Here's a look at who to plug in for your fantasy football starting lineup this coming week:
RB Ray Rice: This is a no-brainer, as Rice remains a top flight fantasy option. It's a bit surprising that he's fallen as much as he has in various drafts, all the way to the latter third of the first round. Rice has done well on opening day the last couple of years, running for 107 yards and a touchdown in 2011 and 68 yards and two touchdowns in 2012.
WR Torrey Smith: Smith will be the go-to target in the passing game, with the ability to break it deep at any time. His chemistry with Joe Flacco has improved all offseason, making him a WR2 in most fantasy formats. And don't forget, Smith had his way with Champ Bailey during Baltimore and Denver's postseason meeting.
Deeper league starts
RB Bernard Pierce: If your league goes with three running backs, or has 14 or more teams, Pierce should get a start if you have him on the roster. Denver's run defense is all of a sudden vulnerable without Von Miller or Elvis Dumervil on the side of the ball. Thursday's game could be a high-scoring affair.
Start if you have to
Ravens defense: In most weeks this year, this will be a given. The Ravens, with an improved front seven, should be able to keep scores low, force turnovers and generate sacks. But it's never fun to start a defense going against a premier quarterback and Peyton Manning is just that. This Ravens should be able to keep this game in the mid to high 20s, but the chances for points elsewhere will be limited.
QB Joe Flacco: Thing is, Flacco could go for 300 yards and three touchdowns, especially if the game turns into a shootout by the third quarter. But you probably have another quarterback on your roster that deserves the start over him. Fantasy owners should take a wait-and-see approach with Flacco for now.
TE Ed Dickson: Dickson was relegated to Baltimore's second tight end option a year ago but did see four targets against the Broncos in the playoff game, catching three passes for 29 yards. Dennis Pitta had a big game in the regular season meeting, meaning Dickson could be someone Flacco targets a bit over the middle this Thursday.
WR Brandon Stokley: Stokley will primarily work as a slot receiver, meaning Flacco could throw his way quite a bit. A Stokley start should only be made in PPR formats and in deeper leagues, though this could be a high risk/high reward kind of deal.
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