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Week 1 Fantasy Fact Sheet

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Every week I will give you facts that you need to know about every matchup in the NFL to help you set your lineup for the highest probability of winning.

Week 1 is a little bit of a challenge because we don't have any current data to sink our teeth into and in general, I believe you start your studs. However, there are some interesting facts that will make certain players more (and less) appealing in the opening week.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos, Thu., 8:30 p.m. ET

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Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta were two of Joe Flacco's Top 3 targets from a year ago and accounted for 126 receptions, 1,590 yards and 11 of his 22 touchdown passes.
Ed Dickson has never had a season with 550 yards receiving and neither Dallas Clark nor Brandon Stokley has reached that mark since 2009.
• Five of the final eight tight ends to face the Broncos were held to four or fewer Fantasy points in 2012, despite Denver being the most generous to tight ends for the year.
Ray Rice has run for more than 130 yards in two of his three career meetings with the Broncos, including last year's playoff matchup, which saw Rice run 30 times for 131 yards and a score.
• In 12 career games with at least eight targets, Torrey Smith has produced 10-plus points eight times and averaged a whopping 13.1 points per game.
• When Smith sees at least 10 targets in a game, he has averaged 14.7 Fantasy points per week. With Champ Bailey likely out or limited, look for Smith, who caught three passes for 98 yards and two scores in his last meeting with the Broncos, to play very well in Week 1.
• Denver running backs scored 50 Fantasy points in two meetings with the Ravens in 2012. They ran for 293 yards, two scores and added 56 yards receiving and another score.
Ronnie Hillman is listed as the "starter" for Week 1 and he had the only 10-point game of his career against the Ravens in the playoffs last year when he ran for 83 yards and added 20 as a pass catcher. I would be shocked if he matches 103 total yards in this game. The Denver running back situation is tough to trust for Week 1.
Eric Decker had 14 catches for 217 yards and a score in two meetings with the Ravens last year, while Demaryius Thomas was held to seven catches for 50 yards total. I am still starting Thomas, along with Decker, Wes Welker and Peyton Manning.
• The Denver defense averaged 15 points in two meetings with the Ravens last year, while the Baltimore defense produced just 8.5 per game. I'd stay away from both in Week 1, however, as Denver is even better on offense and their defense will be without Von Miller among others.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• In his last four games against the Vikings, Matthew Stafford is averaging 313.2 yards passing and two total touchdowns per game.
• You are not sitting Calvin Johnson, but it is interesting to note that he has just eight catches for 83 yards in his last two home games against the Vikings. He does however, have 19 catches for 315 yards and three scores in the two games at Minnesota.
• The Vikings allowed 19 catches and 163 yards receiving to the Lions running backs last year, so look for a lot of Reggie Bush out of the backfield.
Brandon Pettigrew has produced at least six Fantasy points in four straight games against the Vikings. He has a touchdown and at least nine Fantasy points in three of those four games.
Ryan Broyles led the Lions with averages of 9.7 yards and 1.3 Fantasy points per target in 2012.
Adrian Peterson has at least 12 Fantasy points in four straight games against Detroit and is averaging 20 points per game during that span.
Greg Jennings has reached 70 yards just once in his last six games against the Lions. Despite having Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback for those games, he has averaged just 6.5 points per game against the Lions' generous pass defense during that span.
Blair Walsh booted six field goals and averaged 11 points per game in his two contests with Detroit in 2012. For the year, kickers averaged 8.7 points per game against the Lions, fifth most in the NFL.
Kyle Rudolph had his best game of 2012 with seven catches for 64 yards and a score in Week 10 against the Lions. He also had a zero point Fantasy effort in their first meeting. The Lions did allow a tight end to score in five of their final eight games but gave up just 53 yards to the position in the final four weeks of the season combined (including Tony Gonzalez and Jermichael Finley). Rudolph will start the year as he always does, dependent on a touchdown for Fantasy relevance.
• The Lions allowed an average of 172 yards per game to wide receivers last year (sixth most), but the Vikings receivers produced just 212 in two games total. The Lions also allowed double-digit receiver receptions in every game but two last year and, yes, the Vikings were the two exceptions.

