Kerry Collins QB - With Peyton Manning likely out for the season, Collins will be under center for the AFC South Champion Colts. While Collins won't duplicate Manning numbers for the season, going against the Texans defense that gave up 26.7 points per game a season ago, Collins is a sneaky play to start 2011. Indianapolis will still be a pass first offense that should have no problems putting points on the board with Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Austin Collie as weapons. Yes, Manning is a superior talent to Collins, but o assume Wayne and Clark were made by Manning is naive. In 2QB leagues, Collins is an underrated option, who I prefer to Alex Smith, Jason Campbell and Matt Cassel for Sunday.
Mike Tolbert RB - When drafting this season, Tolbert was someone I had my eye on in every draft because of his nose for the end zone. Ryan Mathews will be the lead back, but on 3rd down and in the red zone Tolbert will be the guy. Coming off an 11TD season with a new contract up in the air, you could see Tolbert finish as a top 15 running back by the end of the season. The Vikings finished 24th against the run last season, and with the loss of Ray Edwards there isn't a lot of optimism on that front seven.
Percy Harvin WR - Season three is usually the make or break year for a receiver so there is a lot of pressure on Harvin. Coming off another year of migraines, Harvin finished strong with 20 receptions in his last three games for a total of 241 yards. Adrian Peterson is the workhorse that gets the Vikings offense going, but Harvin is the dynamic play-maker who will need to step up if they have a chance of beating San Diego. In ppr leagues Harvin could be a 100 reception guy this season and it all starts on Sunday at the Chargers.
Aaron Hernandez TE - The popular tight end option amongst fantasy owners seems to be Rob Gronkowski, but it's my belief Hernandez is the guy to own. Gronkowski was drafted to be a blocking tight end, and if you watched the Patriots pre season you know it's true. Hernandez should be the team's leading red zone option, as Chad Ochocinco has yet to receive the Patriots playbook and Deion Branch saw one target in all of the pre season. Hernandez is a superb route runner with excellent hands and is a linebacker's worst nightmare over the middle of the field. The Dolphins defense will be in trouble on Monday Night if Hernandez is getting single coverage.
Cleveland Browns D/ST- The Browns finished strong in 2010, so for the first time in a long time this team has expectations. In week one the Cleveland hosts the Bengals and rookie QB Any Dalton, and like any rookie QB I expect Dalton to struggle. The Bengals coincidentally struggled moving the ball on the ground with Cedric Benson. A rookie QB, plus a team that can't run the ball makes the Browns a top 10 D/ST to open up the season. Cleveland gave up the sixth fewest rushing yards on the in 2010, so look for Dalton to have to throw to win the game.
Sit em after the jump:
Sam Bradford QB - Bradford is a personal favorite of mine, but the Eagles defense in week one will be looking to make a statement. The Rams will have offense, but withNnamdi Asomugha, Assante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie in the secondary, the St Louis receivers will be over matched. Until proven otherwise, I think the Rams will look to run the ball against a Philadelphia defensive line that went through many changed throughout the off season. Bradford should be a very good quarterback, but it's not as if he set the bar in his rookie campaign. Stay away from Bradford in 12 team mixed leagues, as he's a match up play until he proves he can take it to next level.
Tim Hightower RB - No running back raised his stock through the pre season quite like Hightower, going from Arizona to Washington and earning the starting job. While I understand the optimism, we are talking about a running back that saw his touchdowns and receptions drop by a large margin from 2009 to 2010. Hightower split carries with Beanie Wells in 2010 and when Wells was hurt Hightower was never able to take over the lead role. Now in an offense without a stellar offensive line, I can't be convinced that Hightower is a number two RB, until he does it on the field. In 10 team leagues, I would stay away from Hightower. The Giants are dinged up, but through Hightowers career, he has yet to prove he can be a lead back.
Miles Austin WR - In our receiver rankings no one like Austin more than me, but for this week he will be on Revis Island, a place where no receiver has success. Not only will Austin be matched up against Darrelle Revis, but Austin has had a hamstring injury that has been with him throughout the past month. Look for Tony Romo to target Dez Bryant in a matchup against Antonio Cromartie and for Jason Witten to have his usual eight reception game. Austin will be a stud in 2011, but for week one leave Austin on your bench in what should be his worst game of the 2011.
Rob Gronkowski TE- I mentioned earlier how I love Hernandez not only for this week but throughout the season, which means I am not a Gronkowski fan. The Patriots lack a full back, so Gronkowski will be asked to a do a lot of the dirty work to open up gaps forDanny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. While Gronkowski had a stellar finish to 2010, it was Hernandez who started the season red hot as he's more of a threat in the passing game. Yes, Gronkowski might get a TD in the red zone, but he could also see no targets in the Monday Night game at Miami.
Detroit Lions - The hype has gone overboard for the Lions who are everyone's favorite to reach the playoffs, while changing the culture of Detroit football. Yes, the Lions should be improved, but so should the Buccaneers who should see Josh Freeman take another step forward in what was the NFLs most underrated offense from a year ago. Freeman is a duel threat with the ability to run and pass, so while the Lions defense should improve I don't like this match up with Tampa Bay wanting revenge from a late loss last season. The Lions lack a corner who can keep up with Mike Williams, so Tampa Bay should put up 20 points without a problem. We are all rooting for the Lions, but let's see them win a game that wasn't in the pre season.