The NFL is an ever-changing landscape, from year to year, week to week, and even day to day. Hence, the Bruno Boys bring to you our Week One Edition of the Fantasy Risers and Fallers. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept behind the article, it’s rather simple. Risers and Fallers highlights those players who have seen their fantasy value for the weekend’s upcoming games either rise (increase) or fall (decrease).
WEEK 1 RISERS
WR Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals) - Hamstring issues have left Anquan Boldin as iffy for Sunday’s match-up with the San Francisco 49ers. If Boldin can’t go, it’s Breaston—who is probable for the game—wjp moves into the No. 2 receiver slot for the Cardinals, a spot he occupied quite nicely in 2008.
WR Mark Clayton (Baltimore Ravens) - Despite a strained left hamstring, Clayton was not listed on Baltimore’s injury report this week and is fully expected to suit up and be on the field against the Chiefs on Sunday. Clayton, who is still the team’s No. 2 wide receiver thanks to Derrick Mason’s unretirement, should only be used in deep, deep leagues.
RB Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers) - Stewart participated in all of the Panthers’ practices this week and does not appear on the injury report, despite missing time in the preseason due to an Achilles injury. While his value has risen, owners may still want to play it cautious here as Stewart faces a tough matchup against the Eagles and will likely see his workload reduced upon his return from injury.
RB DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) - Yes, Jonathan Stewart will be around in week one, but the split in carries will be more in Williams’ favor than it was in 2008 as the Panthers will look to ease Stewart back into the mix.
QB Carson Palmer & WR Chris Henry (Cincinnati Bengals) - Palmer and Henry were both expected to be ready to go in a nice matchup against the Denver Broncos as both were listed as probable, but it’s nice to have head coach Marvin Lewis confirm that both will go.
QB Kyle Orton (Denver Broncos) - Orton, despite a questionable listing, is expected to start Sunday against the Bengals. No doubt, though, the injured finger on his throwing hand leads us to recommend you stay away even if Orton goes here. I mean, this is a guy who threw three INTs in his first work ever as a Broncos’ QB in week one of the preseason.
RB Correll Buckhalter (Denver Broncos) - With rookie Knowshon Moreno a question mark for week onee’s battle with the Bengals, Buckhalter will be the Broncos’ starting back. While he’ll share duties with LaMont Jordan and Peyton Hillis, this is a matchup he can exploit, making him an interesting option as a flex play.
K Jason Hanson (Detroit Lions) - Hanson is probable for the Lions matchup against the Saints this weekend. However, we have to assume you have a better option for your kicker for week one as Hanson ranks 24th in our kicker rankings.
QB Matt Schaub (Houston Texans) - Always a health concern, Schaub is probable for week one and after full participation in Friday’s practice, he looks like a safe start. The Texans will need to beat the New York Jets through the air, so look for Schaub to post some nice numbers.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) - After an injury scare in the team’s last preseason game, MJD appears to be fine as he gets set for a week one smack down with the Indianapolis Colts, a team he has scored six TDs against in six career games.
RB Reggie Bush & RB Mike Bell (New Orleans Saints) - With Pierre Thomas officially ruled out for Sunday’s matchup with the Lions, both Bush and Bell will see an expanded role—which is great news for those owners who own the two, as the Lions’ are looking like a juicy opponent.
RB Darren McFadden & RB Michael Bush (Oakland Raiders) - Justin Fargas’ absence means it will be these two who carry the load against the San Diego Chargers.
QB Marc Bulger (St. Louis Rams) - Bulger is apparently having no issues in regard to the broken finger he suffered. Still, until Bulger returns to the form that made him a perennial top-10 fantasy quarterback, we suggest you stay away.
WEEK 1 FALLERS
WR Anquan Boldin (Arizona Cardinals) - A limited participant in the Cardinals’ practice on Friday, Boldin’s status for week one won’t be known until pre-game warmups. With the Cardinals playing an afternoon game, it’s wise to look elsewhere. After all, you don’t want to start the fantasy season off with a goose egg in a slot due to an inactive player.
TE L.J. Smith (Baltimore Ravens) - Smith has never quite lived up to his potential, and it appears as nothing is changing but the scenery. Smith, already behind Todd Heap on the depth chart, is doubtful for the Ravens' week one battle with the Kansas City Chiefs.
RB Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos) - At less than 100 percent, the Broncos’ rookie running back is questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Bengals. With the depth the Broncos have at the RB slot, the team probably feels fine taking it slow in returning Moreno to the lineup.
WR Kevin Walter (Houston Texans) - Walter, who is dealing with hamstring issues, remains a game-time decision. Check back with the Bruno Boys on Sunday for a status update.
QB Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs) - While Cassel is still a game-time decision, we’re not even going to tell you to check back on Sunday because in a matchup with the Ravens, he is not worthy of a fantasy start.
WR Bernard Berrian (Minnesota Vikings) - His quarterback situation has improved with the arrival of Brett Favre, but Berrian may not be on the field on Sunday to take advantage as a hamstring has limited his participation in practice. Check on his status on game day.
RB Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) - For those of Thomas’ owners holding out hope that the back would play against the Lions, I hate to burst your bubble—but Thomas has officially been ruled out of week one’s action.
RB Justin Fargas (Oakland Raiders) - Fargas missed practice yet again on Friday. The possibility of him playing on Monday night against the Chargers is slim.
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