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• Opposing defenses averaged 13.4 points per game against the Raiders in the second half of 2012. The Chargers defense scored 12 points in Terrelle Pryor's only NFL start.
• Jared Veldheer -- the Raiders best lineman by far -- is out with an injury, adding another reason to really like the Colts defense as a plug-and-play in Week 1.
• Last year, running backs scored an average of 19.5 Fantasy points per game against the Raiders, fifth-most in the NFL. They averaged 141 total yards and nearly a touchdown per game and it should be noted that the Raiders gave up nine running back rushing scores in their last nine games. Yes, I like the starter (Ahmad Bradshaw or Vick Ballard) for the Colts as No. 2 running back in Week 1.
• The Raiders allowed 18 touchdowns to wide receivers last year, ninth-most in the NFL. Receivers on elite passing attacks like the Colts averaged a very robust 25 points per game against Oakland in 2012, so start Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and even Darrius Heyward-Bey in deep leagues.
• In his first NFL start, Pryor threw for 150 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 49 yards and a score to finish with a 26-point Fantasy day against the Chargers in Week 17. In the preseason, Pryor ran for 131 yards and a touchdown despite playing only 89 snaps, so he has serious leg potential, which is why I like him as a deep sleeper this year.
• The Colts did not face any mobile or run-oriented quarterbacks in 2012, but both Aaron Rodgers and Jake Locker managed to top 50 yards rushing against them. Pryor will need his legs for points in Week 1, since the Colts gave up just two passing touchdowns over the final four games of the 2012 season and added cornerback Greg Toler in the offseason.
• Only one of the final six, and two of the final 10 quarterbacks to face the Colts in 2012 produced 20 Fantasy points. Those two exceptions were Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady.
Darren McFadden should get off to a hot start against a Colts run defense that allowed 18.9 Fantasy points per game in 2012, seventh most. The Colts gave up 125.2 yards (third most) on 5.2 yards per carry (second most) last year while allowing nearly a touchdown per game.
• Over the final four weeks of the 2012 season, including the playoffs, the Colts gave up a ridiculous 23.75 points per game to running backs and five different runners produced at least 10 Fantasy points. Each of the final four teams and six of the last seven to face the Colts had at least 100 yards rushing from their running backs.
• In Pryor's only start, Rod Streater was the leading receiver with four catches for 77 yards. The receiver group as a whole accounted for just 95 yards however, which was its lowest output of the season.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• The Patriots running backs scored a combined 85 points in two games against the Bills last year. In each game, multiple backs produced at least 10 points and they had four runners with at least 15 points in the two games combined. The Patriots running backs generated 361 yards rushing, five touchdowns rushing and added nine receptions for 96 yards and two scores out of the backfield.
Stevan Ridley ran for 204 yards and three scores in those two games and Danny Woodhead (who will be replaced by Shane Vereen) had 25 points in the two games, thanks in large part to six catches for 69 yards and two scores as a receiver. Wes Welker produced at least six catches in four straight games against the Bills. In Buffalo, he produced 25 catches for 346 yards and three scores in his last two games alone. Danny Amendola steps into those shoes and should do quite well in Week 1 against a Buffalo team that has had its hands full with the Pats slot receiver.
• New England tight ends have scored 10 times in the last three years against the Bills. They have at least one touchdown in all six games (yes Rob Gronkowski has scored every time he has played Buffalo) and scored twice in four of them, making Zach Sudfeld a solid gamble in Week 1.
Stephon Gilmore, the best cornerback in Buffalo, is out for this game, so look for Tom Brady to light up the Bills (it also helps Kenbrell Thompkins). Brady averaged 29 points against the Bills last year and has multiple scores in six straight games against them, with three-plus touchdowns in five and 30-plus points in four of them.
E.J. Manuel will make his NFL debut after missing most of the preseason following a minor procedure.
• The Patriots defense averaged a solid 12 points per game against the Bills last year and with a rookie quarterback making his first career start under center in Week 1, they are the top defensive play.
C.J. Spiller is the only Bill I am starting this week and it will be his first career game as the main man versus New England. In his other two career games with more than 10 touches against the Pats, Spiller gained 100 total yards and score on 17 touches in 2011 and netted 131 total yards on 13 touches against them in Week 10 of last year.
• For his career, Spiller has averaged 13.3 points per game when touching the ball at least 20 times.
Steve Johnson had 109 yards and no scores in two games against the Pats in 2012. Reaching just 50 yards in Week 1 could be a big struggle with Manuel at quarterback.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• In 2012, the Jaguars surrendered an average of 154 total yards (fourth most) and 1.1 touchdowns per game to running backs, which added up to 21.5 points per game to the position (third most in the NFL).
• Two teams targeted their running backs 10 times against the Jaguars last year and they totaled 19 catches for 152 yards for their backs. The Jags also allowed four running back receiving touchdowns last year, second most in the NFL. In other words, I expect a big game from Jamaal Charles in Week 1.
Dwayne Bowe enters Week 1 of the 2013 season with only four touchdowns and two games with 100 yards receiving in his last 24 starts combined.
• The opposing top target scored in four of the final seven games against the Jaguars in 2012. Bowe also scored twice in his last meeting with the Jags, although that was back in 2010.
• Only three of the final 10 quarterbacks to face the Jaguars in 2012 reached the 20-point plateau, so don't expect fireworks from Alex Smith in his Kansas City debut.
• Before getting injured last year, Maurice Jones-Drew produced 490 total yards and two scores in five games, finishing that stretch as the 14th-ranked Fantasy back. He was averaging a very healthy 4.8 yards per carry at the time and was on his way to another solid year.
• Three of the first four and three of the final four running back groups to face the Chiefs in 2012 produced 20-plus Fantasy points.
• Kansas City allowed 156.75 total yards per game to opposing running backs, third most in the league.
• Five of the last seven receiver groups to face the Chiefs scored at least 21 points (four were at 26 or better) and they allowed nine receiver scores during that span.
• Best of all for Cecil Shorts, five of the opposing top targets scored in those final seven games against Kansas City in 2012. With Justin Blackmon suspended, there is no doubt that Shorts, who produced 10 or more Fantasy points in seven of his nine starts a year ago, is the main man in the Jacksonville passing game.

