Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Fantasy Football Players You Should Play or Avoid

Allen KimSenior Analyst ISeptember 8, 2011

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Fantasy Football Players You Should Play or Avoid

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    Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us and fantasy football managers everywhere are scrambling to set their lineups for the first week of action.

    Starting the right or wrong player could easily make or break your week, so make sure you make the right choice.

    Players that should clearly be started (e.g. Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, etc.) won't find their names on this list. Instead, some less-heralded names and not so obvious options will be listed.

Start 'Em: Quarterbacks

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    Kyle Orton

    Tim Tebow isn’t threatening Kyle Orton’s job security and Nnamdi Asomugha is no longer in Oakland.

    Even with John Fox’s run-first approach, Orton will have plenty of opportunities to shred Oakland’s secondary apart.


    Kevin Kolb

    While the Carolina Panthers have made some improvements to their defense, expect Kevin Kolb to come out firing on all cylinders.

    Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald showed a strong rapport in preseason and that should translate over to the regular season.

Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks

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    Sam Bradford

    Sam Bradford certainly has breakout potential this season under new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, but don’t expect to see it in Week 1.

    Playing the Philadelphia Eagles' vaulted secondary, Bradford will have limited opportunities in the passing game.


    Joe Flacco

    Joe Flacco is the first quarterback to become a victim of the Steelers' hard-hitting defense. He’ll be seeing yellow and black jerseys in his face all game long.

    While he’s had some strong performances against the Steelers in the past, you shouldn’t count on it.


    Jay Cutler

    It doesn’t take much to sit turnover-machine Jay Cutler. However, facing an improved Falcons pass rush does not bode well for the skittish signal-caller.

Start 'Em: Running Back

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    Knowshon Moreno

    Now that John Fox has taken over the reins, expect the Denver Broncos to put more of an emphasis on the run.

    While Willis McGahee will vulture a number of touchdowns from Moreno, he should still be useful, especially against the Raiders' poor run defense.


    Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert

    Whether you have one or both, the Chargers running game should rack up plenty of points facing a Minnesota Vikings defensive line missing some key pieces.

    The Vikings defense as a whole is not as strong as it has been in recent years, so expect the Chargers to score early and often and give them a large dose of Matthews and Tolbert later on as they eat up the clock.

Sit 'Em: Running Back

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    LeGarrette Blount

    In years past, whenever the Detroit Lions were listed as the opposing defense, players immediately got the must-start label.

    However, the Detroit Lions have taken some steps toward respectability and their vaunted defense is much improved.

    With Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams anchoring the interior, Blount won’t have much running room.

    Plus, with the recent news that Tampa Bay will be taking more of a running-back-by-committee approach, Blount’s ceiling is limited.


    Ryan Grant and James Starks

    Time shares are never fun, and the one in Green Bay looks bleak. Facing a strong Saints run defense, expect the Packers to air it out.

Start 'Em: Wide Receiver

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    Nate Burleson

    Nate Burleson was a favorite preseason target of Matthew Stafford and that trend could follow into the regular season.

    With Calvin Johnson getting most of the attention from opposing defenses, it should free up some space for Burleson to take advantage.

Sit 'Em: Wide Receiver

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    Dwayne Bowe

    Even if Matt Cassel plays, Bowe’s outlook doesn’t look great.

    Expect the Chiefs to pound the rock against the Buffalo Bills' porous run defense.


    Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon

    With Peyton Manning out and Kerry Collins at the helm, both Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon get an immediate stock down.

    Don’t expect much out of these two.


    Miles Austin and/or Dez Bryant

    If Miles Austin plays, he’ll be coming off of an injury, so who knows how effective he can be? To make matters worse, he’ll find himself on Revis Island.

    If Austin doesn’t play, then Dez Bryant will be the unfortunate one to get stranded on Revis Island.


    Anquan Boldin

    Anquan Boldin was a disappointment last season and you shouldn’t expect a whole lot to change this year. While he’ll have some great games here and there, don’t expect any consistency.

    To start the year off, Boldin should find himself blanketed by the Steelers secondary.

Start 'Em: Tight End

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    Lance Kendricks

    Facing the Philadelphia Eagles, the St. Louis Rams will be forced to practically abandon their outside passing attack.

    Sam Bradford will instead be forced to throw short passes on the inside where the Eagles' poor linebackers should have trouble keeping up with Lance Kendricks.


    Brandon Pettigrew

    Being a part of the Lions sure-to-be-prolific offense automatically opens up the possibility for fantasy gold.

    Brandon Pettigrew should get plenty of opportunities against the Tampa Bay defense as Matthew Stafford should air it out quite often.


    Greg Olsen

    Greg Olsen has several advantages heading into the Panthers opener against the Cardinals: He’s going to be Cam Newton’s safety blanket, Adrian Wilson will either sit out or play at less than full strength and the team in general has had trouble containing tight ends.

Sit 'Em: Tight End

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    Tony Gonzalez

    Tony Gonzalez’s best days are clearly behind him. While he won’t be an afterthought in the Falcons offense, he’ll likely be regulated to the third option in the passing attack.

    Facing the Chicago Bears and their tough defense, don’t expect much out of Gonzalez.

Start 'Em: Defense

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    Houston Texans

    Peyton Manning just underwent surgery and should miss a significant amount of time.

    With Kerry Collins under center, it’s hard to predict what will come out of the Colts offense.


    Tennessee Titans

    Facing a Jacksonville Jaguars team that just cut David Garrard in favor of Luke McKown, the Titans should be able to feast on the Jaguars offense.

    Also, with Maurice Jones-Drew probably not up to full strength, the Jaguars' once-reliable run game comes into question.

Sit 'Em: Defense

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    Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints

    Kicking off the NFL season tonight, both teams have two of the top offenses in the league. Expect nothing short of a high-scoring affair between these two squads.

    If you have better options, use them.


    Arizona Cardinals

    Facing the Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals should be able to capitalize on the rookie mistakes Cam Newton is likely to commit in his first start.