Here are my Week 1 picks for which players would make up the best fantasy football team, as well as one sleeper for the week. Quarterback – Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Drew Brees is getting all the love because he’s playing the Detroit Lions in Week 1, but I think Brady will outperform Brees in his Monday Night matchup with the Buffalo Bills. The Lions are not the same team they were last season and will be looking to Kevin Smith to run clock and keep Brees and the rest of the Saints offense off the field. Brady, though, probably feels like he’s got a lot to prove in his first regular season game back from knee surgery. He’ll be looking to really rack up the points on the Bills, and I don’t see Buffalo being able to do much to stop him. Randy Moss and Wes Welker and great complements to one another with their differing styles and Joey Galloway was an underrated pickup this offseason to play in the slot.
Running Back – Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: I’d like to go against the masses here too, but I can’t. Peterson has a good matchup against the Browns and he should be fed early and often. Brett Favre is still adjusting to the team and probably won’t be throwing it as much as he will be as the season rolls on. Peterson has 2,000 yards in his sights this season, he says, and whether or not that’s realistic or not there is no denying his talent and his ability to sell NFL tickets.
Running Back – Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: Gore is going to get a lot of work this season, especially in the early going. It may take a while for the Niners’ passing attack to come around this season, if it does at all, so Gore is going to be leaned on heavily. Despite their Super Bowl run last season, the Cardinals do not have a great defense and the Niners will be looking to control the clock with the running game to keep Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald off the field.
Wide Receiver – Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: Despite the fact that I think Brady will outperform Brees, I do think the Saints will have success through the air against the Lions. Colston should be the main beneficiary of Brees’ numbers in that game and is the team’s primary red zone target.
Wide Receiver – T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seattle Seahawks: This will be the coming out party for the Hasselbeck to Houshmandzadeh hookup. These players were made for each other and they face a Rams secondary that really has to prove itself this season.
Flex (WR/RB) – LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers: Tomlinson is eager to announce to the league that he’s still got plenty left in the tank. Oakland is a good place to start as the Chargers should have a pretty easy time against the Raiders.
Tight End – Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts: Clark has a good track record against the Jags and Peyton Manning should be looking to him more often for this season with the team’s wide receiver depth in question.
Defense – Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens draw the Chiefs this week, who have a shaky offensive line and may not have their starting quarterback healthy.
Sleeper – Mike Bell, Running Back, New Orleans: It looks like Pierre Thomas is unlikely to play in the opener against Detroit, which should set things up for Bell to get a lot of carries against a suspect Lions defensive front.