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• The Bears defense allowed 114.2 total yards (fifth fewest in NFL) and a league-low 0.4 touchdowns per game to running backs in 2012. It is little wonder then that the Bears ranked second overall in terms of Fantasy points allowed to the position, ceding just 11.3 each week.
• Only one running back all season with fewer than 20 touches reached 10 Fantasy points against the Bears last year.
• With Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis expected to share the running back duties early on, I'd be careful with both of them in Week 1.
• Only four quarterbacks scored at least 20 points against the Bears last year, while nine were held to 12 points or fewer. Four tight end groups got to 10 points against the Bears, while eight were held to four points or fewer (and five had one point or zero). Save Andy Dalton, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert for another week.
• Opposing defenses scored double-digit Fantasy points against the Bengals in six straight games to end the 2012 season.
A.J. Green led all receivers in the NFL with a touchdown catch in 10 games in 2012. Brandon Marshall led all receivers with 12 appearances in the Top 24 last year and was also tops with six or more catches in 12 games.
• The Bengals held running backs to 92 yards per game on the ground in 2012, which is solid, but they struggled to stop them as pass catchers. The Bengals allowed six receptions (second most) and 41.7 yards per game (eighth most) to runners, which is great news for Matt Forte.
• The Bengals finished 2012 by holding nine straight quarterbacks and 13 of the final 14 to less than 20 points. Peyton Manning was the lone exception during the 14-game streak that saw the Bengals allow just 11 passing scores while intercepting 15 passes. Sorry Jay Cutler!
• In the final nine games of the 2012 season, opposing No. 2 receivers (Alshon Jeffery) and tight ends (Martellus Bennett) combined to score exactly one touchdown total against the Bengals.
• Speaking of Bennett, not a single tight end produced more than seven Fantasy points against the Bengals and opposing tight ends averaged just four points per game over the final eight games of 2012.

