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The journeyman RB will be relied upon to carry a heavy load this season, especially with Taliaferro out for the first few games, but this match-up in particular is great for him. The Broncos defense is strong at cornerback and in the pass rush, but run defense is not a strength particularly with the offseason departure of Terrence Knighton and the early season suspensions of DL Derek Wolfe and S T.J. Ward. Expect a big day from Forsett, both as a runner and a receiver. Projected production: 105 yds rushing, 50 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
Steve Smith Sr.
The veteran wide receiver has a tough match-up against top CB's Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr, but he will play an important role for the Ravens, especially in the early season. Smith usually rises to the challenge, so expect a big day from the fresh old-timer as he kicks of his retirement tour with a bang. Projected production: 95 yds receiving.
Although the potential absence of Timmy Jernigan is concerning, the Ravens will be facing an offense with solid skill players but a mediocre line. With new starters throughout the line and at TE, the Ravens defense should have success getting to the QB. The Ravens match up well against the Broncos, with Jimmy Smith on Demariyus Thomas, Arrington or Webb on Sanders, and both ILB used to practicing against Owen Daniels. The run defense is stout, and with the Broncos installing a new offense, I expect this to be fairly low scoring for a typical Broncos game. Projected production: 3 sacks, 1 int, 17 points allowed.
The pass rush is going to be key for the Broncos, so while I think much of Flaccos passing success will come from the short passing game with Forsett and the TE's, that will likely keep down the yardage totals for Joe. Perriman's absence will hurt him in this game, as he is the best field stretcher the team has. Projected production: 230 yds passing, 1 touchdown.
The injured wide receiver should be planted firmly to the bench until he is fully healthy and starts playing. Projected production: 0 yards passing
All backup RBs
Neither of the backup RB's had too many reps against starting quality players, so even in deeper leagues there shouldn't be much production from this group until Taliaferro returns in a few weeks. Projected production: 50 yds rushing.
Deep league Sleeper
Many Ravens fans have high expectations for Gillmore, and he should be a major factor in the red zone for the team. Flacco has shown improved chemistry with him, and I believe it likely he ends the year in the top 10 tight ends. The Broncos gave up the 7th most yards to tight ends last season, so this should be a good week for him, especially with Perriman out. Projected production: 45 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
In deeper leagues, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro, Marlon Brown and Darren Waller all might factor in. However, it is hard to know which is going to have a good game this week, so it might be best to stay away. I expect both Aiken and Campanaro to play alot in week 1, as Campanaro being on the field will likely force the Broncos to move Chris Harris into the slot. I believe this would leave Aiken with a favorable matchup much of the time, so my bet is on him to produce this week. Projected production: 70 yds receiving