four catches for 20 yards

34. WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

18 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Tennessee Titans

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 20th

    Analysis: The Steelers lost Mike Wallace, but count that as a positive for Antonio Brown. With Le'Veon Bell (foot) still out of commission, the Steelers are going to need to move the ball through the air on the strength of Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder. Heath Miller (knee) is out too, so expect Brown to serve as a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver right now, especially against a suspect Titans defense.

    Projection: Five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown

33. WR Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

19 of 51

    Opponent: at Dallas Cowboys

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 16th

    Analysis: As banged-up as Hakeem Nicks always is, Victor Cruz (heel) might be worse off going into this one. Nicks is in a contract year and will be motivated to have his best season yet. That would mean top-10 status among receivers. He ranks as a second wide receiver for fantasy owners right now, but a season of health and consistency is coming. It starts here. 

    Projection: Five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown

32. WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

20 of 51

    Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 4th

    Analysis: The 49ers will remain one of the toughest defenses in football against both the run and the pass, but Randall Cobb was one of the few who was able to do damage against them last year. He had nine catches for 77 yards in the opener en route to a breakout year.

    Most of the top receiving performances against that defense a year ago were by those working the underneath routes, running against linebackers in coverage. The 49er linebackers are good, but Cobb is better.

    Projection: Nine catches for 100 yards

31. WR Danny Amendola, New England Patriots

21 of 51

    Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 14th

    Analysis: It will be difficult to match the debut of Wes Welker with the Broncos, but you can bet the Patriots are going to try with the frequently targeted Danny Amendola. The Bills don't have a whole lot to work with on the Patriots' new set of receivers, so expect them to struggle with the routes Amendola will be running underneath. Amendola is a PPR dream.

    Projection: 10 catches for 115 yards

30. WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

22 of 51

    Opponent: at San Diego Chargers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 19th

    Analysis: The Texans' addition of DeAndre Hopkins will do wonders for Andre Johnson's fantasy numbers—for as long as the veteran stays healthy. A.J. is healthy to open the year, and Hopkins should help pull some coverage away from the veteran. For the first time in years—or ever—the Texans have help on the other side.

    Projection: Five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown

29. D/ST Pittsburgh Steelers

23 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Tennessee Titans

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 26th

    Analysis: Despite finishing as the No. 1-ranked defense in yards against last season, many fantasy owners were down on the Steelers as a unit. They didn't force turnovers or score touchdowns. That changes this year, especially with Troy Polamalu healthy to start the season.

    Projection: Six points against, 250 total yards, three turnovers and one touchdown

28. D/ST New England Patriots

24 of 51

    Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 22nd

    Analysis: The Patriots match up well against the Bills, whose strength plays into that of the Pats. They stop the run and force you to pass, especially with Tom Brady kicking up the tempo and scoring on the other side of the ball. This is going to be a great week to start the Pats defense—one of the most underrated units in fantasy.

    Projection: 10 points against, 280 total yards, three turnovers and one touchdown

27. RB C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

25 of 51

    Opponent: vs. New England Patriots

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 8th

    Analysis: C.J. Spiller is one of the most explosive players in football, but the Pats have a strong run defense and kept him at bay a year ago. He is out of the top 25 players this week, but he will still get plenty of touches as new coach Doug Marrone sticks with him through thick and thin, especially amid the starting of a rookie quarterback dealing with a still-sore knee.

    Projection: 15 carries for 55 yards, five catches for 50 yards and a touchdown

26. RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

26 of 51

    Opponent: at Washington Redskins

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 11th

    Analysis: The Redskins run defense neutralized LeSean McCoy a year ago, but the uptempo Chip Kelly attack is going to feature him in the passing game as much as the running game. McCoy had six catches for 67 yards and nine catches for 77 yards in the two games against the Redskins last year.

    Projection: 15 carries for 65 yards, five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown

25. RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans

27 of 51

    Opponent: at San Diego Chargers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 13th

    Analysis: The Chargers were the sixth-best rushing defense in the NFL a season ago. Arian Foster didn't get much practice time amid his back and calf injuries, but those factors merely keep Foster from being a top-five guy on this board. He will prove a lot more capable than anyone expects right out of the gate in a prime-time game in the city where he went to high school. This is a homecoming.

    Projection: 17 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown, three catches for 25 yards

24. TE Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers

28 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Green Bay Packers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): seventh

    Analysis: Vernon Davis opened with a touchdown and 43 yards against the Packers a year ago, and having Colin Kaepernick to work with during the entire preseason should help him get off to a good start. It certainly helps that Michael Crabtree (Achilles) isn't around to steal downfield targets.