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Chris Johnson ran for 91 yards on 19 carries and finished with 114 total yards and 11 points when he faced the Steelers in 2012. That was the second straight game and third time in five career meetings with the Steelers that Johnson has produced 11 or more Fantasy points.
C.J Spiller and Fred Jackson averaged 9.0 and 8.3 yards per carry respectively behind new Titans guard Andy Levitre. With Levitre, rookie guard Chance Warmack and Pro Football Focus top rated run blocking tight end Delanie Walker in the mix; Johnson will be running behind the best line of his entire career.
Kenny Britt had four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers last year and finished the 2012 season with 100 yards or a score in four of his final six games once Jake Locker returned as the starting quarterback.
• Wide receivers scored five touchdowns and averaged 24.25 points per game against the Steelers over the final four games of 2012. Opposing top targets had 100 yards or a touchdown in three of those games, so Britt is a decent No. 3 receiver option this week.
• Only four quarterbacks reached 20 points against the Steelers last year, while eight were held to 10 or fewer. Pittsburgh finished the year as the toughest Fantasy defense for quarterbacks, allowing just 12.5 points per game.
• The Titans allowed 20.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, eighth most in the league. Big Ben is averaging 29.5 points per game against the Titans in his last two meetings (19 and 39).
Ben Roethlisberger has faced the Titans twice in the last two seasons and has been very solid both times. In 2012, he threw for 363 yards and one touchdown en route to 19 Fantasy points and in 2011 he threw for 228 yards and a career-high five touchdowns to produce 39 points!
• The Pittsburgh backfield situation will be a three-headed mess with Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling, so stay away until Le'Veon Bell is back or a clear No. 1 back emerges.
• The Titans allowed 19 wide receiver scores in 2012, eighth most. The opposing top target scored in four of the final six games against a Titans team that allowed nine total scores and 24 points per game during that span.
Antonio Brown has exactly six catches for 43 yards in his two games against the Titans over the last two seasons. Mike Wallace had at least 80 yards with a score in both of those games and is now gone to Miami. Brown is now the top target for the Steelers and will look to build on his finish in 2012, which saw him score in three of the final four games.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• Start both quarterbacks -- Drew Brees and Matt Ryan
• Start both tight ends -- Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez -- who averaged 15.5 and 17.5 points per game respectively in this matchup last year.
• Start your big-time wide receivers -- Marques Colston, Julio Jones and Roddy White -- even though all three combined for one touchdown in these matchups a year ago.
• Do NOT start either of the team defenses as both Atlanta and New Orleans ranked in the bottom six in terms of points allowed to opposing Fantasy defenses at less than seven per game.
Darren Sproles has scored 10 or more Fantasy points in 19 of his 31 games with the Saints. However, he has just one 10-point game in the three meetings with the Falcons. Last year, he was limited to four points and in two 2011 games, he produced zero and 14 respectively. So, no team has done a better job against Sproles than the Falcons, but I would still start him in PPR leagues.
Mark Ingram has just one touchdown in three games against the Falcons, and has never produced more than seven Fantasy points.
Pierre Thomas has two games with eight or more Fantasy points in his last four meetings with the Falcons.
Chris Ivory was the only member of the Saints to produce 10 points against the Falcons last year, but the Saints running backs did average 22 points per game against Atlanta in 2012. In two games, the New Orleans runners produced 250 yards rushing, two touchdowns and added 13 receptions for 88 yards.
Steven Jackson will take on a New Orleans run defense that allowed 22.4 Fantasy points and 175.3 total yards to per game to running backs, both most in the NFL.
Lance Moore had 14 catches for 214 yards in two games against the Falcons in 2012. He had at least seven catches and 90 yards in both games, including a season-best 123 yards in Week 13.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• The Jets gave up more than 100 yards rushing to running backs in 11 of their 16 games last year. For the year they allowed the seventh most rushing yards (115.7) and 11th most Fantasy points (17.9) per game to running backs.
• Three of the last four starting running backs to face the Jets have scored at least 16 Fantasy points, so expect a hot start for Martin.
• The Jets allowed opposing Fantasy defenses to score an average of 14.3 points last year, fourth most in the NFL. Over the last six games of 2012, opposing defenses averaged 21 points per game against the Jets, so the new look Bucs are a great sleeper for Week 1.
• The Jets allowed 16.6 points per game to receivers last year, third fewest in the NFL. In 10 games last year, a receiver did not catch a single touchdown and in only four games did a team have multiple wide receiver touchdowns.
• Only one receiver had 10 receiving points against the Jets over the final five weeks of the 2012 season and that's why Vincent Jackson is a No. 3 receiver for me in Week 1 working against Antonio Cromartie.
• Only four secondary receivers scored 10 points against the Jets in 2012 and only four quarterbacks produced 20 Fantasy points, so keep your expectations in check for Mike Williams and Josh Freeman.
Chris Ivory will have his hands full against a Tampa Bay run defense that allowed a league-low 71.2 yards rushing per game to opposing running backs in 2012.
• The only possible glimmer of hope is that Tampa allowed a running back rushing touchdown in three straight games to end the season.
• The Jets tight ends could have success against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up 12 points per game to the position over the final four weeks of the year.
• Even with that being said, I am not starting any Jets in Week 1 if I can avoid it, because the Tampa pass defense will be much improved following the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson this offseason.

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

• With Josh Gordon out on suspension, look for Trent Richardson to run it 20-plus times in Week 1, which is Fantasy gold given that he averaged 15.2 points per game when he took at least 20 carries as a rookie.
• Four of the final five running back groups to face the Dolphins rushed for over 100 yards. The Fins gave up an average of 20.4 points to running backs during that span.
Mike Wallace has been held to six catches for 77 yards combined in his last three meetings with Joe Haden.
• Wallace is averaging just 53 yards receiving per game over his last 25 games.
• Buster Skrine, the Browns No. 2 cornerback, allowed 751 yards (10th most) and five touchdowns (11th most) last year, so Brian Hartline is a sleeper in deep, deep leagues.
Jordan Cameron will be a top target for the Browns this week with Gordon out. Tight ends who saw at least seven targets averaged a solid seven points per game against Miami in 2012.
• A tight end produced eight or more Fantasy points in three of the final six games against the Fins last year.
• New Miami left tackle Jonathan Martin allowed six sacks and a league high 47 hurries in 2012. New Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton blitzed 47 percent of the time while coordinating the Cardinals defense last season.
• Opposing Fantasy defenses averaged 14.8 points per game when the Fins had to go on the road in 2012, making the Browns a sneaky Week 1 start.
• Opposing running backs averaged 22 Fantasy points and 121 yards rushing against the Browns over the last month of the 2012 season. Lamar Miller will hope to continue that trend into Week 1.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

