Aug 20, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) scores a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Gridiron Challenge-Fantasy Football-NFL Week One Picks


August 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts on the sidelines after a Panthers touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Gridiron Challenge kicks off in just a few days but there’s still time to join the FantasyCPR staff and other FanSided bloggers and readers in our group. It takes just a few minutes a week to make your picks and you can show your matchup insight by getting any player you want as long as they fit in your budget.

Week one is always a tough one with many teams getting major makeovers this offseason and a lack of statistical data to base decisions on. Preseason stats don’t always translate to the real thing, so week one lineups tend to vary from team-to-team even more than later weeks in the season.

These players are in some of the best matchups in week one that’s why they’re on my roster for this week:

Quarterbacks

Cam Newton-Car: Newton has a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Bucs defense. No defense gave up more points per game last year than the Bucs, and they especially struggled against the rush. Newton scored four touchdowns in both meetings with the Bucs last year, rushing for three at Tampa and throwing for three at home on Christmas Eve. In addition, he may be without RB Jonathan Stewart which could give him extra running opportunities. Look for the Panthers to start the Greg Schiano era in Tampa with a rude welcome to the division.

Matthew Stafford-Det: Stafford and the Lions open at home with the Rams visiting. St. Louis has overhauled their defense, but the Lions passing game is going to be among the best in the game this year and Stafford is a great start this week.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy-Phi: He’s one of the most expensive running backs, but against the Browns in week one he’s set up for a monster game.

Matt Forte-Chi: Forte is the focus of the Bears offense and even with Michael Bush onboard expect him to get plenty of looks in the passing game and red zone carries. The Bears host the Colts in the opener who Forte should be able to pile up points against.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson-Det: Megatron is on one of every three teams but picking against him when he and Stafford are facing the Colts is too risky for me. It’s a big risk to go any other direction, and Johnson is by far the top receiver out there. Expect his value to skyrocket, so get him now if you’re planning on having him this year.

Justin Blackmon-Jac: If you go big money with Johnson, Gronk, and two solid RB, you’re going to need to find a bargain and get good value from a lower priced pick. Blackmon represents that after emerging in the preseason as Blaine Gabbert’s top target. He’s limited by Gabbert’s development, but should be the top target both in and out of the Red Zone. He lacks elite speed but has shown throughout the preseason that he’s NFL ready. It’s a risk pickup, but Blackmon stands out among the cheap receivers as having a high upside.

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski-NE: Gronk or Graham? Owners in Gridiron Challenge are 33%-30% in favor of Gronk. He gets the Titans in week one, but his opponent doesn’t really matter much for an elite TE like him. He averaged 14.6 points per game last year almost three points more per week than Graham and five points more than anyone else at the position. He’s another player whose value will rise in the coming weeks.

K

Nate Kaeding-SD: Kaeding is fully recovered from his opening kickoff injury last year and is ready to reclaim his spot in the top level of kickers in the NFL. The Chargers should be able to put up points in their Monday Night tilt with the Radiers in Oakland.

Defense

Philadelphia-Phi: The Eagles defense is always a good pick, and they get the Browns this weekend. In Gridiron, defenses get only three points for TDs. You do get a nice five point bonus for wins so try to take a team you feel has a good chance at the W. I’m rollin’ with the Iggles week one.

Tags: Cam Newton Gridiron Challenge NFL Week 1