Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver
You would think that Roethlisberer would be a good play most weeks, wouldn’t you? While he isn’t an elite play this week, he should produce more than enough to be active in all formats.
With question marks plaguing the running game (can Jonathan Dwyer and/or Isaac Redman produce as the lead back) along with Mike Wallace signed and ready, there is a lot to like. The Broncos could try to unleash Peyton Manning and a new offense, with Roethlisberger easily matching him.
Sit: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore
A lot of players could’ve been included in the sit department, including rookie Andrew Luck (who we just don’t know what to expect from). However, Dalton gets the nod because of the hype and the matchup.
While 2012 could easily be his breakout year, the Ravens are one of the elite defenses in the league. He had 3 interceptions in one game against the Ravens last season and, in the other, managed just 232 yards despite 44 attempts.
It could be a tough start to the season and, if you have another viable option, I would consider going with it.
Start: Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions vs. St. Louis
With Jahvid Best injured and Mikel Leshoure suspended, Smith should be the lead back for the Lions. Last season, the Rams were among the worst rushing defenses in the league, allowing 152.1 rushing yards per game.
While the Lions' passing game does get the bulk of the attention, Smith has shown that when he is healthy he can produce viable numbers. He averaged nearly 5.0 yards per carry (72 carries for 356 yards) in 2011, and also was a receiving threat with 22 receptions in just 7 games.
While defenses try to stop Matthew Stafford and company, Smith should have ample room to run and make plays.
Start: Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
There was a time that a matchup with the Jets gave owners a reason to bench a tailback. However, I wouldn’t currently consider that the case. Jackson totaled 120 yards against the Jets in his lone meeting on 2011. He should be a major cog in the Bills' offense and should be active in all formats.
Sit: Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle
While Seattle’s defense is pretty good as it is (3.8 yards per carry in 2011, good for fourth-best in the league), can anyone say for sure if Wells is going to get the bulk of the carries? Ryan Williams is going to play a very big role regardless of who the starter is.
Unless one of the two backs emerge, it is going to be difficult to trust either most weeks. I would expect the team go with the hot hand, so by gambling with one or the other you could be left with little to no production.
Sit: Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco
Playing against the 49ers is generally enough to move any running back to your fantasy bench. Yes, he has had a good preseason, but it is impossible to trust him in this matchup.
Wide Receivers – Two-Receiver Formats
Start: Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati
Smith showed glimpses in 2011, but with the Ravens looking to play a more high-tempo offense, he certainly could fully emerge in 2012. He had one of his biggest days of the season against the Bengals, with 6 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown. Get Smith active in all formats.
Sit: Santonio Holmes, New York Jets vs. Buffalo
Is it just me, or does everyone not trust anything Jets right about now? Until we see exactly what the team’s plans are for the Tm Tebow portion of the offense, I would tend to shy away from any skill player. There is just too much risk involved in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers – Three-Receiver Formats
Start: Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Darrelle Revis who? In his two matchups with the Jets in 2011, Johnson had 11 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. It is still a tough matchup, but he is certainly worth rolling the dice on.
Sit: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay
Even if this game becomes a shoot out, do we really trust the 49ers to try and get the ball to Crabtree? Vernon Davis would likely be the much better target, with Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in the mix as well.
For an offense that is not very aggressive, there are too many other options. In fact, I would be looking away from all San Francisco wide receivers altogether at this point.
What are your thoughts on these players? Who would you start or sit? What other players are you looking to avoid?
Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings: