Fantasy drafts are finally behind us and now it's time to put on our best managerial hats and make sure we don't leave fantasy points on the bench. Nothing drives you more nuts then when you see a matchup that screams huge fantasy production, yet you don't make the appropriate lineup changes. For example, a reader sent me a start/sit question that screamed matchup play. This particular reader needed advice on who to start as their third wide receiver for week 1 between Steve Smith and Lance Moore. Without looking at the schedule some might say, " I drafted Steve Smith in the sixth round and Lance Moore in the ninth round, so I should obviously start Smith." Wrong! Steve Smith is facing the Seattle Seahawks Defense and Lance Moore is playing at home on turf in an expected shootout against the Atlanta Falcons. It might be Moore's best matchup of the season. Playing the matchups at your flex position or third wide receiver will win you a championship.
Eli Manning: 23-of-34, 264 Yards, 3 TDs
Eli Manning and Kevin Gilbride had to hit the film room to try and get handle on on what to expect from Monte Kiffin's new 4-3 defense in Dallas. While Kiffin has been out of the NFL the last few years, his core defensive principals are still being used around the league. The key to beating Monte Kiffin's best defenses was always taking what the defense was willing to give. Exploiting the areas between the deep safeties and linebackers and keeping the chains moving. The last thing you want to do against a Kiffin defense is to get into too many third and longs. I think Eli will be able to work the middle of the field with a combination of Victor Cruz and Brandon Myers and exploit Dallas's weakness at the safety position. I have Eli as a borderline QB1 for week one and a definite start in 2QB leagues.
David Wilson: 21 carries, 88 yards, 2 receptions 23 yards, 0 TDs
The New York Giants running game will be a little hard to predict out of the gate against the Dallas Cowboys this season. The reshuffled offensive line mixed with some question marks because of injuries further cloud the actual production that should be expected. If Henry Hynoski and David Baas were healthy Wilson may be a top 10 start against the Cowboys, but for now we have to temper our expectations just a bit. I would only keep Wilson on the bench this week if I had started a draft with three straight running backs, or if the league was a full point PPR league where Wilson was my third running back.
Victor Cruz (If Healthy): 8 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
Victor Cruz is the best chess piece that Gilbride and Manning possess going against Dallas this week. His ability to threaten the entire middle of the field from settling in behind the linebackers to driving past safeties can make a defensive coordinator have nightmares. In a typical "Tampa Two" look the middle linebacker will have deep middle in certain situations and that could be a nightmare for Sean Lee as Victor Cruz blows by him. I have Cruz as one of the best wide receiver plays this week as long as his bruised heel cooperates.
Hakeem Nicks: 4 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD
Nicks is a bit of a conundrum. He is the guy that made Jerry Jones open up his wallet to sign Brandon Carr and draft Morris Claiborne, but is he still that guy? I have a feeling Hakeem is going to have a very good year this season, but I don't think this is the ideal matchup for his skill set. If his quickness is there he could find the void between the corner and the safety by beating the Dallas corners at the line of scrimmage, but the odds are slightly against him. I still have him in the top 20 as far as matchups this week, but he is more of a flex play then WR2.
Brandon Myers: 6 receptions, 65 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Myers and Manning didn't exactly inspire confidence in the preseason, but the matchup in week 1 screams tight end production. Myers should be able to exploit the middle of the field and the flats to put up tight end 1 numbers after being almost invisible in the preseason. NumberFire has Brandon Myers as their number seven tight end for week 1 and I think that sounds about right after looking at the macthups.
Rueben Randle: 4 receptions, 52 yards, 0 TDs
While Randle is an important part of what the Giants offense there are too many other good wide receiver matchups around the league to think that Randle should be in anyone's week 1 fantasy lineup. I like Randle's long term outlook, but his immediate value is only in the deepest of leagues.
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