Russell Wilson produced 11 Fantasy points against Carolina in their meeting last season, but that was early in the year. Over the final eight games of 2012, Wilson averaged 25.9 points per game.
• Four of the final seven quarterbacks to face the Panthers scored at least 21 points and they averaged 27 per game. The other three quarterbacks Carolina faced combined to score 16 Fantasy points.
Marshawn Lynch was held to 85 yards on 21 carries in his last meeting with the Panthers in 2012. Carolina finished the year out holding opposing running backs to just 52 yards rushing and 0.25 touchdowns per game over the last four games of the season. However, every other running back that took at least 19 carries against the Panthers last year scored at least 11 points and they averaged 17.4 per game.
Golden Tate found the end zone against Carolina in 2012, but failed to score 10 Fantasy points. Carolina was the sixth toughest against receivers last year, allowing just 17.5 points per game.
• In a Week 1 start without Jonathan Stewart last year, DeAngelo Williams managed just one yard rushing on seven carries against the Buccaneers.
• The Carolina running backs were held to one Fantasy point total against the Seahawks in their Week 5 meeting as they rushed for 25 yards on 11 carries and lost a fumble.
Steve Smith has scored just one touchdown in his last 11 home games. Last year he saw 13 targets against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks, but managed to catch only four of them for 40 yards. This is a tough, tough matchup.
Greg Olsen was held to just 37 yards in his last meeting with the Hawks, but three of the final four tight ends they faced in 2012 reached the end zone against them. Olsen is the only member of the Carolina receiving corps I would gamble on this week.
Cam Newton was the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback from Week 10 on last year, scoring 26.5 points per game. He scored a season-low seven Fantasy points against the Hawks last year and this is a very tough matchup. Despite facing Cam, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick last year, no quarterback produced more than 42 rushing yards (Cam) and only Matt Stafford ran for a touchdown. The Hawks gave up 12.7 points per game to quarterbacks last year, third lowest in the NFL, and only one of the last eight to face them in the regular season topped 17 points.

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

• While serving as the offensive coordinator for the Colts, new Arizona head coach Bruce Arians guided an offense that attempted 628 passes, sixth most in the NFL. While quarterbacking an Oakland team with an inferior receiving corps, Carson Palmer still averaged 276 yards per game and 7.7 yards per attempt.
• The 2012 St. Louis Rams allowed only three quarterbacks all year long to throw for multiple passing scores against them, and two of them were Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
• The Cardinals averaged 50 yards rushing and 2.8 yards per carry against the Rams last year. For the year, they produced a league worst 75.2 yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry.
• Over the last eight games of the 2012 season, the Rams allowed just one receiver group to reach 20 Fantasy points and they allowed just three receiver scores total.
Larry Fitzgerald has not scored more than 10 Fantasy points in a game against St. Louis since Week 11 of 2009. I am starting him anyway.
• Eight of the 10 receiver touchdowns (tied for third fewest) allowed by the Rams in 2012 went to secondary receivers (Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts).
• The Cardinals were sacked a league high 58 times last year and allowed a league-worst 16.9 points per game to opposing Fantasy defenses. The Rams had a league-best 52 sacks and averaged 23.5 points per game against Arizona last year, so start them.
• The Rams ran for 282 yards against the Cards in their two games last season on a stout 4.8 yards per carry, which is good for Daryl Richardson.
Chris Givens scored a touchdown and had at least 11 Fantasy points in both games against the Cardinals last year. In his second meeting with Zona, he caught five of his six targets for 115 yards and a score. The opposing top receiver produced 100 yards or a touchdown in eight of the final 10 games against the Cardinals.
• Tight ends scored four touchdowns and produced an average of 8.4 points per game against the Cardinals over the final eight games of 2012. The Rams tight ends scored in both meetings with Arizona last year.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. ET

