Week 1 Fantasy Football Projections: Skill-Position Players Set to Have Big Week

Mike MoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 17:  Lamar Miller #26 of the Miami Dolphins runs for a 4-yard touchdown in the first half against the Houston Texans during a preseaon game at Reliant Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Not all talented skill-position players are created equal heading into Week 1 of the NFL season, but there are some who are primed to have a huge game against their respective opponents.

Sometimes it doesn't necessarily matter how talented a player on your roster is overall. Specific matchups can make the difference between a good fantasy week and a bad one.

It's also important to note which players are playing hurt or not playing at all. In that instance, other players may be forced to step up and could produce even more thanks to an increased role on the team.

Let's take a look at some fantasy studs who will dominate in Week 1.


Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (at New Orleans Saints)

Big things are expected from the Falcons this season as they boast one of the best offenses in the NFL. With Matt Ryan at the helm, Julio Jones is just one of many targets for the Atlanta QB along with receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Steven Jackson.

This week stands to be a big one for Jones.

White isn't guaranteeing he'll be 100 percent healthy in Week 1, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com, so that could limit the amount of targets he gets. If White loses out on looks through the air, that means Jones will likely benefit as the team's other top receiver.

Adding to the attraction of starting Jones is the fact that he'll be going up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. New Orleans was dreadful a year ago, and considering they didn't do much to improve their lackluster defensive unit, expect much of the same in 2013-14.

Atlanta is poised to have a breakout Week 1 on offense against New Orleans and that couldn't be better news for fantasy owners giving Jones the nod.

Fantasy Projection: 10 catches for 140 yards, 2 TDs.


Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins (at Cleveland Browns)

This will be the first full season for Miller as a starting running back, so getting off to a great start is important for the sophomore. Last season, Miller saw limited time but did average almost five yards per carry.

Miami has made significant improvements to its offense, namely with the additions of receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibsonboth of whom will add incredible depth at the position when combined with Brian Hartline.

As bad as Cleveland was against the run last season, it was even worse against the pass. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill should have plenty of time to throw the ball and find his receivers, which will go a long way toward opening things up for Miller on the ground.

If things do happen to get tight for Tannehill in the pocket, Miller has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield as a short-yardage, quick dump-off option.

Not to mention the Dolphins have a great shot at getting out to an early lead and that means plenty of carries for Miller should his squad need to run some clock. Expect a very nice debut as a starting running back for Miller.

Fantasy Projection: 25 carries for 117 yards, 1 TD and 2 catches for 18 yards, 0 TDs.


Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys (vs. New York Giants)

There's no question that Witten has become a favorite target of quarterback Tony Romo in recent years, and that figures to continue this year with the Giants being the first victim.

The last time these two squads met, Witten scorched the Giants with 18 receptions for 167 yards, although he didn't see the end zone. While Witten likely won't match that astounding performance, he should still put up big numbers in Week 1.

The Giants secondary is shaky at best this season and that was before safety Stevie Brown was knocked out for the season. Now the Giants are even weaker against the pass and that's where Romo and company will take full advantage.

Granted, the Giants may be able to put some pressure on Romo with a solid pass rush, but that remains to be seen after a lackluster season in 2012-13 that saw a once-dominant pass rush take a step back. Even if the Giants do get penetration, Romo will be looking for Witten first and foremost as an easier option.

Witten's skills make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and the Giants will be no different. This game has all the makings of a dominant performance for Witten, no matter how things end up finishing.

Fantasy Projection: 9 catches for 120 yards, 1 TD.