The 2013 fantasy football season is officially underway and it started with a bang thanks to Peyton Manning's record-tying seven touchdown passes. It's hard to imagine anyone matching that this week, but there are a handful of games that could feature quite a few fantasy fireworks of their own. We've waited long enough, let's get to the matchups.
Analysis: Now that Peyton Manning has offered his opening statement, expect Tom Brady to respond in kind. Probably not with seven touchdowns, but there should be some gaudy numbers from the Pats star QB. And just about everyone will benefit -- Danny Amendola, Zach Sudfeld, Stevan Ridley and even Shane Vereen. As for the Bills? Well, if it's not C.J. Spiller, you're better off avoiding them.
Analysis: You drafted Cam Newton early for a reason. You just wish he wasn't facing one of the NFL's toughest defenses to start the season. But stick with your studs and you might find yourself rewarded. That doesn't really hold for much of Newton's supporting cast. Avoid DeAngelo Williams if you can this week. Russell Wilson should bounce back from an uneven preseason and it goes without saying that Marshawn Lynch needs to be started. Keep an eye on Sidney Rice who boasts some sleeper appeal this week.
Analysis: There isn't much to like from an offensive perspective in this one. Brandon Marshall is a must-start, as is A.J. Green. However, it's best to avoid either quarterback if you have better options (which you likely do). Matt Forte is worth a look in a new offense that can take advantage of his dynamic skills. Yet neither of Cincy's running backs project to do a whole lot this weekend. If you have either defense, they're worth throwing in your lineup for Week 1.
Analysis: Consider this game to be a fantasy "look-see". Look and see if Ryan Tannehill will live up to his sleeper potential and connect with new target Mike Wallace. Look and see if Lamar Miller has actually earned the job as Miami's lead running back. Look and see if Norv Turner's offense has boosted the fantasy stock of Brandon Weeden. If there's one guy you're not worried about this week, it's Trent Richardson. Start him with no hesitation.
Analysis: The Lions have one more weapon in their arsenal in the form of Sir Reginald Alfred Bush II. Look for him to catch a number of passes, even if he doesn't put up big rushing touches. He'll be a boon for PPR owners this season. Matthew Stafford could be up and down, but you won't have to worry about Calvin Johnson. Beware any Viking not named Adrian Peterson. The inconsistent Christian Ponder could sink the value of any of his pass-catchers. Sorry 'bout that, Greg Jennings.
Analysis:Andrew Luck, Andrew Luck and more Andrew Luck. That'll be the recipe for Indy this weekend and the ingredients for that tasty fantasy stew will include Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. If Ahmad Bradshaw plays, he's worth considering in a flex capacity. There isn't much to like in the Raiders offense, but if you have Darren McFadden, he should get a start for you. Who knows how many weeks you'll get out of him this year.
Analysis: The Chiefs should be improved from last year, but their defense won't be lights out. Still, there's no reason to think Blaine Gabbert is worth a look. Cecil Shorts, however, is worth starting -- especially without Justin Blackmon in the rotation. Same goes for Maurice Jones-Drew as he looks to erase a disappointing 2012. There is lots of sleeper appeal for Kansas City in the form of Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe. Jamaal Charles should excel in Andy Reid's diverse attack.
Analysis: This has track meet written all over it. Just about every player in this game is worth starting. However, Drew Brees stands out as a particularly great play with Sean Payton back on the sidelines for the Saints. This will also be our first regular season look at Steven Jackson in a Falcons uniform. He could put together a complete effort as both a rusher and a pass catcher. It should be the start of a very productive season for the veteran back.
Analysis: If there's a must-start in this one, it's the defenses. Especially the Bucs' D. For Tampa, you're starting Doug Martin, possibly Vincent Jackson and taking a pass on the rest. I might be writing that sentence a lot for the Buccaneers this season. With all of the disarray in Gotham this summer, there's no reason whatsoever that there should be a Jet in your fantasy starting lineup. I will be writing that sentence a lot for the Jets this season.
Analysis: The Steelers defense isn't what it once was, but it should be enough to keep Tennessee's passing game in check. Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright could be considered No. 3 or 4 WRs at best this week. But give Chris Johnson a good look as a No. 2 RB option behind a revamped offensive line. With confusion in the Pittsburgh backfield, you're probably better off avoiding anyone there. However, Antonio Brown deserves a start while Emmanuel Sanders is worthy of flex consideration.
Analysis: In a rematch from last season's playoffs, Colin Kaepernick should continue to vex the Packers defense. Vernon Davis will be his No. 1 target and should be started in all formats. Don't expect too much from Anquan Boldin. While he's a quality receiver on the field, he's mediocre as a fantasy option. Aaron Rodgers will be Aaron Rodgers and should be started. However, play any of his teammates at your own peril against San Francisco's stout defense.
Analysis: In a meeting of two of the NFL's up-and-coming defenses, fantasy points might be hard to come by. It's hard to recommend anyone in this contest as more than a Week 1 sleeper -- except the potentially rejuvenated Larry Fitzgerald. It's probably worth starting either of the defenses, who are a pair of ball-hawking units and could force a few turnovers this week.
Analysis: In one of the league's enduring rivalries, both quarterbacks have the potential to post big yardage and touchdown totals. They also have the potential to throw a few picks. If you can live with the bad, there is some good to be found. Speaking of good, there's a lot to like with the receivers in this game -- notably Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. All three of those pass-catchers should have quality starts to their 2013 campaigns.
Analysis: In a week that could feature a few high-scoring affairs, this Monday night matchup is yet another one. Robert Griffin III should look like his old, dynamic self against an Eagles defense that was awful last season. That will benefit Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris and Fred Davis. Chip Kelly will unleash his new offense on the rest of the league with LeSean McCoy seeing potentially big production. It's also worth keeping an eye on DeSean Jackson, who could be in a for a big year in the new offense.
Analysis:Arian Foster should play and should be productive against a suspect Chargers defense. But it would be a surprise if he sees his normal workload this week. As such, Ben Tate has plenty of sleeper appeal for fantasy owners. There's not much to get excited about on the San Diego side. For every Charger you think you can start, there's probably a better alternative somewhere else on your roster.