• Five of the last six quarterbacks to face the 49ers scored at least 22 Fantasy points and three of them produced 29 or more. Aaron Rodgers scored 26 and 22 in his two meetings with San Francisco a year ago.
Eddie Lacy could get off to a slow start against a San Francisco defense that held the Packers to just 73 yards rushing and 13 total Fantasy points in two games a year ago. To be fair, Green Bay runners only took 20 rushes in the two games combined, so you have to wonder just how confident the coaching staff of the Packers will be running the ball against the 49ers front seven.
• San Francisco has given up the fewest Fantasy points per game to running backs in each of the last two seasons. They were at 10.8 per game last in 2012, up from single digits in 2011.
James Jones had four catches for 80-plus yards and a touchdown in both games against the 49ers last year. He was the only Green Bay receiver to score against San Francisco, but Jordy Nelson (10) and Randall Cobb (14) both racked up solid catch totals.
• The 49ers surrendered a tight end touchdown in five of their final eight games in 2012. Jermichael Finley averaged 6.5 points per game against the 49ers last year, but had one game with 10 points (Week 1) and one with three points (playoffs).
Colin Kaepernick set an NFL quarterback record with 181 yards rushing against the Packers in the playoffs en route to what would have been a 50-point Fantasy day. Even Alex Smith put up 21 points against the Packers last year, so look for Kap to get started quickly against Green Bay.
Frank Gore ran for more than 115 yards with a touchdown in both games against the Packers last year.
Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree caught all three of the 49ers receiver touchdowns against Green Bay last year. Considering that the Packers gave up a receiver score or a 100-yard receiver to the opposing No. 1 receiver in six straight games to close out the 2012 season, Anquan Boldin should have a golden debut.
Vernon Davis had 40 yards receiving in both games against the Packers last year. He scored in Week 1, but did not in the playoffs to produce games of 10 and four points respectively. The Packers did not allow a tight end to score in five straight games to close out the 2012 season, but the Green Bay game was the only game in which Davis produced fewer than 10 points in the 49ers' Super Bowl run.
• Stay away from the 49ers defense in Week 1, as they produced just 12 points in two games against a Green Bay team that was the second toughest on opposing defenses (5.4 points per game).

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET

David Wilson averaged 7.5 yards per carry in the preseason and averaged a ridiculous 0.9 Fantasy points per touch (Adrian Peterson was at 0.77) as a rookie last year.
• In 2012, the Cowboys gave up an average of 19 points per game to opposing running backs (sixth most) on the strength of 141 total yards (12th most) and one rushing touchdown per game (second most).
• The Giants have had a running back score a rushing touchdown against Dallas in six straight games.
• The Cowboys will be without at least one starter and maybe two on the defensive line, so this will be Wilson's coming out party against a defense that allowed over 100 yards rushing to running backs in six of the final seven games of 2012.
Eli Manning struggled against the Cowboys in 2012, producing just 19 points in two games. In 2010 and 2011, Eli threw for 1,425 yards and 11 touchdowns in just four games against Big D for an average of 27.8 Fantasy points per game.
• Prior to 2012, Hakeem Nicks had never produced fewer than eight Fantasy points in a game against the Cowboys and was averaging 13.6 per game.
Tony Romo has produced at least 21 Fantasy points in five straight full games against the Giants and is averaging 28 points per game during that span.
DeMarco Murray ran 20 times for 131 yards in the season opener against the Giants last year. The Giants finished the year by allowing 140 running back rushing yards and 22.2 points per game to the position over the final five games of the 2012 season.
Dez Bryant has 100 yards or a touchdown in four of his six career games against the Giants. He has never been held below seven Fantasy points in any one game and is averaging 11.7 per game. From Week 10 on of the 2012 season, Adrian Peterson was the only non-quarterback to outscore Bryant.
Miles Austin scored 10-plus points in both meetings with the Giants last year (13 and 13) and has reached double-digits in four of his last five meetings with his division rival.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, Mon., 6:55 p.m. ET

