Fantasy Football Sunday Morning Start or Sit, Week 1: Rodgers, Tate and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2013

Aug 23, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Just hours before the start of Week 1 (for most teams anyway), I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:


Ben Tate, Running Back, Houston Texans

Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle recently published the following quote from head coach Gary Kubiak in regards to Arian Foster:

I’ll tell you what, he looks really good. He’s come a long way. I’ve been impressed with his wind, his conditioning. It’ll be the first time he’s been hit – that’s just part of it – but he’s come a long way. He had some good work. He had a really good day today. Obviously, we’re going into the game with both he and Ben (Tate) ready to get after it. That’s the way we’ve got it orchestrated. 

Still, after Foster missed a lot of time this preseason with calf and back issues, it is expected that Tate and Foster will share duties this week against the Chargers.  Tate has proven to be a viable FLEX option in the past and could easily be a viable option this week if it is a true timeshare.  Depending on your other options, Tate should be considered a usable option.


Ahmad Bradshaw, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts

He’s listed as probable and is going to play, the question is how big of a role?  Earlier in the week, Mike Wells of ESPN had this quote from coach Chuck Pagano:

There’s probably a certain amount of plays we’d like to get him. What that is, I don’t know. He was out there [at practice Monday] and running around and looked pretty good out there.

The article also says that Bradshaw has been working with the second team at practice.  While he has more talent than Vick Ballard, at this point it is a complete unknown how much he’ll be used against the Raiders (in a game where they likely won’t really need him).  Unfortunately, Bradshaw should be considered a risky FLEX play for Week 1.


DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Carolina Panthers

With both Kenjon Barner and Jonathan Stewart out and just Mike Tolbert behind him, DeAngelo Williams is looking like a little bit of a better play this week.  Of course, he draws one of the best defenses in the league in the Seattle Seahawks, so let’s not get too crazy.

Despite there being less competition for carries, Williams should be viewed more as a low-end RB2/FLEX option based on the matchup and the fact that it’s Williams. 

Last season’s numbers (737 yards, 5 TD) were skewed by running for 210 yards in the final game of the season (he only had two games over 70 yards all year).  In fact, he’s rushed for over 100 yards twice in the past three seasons, both of which came against the Saints.  There’s potential if you are in need, but don’t go crazy.


Rashard Mendenhall, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals

According to Darren Urban via Twitter, “RB rotation situational but Arians said Alfonso Smith will be No 2 in many instances behind Mendenhall."

Of course, Stepfan Taylor and Ryan Williams are also expected to be in the mix. Even if Mendenhall was going to get the lion share of the carries, he would be a RB2/FLEX option (at best). Given the multiple options and the likely limited snaps, this is a situation to avoid until there’s some clarity.


Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback – Green Bay Packers

There have been questions asking whether Rodgers should be started or not this week. Given the tough matchup it makes sense, but in two meetings against the 49ers last season Rodgers posted the following lines:

  • September 9, 2012: 303 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • January 12, 2013: 257 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

He also faced San Francisco back in 2010, where he managed 298 yards and three touchdowns. While the matchup is difficult, Rodgers and the Packers offense simply has too much upside to sit (unless you have another truly elite option).


DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans

According to Tania Ganguli via Twitter: “DeVier Posey will play a lot of special teams and have a play count. Kubiak says DeAndre Hopkins is in a catch-up period right now. #Texans”

Hopkins would’ve been a risky play regardless, as we have repeatedly said that rookie wide receivers are no guarantee, but the missed time due to a concussion has put him a bit behind. He may not see a full slate of snaps this week and should be considered more of a desperation play for those in deeper formats. The upside is there, but let him get up to speed before depending on him.


Aaron Dobson, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots

According to Jeff Howe via Twitter: “Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon and Brandon Bolden have been downgraded to OUT for tomorrow.”

Dobson was originally thought of as a potential sleeper receiver, but that was before Kenbrell Thompkins emerged.  Maybe Dobson eventually returns to fantasy radars, but for now he’s buried on the depth chart, and touches will get even tougher to come by once Rob Gronkowski is healthy.  Move on if you need the roster spot.


Sebastian Janikowski, Kicker, Oakland Raiders

He’s listed as probable, though he has been dealing with a calf injury.  According to Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, “Seabass is going to play. No concerns here.”

Given the state of the Raiders offense, Janikowski could be in line for ample opportunities.  Keep him active in all formats.


David Ausberry, Tight End, Oakland Raiders

He has officially been ruled out this week due to a shoulder injury.  The Raiders passing game was questionable as it is, and while Ausberry is no lock to produce, his loss hurts the offense that much more.  You’d expect the Colts defense to key in on Darren McFadden, forcing Terrelle Pryor and company to try and beat them.  Is that something you’d trust to happen?

While McFadden is a usable RB2, most of Oakland’s “weapons” should be avoided.


Don't forget to check out all of Rotoprofessor's Week 1 Fantasy Rankings!