Fantasy Football: Week One's Starts & Sits

Football Maniaxs@@FantasymaniaxsSenior Writer ISeptember 1, 2008

Chad Samuels, fantasy columnist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs

Note to everyone:

"You may notice that sometimes we advice against starting a particular player and in the next message we advocate on starting him.

The reason is very simple:

It depends on who your other option is. While starting Derek Anderson is not a good option for someone that has Kurt Warner as QB2 in week 1, it is a good start if you otherwise have Philip Rivers as your QB2.
same criteria with RBs, WRs and TEs.

Oftentimes we're talking about players that will put up similar stats; what we're trying to accomplish is to take some gambles to optimize your lineup and max out your final score.

We are just a few days away from the start of the NFL season. Week One is a week where we highly recommend you play according to how you have drafted. Do not look to play matchups often this week or overanalyze things."

There is a reason you drafted your players when you did. But if you have some last-minute jitters and are not sure whom to start, check this week’s start/sit.

Start of the Week

There has been a lot of hype recently about Panthers’ rookie RB Jonathan Stewart. Some of you faithful Maniaxs may remember he was Nostradamus’ No. 1 college running back to come into the NFL last year.

He will have a great NFL career, but do not overlook DeAngelo Williams, our start of the week.
Coach John Fox normally does not play rookies. DeAngelo has looked explosive as well.

Norv Turner's teams traditionally come out of the gate slowly. In addition, Defensive Star Shawn Merriman will be playing with two torn ligaments in his knee (MCL and PCL) he will not be 100 percent.

I like DeAngelo to go off against a suspect Chargers’ defense. Start him.

Quarterbacks to Start

Through Brett Favre’s circus this preseason, you might have failed to notice that Aaron Rodgers has played well in his place (68.5 comp. % - 8.0 yd/att., and 3-1 TD- INT ratio).

Ryan Grant has a hamstring injury, and they are playing a very good Minnesota run defense. Expect Green Bay to pass the ball to win. Rodgers is up to the task.

Speaking about Brett Favre, he is on the bubble to start this week. He has proven he can make plays, and he will make some this week. Look for Miami to get a large dose of Thomas Jones, relegating Favre to a low No. 1 fantasy QB this week.

Feel good in starting Donovan McNabb. His shoulder is fine. It looks like he might have a playmaker outside of Brian Westbrook: rookie WR DeShaun Jackson.

Phillip Rivers has three solid targets in receivers Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, and TE Antonio Gates that will enable him to put up respectable numbers. I think Rivers will overcome Norv’s tendency to not have his teams ready for week one.

Running Backs to Start

If you have drafted a RB in the first three rounds, you are starting him. Outside that, keep an eye on Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. Rice can handle the load if McGahee does not play. Right now McGahee is questionable so give Rice a go.

Start LenDale White. Jacksonville is a physical team and a physical back like White should get the bulk of the work this week.

Do not be afraid to start Matt Forte. He should get the rock often and net you 100-plus yards and a TD.

Wide Receivers to Start

Start Eagles’ Rookie WR DeShaun Jackson, who will make most of his chances with Kevin Curtis out. Jackson had 16 receptions for 189 yards in preseason action. Expect him to be targeted often and he will make plays.

Dallas at Cleveland should provide a lot of scoring. Despite his foot, Braylon Edwards will be ready, so start him. Donte Stallworth has a lot of potential to score a TD as well.

Falcons’ WR Roddy White should be looked for often by Matt Ryan when he has to pass.

Tight Ends to Start

The Jeremy Shockey era starts in New Orleans; start him. Watch the Jets’ depth chart, as Favre likes throwing to his TEs.

Chris Baker has the lead, but Dustin Keller is making a move up the chart. Whoever is named the starter should do well this week.

Raiders’ Zack Miller should play well, too.

Defenses to Start

Even with the loss of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, the Giants' defense should be fine with Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka playing end. Also, the Redskins have not looked too good offensively. Washington is very likely to have multiple turnovers.

The loss of Jeff Saturday and Peyton’s rust is enough for you to start the Bears' defense, even though Indianapolis is a high-octane offense.

Finally, go ahead and start Jacksonville defense versus Tennessee. Vince Young will make some mistakes.


Sit of the Week

It is a given that you will start Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Derek Anderson, and Ben Roethlisberger.

However, you will want to think twice about starting Peyton Manning.

He has been getting some reps in practice but has missed a lot of time, and even the consummate professional is bound to have some rust. Add in that it will be the first time in his career he will have a different center, and there are some concerns for Peyton’s effectiveness in Week One.

Peyton will be okay this season, but I expect lower numbers from him this opening week. If you have a viable backup, say a Kurt Warner, David Garrard, or a Matt Schaub, you will want to consider benching Manning for one of them this week.

Again, do not bench him blindly, but only if you have another viable QB mentioned above, as Manning was drafted with a high pick and would be shameful not to use him.

Quarterbacks to Sit

Vince Young is making a bunch of passing mistakes, and Jacksonville can capitalize on it. Even if Tarvaris Jackson does play, he is gimpy and will be less effective because of it.

Matt Leinart will not start Week One. Even though Jay Cutler has looked good now that he is being treated for diabetes, the absence of Brandon Marshall vs. the Raiders' secondary is enough for you to look elsewhere.

Running Backs to Sit

Titans rookie RB Chris Johnson has been electric this offseason but do not count on him this week.

In Arizona, Edgerrin James is old and it looks like Tim Hightower will get the goal-line carries. Try starting another upside back this week and see what his role will be meanwhile.

Rashard Mendenhall has had fumbling problems, so his touches should be limited. Bengals’ Rudi Johnson was just cut, but do not expect new starter Chris Perry to have a big week versus Baltimore’s good run defense.

Finally, consider other options if you can for Rams’ RB Steven Jackson. A 20-plus-day holdout is a recipe for a slow start.

Wide Receivers to Sit

Eddie Royal will be taking Brandon Marshall’s spot in the Broncos’ lineup this week, and I am not sure he is up to the task of facing Nnamdi Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall without anyone to take the double teams off him.

Brandon Marshall’s owners will start him, (Royal) but temper your expectations.

The obvious is avoiding all Titans WRs until Vince Young gets himself straightened out, and if you are counting on a Bear's WR, you are in trouble.

Avoid Laveranues Coles for now, as there is a little tension between him and ex-cheese man Brett Favre, who will look to Jericho Cotchery first.

Tight Ends to Sit

As of this writing, Tony Scheffler is No. 2 in Denver’s depth chart, so monitor what happens to him, as he might not be as productive as you think.

Keep Seahawks’ rookie John Carlson on your bench, and Texans’ Owen Daniels should be in for a hard day as well; he will face the strength of the Steelers defense.

Vice versa, Steelers’ Heath Miller will have a tough time matching up against the Texans LB corps. Keep them on your bench, if you can.

Defenses to sit

Cleveland revamped its defense this offseason, but their additions will not stop Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. Keep this defense on your bench.

Kansas City is not ready to handle New England (shame on you, schedule makers, assuring New England will not have a Super Bowl hangover).

Finally, Tampa Bay may be a good unit, but Drew Brees will not be as cold as the start of last year. Sit Tampa this week.


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