DALLAS COWBOYS at NEW YORK GIANTS: There’s always a little extra incentive when starting the season against a division rival, and with all hands on deck, other than the possibility of Victor Cruz, this game should provide a good start to your fantasy season.
Head coach Jason Garrett has relinquished his play calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan which means we should see a healthy dose of Cowboy running back DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys offensive line hasn’t looked good so far but Murray is back to running with power and determination, so if he can stay on the field through the early part of the season the Cowboys will go to him early and often to sustain drives and score from in close, which he’ll do against the Giants. Tony Romo has been paid handsomely with a new contract and now he has to prove he’s worth the investment. He’s been sharp during the preseason, using all the weapons available to him, but has found a new level of chemistry with wide receiver Dez Bryant. If you were lucky enough to land Bryant in your draft the payoff will come immediately starting week one against the Giants. Bryant seems to be playing above the level of any defensive backs he’s encountered during preseason and the Giants defense offers no better, so sit back, watch and enjoy. As is the norm, Romo will also rely heavily on tight end Jason Witten who is one of the steadiest and most reliable players in the league. Look for Witten to score a touchdown this week.
The Dallas defense seems to be improving under the helm of aging defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, but it won’t be enough to keep the major players of the Giants from having a good day. Without number one receiver Cruz available, wide out Hakeem Nicks and tight end Brandon Myers should pick up the slack in this game. Although Myers hasn’t been mentioned with the top tight ends during preseason he has reliable pass catching skills and with Cruz possibly out, Manning will look for him in the red zone for a possible score. Manning will also rely on wide out Reuben Randle when Nicks gets double covered, which should be often, so look for Randle to have a somewhat good day and a possible touchdown. The Giants running game hasn’t exactly gotten on track, partly due to the offensive line, which has been quite average at run blocking in the preseason, and partly due to the unstable running back situation which was cleared up when Andre Brown broke his leg in the last preseason game. Starting running back David Wilson is the man now and has been showing some juice in preseason. His ball security skills are overrated and the Giants will lean on him heavily now. He will get most, if not all of the goal line work that Brown received and should have a good day with a touchdown.
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Editor’s note: Victor Cruz shed his boot and practiced Monday. He should be good to go Week 1.
Cowboys 33 Giants 28
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at WASHINGTON REDSKINS: New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly brings up tempo offense to Philly and although the jury is still out on how he will fair at the NFL level, it should be fun to watch and there will be some fantasy points to harvest from it.
Michael Vick has been named the starting quarterback and has shown he still has some skills intact. “I’m going to have the opportunity to do what I want to do in this offense and run the football,” Vick said. “And yes, I will be a threat.” He also still has a strong arm which he will use to take shots downfield and will connect with wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a long touchdown reception. Jackson has looked good during preseason and has the speed to get behind the Dallas secondary, and if the Eagle offensive line anchored by center Jason Peters and rookie tackle Lane Johnson can do their part, Vick will have time to find Jackson deep for a score. They are also the keys for LeSean McCoy who looks as elusive and shifty as ever, but he needs not only the offensive line to do well, but the passing game to succeed in stretching the field so he can find some open space where he thrives. With receiver Jeremy Maclin out for the season, Vick will look to Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and tight end Brent Celek to take up the slack. We still aren’t sure exactly what to expect from this offense, but the key players will have to do well for it to succeed and after week one is in the books we’ll have a better gauge on it.
It appears that Shanahanigans in Washington is at an end…at least for the time being. That can be attributed to the emergence of running back Alfred Morris, who rushed for over 1600 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and appears to be the real deal. Between Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III the Redskins have one of the most exciting offenses in the division. RGIII is still wearing his “Operation Patience” t-shirt, but according to reports he most likely will start week one. Morris on the other hand has been healthy through preseason and looks like he hasn’t missed a beat since. He has his work cut out for him against an Eagle defense that managed to keep him in relative check last season, but when all is said and done he most likely will have very good numbers to end the day. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon reportedly has recovered from last seasons toe injury and offseason surgery on his right shoulder and appears to be 100%. RGIII and Garcon have great on field chemistry when they are both able to play together and that will continue week one. The 10-6 Redskins were 9-1 in games Garcon played in. RGIII will use his above average running skills to score a touchdown and throw for another to either Garcon or now healthy tight end Fred Davis.
Redskins 23 Eagles 20