There are few feelings better than winning the first week of your fantasy football season.
You've done your draft. You've read hundreds of scouting reports. You've sent a few taunting emails to other owners.
Now it's time to win.
Every week there are several great match-ups that it would be foolish not to take advantage of. Here are the potential top five fantasy performers for Week 1. If you have one of these players on your roster, then odds are good that you're well on your way to fantasy football stardom.
Manning opens the season against the Texans, one of the most suspect secondary units in the NFL.
In his career against Houston, Manning has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 37 touchdowns. In 16 games (15-1 record), Manning has a 112.4 passer rating against the Texans.
So suffice to say he tends to perform pretty well against them.
This game could turn into a shootout, which would be in Manning's favor. Don't be surprised if he starts off the 2010 campaign with around 400 yards passing and 3-4 touchdowns.
The new Miami wide receiver is a fantasy stalwart and is a must-start every week of the season.
But against the Buffalo Bills? Marshall may just outscore everyone else on your fantasy roster.
The Bills have a pair of good corners in Terrence McGee (5'9") and Leodis McKelvin (5'10"), but neither have the height to cover Marshall (6'4").
With nobody else on the Dolphins roster a threat in the passing game, quarterback Chad Henne will be looking to Marshall early and often. Expect 8-10 receptions for over 100 yards and 1-2 touchdowns.
Sam Bradford will make his first career start as the Rams quarterback, so expect St. Louis to rely heavily on Jackson to take the pressure off Bradford.
Jackson is a fantasy stud any week of the year, but this match up against Arizona plays greatly to his advantage.
The Cardinals defense will have to overcome the losses of linebacker Karlos Dansby and All-Pro defensive back Antrel Rolle to free agency.
Arizona should win, but Jackson will put up huge numbers regardless. Somewhere in the range of 150 yards rushing and a touchdown would be par for him.
Rice is another fantasy stud after rushing for 1,339 yards last year and seven touchdowns last season. He will be back to his old shenanigans this season, opening against the New York Jets.
The Jets have one of the NFL's best defenses, but that could actually work to Rice's advantage. New York's real strength is in the secondary, where they have Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie lining up.
The Ravens do have Anquan Boldin at wide receiver and a quarterback with a big arm in Joe Flacco, but their offensive gameplan will almost certainly center around Rice.
Expect the Baltimore running back to get lots of touches. If he gets the ball 20 or more times, there's no reason he can't accumulate 100 yards with a score.
The 49ers open the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks, one of the NFL's most anemic offenses.
Somehow, Matt Hasselback (17 interceptions last season) is still at quarterback. And around him are B-level talents like Mike Williams, Deion Branch, and Justin Forsett. Golden Tate is a promising player at wide receiver, but he's a rookie and likely won't be ready to contribute right away.
Seattle will also be without first-round pick Russell Okung, the projected starting left tackle.
San Francisco, meanwhile, has a strong defense that is seemingly only getting stronger under coach Mike Singletary. They were sixth in the NFL in rushing defense last season and have a secondary that has potential to be good with defensive backs Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, and Shawntae Spencer.
The Seahawks will struggle to get into double digits in points and Hasselback is a turnover machine. All signs point to the San Francisco defense having a big day.