ONE TO START, ONE TO SIT
One to start, One to sit is a weekly column where each NFL game will be evaluated and the best/worst fantasy match-ups will be listed.
ATLANTA FALCONS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
ATL- Everyone on offense
NO- Everyone on offense (NOT NAMED Mark Ingram or Pierre Thomas)
Wow, great way to start this article, taking the entire offenses of both teams. It gets better I promise you. This game is going to be a shootout. So to not start any starting ATL or NO WR/TE/QB (hell even Steven Jackson should put up big numbers in his Falcons debut) would be a disservice to your fantasy team. Even if whomever you have doesn’t put up big numbers. It’s the right choice in this matchup.
ATL- Atlanta’s Defense
NO- Mark Ingram/Pierre Thomas
At the start of every NFL season I go with the motto, “Guilty until proven innocent”. Darren McFadden will always get hurt and miss part of the season (same with DeMarco Murray), I worry for Alfred Morris because Mike Shannahan is well… Mike Shannahan, and unless their name is Darren Sproles, I do not trust anyone in the Saints backfield. Also, if my defense is going up against Drew Brees (in New Orleans), I find another defense.
BUFFALO BILLS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
BUF- CJ Spiller
NE- Tom Brady
Brady always puts up fantasy points against Buffalo (1,302 yards, 10 TD’S, 5 INT’S (4 in one game) the last four times NE played BUF). Buffalo coach, Doug Marrone, is known for his offense heavily favoring the run (last season, Syracuse rushed more than any other college team in the country). So the opportunity is going to be there for Spiller, which could lead to him making some big plays.
BUF- EJ Manuel
NE- Shane Vareen
First start vs a hungry Pats defense, don’t like the chances. Shane Vareen has gotten around as a huge sleeper pick this season, and I believe he will be. However, just not in this game. I’d expect to see a big dose of Ridley, Sudfield, Amendola, and Tompkins in the game, leaving Vareen to pick up the scraps.
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ CHICAGO BEARS
CIN- AJ Green
CHI- Brandon Marshall
These two were pretty much the only receiving options on their respected squads. While I think that both of their targets will decrease this season (Somebody’s gotta step up for both squads), I can’t in good conscience tell you to start anyone else in this game. Both these guys are gonna get loads of targets regardless of coverage, and will both put up good numbers.
CIN- Andy Dalton
CHI- Matt Forte
Cincinnati’s def front line is probably the best in the NFL right now (Denver’s will be better once Miller comes back), so I don’t see Forte breaking any, or getting many dump passes his way. Dalton is facing a defense that had 9 defensive TD’s last year and held QB’s to an average of 213 yards a game. Doesn’t look good.
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS
MIA- Lamar Miller
CLE- Trent Richardson
Miami does have a very underrated rushing def (gave up an avg 108 rushing yards per game), T-Rich is a beast of a back, and with new OC Norv Turner in Cle, expect Richardson to get the ball in all sorts of packages. Lamar Miller is almost the same thing. Miami has a pass first offense, but Miller can align in so many different ways (underrated pass catcher) and has the breakout speed which can make him a deadly weapon.
MIA- Mike Wallace
CLE- Greg Little
Kinda cheating on Little by picking him, but he hasn’t fixed his dropped pass issue and isn’t good enough of a WR to be a #1. I’d expect Davone Bess or Jordan Cameron to lead the Browns in receiving yards, as for Little, don’t expect much. Mike Wallace meet shut down corner Joe Haden. You’ll be seeing him a lot Sunday afternoon. Haden has the potential to take Wallace completely out of the game and force Miami to throw to Brian Hartline or Brandon Gibson (not such a bad thing).
NEW YORK GIANTS @ DALLAS COWBOYS
NYG- David Wilson
DAL- Tony Romo
With Romo, it’s a tale of two sides when he plays NYG (744 yards, 4 tds, 5 ints in 2012). If he can keep his INT’s down, he’ll be in line for a 20 pt fantasy day. Wilson is the benefactor of Andre Brown fracturing his leg. He’s fast as hell and can break a run within a blink of an eye.
