Tonight kicks off the 2011 NFL season. The Green Bay Packers will host the New Orleans Saints in a game that features two possible NFC playoff teams.
This also means that fantasy football is under way as well. Plenty of significant fantasy players are in action tonight.
The preseason is now over and that means fantasy owners must reevaluate their players' value. Some players have risen while others have fallen.
Let's take a look at five players that you don't want on your team.
The recent developments involving Peyton Manning have made all Colts offensive players a risk.
Manning reportedly went under the knife again on Thursday to repair his neck. Reports have him out for 2-3 months minimum. This is obviously bad for the Colts in every way.
Receivers Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Austin Collie all need to be downgraded significantly. Manning's replacement, Kerry Collins, can likely no longer throw the ball more than 15 yards down the field. That does not bode well for the Colts' vertical weapons.
Dallas Clark may not be as bad off, as Collins can still hit the tight ends on shorter routes. But either way, Collins is such a downgrade that it will hurt everyone in Indy's offense from a fantasy standpoint.
Frank Gore has been a regular in the top 10 at the running back position for years in fantasy football.
And therein lies the problem.
Gore is now 28 and is beginning to show serious signs of breaking down. He is consistently injured and always seems to be missing games. The San Francisco offense is not exactly a hotbed of fantasy talent.
The offense may struggle with Alex Smith under center and a lack of an effective passing game. Opponents look to stop the run when playing the 49ers, opting to let Smith beat them through the air.
Although San Francisco rewarded Gore with a three-year deal worth $21 million, fantasy owners should be wary of taking a chance on an injury-prone runner whose best years are behind him.
Gore is creeping up into the first round of some drafts, a position much too high to be taking chances on.
There is no doubt that Santonio Holmes is a very good receiver. The former Pittsburgh Steeler makes clutch plays when it matters most.
But in the world of fantasy football, he is often overrated.
In 12 games in 2011, Holmes 52 receptions, 746 yards, and 6 touchdowns. That means that he only averaged a little more than 4 receptions, 62 yards, and .5 touchdowns per game. Those are fairly pedestrian numbers and not worthy of the draft position that he is being taken in.
While it is true that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is going to be better this season, that will likely not lead to a burst in production for Holmes. The Jets are a run-first offense and that will not change with running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson back in the fold.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to be pretty to watch in 2011.
With Luke McCown being anointed as the new starting quarterback, the Jags will struggle to move the football on offense. The offensive ineptitude will lead to short drives and fewer chances for running back Maurice Jones-Drew to make an impact.
MJD is also coming off knee surgery that was done in the offseason. His body has been breaking down the last few years and there's no telling how long he will last. The Jaguars' opponents will likely be stacking the box in order to stop the run as well.
The one good thing is that Jones-Drew will be guaranteed to get touches because no one else on the offense is very good. Steer clear of MJD if at all possible.
Dez Bryant could go either way this season. The guy has incredible talent and has all the tools to be a star in the league. He will be a star in this league.
But will it happen this year? I am not so sure.
Bryant is being drafted too high and seems to have been overhyped. The problem is his situation. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has many mouths to feed on the offense. Miles Austin and Jason Witten will receive plenty of targets from Romo.
Will there be enough balls to go around for everyone? Unfortunately, someone is going to get the shaft. It just might be Bryant.
Then again, he could have an incredible year at the same time. Taking Bryant is not a definite fantasy star in 2011. Drafting him as a number two receiver may be presumptuous.
It's a big risk taking any Cincinnati Bengal this season.
Even selecting their starting running back is a risky proposition. Although Cedric Benson recorded over 1,100 yards rushing for the Bengals last season, to expect that total again would be foolish.
The Bengals will be even worse in 2011 than they were in 2010. With a rookie quarterback starting, the offense does not figure to be very effective.
Opposing defenses will key in on Benson and shut him down, forcing inexperienced quarterback Andy Dalton to beat them through the air.
Even if Dalton performs better than expected, Benson only mustered a measly 3.5 yards per carry last season. The ingredients for a successful season are not there for Benson in 2011.