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Fantasy watch: How will Ravens’ Torrey Smith, Broncos’ Wes Welker perform?


Can the Baltimore Ravens’ Torrey Smith emerge as a top receiving threat? (Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

Tonight’s kickoff to the NFL season also signals the annual rebirth for us fantasy football players who have been trying to manage withdrawal over the long summer months. Finally, our drafts are complete and we can turn our attention to setting lineups and scouring the waiver wire for the next Victor Cruz or Arian Foster.

As for tonight’s game, here are three questions I’m asking as owners start to get a feel for what presumably will be their regular lineups:

1. Will Wes Welker continue to thrive as a PPR stud?

Welker was the consensus No. 1 WR in New England and without peer in PPR leagues, but his move to Denver means he’ll be sharing the stage with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Welker’s stock dipped a bit following the move, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t lead be among the league leaders in receptions. Just don’t expect 110 catches this season. Regardless, Welker remains a WR1 (with even higher standing in PPR leagues) until further notice.

2. Can Torrey Smith become a true WR1?

With Anquan Boldin in San Francisco and TE Dennis Pitta done for the season, the Ravens passing game is basically Torrey Smith with support from Ray Rice out of the backfield. Smith will have ample opportunity tonight to prove to fantasy owners he can be trusted as a WR1 week-to-week rather than based only on matchups. Smith also benefits from not having to face top CB Champ Bailey, who is out with a sprained foot.

3. Who will emerge as the Broncos’ featured RB?

Montee Ball owners hope it’s him while those who took a chance on Ronnie Hillman are hoping otherwise. Who knows, maybe Knowshon Moreno even makes a case he should be the guy. My money is on Ball, especially given Hillman’s fumbling issues during the preseason. At this point, I’d feel comfortable with Ball as a RB2 or high flex and Hillman as a lower end flex option.

Have a fantasy football question? Tweet at Gene via Twitter, @gene_wang.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice at 1 p.m. today, and Ravens at Broncos kicks off the season at 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network NBC.

More about the Redskins and NFL:

Ravens and Broncos kick off NFL season after summer of discontent

Vick understands Griffin’s mind-set when running

The Early Lead: Eagles’ Cooper, Williams fight at practice (video) | More NFL

D.C. Sports Bog: KidsPost says Redskins at 10-6 would be lucky | More Bog

Redskins still dealing with tight salary cap | Hall: Redskins must be more consistent

Opening Kick: How might Von Miller’s suspension affect the Redskins?

Reid: Davis enters make-or-break season | Play The Post’s free Pro Picks game

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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