Tim Hightower could be the difference between a Week 1 win or loss for your fantasy football team.
noun – A distinctive aura, atmosphere, or feeling
For many folks, the concept of karma begins and ends with the television show My Name Is Earl. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Funny show. Prematurely cancelled if you ask me. But I digress…
For the purposes of my weekly lineup recommendations, I’ll be doling out karma as it applies to fantasy football. Pretty simple stuff too. Good karma for guys I like, bad karma for questionable starts.
Away we go.
- Jay Cutler vs. Detroit-Lions gave up more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team in the NFL in 2009. Add Mike Martz as the pass happy Bears offensive coordinator and it makes sense.
- Matt Stafford vs. Chicago-Sounds like I’m expecting a fun game tomorrow, huh? That’s because I am. The Bears also struggled against QBs last season and I’m expecting a big jump for Stafford this season with a year under his belt and added weapons around him.
- Alex Smith vs. Seattle-Smith is a less obvious play than the two aforementioned QBs, but if you’re a Joe Flacco, Kevin Kolb, or Brett Favre(and I told you) owner then Smith makes sense in Week 1. The Seahawks just aren’t very good and Smith has a chance to get off to a strong fantasy start.
- Derek Anderson vs. St. Louis-Yup. You read it right. I am recommending the NFL’s version of Nuke Laloosh in Week 1. I’m not ready to abandon all hope on Anderson before the season even gets started. He has one of the top wide receivers corps in the league at his disposal and the Rams just aren’t very good.
- Cadillac Williams vs. Cleveland-You’ve probably heard it before, but I’ll remind you again. Running backs do not fully recover from knee surgery until two years after they get hurt. This is Year 2 of the Caddy’s repair. I look for him to be a strong RB2 in 2010 behind one of the most underrated O-lines in the NFL and a decent schedule vs. the run.
- Jerome Harrison vs. Tampa Bay-Consider this game the running back combo platter of the fantasy football week. No team put up less of a fight on run D than the Bucs in ’09. Harrison finished hotter than any RB not named Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles. Add it up and you have what seems to be an obviously good start. Vulture alert: Peyton Hillis.
- Tim Hightower vs. St. Louis-No, I do not have much respect for the Rams D. Yes, Hightower has had his two best career games vs. St. Louis. No, Beanie Wells did not practice most of this week. Yes, Beanie is a weenie. Expect big things from Hightower in Week 1, especially in PPR leagues.
- Matt Forte vs. Detroit-It’s not exactly the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, but Forte is looking to put 2009 behind him while the Lions look to slow down opposing rushing attacks. Something has to give and, as good as Ndamukong Suh may be, I expect Forte to come out the victor. If not, it may be a very long season for you Forte owners.
- Santana Moss vs. Dallas-Moss plays well against the Cowboys. It’s true. With Donovan McNabb at QB and the bright lights of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, I’m like that dating service from Singles, I “expect the best.”
- Terrell Owens vs. New England-Batman wants to make a big splash right off the bat and the Pats seem to be the team to do it against. Rookie starter at one corner, questions at safety and outside linebacker, and double teams for Ochocinco equal fantasy goodness for the artist formerly known as Team Obliterator.
- Jacoby Jones vs. Indianapolis-Jones very quietly tallied six TDs last season. This season he’s attempting to step it up to become a solid complement to Andre Johnson in Houston’s potentially high powered offense. Sunday vs. the Colts, Jones should see a lot of man coverage and should have plenty of chances to get into the end zone. Not a great PPR play, however.
- Zach Miller vs. Tennessee-The Titans ranked 24th vs. the tight end last season. And that was with Keith Bulluck for 14 games. Now, without Bulluck, Tennessee will attempt to stop the best receiving threat the Raiders have, Miller. Add in Jason Campbell’s affinity for his tight ends over the years and you have the recipe for a big day for Miller.
- 49ers D/ST vs. Seattle-I expect the Niners to have the best fantasy football D/ST unit of them all in 2010, so it’s not a stretch that I love them in Week 1 against the Seahawks. Seattle has a mishmash at running back, an aged QB, and a slew of questions at wide receiver while San Fran has the best defensive player in football(Patrick Willis), a defensive minded head coach, and a much improved return game with the offseason addition of Ted Ginn Jr. Start ‘em. Love ‘em. Thank me later.
- Donovan McNabb vs. Dallas-I know that I recommended Santana Moss, but one doesn’t necessarily have to do with the other. It only takes a couple of big plays for a receiver to have a good day while QBs must be solid all game to put up starting fantasy numbers. The Cowboys have three legitimate candidates for double figure sacks in 2010 and McNabb will likely be rusty after missing most of the last two weeks in a new offense. Steer clear.
- Kevin Kolb vs. Green Bay-This is not a referendum against Kolb. I still love him as a possible Top 10 QB this year. This week, on the other hand, is a different story. The Pack D is aggressive and comes at quarterbacks from everywhere. This is only Kolb’s 3rd career start. With Charles Woodson locking down DeSean Jackson, this could wind up being Kolb’s worst start of the season.
- Ray Rice vs. NYJ-A lot of things factor into this tough call. The Jets were 6th toughest against running backs last year, the Ravens have offensive line questions, and Willis McGahee is a world class TD vulture. Rice will be great again in 2010, but I’m starting Cadillac and Jonathan Stewart(TD upside) over Rice in one of my leagues.
- Shonn Greene vs. Baltimore-So I’m expecting a defensive battle on Monday Night. You aren’t? I don’t like Greene because of the Ravens tough run D and his, as yet undefined, role. I believe he was mostly overdrafted this season and I have questions about his toughness. Oh, and he can’t catch a cold. Need any more reasons?
- DeSean Jackson vs. Green Bay-Charles Woodson is the primary reason for this one. My money has Woodson as the best all-around CB in the NFL. The guy does it all. D-Jax does work down the field and I’m not sold that Kevin Kolb will have the time to find him on Sunday.
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs. NYJ-Housh hasn’t had much time to adjust to being in Baltimore and get reps with Joe Flacco. Don’t start the name. Dig deeper and find someone else temporarily. Houshmandzadeh should be excellent with the Ravens long-term. Avoid him Monday.
- Owen Daniels vs. Indianapolis-Daniels is recovering from big-time knee surgery and will have his reps limited against the Colts. I don’t know about you guys, but I want my starting tight end on the field as much as possible. Look elsewhere this weekend. A rookie TE perhaps?
- Eagles D/ST vs. Green Bay-The answer to the obvious question is “Yes.” I definitively think the Packers will defeat the Eagles in Week 1. Aaron Rodgers’ quick release and blitz recognition should make for a long day for the home team. Don’t expect the sacks and turnovers you’d normally get from Philly.