    Projection: Seven catches for 90 yards

23. WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

29 of 51

    Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 13th

    Analysis: The Jags weren't bad against receivers a year ago, but Dwayne Bowe and Alex Smith figure to be frequent connectors in Andy Reid's offense—especially in a road game such as this one that appears favorable to the Chiefs all around.

    Projection: Five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown

22. WR Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

30 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 3rd

    Analysis: The Bengals were one of the best teams in the league at minimizing fantasy points for wide receivers a year ago, and Brandon Marshall is coming off a preseason where he was plagued by a balky hip. But the Bears and new coach Marc Trestman are going to get him the ball early and often with the rhythm passing of the West Coast scheme. Marshall will still perform like a No. 1 fantasy wideout.

    Projection: Eight catches for 120 yards

21. WR A.J, Green, Cincinnati Bengals

31 of 51

    Opponent: at Chicago Bears

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 10th

    Analysis: A.J. Green will have to contend with Charles "Peanut" Tillman here, but Green is the type of talent that gets up for marquee matchups such as this one. You would never sit Green in any fantasy league, so still consider him one of the top 25 most intriguing players of the week.

    Projection: Six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown

20. TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

32 of 51

    Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 13th

    Analysis: The Giants weren't bad against tight ends a year ago, but they were terrible defending Jason Witten in their meeting at Dallas. Witten went off for 18 catches for 167 yards, setting a single-game record for tight ends. This day won't be as good, but he still rates as a top-three choice at the position in the season opener.

    Projection: Eight catches for 95 yards

19. RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

33 of 51

    Opponent: at Detroit Lions

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 9th

    Analysis: Adrian Peterson rushed for 102 and 171 yards in two games against Lions a year ago, but the Lions were the ninth-best in fantasy against running backs and have a lot of talent along their front four. That latter reason is why Peterson rates so low on this list in Week 1. Teams are just geared to stop him when they face the Vikings, at least until Christian Ponder can threaten them to pass.

    Projection: 24 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, three catches for 20 yards

18. WR Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

34 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 27th

    Analysis: Pierre Garcon opened with a huge performance in Week 1 before injury kept him from season-long fantasy stardom. He is healthy and well-rested now, so we should fully expect a good performance here. He is the only true receiving star in Robert Griffin's arsenal, so expect him to be heavily targeted against a suspect Eagles secondary.

    Projection: Six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown

17. QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

35 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 23rd

    Analysis: It is hard to imagine a more favorable first-week matchup than this one, getting to face the woeful Raiders at home. The Raiders are going to get blown out early here, which is the only reason Andrew Luck isn't projected to be higher on this list. He will still get his numbers and perform like a top-five fantasy quarterback this week.

    Projection: 300 yards and two touchdowns, 10 yards rushing and one touchdown

16. RB Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons

36 of 51

    Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 32nd

    Analysis: We warned you about the dangers of 30-year-old running backs, but we are going to let the feel-good arrival of Steven Jackson with the Falcons overtake us here. He draws the worst run defense in football, so this should qualify as a smashing success of a debut.

    Projection: 20 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, four catches for 35 yards

15. TE Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons

37 of 51

    Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 25th

    Analysis: Yet another from the Falcons here. Tony Gonzalez put off retirement to win games like this one. You can bet he is going to be a big part of the field day against the Saints secondary. Gonzalez had a Hall of Fame-like day in New Orleans last year, posting 11 catches for 122 yards and a season-high two touchdowns.

    Projection: Eight catches for 100 yards

14. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

38 of 51

    Opponent: at St. Louis Rams

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 8t

    Analysis: This one isn't about the matchup as much as Larry Fitzgerald's relief to finally have a quarterback who can get him the ball downfield. Even in his bust of a season a year ago, Fitzgerald was targeted a season-high 15 times and reeled in nine balls for 92 yards. He finds the end zone in this one.

    Projection: Six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown

13. WR Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

39 of 51

    Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 32nd

    Analysis: It was Roddy White, not Julio Jones who had the bigger games against the Saints' suspect secondary a season ago. Sure, he is dealing with an ankle issue that plagued him in the preseason, but this matchup is just too good for him. White is going to put his injury and age questions to rest here—for at least one week.

    Projection: Six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown

12. QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

40 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 27th

    Analysis: You might be worried RG3 is coming back too soon from his reconstructive knee surgery, or that he's at least putting himself at risk for another injury. But you shouldn't be worried about starting him and waiting for the fireworks against the Eagles defense in Week 1. He threw four touchdowns at home against the suspect Eagles secondary a season ago.