• The Redskins held LeSean McCoy to 45 yards rushing in each of their two games a year ago, but thanks to 15 receptions for 144 yards, he topped 110 total yards in each game.
• McCoy was the only running back to finish in the Top 24 at his position in every one of his full games in 2012.
• In Chip Kelly's run first offense, McCoy will see 20-plus carries more often than not and he averages 17.7 points per game with 20 carries for his career. Washington allowed 20 or more running back Fantasy points in three of their final five games a year ago.
Michael Vick had one of the greatest games in Fantasy history on Monday Night Football against the Redskins when he produced 57 points in Week 10 of the 2010 season.
• Vick didn't face the Skins in 2012, but enters this matchup following a blistering preseason that saw him complete 28 of 38 passes for 383 yards (10.1 per attempt) with two touchdowns and two interceptions to go along with 73 rushing yards. Washington allowed 20.8 points and 284 yards passing per game to quarterbacks in 2012, both fourth most in the NFL.
DeSean Jackson was held to five yards on two catches in his only meeting with Washington last season, but Vick was not the quarterback. With Vick under center for a full game, Jackson has produced 14 or more Fantasy points in two of his three games against the Skins while averaging 11.3 points per game.
Pierre Garcon was the 10th ranked Fantasy receiver from Week 12 on last year, producing 486 yards and three scores over the final six games of the season. Garcon had seven catches for 89 yards in the Week 16 matchup with Philly.
• Washington receivers scored four times against the Eagles in 2012, including two from Santana Moss, who scored in each of the games. Those were the first touchdowns against Philadelphia for Moss since 2009.
• The Eagles allowed five straight starting running backs, including Alfred Morris in Week 16 (91 yards and a touchdown), to score a touchdown and produce at least 15 Fantasy points to finish the 2012 season.
• Despite throwing only 39 passes in two games against the Eagles last year, Robert Griffin III tossed six touchdowns and produced 57 Fantasy points. The Eagles surrendered 22.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks last year, third most in the NFL, thanks in large part to giving up a league-high 33 passing scores. Four of the final seven quarterbacks to face the Eagles scored 31 or more Fantasy points to close out the 2012 season.

Houston Texans at San Diego Chargers, Mon., 10:20 p.m. ET

• With Arian Foster reportedly being "eased" back into the offense, Ben Tate will play a bigger role early in the year. Tate has taken 12 or more carries in a game eight times in his career. He produced 10 or more Fantasy points in seven of the eight games (never below eight points) with a robust average of 14.4 Fantasy points per game.
• Last year, Foster was first among all runners with 15 appearances in the Top 24, 12 in the Top 12, 14 games of 10-plus points and 13 games with a touchdown.
Andre Johnson has scored in each of the last two season openers, averaging 16 points per game. The opposing top target has scored in three of the last four games against San Diego.
• Three of the final four and six of the final eight quarterbacks to face the Chargers produced at least 20 Fantasy points. Andy Dalton came up just short with 17 and Greg McElroy had just five. Guess it was actually three straight and six of the last seven, which is great for Matt Schaub.
Owen Daniels did not score or produce five Fantasy points in five straight games to close out the 2012 season. He did however, have 172 receiving yards, but still no touchdowns in two playoff games. The Chargers did not allow a tight end to score in four straight games to end the 2012 season and allowed just 5.3 points to the position for the year, fewest in the NFL.
• Opposing defenses scored 10-plus points against San Diego in six of the final eight games of 2012. For the year, San Diego produced an average of 11.8 points per game for opposing defenses, seventh most in the NFL.
• The Chargers did not score a rushing touchdown as a team after Week 5 of the 2012 season. No, that is not a misprint.
Ryan Mathews is not expected to play much on passing downs, so he will be primarily limited to rushing totals for his Fantasy points. Mathews produced 10 Fantasy points on rushing totals in just one game in 2012. The Texans held eight running back groups to single-digit Fantasy points in 2012 and now they get Brian Cushing back.
• Tight ends scored five touchdowns and averaged 11 Fantasy points per game against the Texans over the last seven weeks of the 2012 season. Look for Antonio Gates, who was targeted a ton in the preseason, to get off to a quick start.
Vincent Brown has been targeted six or more times in three career games and in those games, he has averaged nine Fantasy points per game.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @nathanzegura .

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Player News
Report: Falcons remain optimistic Julio Jones will play Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:33 am ET) The Falcons remain optimistic that wide receiver Julio Jones will be in the starting lineup Sunday against New Orleans, despite missing another week of practice because of a hip injury, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports.

Jones ran on Saturday and will test his injured hip hours before kickoff in order to see how it responds. According to Breer, Jones' hip is in "better shape" than last week, and if he warms up without any setbacks, he'll be cleared to play Sunday.

Jones is third among all receivers in receptions (93) and second in receiving yards (1,428) this season. Harry Douglas would get the start if Jones sits out a second straight game.

Atlanta has moved from 6-point to a 6 1/2-point underdog at New Orleans.


Reports: Colts WR T.Y. Hilton a 'long shot' to play Week 16
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:25 am ET) Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who missed a week of practice due to a nagging hamstring injury, appears to be a "long shot" to play Week 16 against the Cowboys, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Hilton will test his injured hamstring during warmups, but will only play if he's at 100 percent and "can be himself," coach Chuck Pagano told Ed Werder of ESPN.

Hilton is tied for ninth in receptions (82) and fourth in receiving yards (1,345) this season. If he's unable to play, rookie Donte Moncrief will see a slight increase in playing time.

The Colts remain a 3 1/2-point underdog at Dallas.


