Editor’s Note: Official Rosterwatch.com weekly rankings are available here starting every Wednesday during the regular season at 5PM. The rankings below are the top fives and 10′s of RW Analyst Joe Owens. While they may differ from our official RW rankings for FantasyPros.com, we take into account all of our analysts’ opinions, viewpoints and theories when crafting our final projections. Here is how Owens’ part of the equation shook out for Week 1.
1. Drew Bress – Playing at home in the Dome is hard to beat.
2. Tom Brady – Going up against the Titans down in Tennessee.
3. Mike Vick – If he can stay healthy for the game should exploit the Cleveland defense for some fantasy points.
4. Aaron Rodgers – has a bit of a tougher match-up with a strong 49ers defense but still is a plug-in-play starter.
5. Cam Newton – upside against a porous Buccaneers defense.
Two sleeper plays this week are both Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks who will be playing away from the 12th man, but facing a problematic Arizona Cardinals team; and Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco running the new look no-huddle offense.
1. Arian Foster – Facing a rebuilding Miami Dolphins team, the Texans will focus on a heavy dose of the run in order to maintain time of possession for the win.
2. Darren McFadden – The Oakland running back will have a field day with a sub-par San Diego defense.
3. LeSean McCoy – If you’re playing in a PPR league then I would consider DMC & McCoy a tie at number #2 this week but in standard formats, McCoy could find it a tough going against the Cleveland Browns front seven.
4. Ray Rice – It’s hard to beat against Rice but the Bengals are building a defense that can counter the division bully, Ravens. Don’t think Cincinnati is quite there but they could be close nonetheless Rice will get his.
5. Chris Johnson – Johnson showed a glimpse of his 2010 form during the preseason and with Jake Locker getting the starting nod look for Johnson to get plenty of touches in hopes of keeping the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.
6. Kevin Smith – Lions running back Kevin Smith looks to get his first opening day start since the 2009 season. What better team to get it against than the run defense of the St. Louis Rams.
7. Matt Forte – Forte should see a lot of touches versus the Colts this Sunday and could put together a touchdown from outside the red zone, likely to harness a few catches out of the back field as well.
8. Willis McGahee – Pittsburgh will be the first true test for Peyton Manning’s arm velocity, assuming the Denver Broncos don’t want to put to large of a workload on Manning’s arm look to McGahee to be a workhorse on Sunday.
9. DeMarco Murray- The Cowboys only scored four rushing touchdowns all year. Look for the Cowboys to try a set a precedent this year by rushing one in against division rival and defending Super Bowl Champs New York Giants.
10. Jamaal Charles – At home in Arrowhead Kansas City is a tough opponent and against what could end up being a poor run stopping defensive team, the Atlanta Falcons could be just the team Charles looks to breakout against.
This week’s sleeper pick at running back has to be rookie Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin at home and after recently being anointed the starter over teammate LaGarrette Blount.
1. Calvin Johnson – For all the reasons that made him a first round fantasy selection this season.
2. Brandon Marshall – Going up against a rebuilding Colts secondary and being paired back up with former teammate Jay Cutler spells a superb game for Marshall.
3. Jordy Nelson – The 49ers will try to take away the long ball to Greg Jennings and A-Rod will respond by throwing the ball in Nelson’s direction.
4. Andre Johnson – Johnson is coming into week one fully healthy and against the younger new look Miami Dolphins his health will show.
5. Larry Fitzgerald – Same QB situation from a year ago and playing from behind will provide many targets Fitzgerald’s way.
6. Victor Cruz – Until the Cowboys secondary can prove they can stop Eli and his receiving corps then Cruz has to be ranked toward the top of the ladder.
7. Eric Decker – Peyton Manning’s new favorite target in Denver.
8. Roddy White – The Chiefs will focus on not letting Matt Ryan and Julio Jones beat them deep providing ample opportunity for Ryan to dink and dunk it off to teammate Roddy White.
9. Dez Bryant – Dez has been a beast this off season and his athleticism will begin to show especially against a mediocre New York Giants secondary.
10. Steve Smith & Torrey Smith – Both of these guys should have good games and while Steve Smith will remain one of Cam Newton’s favorite wide receiving options, Torrey Smith will be targeted often and deep.
This week’s sleeper selection at wide receiver could easily ignite the Jaguars offense and second year QB Blaine Gabbert against a depleted Minnesota Vikings secondary. Safe money is on rookie Justin Blackmon to come away with at least 8 targets during the came catching no less than six receptions and one could land him in the endzone for his first NFL touchdown.
1. Jimmy Graham – Golden Graham is to big a target for Brees not to go in his direction, taking over right where he left off last season.
2. Antonio Gates – With few other weapons in San Diego who else is Phillip Rivers going to throw the ball to?
3. Rob Gronkowski – Seventeen touchdowns last season…need we say more?
4. Vernon Davis – On the field for more snaps than any other tight end last year look for Davis to continue to show case his talent in HC Jim Harbaugh’s offense.
5. Aaron Hernandez – New England lining this guy up outside like a slot receiver will pay off big this season.
This week’s sleeper pick at tight end could be none other than Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. With the Vikings wanting to control the clock at home against this season’s surprise defense Minnesota QB Christian Ponder will begin to use Rudolph much like Tony Romo uses Jason Witten down in Dallas.
1. Houston Texans
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Detroit Lions
4. Buffalo Bills
5. Chicago Bears
Despite not being at home the Jacksonville Jaguars defense could be in for a surprise fantasy year in 2012 and it could all start this week in Minnesota. If the Jacksonville offense can maintain a higher time of possession differential than last year then the sky is the limit for this young defense.
Throw a dart…That’s what I do!
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