The start of the 2013 NFL season is finally upon us, so here are some things you need to know heading into the opening week of fantasy play.
1. Don't be surprised if Chris Johnson struggles early, again.
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2. There's sure to be an unknown star Week 1, but will they turn out like Kevin Ogletree or Alfred Morris?
Kevin Ogletree had 8 catches for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns in the opening week last year, and everyone ran to the waiver wire to pick him up. He was basically useless the remainder of the season, catching just 24 balls for 2 scores the rest of the way. On the other hand, unknown Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards and 2 TDs in Week 1, and went on to finish second in the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. There is almost always a breakout player the first week, but don't go overhauling your roster to sign them. More often than not they end up like Ogletree, not Morris.
3. Defenses that you never would think to play could be useful in Week 1.
I'm a big believer in changing your defense throughout the season depending on the offense they are facing. Even Buccaneer fans didn't draft Tampa Bay's defense, but since they are going against the mess known as the New York Jets in Week 1, they're a solid play. Geno Smith is sure to make some mistakes, so the Bucs could end up with double-digit fantasy points scored. Indy's D is another that could rack up big point totals in Week 1, taking on Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders.
4. Arian Foster owners; pay attention to his touches.
In most drafts, Foster was selected in the top 6 or 7. However, he may not give you great production early on. The fifth-year man out of Tennessee missed the entire preseason recovering from calf and back injuries. He won't be a 25-plus carry guy right away, as he works his way back into shape. Look for Ben Tate to get 10-plus touches over the first few weeks of the season.
5. Should be a shootout on Sunday Night Football.
The average score of this game over the last four years has been Giants: 29.8, Cowboys: 27.3. Expect something very similar on Sunday night. It's a rare occasion where almost all of the starting skill position players for both teams are in play. Also look for David Wilson (in part due to the injury to Andre Brown) to become a breakout fantasy star in the first few weeks, starting the season against a rush defense that ranked 22nd in the NFL last year.
The Underrated 15 For Week 1:
1. Ben Roethlisberger
2. Alex Smith
3. Mike Vick
- Running Backs
1. David Wilson
2. Isaac Redman
3. Lamar Miller
- Wide Receivers
1. Steve Johnson
2. Lance Moore
3. Kenny Britt
- Tight Ends
1. Brandon Myers
2. Fred Davis
3. Jared Cook
- Defense/Special Teams
1. Tampa Bay
3. Kansas City
*Beginning September 8th, catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning from 8:00 till 9:00 on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville, as well as 95.9 FM, or online @ wnsr.com.