Report: Cowboys' DeMarco Murray to play with protective pad Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:17 am ET) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is expected to play Sunday against the Colts, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports.

The plan is for Murray to play with a pad on his surgically-repaired hand, which he debuted during the team's final walkthru on Saturday. The Cowboys remain concerned with how his injury holds up on Sunday, and if they clinch a playoff spot in Week 16, Murray could be a candidate to sit out Week 17 in order to rest his injured hand.

Murray leads the league with 1,687 yards on 351 carries through 14 games, which is the most in franchise history. He also has 54 receptions for 395 yards.

The Cowboys remain a 3 1/2-point home favorite over Indianapolis.


49ers K Phil Dawson scores five points vs. Chargers Week 16
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) 49ers kicker Phil Dawson made five extra points but missed his only field-goal attempt in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Dawson didn't have much of a shot at converting his lone field-goal try, as his team tasked him with attempting to avoid overtime by nailing a 60-yard field goal at the end of regulation. He didn't come close, and the 49ers went on to lose in overtime.

Dawson has made 23 of his 29 attempts this season and is now 5 for 8 from 50 yards or more. He'll square off with the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers WR Michael Crabtree plays sparingly vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree managed just one catch for five yards in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Crabtree, who was questionable to play Saturday due to a knee injury, remained on the sidelines for large portions of the game, even donning a baseball cap at one point. It appeared he was set to play only in an emergency situation. However, the receiving corps was struck by multiple injuries, leaving the team to turn to Crabtree late, and he recorded his only catch in overtime.

Crabtree will try and heal up in time to serve a larger role in his team's season finale against the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers WR Anquan Boldin catches seven passes vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:08 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin recorded a team-high seven receptions on nine targets for 61 yards in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Boldin managed more than half of the team's receiving production Saturday, as the other San Francisco players combined for only 53 yards on eight receptions, though rookie Bruce Ellington did managed to catch a touchdown.

Boldin had his best performance since a nine-catch, 137-yard breakout in Week 12. He's racked up 81 receptions for 981 yards with four touchdowns going into a Week 17 matchup with the Cardinals, a team for which he played from 2003 to 2009. He'll be looking to secure his seventh career 1,000-yard performance in the season finale.


49ers WR Bruce Ellington scores twice in Week 16 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:03 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington tallied three rushing attempts for 12 yards and a touchdown and added an eight-yard touchdown reception in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Ellington scored both of his touchdowns in the second quarter, first hauling in the eight-yard touchdown on a play-action pass for which he was wide open. He then added the rushing touchdown on a jet play on third-and-goal where he took the ball on the move immediately after the snap and found a crease on the right side for the score.

It wasn't all positive for the rookie, as he was ruled out in the second half with a hamstring injury. If he can heal sufficiently during the upcoming week, he'll be in line to face the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers RB Frank Gore rumbles for 158 yards vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:58 am ET) 49ers running back Frank Gore racked up 26 carries for 158 rushing yards with one touchdown in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Both numbers represent season highs for Gore, who hasn't had a better rushing day since the 2009 season. He set the tone early, shaking off would-be tacklers en route to a 52-yard score less than two minutes into the game. Gore continually proved difficult to tackle, as he would have managed his third 100-yard game of the season even without the long touchdown.

Gore is now up to 962 rushing yards and four rushing scores on 230 carries. He has a reasonable shot at cracking the 1,000-yard mark in his team's Week 17 matchup with the Cardinals.


49ers QB Colin Kaepernick tallies 151 rushing yards vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:54 am ET) 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 15 of his 24 pass attempts for jsut 114 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions but added 151 rushing yards on seven carries in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Kaepernick had little trouble picking up chunks of yards against a defense that seemed adverse to tackling -- the 49ers set a new team record with 355 rushing yards in the game -- but his highlight came on a 90-yard scamper where he went untouched after crossing the line of scrimmage, with the Chargers committing a penalty on the play for good measure.

The rushing touchdown was the first of the season for Kaepernick, and his 151 rushing yards marked a new regular-season high. However, he's also failed to top 175 passing yards in any of his last four games. The 49ers will look to close out the season in strong fashion when they face the Cardinals in Week 17.


Chargers K Nick Novak nails game-winner in Week 16
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) Chargers kicker Nick Novak made his only field-goal attempt Saturday, hitting the game-winning kick from 40 yards out in his team's 38-35 overtime win over the 49ers in Week 16.

Novak had all week to think about missing two of his three attempts against the Broncos in Week 15 but drilled the key attempt early in the overtime period to send the Chargers home with a win. He also added five extra points, giving him his best point total in three December contests. Novak has a matchup with the Chiefs on the calendar for Week 17.


 
 
 
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