By Derek of The Sportmeisters
Welcome to the best time of the year Sports Fans. Week one of the NFL Season is finally here and the first game was a great one! The first game was the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Tennessee Titans 13-10 in Overtime. With the season officially underway, I have brought back my Start Em’ and Sit Em’ from last year. Here is where I will tell you who I think you should start or who I think you should sit for your fantasy team. This year, I will give you your obvious must starts (guys you start every week no matter who they play), a few players from each position who you should start, a sleeper start em’, and a must sit em’. Enough talk, let’s get down to business!
QB Obvious Must Starts – Drew Brees – NO vs. DET, Peyton Manning – IND vs. JAX, Tom Brady – NE vs. BUF, Philip Rivers – SD vs. OAK, Aaron Rodgers – GB vs. CHI, Kurt Warner – ARI vs. SF
QB Start Em’
Carson Palmer – Cincinnati Bengals vs. DEN – Palmer is going to look to come out strong in his first regular season start in almost a year against a Denver D that ranked 26th vs. the Pass last year. Start Em’.
Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle Seahawks vs. STL – Hasselbeck is looking to prove that he is healthy and back to normal against the Rams, who ranked 19th vs. the Pass last year. Start Em’.
Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens vs. KC – Kansas City ranked 28th vs. the Pass last year and Flacco has enough weapons to do some damage. Sleeper Start Em’.
QB Sit Em’
David Garrard – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND – Garrard has thrown seven Interceptions in his last three games against Indy, not to mention that the Colts had the 6th ranked Pass D in the NFL last year. Sit Em’.
Trent Edwards – Buffalo Bills vs. NE – I like Edwards for a nice sleeper, but not until later this year. With no continuity with Terrell Owens and the firing of his Offensive Coordinator last week, the Bills Offense is a mess you should avoid in week one. Sit Em’.
Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs vs. BAL – Cassel may not even play due to a knee injury, but even if he does you shouldn’t even think about starting him this week against the Ravens, who had the second ranked Pass D in the NFL last year. Must Sit Em’.
RB Obvious Must Starts – Adrian Peterson – MIN vs. CLE, LaDainian Tomlinson – SD vs. OAK, Michael Turner – ATL vs. MIA, Maurice Jones-Drew – JAX vs. IND, Matt Forte – CHI vs. GB, Steven Jackson – STL vs. SEA
RB Start Em’
Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions vs. NO – Smith ran all over the Saints 17th ranked Run D last year for 111 Yards and a Touchdown and with a rookie QB, he should carry the load in this week one matchup. Start Em’.
Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens vs. KC – Fantasy owners mouths must be watering with the thought of this matchup. Kansas City ranked 30th in the NFL in Run D last year and Rice looks to be the frontrunner for the most carries in the running game. Start Em’.
Reggie Bush – New Orleans Saints vs. DET – I don’t want to hear about his injury, he’s not hurt. Bush is healthy and ready to go and has a great week one matchup against last year’s worst Run D in the NFL. Plus, Pierre Thomas may not play and that only means more work for Bush. Start Em’.
Julius Jones – Seattle Seahawks vs. STL – Jones had a less than spectacular year last year, but so did the entire Seattle Offense. He gets a great week one matchup in the Rams, who were ranked 29th vs. the Run last year. Even with the new Head Coach, the Rams won’t be that much better and Jones could break the century mark. Sleeper Start Em’.
RB Sit Em’
Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers vs. CHI – Even though Grant has run for over 300 Yards and scored two Touchdowns in the last three games against the Bears, I don’t like him this week. The Bears Defense was ranked 5th in the NFL against the Run last year and will be revitalized by a healthy Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. The Packers will most likely air it out against a suspect secondary, meaning less carries for Grant. Sit Em’.
Clinton Portis – Washington Redskins vs. NYG – The Giants had a tough Run D last year, ranked 9th in the NFL, and that was without Osi Umenyiora. Combine that with the fact that Portis has only run for 485 Yards and three Touchdowns in his last seven games against the G-Men and you have yourself an easy choice. Sit Em’.
Jamal Lewis – Cleveland Browns vs. MIN – Lewis looked old this Preseason and was almost cut after the Browns fell in love with rookie James Davis. It doesn’t help him that he faces the Williams Boys and Jared Allen in week one. The Vikings were the NFL’s best Run D last year, so stay away from Lewis this week and maybe all season. Must Sit Em’.