NYG- Eli Manning
DAL- Miles Austin
Miles Austin lies in fantasy limbo (good enough to start, but losing ground to Dez Bryant). He is currently the #3 option on Dallas. #4 if you count Demarco Murray. Eli Manning was awful vs Dallas last season (405 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in two games). While he does have all his WR’s healthy, Dallas just seems to have his number.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ DETROIT LIONS
MIN- Adrian Peterson
DET- Reggie Bush/Calvin Johnson
Okay, I took both Bush and Megatron, sue me. It’s only because AP has absolutely no reason to not be the best option for Minnessota every week (I may change it to a sleeper pick for the Vikings instead of taking AP all the time). As for Bush and Johnson, I don’t feel the need to explain Calvin, but Bush is the type of player that can do everything to hurt defenses. Bush could very well be the next 100 rec running back.
MIN- Christian Ponder
DET- Brandon Pettigrew
Ponder lost his favorite receiving weapon in Percy Harvin, and Pettigrew couldn’t catch a ball last season if he had poured 3 gallons of Stick-em on his hands. Ponder is also on a run first, run second, and third and long? Run with AP anyways type of offense. Pettigrew on the other hand has dropped down to 7th on Det’s passing depth chart (behind Calvin/Broyles/Bush/Burlson/Bell/Leshoure)
TENNESSEE TITANS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS
TEN- Chris Johnson
PIT- Antonio Brown
This week should be the arrival of one of fantasy’s biggest sleepers, Antonio Brown. He’s got the hands to catch the hard passes, Mike Wallace type speed to catch the deep passes, and best yet, is Pitt’s new #1 WR. Chris Johnson, really? Who else is there? Tenn’s def is a candidate considering Big Ben does throw his share of INT’s, but CJ is going to have the opportunity to put up big numbers here. 20 carries at least for the former CJ2K.
TEN- Jake Locker
PIT- Issac Redman
Issac Redman is not a lead running back. I’m sorry Pittsburgh fans, but he’s terrible. Jake Locker as well. He had 2 games last season where he put up two touchdowns (most he threw for in 2012), and another 2 games where he broke 300 yards passing. Against a healthy and typical hard hitting Steeler defense? You’d have to be pretty desperate or have lost a bet to start Locker this week.
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
OAK- Terelle Pryor
INDY- Andrew Luck
Indy should be throwing all day on Oakland. Not like they’re going to be able to stop it. Luck should put up at least 15 fantasy points by the end of this one. Pryor may not have the experience, but the guy can run and make a tough throw every now and then. If Indy stops McFadden and are ahead by a lot by the end of the game, expect a garbage time TD or two from Pryor.
OAK- Darren McFadden
INDY- Ahmad Bradshaw
No running back in this game is going to score more than 8 points (non ppr). Bradshaw may/may not get the nod at lead back due to not playing at all in the preseason. Indy’s def is going to focus primarily on McFadden due to Prior’s inexperience. Lose-Lose situation for both backs.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
KC- Dwayne Bowe
JAX- Maurice Jones Drew
Throughout the offseason, all I’ve heard is how big of a monster Dwayne Bowe is going to be with Andy Reid coaching. Well here it is, takin the plunge, I say Bowe starts off with a bang, and outscores teammate Jamal Charles in week one. MJD, come on… Who else is gonna go here? He doesn’t rely on Gabbert to throw him the ball unlike Shorts, and has proven before that he can still perform well fantasy wise with def stacking 8 in the box.
KC- Anthony Fasano
JAX- Blaine Gabbert
This won’t be the first time you’ll be seeing Gabbert here, trust me. Until the guy can consistently throw the ball with his eyes open, he will be considered the crux of Jacksonville’s offense. Anthony Fanano is only here because I really have no one else. KC’s def was an option, but the most I’ve seen MJD score in a game is 4 touchdowns, which shouldn’t be enough to provide 0 or negative points to your team.
ARIZONA CARDINALS @ ST. LOUIS RAMS
ZONA- Larry Fitzgerald
ST.L- Jared Cook
For some odd reason, I see Jared Cook becoming the security blanket for Bradford. Expect him to haul in a TD here. Arians offense revived the career of Reggie Wayne last year, just imagine what he can do with Larry Fitzgerald. Carson Palmer is the key to Fitz’s revival, but as long as he can stay on the field, Fitz remains a top 10 Fantasy WR option every week.
