Fantasy football is upon us, and a host of decisions must be made.
The most important piece of of advice going into Week 1 is this: don't get cute. Always play your studs.
Benching Larry Fitzgerald because you are not sure how he will perform with John Skelton under center is a recipe for disaster.
Aside from the obvious starters, though, there are countless combinations for your lineup. Who should you start and who should you leave on your bench this week?
Granted, forecasting how many fantasy points defenses will give up is tricky business before the season begins, but the Colts do not exactly have a lights-out secondary.
The Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall reign of terror resumes its march on Sunday.
Robert Griffin III has not lit the football world on fire this preseason the same way Russell Wilson has, but neither did Cam Newton last year. He certainly scorched the earth in his rookie debut, but that forecasts nothing for rookie quarterbacks going forward.
RGIII's baptism will come on the road against the New Orleans Saints, who have a mountain of motivation propelling them after a tumultuous offseason. Motivation is overrated, but raucous road games are not.
Play "wait and see" with RGIII.
Darrius Heyward-Bey ended his resurgent 2011 campaign with a nine-catch, 130-yard performance against the Chargers that included a touchdown grab.
That might be a lofty expectation for DHB to start this season, but he is certainly worthwhile playing as your third wide receiver. The fourth-year receiver is primed for a big year after nearly topping 1,000 yards in a bit of a breakout last season.
It starts against the Chargers.
Denarius Moore is a dangerous receiver, but he has missed some time due to injury this preseason. That could mean a bit of rust for the sophomore receiver heading into the season.
Moore caught three passes for 101 yards in the regular-season finale against the Chargers, and he is certainly capable of blowing up.
Heyward-Bey is the better play going into Week 1 because he will likely be on the field more as the No. 1.
If Moore winds up going off, think of it like folding a hand in Texas hold'em only to find you would have won on the river. I expect DHB to have the better day.
The Chiefs may want to get their running backs 500-plus combined touches this season, which will be a boon to Peyton Hillis in particular.
He will be on the field often as part of a tandem with Jamaal Charles, and he will be a touchdown-vulture extraordinaire.
Hillis is also an underrated pass-catcher, making him a decent PPR option.
C.J. Spiller had a fantastic streak to end his season last year.
Fred Jackson was leading the league in fantasy scoring at his position until he went down with a broken fibula, and after getting an extension from the Bills, Jackson will be the primary back.
Even if Spiller gets on the field more often than he did as Jackson's backup last year, he does not make for a good fantasy play over the likes of Hillis, who will be in more of a timeshare.
Rashad Jennings will be the starter in Week 1 and for the foreseeable future until Maurice Jones-Drew decides to end his holdout. Considering the fine MJD has tallied so far is approaching $1 million ($30,000 per day) and he has little leverage, he should be back soon.
That is no matter for Jennings this week, who gets the Vikings in his first real shot as a starter.
It might have been the preseason, but he averaged 4.44 yards per carry, though he did not get into the end zone.
Lighting up the fantasy scoreboard is not likely in the cards for Jennings, but he should provide some solid numbers.
The Packers have settled their running back situation with Cedric Benson. The plodding running back has never been a scintillating fantasy option, but he is intriguing with the Packers because of the threat their passing game poses.
Benson goes up against San Francisco, which led the league in rushing defense and did not allow a rushing touchdown to a running back until Marshawn Lynch in Week 15.
Again, defenses are difficult to predict before the season begins, but the 49ers did not lose anything over the offseason.
Jeremy Shockey is gone, leaving Greg Olsen to get the lion's share of targets at tight end. Olsen should find some room to operate with defenses focusing on Carolina's rush game and a receiving corps led by Steve Smith.
Cam Newton looked to his tight ends a decent amount this preseason, and Olsen will be the main man in Charlotte at the position. If you are playing a committee at tight end or you are in a two-tight end league, Olsen is a good start.
Jay Gruden might have compared Jermaine Gresham to Rob Gronkowski, but he has a bit of a climb to merit that lofty comparison.
