Well boys and girls, the 2013 NFL season is officially upon us and, not unlike any other season, we kick things off with a rematch of a marquee 2012 playoff contest with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Denver Broncos. Throughout the season, I’ll be posting articles throughout the week reviewing the weekend that passed and previewing the weekend ahead. Since we’re just getting things started for the new season, I figure we’d do things right and preview the kickoff game that features some big names in the fantasy world. Ravens vs Broncos should be an entertaining shootout.
Here’s to an exciting and (hopefully) win-filled fantasy season. Let’s get started!
(injury listed in parentheses), Injury Designation italicized
Ed Dickson (hamstring strain), Probable: Dickson practiced for the second day in a row and was listed as a full participant after dealing with a strained hamstring. By all accounts, Dickson looked nimble and mobile out there and stated “I’m just flying around, making plays”, as reported by the Baltimore Sun Times. Based on Dickson’s comments and reports that stated how good he looked out there, expect Dickson to get a healthy amount of snaps in single TE sets as well as opposite Dallas Clark in two-TE formations. This hamstring strain (my guess would be it’s more of a grade 1 than anything else, especially considering how little time he’s missed and the level of activity two days in a row in full pads) shouldn’t limit Dickson too much, and with the Denver D/ST missing a ton of pass rushers, look for QB Joe Flacco to have plenty of time to look downfield.
Baltimore D/ST: We know all of the big losses the Ravens suffered in the offseason (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Kelly Gregg, to name a few), so it’s no surprise that their once dominant defense took a hit in the preseason in terms of their overall ranking. With defensive end Arthur Jones (unspecified illness) already ruled out and rookie lineman Brandon Williams (right foot injury) still in a walking boot, depth is going to be an issue for the Ravens’ front seven. And I don’t have to tell you who they’re facing this week, do I? If you’re gambling on the Ravens putting up double digit fantasy points, you’re in for a rude awakening. Stay away this week.
Champ Bailey (sprained foot), Questionable: Word was that Bailey was nearing a return to the practice field on Tuesday after shedding his walking boot after suffering a sprained foot on August 17th. However, Bailey did not do much of anything at practice today and is anticipated to miss the opener on Thursday night. Sprained feet are tough to bounce back from in general, as the involved ligament(s) can lead to excessive mobility and pain in regions of foot that rely on stability and strength in normal scenarios. The fact that we’re 24 hours or so from kickoff and Bailey still hasn’t done anything on the practice field doesn’t bode well for his availability. And remember, he was healthier in the playoffs last year against these Ravens when he got burned by Ravens WR Torrey Smith for two TDs. Expect Bailey to miss the opener, but final injury designations come out today, so keep an eye on it.
Wes Welker (sprained ankle), Probable: Not all the feet in the Broncos’ locker room come bearing bad news. Welker was a full participant again in practice on Tuesday and is expected to be 100% entering the season opener. Welker suffered the injury during the Broncos’ second preseason game and was held out of the last two games as a precautionary measure. By all accounts, the sprain was mild (probably a grade 1) and has not limited Welker in terms of his speed, quickness, and burst. Get him in your lineup without hesitation.
Joel Dreessen (sprained knee), Questionable: All signs point to Dreessen missing the opener on Thursday after not practicing again on Tuesday. He’s been dealing with a knee issue all preseason following offseason arthroscopic surgery and reportedly has not progressed as planned. With Jacob Tamme possibly missing a golden opportunity to nail down the starting tight end job after dealing with his own strained quad injury (which is reportedly 100% now), the benefactor from this whole situation appears to be super-sleeper Julius Thomas as he’s been taking most all of the first team reps at tight end. This is a very fluid situation and bears watching after the first game and beyond, but Thomas appears to have forced his way into the conversation and pushed Tamme to third string status. If you’re dying for a deep sleeper tight end, Thomas is the guy this week. But you’re better off avoiding the situation all-together until we get more clarity.
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