    Projection: 200 yards passing and two touchdowns, 50 yards rushing and one touchdown

11. QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots

41 of 51

    Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 24th

    Analysis: Tom Brady will be without his top five targets from a year ago, but he has made a career out of turning water into wine with his receiving corps. Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld are not Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski (back) and Aaron Hernandez, but Brady will still manage a big day against the Bills secondary that allowed him to throw for 340 yards and three touchdowns a year ago in Buffalo.

    Projection: 325 yards passing and three touchdowns

10. WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

42 of 51

    Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 29th

    Analysis: The Giants have a banged-up secondary, having lost Stevie Brown for the season, so the emerging Dez Bryant should have another productive day. If not for his hand landing out of bounds late in last season's trip to Dallas for the Giants, Bryant would have had his best game of the season against New York. The third-year breakout receiver is ready to cement his spot near the top of fantasy charts for years to come.

    Projection: Seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown

9. WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

43 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Minnesota

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 25th

    Analysis: The last time Megatron faced the Vikings, he had 12 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown, his best fantasy performance of his record-setting season. You can bet the Vikings are going to do things to try to stop him, but that is always easier said than done. Calvin Johnson is going to have another busy day here.

    Projection: Eight catches for 100 yards and a touchdown

8. RB Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots

44 of 51

    Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 31st

    Analysis: Tom Brady is unveiling new weapons in Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld, but the Pats' game at the Bills will be more about the run against a suspect Bills run defense that was second to last (New Orleans) in 2012. Stevan Ridley is the clear leader of the running back rotation, and he will do a lot of his damage before the game blows out later. Heck, Shane Vereen and the other Pats backs are going to get involved, too.

    Projection: 18 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown

7. WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

45 of 51

    Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 32nd

    Analysis: Julio Jones disappeared at times last season, but his third year should prove more consistent week to week. This will arguably be his best week, in what will be a season of consistently elite ones, while facing a suspect secondary in a shootout. Roddy White (ankle) won't be 100 percent, so Jones should be Matt Ryan's most frequent target. Expect Jones to be a big part of the Falcons' party in New Orleans.

    Projection: Seven catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns

6. TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

46 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 24th

    Analysis: We labeled Jimmy Graham a potential bust at his draft position, but the bad news won't come in Week 1. He had his best week of last year's disappointing season, reeling in seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. We expect similar numbers for him here, particularly with Marques Colston a bit banged-up to start the season. 

    Projection: Eight catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns

5. RB Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

47 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 16th

    Analysis: Robert Griffin III's quick recovery from major knee surgery will be the talk of the game, but Alfred Morris was always more pivotal to the Redskins' success a year ago. The Eagles defense figures to be tested this year, particularly if Chip Kelly keeps his Oregon-like pace offensively. The Redskins are going to dominate time of possession, and Morris is going to have one of the busiest weeks in fantasy.

    Projection: 25 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, two catches for 25 yards

4. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

48 of 51

    Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 29th

    Analysis: Andy Reid gets to unveil his West Coast system with an accurate short passer in Alex Smith and an explosive breakaway back in Jamaal Charles. We are not sold on him being a 25-plus-touch back every week, but he won't have to be to post big numbers against a suspect Jaguars defense.

    This won't be a blowout out, so Charles will still be doing work late. That's good news in the short term for fantasy owners.

    Projection: 17 carries for 125 yards, four catches for 50 yards and one touchdown

3. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

49 of 51

    Opponent: at Carolina Panthers

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 22nd

    Analysis: The Carolina Panthers have an underrated defense, mostly because of reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly, but the Seahawks boast one of the most stubborn rushing offenses in football. They are going to pound Lynch at them, and we should fully expect a multiple-touchdown performance for him here.

    Projection: 22 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

50 of 51

    Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 11th

    Analysis: The Falcons have a pretty good secondary, but Drew Brees tends to be unstoppable at home. The return of Sean Payton and the presence of Matt Ryan pushing the pace on the other side of the ball should help light up the scoreboard often and create huge fantasy totals—at least for the Saints receivers and receiving back Darren Sproles.

    Projection: 375 yards passing and three touchdowns

1. QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

51 of 51

    Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Opponent fantasy rank vs. position (2012): 32nd

    Analysis: Matt Ryan lasted into the fifth round in many drafts, but he has a great combination of receivers and draws the league's second-worst pass defense from a year ago. Not only will Ryan do damage, but the Saints will too, which will make this game lively deep into the fourth quarter, when it will get loose with an aerial display. This is a "start all" game for your Falcons fantasy players.

    Projection: 345 yards passing and four touchdowns

     

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.

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