WR Obvious Must Starts – Randy Moss – NE vs. BUF, Wes Welker – NE vs. BUF, Andre Johnson – HOU vs. NYJ, Larry Fitzgerald – ARI vs. SF, Anquan Boldin – ARI vs. SF, Steve Smith – CAR vs. PHI, Reggie Wayne – IND vs. JAX, Calvin Johnson – DET vs. NO, Greg Jennings – GB vs. CHI, Roddy White – ATL vs. MIA
Marques Colston & Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints vs. DET – Detroit was ranked 27th vs. the Pass last year and these two Receivers are healthy and play with Drew Brees. Start Em’ Both.
Chad Ocho Cinco – Cincinnati Bengals vs. DEN – He will probably be matched up with Champ Bailey all day, but Bailey isn’t the same shutdown corner that he used to be and Ocho Cinco has something to prove. Denver was ranked 26th vs. the Pass last year and Carson Palmer is starting at QB. Start Em’.
Derrick Mason – Baltimore Ravens vs. KC – Kansas City was ranked 28th vs. the Pass last year and QB Joe Flacco should look for Mason early and often. He will be a great start in PPR leagues this week. Sleeper Start Em’.
WR Sit Em’
Antonio Bryant – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. DAL – Dallas had its problems last year, but defending the Pass wasn’t one of them as they finished the year ranked 5th in the NFL vs. the Pass. Plus, I don’t exactly like the fact that Byron Leftwich is throwing him the ball and they fired their Offensive Coordinator last week. Must Sit Em’.
Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs vs. BAL – You don’t start Bowe when his QB may be Brodie Croyle. Heck, even if it’s Matt Cassel, you don’t start Bowe against Baltimore. The Ravens had the second ranked Pass D in the NFL last year and KC doesn’t exactly have the best O-Line. Sit Em’.
Torry Holt – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND – I wasn’t crazy about Holt this Preseason and I’m still not sold on him. Especially against Indy this week, where his QB has thrown more Interceptions than Touchdowns in his last seven games. Sit Em’.
TE Obvious Must Starts – Jason Witten – DAL vs. TB, Antonio Gates – SD vs. OAK, Tony Gonzalez – ATL vs. MIA, Dallas Clark – IND vs. JAX
Dustin Keller – New York Jets vs. HOU – In rookie Mark Sanchez’s first NFL start, he will be looking to dump the ball off to his Tight End early and often. Houston was 17th vs. the Pass last year and Keller could rack up near ten receptions. Start Em’.
Jeremy Shockey – New Orleans Saints vs. DET – Shockey looked to be fully in sync with Drew Brees in the Preseason and how do you not start him against the worst D in the NFL? Sleeper Start Em’.
TE Sit Em’
Chris Cooley – Washington Redskins vs. NYG – Cooley is one of the better Tight Ends in the NFL, but not this week. He has just 29 catches for 281 Yards and two Touchdowns in his last eight games against the Giants and the Giants were ranked eighth in the NFL vs. the Pass last year. Sit Em’.
Kellen Winslow – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. DAL – This is the same explanation I gave for Antonio Bryant earlier. I don’t like his QB and the Cowboys know how to defend the Pass. Must Sit Em’.
D/ST Start Em’
San Diego Chargers vs. OAK – “Lights Out” Shawne Merriman is back and has given this Defense new life. I expect to see JaMarcus Russell on his back early and often on Monday night. Start Em’.
Dallas Cowboys vs. TB – That whole firing the Offensive Coordinator a week before the season thing just doesn’t look good for Tampa. Especially when they are looking at DeMarcus Ware across the field. Start Em’.
Seattle Seahawks vs. STL – Even if you have Steven Jackson, you might want to consider starting the Seahawks D. QB Marc Bulger hasn’t played in a few weeks with a broken finger and may not be fully healthy. If he goes down, the Seahawks could have a field day against the Rams. Sleeper Start Em’.
D/ST Sit Em’
Chicago Bears vs. GB – Bears secondary is still suspect and Aaron Rodgers has owned them in their last few encounters. Sit Em’.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND – Peyton Manning at QB…Need I say more? Must Sit Em’.
There you have it Sports Fans. My first Start Em’/Sit Em’ of the season. Any questions or concerns, please email me at Derek@Sportmeisters.com and look for my weekly Projections later this week, as well as our Sunday Morning Start Em’/Sit Em’ Chat.