- Scott Kacsmar, Football Outsiders
Peyton Manning got the 2013 NFL season off to a historic start with seven touchdown passes against the Baltimore Ravens. No quarterback had done that since 1969. It also produced at least 46 fantasy points, depending on your league's scoring system, so it was one of the better fantasy days, as well.
What does it all mean? Well, it means tight end Julius Thomas no doubt will be picked up in every league after his 110 yards and two touchdowns. For Baltimore's defense, we had never seen the Ravens allow 49 points in a game before that Thursday. With so many expecting an improved unit, does this mean the Ravens are doomed without Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and all the other departures?
Well, do not jump on starting Brandon Weeden simply because he's playing Baltimore just yet. The first few weeks of a season rarely paint an accurate picture of what will happen the rest of the way. On the field Thursday night were Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Lardarius Webb. That's a strong core unit. Daryl Smith and Chris Canty are also solid players to build a six-man foundation. However, the safeties and other cornerbacks make for a big weakness, and that's exactly where a quarterback such as Manning would attack.
Baltimore's defense ranks at the bottom of the league in Football Outsiders' DVOA right now, but do not bet on it being anywhere near that level by Week 17 ... or Week 6, for that matter.
How many offenses will Baltimore play with a quarterback able to stay away from Webb all night because he has enough weapons to attack elsewhere? It's not time to panic yet, Baltimore. It's not time for anyone to panic, except for maybe Giants running back David Wilson, who had a horrific game with two lost fumbles. When the Giants bring back Brandon Jacobs, you know that might be a bad sign for Wilson's future.
Yet no matter how tempting some moves might be, give your healthy starters at least another shot this season before dumping them. After all, it was just one game. And this week brings a whole new set of opportunities.
Here is a look at some players with the best and worst fantasy matchups this week.
Russell Wilson (plus-4 points)
Michael Vick certainly seems like a strong play this week at home against San Diego, but did you see the way he was moving around gingerly in the second half? Instead, let's give Wilson some love after knocking him down in Week 1. He had a nice real-life game in Carolina, but ranked only 20th in fantasy points among quarterbacks. Expect a better performance this week at home, where Seattle was the most dominant team in football a year ago. Wilson's home numbers (17 TDs, 2 INTs) have been considerably better than on the road (10 TDs, 8 INTs).
The San Francisco defense might have a great reputation, but Wilson threw four touchdowns in a Week 16 meeting last season. San Francisco has allowed three touchdown passes in each of its past three outings, which came against Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. It's not the dominant unit it once was, especially against the pass.