Who's startable tonight?

Giants vs. Redskins is a classic rivalry, one of the oldest and most cherished in the NFL, and undeniably a great way to kick off the NFL season. Last year’s surprise champs taking on their oldest divisional nemesis – what’s not to love? Like most football fans, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to it all week.

Too bad it’s not too exciting from a fantasy football standpoint. I count four players who should be starters in most formats. Chances are, neither you nor your opponent has any of them. For most of us, it’s almost like the fantasy football season doesn’t really start tonight after all. If you’re chomping at the bit for fantasy action and thinking to yourself, What the heck, let’s see what this Devin Thomas kid can do, snap out of it! Go grab a beer, sit back, and just enjoy some football.

Player ratings for tonight’s matchup after the jump.

Week 1 rating is out of five stars (*****)


**** Brandon Jacobs: He ran all over the ‘Skins last year (130 yards in the one game he played; he was injured for the other matchup), and I like history to repeat itself this time around. He’s completely healthy for once, and while the Giants will use Bradshaw and Ward in an attempt to keep him that way, he’ll get the lion’s share. Don’t forget that it’s a contract year for him.

**** Plaxico Burress: The usual injury concerns persist, but he’s going to start and he seems relatively healthy, perhaps as healthy as he’ll ever be with that balky ankle and flat feet. He’s a fantasy threat every week.

** Eli Manning: Hopefully you didn’t get distracted by the shiny new ring on Eli’s finger and overspend on him in the draft. He’s still not Peyton, nor is he likely to magically become him now that he’s got the monkey off his back.

He’s not a terrible start against the ‘Skins, but he didn’t do much against them last season, averaging one touchdown, one interception, and just a smidge over 200 yards per game. There’s no compelling reason to believe he’ll do a whole lot better than that tonight.

* Steve Smith and Amani Toomer: Toomer’s the starter but Smith will probably get almost as many looks – but neither will have enough to warrant serious fantasy consideration this week.

Don’t even think about starting Ahmad Bradshaw or Derrick Ward until we have a better sense of their roles in this offense. Kevin Boss is also an unknown quantity and a very risky start.


***** Clinton Portis: Portis owners should be mighty confident about tonight, given that the Giants defense just lost its best playmaker in Osi Umenyiora and is probably a few weeks from getting adjusted to playing without him. He also rushed for 126 yards in week 15 last year, at a time when the Giants were playing at a very high level. He’s going to be the primary weapon in this offense tonight and that means a boatload of touches.

*** Chris Cooley: Cooley purportedly has been given a bigger role in the offense, but I’ll wait to see exactly what that means before I start singing his praises. Still, he’s a definite start. If I could split asterisks in half, I’d give him three and a half stars.

** Santana Moss: Campbell’s likely to struggle, so Moss will as well. If Campbell throws for 180 yards, Moss might wind up with 50-70 of those, so… whoopee.

* Jason Campbell: There’s very little reason to start Campbell this week. He appears to be struggling in Jim Zorn’s new offense and was sacked four times in his final preseason game. Even without Umenyiora, the Giants D is more than up to the task of containing Campbell.

* Antwaan Randle El: Broken hand + bad matchup + shaky QB = thanks, I’ll pass.

* Ladell Betts: This is Portis’s show. He’ll scrape out 3-5 fantasy points at best.