By Scott Bischoff
Looking at the first week of the NFL regular season, we can see that there are some unheralded players who have the opportunity to have big games for fantasy teams. Fantasy football games are not always won by a team's stars, as depth matters, and with some big-name players out this week, that depth is already being tested.
Let's look at the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver position to find some in each group that are going to have big games in Week 1. These are going to be players that are deep on rosters that can help win games this week.
This looks to be a nice matchup for the 49'ers at home against the Green Bay Packers. The 49'ers ran a fairly conservative offense last year, but they have added a lot of playmaking ability to their offense. The addition of A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss will add an element of vertical attack to their offense.
As good as the 49'ers defense is, it is logical to view them to be trailing to the high-octane Packers offense. That means that Smith will be throwing the ball a lot on Sunday. The Packers gamble on defense and it should not surprise anyone to see Smith make some plays against them.
Look for 250 yards passing and 2 touchdowns from Smith in Week 1.
Brown fills in for injured starter Ryan Mathews as the starting running back for the Chargers offense. The Chargers' offense is strong, and Brown has a chance to make some plays in this game. He can help quarterback Philip Rivers in the passing attack as he does a terrific job of making plays out of the backfield.
Brown will get the majority of the work while Mathews recovers from the broken collar bone injury he suffered in the preseason. He can make plays in multiple ways, and the opportunity is there for him to have a solid game as the Chargers go to Oakland Monday night.
Look for 90 total yards and a touchdown from Brown in Week 1.
It looks like starter Marshawn Lynch may miss the first game of the season with a back injury, and that puts rookie Robert Turbin in the starting role for the Seahawks. The Seahawks' offense is rolling as they enter the regular season, and the starting running back has a chance to post some outstanding numbers.
Turbin is a short, thick running back in the Maurice Jones-Drew mold, and he has the body and running style to grind out yards, as well as the speed to get to the edge of a defense. The Seahawks get a juicy matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, and Turbin could be a player that puts up impressive numbers this week.
As long as Lynch does not play, look for Turbin to post 100 yards and a touchdown.
The Baltimore Ravens take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their first regular season game. The Ravens want to run a no-huddle offense, and it will keep the secondary guessing. The Ravens are going to try and be a little more balanced on offense, and it will lead to some big plays for Smith.
Smith is clearly the primary deep target for quarterback Joe Flacco, and Smith will be the beneficiary of a few deep balls each and every game. The no-huddle gives the Ravens a real shot at hitting on a few of these deep throws, as Flacco has a cannon and Smith will outrun defenders.
Look for Smith to post 100 yards and a score.
Garcon was a free agent prize for the Washington Redskins. He is going to attack defenses vertically, and quarterback Robert Griffin III's accuracy throwing the deep ball will help Garcon's stat-line.
The Redskins travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in Week 1 and they are going to have to score a bunch of points to stay in this game. RG3's ability to extend plays with his feet will help Garcon, as he has the speed to outrun the defense. The Redskins are going to be down and throwing in this game, and it could lead to a couple of enormous plays out of Garcon.
Look for 90 yards and a touchdown from Garcon.
There was a lot of talk about wide receiver Vincent Jackson's departure from the Chargers in free agency, and how it would impact this powerful passing attack. The Chargers added wide receiver Robert Meachem in free agency, but Floyd is realistically Philip Rivers' primary target.
Floyd and Rivers have history together. Floyd caught 43 passes and averaged a whopping 19.9 yards per catch in 2011. Floyd is a big play wide receiver and is a player that is going to catch some long passes.
The Chargers travel to Oakland on Monday night. This is a terrific matchup for their passing game. The Raiders are going to struggle to defense the pass, especially early in 2012. This is a prime opportunity for Floyd, and he has a chance to have a solid first game of the regular season for the Chargers.
Look for 90 yards and a touchdown from Floyd.
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