Gresham caught just two passes all preseason, but the main concern going into Week 1 for the Cincinnati tight end is his opposing defense.
The Baltimore Ravens are a stout defensive squad in general, but they have been particularly stingy against opposing tight ends. They allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends last season at 5.07. Gresham gets them twice a year, starting this week.
Quick, name Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target in 2011.
Well, Captain Obvious says it was Antonio Brown. He garnered 120 targets from Big Ben in his second year in the league, and he is primed for a fantasy explosion in his third year.
He gets the Broncos this weekend, and you should start him with confidence.
Huzzah! Mike Wallace ended his holdout! Now what?
Jerry Rice thinks Wallace will need a few weeks to get back to normal, that's what. When the greatest receiver of all time speaks, you listen.
Not only is Wallace behind in learning the offense and getting into game shape, Antonio Brown was already Big Ben's favorite receiver.
If you have comparable options, sitting him is not a bad idea. Unless you are banking on a fluky, long touchdown for Wallace, though, start him at your own risk.
Matt Schaub has made the Dolphins pay over the years, and there is little reason to believe more of the same is not on its way.
He had 895 yards and five touchdowns in his last three games against Miami, and the Dolphins seem ripe for the picking as they continue a rebuilding process.
Schaub gets Andre Johnson back from injury as well. He is a good back-end starter and an excellent second starter in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Did you know: Ben Roethlisberger's best fantasy finish over the past four years is eighth, and he has finished outside the top 12 the other three years.
Injuries have played a part, a terrible offensive line another, but Roethlisberger has always been a part of a run-heavy offense paired with a lead-holding defense that has limited his fantasy production.
On the one hand, Willis McGahee rushed for 1,199 yards in an extremely run-heavy offense that figures to pass the ball a lot more this year.
On the other, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry against defenses that stacked the box and knew the run was coming.
What is going to give?
He gets a real test to start the season against the stout Steelers, who were eighth against the run. That means you should temper your expectations, but you should still start him over...
The Bills were awful against the run, but Shonn Greene was largely unable to get in on the action—he rushed for 164 yards and zero touchdowns in two games against Buffalo last season.
Greene has somehow stuck atop the New York depth chart despite perpetually underwhelming results. He cracked 1,000 yards rushing last season, but averaged just 4.17 yards per carry and scored just six touchdowns.
With Buffalo's revamped defensive line, a Jets offense in a deep funk heading into the season and Tim Tebow threatening to vulture goal-line touchdowns, Greene is just not a good fantasy play this week.
Torrey Smith looked great in the preseason, and he looks to break out in his second year in the league. With Anquan Boldin fading on the other side, Smith should take over as Joe Flacco's primary receiver.
Smith caught six balls for 165 yards and a touchdown in his first meeting against the Bengals last year. He might not have quite that output, but he his explosiveness makes him a threat to put up a crooked score in any week.
Anquan Boldin will see plenty of playing time with the Ravens, but he has been in decline for years and Torrey Smith's emergence means even less fantasy relevance for Boldin.
He has seen his production decline in each of the past four seasons, and there is little reason to believe he will bounce back with a big year.
Smith is the receiver to own and start this weekend. If you're starting Boldin, you're doing it wrong.
Lance Moore was a fantasy sleeper last year before injuries slowed him down. He came on strong with seven touchdowns in the second half of the year, though, and he remains under the radar among fantasy footballers this year.
Devery Henderson appears to have locked down the No. 2 receiver spot in New Orleans, but he has never been consistent.
Moore moves up a rung in the offense with Robert Meachem out of town, making him a sneaky-good start as a flex or third option.
The Browns get to start the season against the post-Dream Team Eagles, and they will be licking their chops defensively.
Not only will rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden be dogged by a fierce pass rush, but Greg Little will be blanketed by one of the league's best cornerbacks in Nnamdi Asomugha.
Little should have a better sophomore season in the long run, but it will be a rough opening day.