Fantasy Football: Top Options at Each Position in Week 1

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IISeptember 8, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 15: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up before the start of the Falcons preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 15, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It certainly will be difficult for anyone to top the performance that Peyton Manning delivered on Thursday night against Baltimore. The seven touchdown passes Manning threw for tied an NFL record and helped the Broncos to a convincing victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.

We will see plenty of other great performances on Sunday and Monday, though. Here is a look at the top fantasy player at each position in Week 1.


QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Nobody will have the week that Manning had, but if anyone has a chance at coming close, it's Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta is going to be in an absolute shootout with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon and that means lots and lots of passes from Ryan to guys like Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.

It is not at all inconceivable for Ryan to throw four or five touchdown passes this week against the Saints' mediocre defense.


RB: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Not really going out on a limb here with this pick, but that is because Adrian Peterson dominated the NFL last season. Until he shows us that he cannot dominate, then we should assume that he is the best running back in the NFL.

The Vikings added a few more weapons to their offense this season, but they need Peterson to get going first before they will be able to utilize them.

Expect a great start to the season from Peterson as the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions.


WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Someone has to be on the receiving end of all those touchdown passes from Ryan today. That guy will be Julio Jones. Jones showed outstanding ability for Atlanta in his first two seasons and is rewarding the team for trading up so high in the draft in 2011 to pick him.

Sunday will be the beginning of Julio's ascent to the top. By the end of the season, he will be regarded as the second-best receiver in football behind only Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions.

Two touchdowns against the Saints will be a great start to the season for Jones.


TE: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

Unless New Orleans wants to get steamrolled by Atlanta's offense, it is going to need someone to counteract all those Atlanta touchdowns.

Brees will spread the ball around to lots of targets, but his favorite target this season will be tight end Jimmy Graham.

Graham is a nightmare matchup for the defense. He produces a major mismatch with his great size and hands. In addition to finding him across the middle frequently, Brees will use him to extend the field against the Falcons.

Look for the Saints to try to create mismatches for Graham when they get into the red zone, thus giving him lots of opportunities to put points on the board.


D/ST: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are a lot of teams that should have good defensive performances in the first week of the season, but none of them will beat Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are facing a terrible offense in the New York Jets, and with Geno Smith starting his first NFL game at quarterback, expect a lot of turnovers.

The Buccaneers will not be a great defense this season, but they are a decent one and will therefore dominate the Jets today.