Week 1 of the Page 2 Fantasy Football Challenge is upon us. Each week, a guest picker chooses a quarterback, wide receiver and running back who he or she believes will score big in fantasy that week. This season’s opening guest — David Rosen, an original commenter on the RandBall blog who describes himself as the “Rick Spielman of fantasy football” — will go head-to-head against Star Tribune writer Michael Rand, who is not allowed to pick anyone projected to score in the top 10 at their position by NFL.com:
DAVID ROSEN'S WEEK 1 FANTASY PICKS
QB: Tom Brady, Patriots
NFL.com fantasy projection: No. 9
I’m going with Tom Brady. They’ll still find a way to deflate the balls, Tom’s ticked about being poorly drawn in court, and Pittsburgh’s defense is horrendous.
RB: Jeremy Hill, Bengals
NFL.com RB projection: No. 9
I put his team name in there in case there’s another Jeremy Hill who is a left tackle or something. Rand is a Belichick-type cheater and would totally give me the LT Jeremy Hill.
WR: Julio Jones, Falcons
NFL.com WR projection: No. 4
He’ll get plenty of targets going up against Philadelphia’s “how fast can we go three-and-out?” offense. He’ll probably catch some of those targets and one will be in the end zone.
MICHAEL RAND’S WEEK 1 FANTASY PICKS
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
NFL.com QB projection: No. 12
I’ll take the other side of this matchup because after all that’s come out in the media recently, we can hopefully be certain the Patriots will no longer have any advantages — proven or not — in stopping opposing offenses.
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
NFL.com RB projection: No. 16
It’s not an ideal matchup going against a stout Rams defensive, but I know this: last season ended with an ill-fated pass from the goal line that cost Seattle a Super Bowl. This week they run Lynch?
WR: Jordan Matthews, Eagles
NFL.com WR projection: No. 14
After a solid rookie season (872 yards, eight TDs), Matthews is a trendy pick as a breakout receiver. My friends accuse me of being trendy sometimes, so I’m going to buy into the hype in Week 1.
SCOREBOARD last year’s recap (USING NFL.COM DEFAULT SCORING METHOD)
Overall standings: Guest pickers 12-4.