Week 1 Fantasy Football Projections: Forecasting Top Scorer at Each Position

Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 7, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball as Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants is on the ground at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Fantasy sports are evolving. 

While the regular leagues—the ones in which you draft a team and subsequently drive yourself crazy week-in and week-out making lineup decisions—are still the norm, salary cap leagues seem to gain momentum every year. 

Salary cap leagues, for the uninitiated, are when you have a lump sum to choose whatever players you can afford. You put your lineup against others and subsequently pick new players every week. 

So, while the following likely won't help you in regular leagues that have more than four teams, it should give you an idea of who to spend the big bucks on when filling out your salary cap lineup. 


QB: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Inexperienced targets, schminexperienced schmargets. 

Tom Brady is not one of the best quarterbacks of all time for no reason. He has the ability to get production out of anyone, and although this is his least experienced pass-catching corps yet, it's not one that is void of talent. 

Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld—two undrafted free agents—were highly impressive during training camp and preseason, and both serve as dangerous downfield threats. 

Danny Amendola, when healthy (which he is), is one of the most reliable underneath "Wes Welker-type" guys in the league. 

Throw in the versatile Julian Edelman along with Shane Vereen catching passes out of the backfield, and there are more than enough viable options for the future Hall of Famer to pick from.

What vaults him to No. 1 in my rankings this week (you know, behind Peyton) is the fact that Buffalo's secondary is missing its two best coverage players in franchise safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.


RB: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

I know, I know. I pretty much have to be clinically insane to not pick Adrian Peterson

But the man is going up against a defensive line that features Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, who eat running lanes for breakfast. 

Peterson is still a machine, and he'll be able to produce just fine, but I'm not putting him No. 1 this weekend. 

That honor goes to LeSean McCoy.

Shady was disappointing in 2012, but he's back to 100 percent, has looked like his normally elusive self and is now a part of Chip Kelly's offense, which will quicken the pace and give him as many touches as he can handle.

McCoy is in for a massive year, and that's going to start in a big way on Monday night against the Washington Redskins. 


WR: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Not much explanation needed here. 

Megatron is unquestionably the best wide receiver in the league, and he's facing a Vikings defense that gave up the 24th-most passing yards in 2012. 

The Vikes should be slightly better on that side of the ball but haven't improved enough to slow down one of the most dangerous weapons in the game, especially when the Lions are throwing somewhere in the range of a million times per game. 


TE: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

Another easy one here. 

For as long as Rob Gronkowski remains out, Graham, who is target No. 1 in New Orleans' high-octane passing offense, remains in a tier of his own when it comes to fantasy tight ends. 

Moreover, Sunday night's contest with the Falcons is projected to be the highest scoring game of the week, with an over/under set at 54.5, per Covers. 

Graham is in for a monster opener. 


DEF: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I may be one of the few people who is actually a fan of the New York Jets running game, but when they are forced to throw, it's not going to be pretty. 

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith threw three of his 37 passes for interceptions during the preseason, the WR corps is mediocre, and the Bucs have added Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Johnthan Banks to an already solid front seven. 

Essentially, you've got one of the worst passing games in the league going up against one of the best secondaries. 

That's a recipe for turnovers.