ZONA- Rashard Mendenhall
ST.L- Tavon Austin
Rookie WR’s don’t normally break out their first seasons (minus monsters like AJ Green and Julio Jones). I don’t see Austin posing up big numbers for St.L his first game, let alone his first year. Mendenhall was brought in and is a huge step up from Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. However, he is a running back on a pass happy team and is facing one of the top D-Lines in the NFL last year (in their home).
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ NY JETS
TB- Doug Martin
NYJ- Jets Def
There’s only one positive thing coming from the Jets this year, it’s their defense. If they remain close in any game this year it’ll be because of them, and to be honest, Josh Freeman isn’t the best of QB’s. Doug Martin however, has quickly become one of the best RB’s in the game. He has break away speed, can catch out of the backfield, and pretty much do it all for TB if they ask him to.
TB- Josh Freeman
NYJ- Geno Smith
Josh Freeman is the fringe type of QB that could be bad enough to throw 4 picks in this game. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are immune to being here because usually they both have a bad game if Freeman has one. Geno Smith, he looked awful in the preseason, has no good WR’s to throw to, and is expected to lead the Jets this year to victory… Nuff said.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS
SEA- Golden Tate
CAR- Greg Olsen/Steve Smith
The way Carolina is going to be able to move the ball in this one is through the air, which is both good and bad because Cam is a Jackal/Hyde type of passer. Either way, Smith and Olsen should put up decent amount of numbers to save their fantasy day. Golden Tate, with Carolina’s weak secondary he should find his way into the end zone once or twice on Sunday.
SEA- Sidney Rice
CAR- DeAngelo Williams/Cam Newton
Something tells me that it’s Golden Tate and Zach Miller’s day tomorrow and Sidney Rice may pull an Eric Decker (Manning goes off for more than 450 yards and Decker ends up with 32 rec yards). Seattle’s def should be able to hold any type of rushing attack Carolina may pull tomorrow. Whether it be Cam, Williams, or even Tolbert running with the ball, no one is going to rush for more than 50 yards.
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ SAN FRAN 49ERS
GB- Aaron Rodgers
SF- Frank Gore
It’s Aaron Rodgers, he’s defense proof (unless you have Brees/Peyton/Stafford/Brady as your backup you start Rodgers every week). Frank Gore has been leaned on to carry the 49ers running game for years, why should this season be any different. With change of pace back, LaMichael James out, Gore should see his average of 20 carries.
GB- Jermichael Finley
SF- Colin Kaepernick
See my biggest fantasy busts article to why I think Kaepernick may not perform well on Sunday. As for Finley, he was the only guy on GB I could think of to legitimately put here. He’s always had a lot of potential, but hasn’t lived up to any expectations yet (guilty until proven innocent).
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS
PHI- Michael Vick
WASH- Alfred Morris
Michael Vick on Monday night with the nation watching him… What could go wrong? The Eagles def should see a heavy dose of Morris, however, he’s been working a lot on his backfield catching, so seeing him on passing downs could provide an extra incentive to his value.
PHI- DeSean Jackson
WASH- Robert Griffin III
DeSean Jackson should be seeing a heavy dose of DeAngelo Hall all night, and I know, I’m shocked RG3 is here as well. Until I saw if you take away his running, he’s not that skilled of a passer. He only threw for 250 yards or more in 4 games last season.
HOUSTON TEXANS @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
HOU- Andre Johnson
SD- Antonio Gates
I don’t trust Arian Foster enough to put here, so Andre Johnson it is. It’s the beginning of the season, so AJ is going to be in full beast mode. “Somebody’s gotta catch the ball in SD”- The one guy in every live draft I was in when Gates or Vincent Brown was taken. I chose Gates here for the same reason I did with Andre. It’s the beginning of the year, he’s healthy, he’s gonna perform well.
HOU- Matt Schaub
SD- Phillip Rivers
Schaub’s beginning a make or break season for him on a team that relies on the run. For a QB with a cannon for an arm, Schaub only broke 300 yards twice last season and broke 15 plus fantasy points only three times while playing on the road. Rivers enters the season with a questionable running game, a hurt WR core, and against a defense that let up only 225 yards through the air last season, and poses the best running defense in the NFL. Needless to say, he may be throwing all night, but it’s going to be a long night for Rivers.