Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 1: Little Guys to Play and Big Names to Avoid
There are also a good number of players you know you should sit each week, such as a fringe running back going up against a tough rush D like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And then there are those players with whom you have no idea whether you should start 'em or sit 'em.
Here are a few not so obvious guys at each major fantasy position that you might not know what to do with, but the stats and information we’ve found say otherwise.
Start 'Em: QB Mark Sanchez (New York Jets vs. Dallas Cowboys)
The Cowboys will be without CB Terence Newman this weekend, so the Jets' deep receiving corps of Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason should have their way out there. With Dallas boasting a high-powered offense of their own, the Jets will probably have to let Sanchez score them some points in this one.
Sit 'Em: QB Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
Sam Bradford is one of the finest up-and-coming QBs to come along in the last decade—that I can tell already. However, he's not quite good enough yet (nor are his receivers) to do much against Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He'll be start-able this season, just not in Week 1.
Start 'Em: QB Kevin Kolb (Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers)
So Kolb finally found the sweetheart deal he’s been looking for…and what a great way to start off the marriage—with a home game against the Panthers!
Carolina D: Excuse me, Mr. Kolb, but would you like a couple of tasty TDs to go with those 300 yards you ordered?
Kolb: Sure, why not. I have about $63 million coming to me, so I might as well splurge!
Sit 'Em: QB Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills)
It's not his banged up ribs I'm worried about...it's the Bills' defense. Not that their pass defense is outstanding or anything, it's that their rush D is SO bad; the Chiefs might not need to throw the ball more than 10-15 times in this game.
Last season, Cassel threw the ball just 26 times against them for 152 yards and one TD in a Chiefs win. I expect pretty much the same numbers this time around as well.
Start 'Em: RB DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals)
Welcome back, DeAngelo Williams! We all know the gift your football family got you—a shiny, new $43 million contract! However, the league wanted to get you something nice as well, so they decided to provide you with the Arizona Cardinals defense in your first game back. Hope you like it. We know your fantasy owners will!
Oh, and the last time he played them in 2009, he went off for a season-high 158 yards.
Sit 'Em: RB Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears)
In 2008, Turner rushed the ball 25 times against the Bears but ended up with just 54 yards and no TDs. In 2009, he could only muster up 30 yards on 13 carries against Chicago with a redeeming, late fourth-quarter TD.
Michael didn't get a chance to play them last season, but I'm guessing since not much has changed defensively for the Bears since those two games, not much will change in Turner's production this weekend, either.
If you have another option, you might want to consider it here.
Start 'Em: RB Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders)
Yes, Moreno does have Willis McGahee to worry about stealing his goal-line carries, but that doesn’t mean he won’t score on a relatively frequent basis. If Knowshon has shown us anything thus far, it’s that he indeed has a nose for the end zone, scoring 17 total TDs in just 22 career starts.
Oakland gives up a lot of points, especially on the road (23.6 pts/gm in 2010), so in John Fox’s new running scheme, I can definitely see Moreno putting up some good numbers this Monday night.
Sit 'Em: RB Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
In four career regular season starts against the Steelers, Rice's averages look like this: 70.25 rushing yards per game, 2.25 receptions, 27 receiving yards and ZERO TOTAL TDs. Sure, the 70-plus rushing yards looks OK, but the number is actually a bit skewed by his one good game against them—a 141-yard performance back in 2009. Otherwise, his average goes down to 46.7 rushing yards/game.
It's tough to sit a guy you likely drafted in the first round, but if you're not afraid to be laughed at for taking a chance, go in a different direction this weekend.
Start 'Em: RB Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants @ Washington Redskins)
In two games against the Redskins last season, Jacobs had a combined 21 rushes for 152 yards and three TDs. Will Ahmad Bradshaw get more carries than Jacobs? Maybe, but Brandon looked like a man possessed in the preseason, and it's a good bet the dominance continues into Week 1 of the new year.
Sit 'Em: RB Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers)
First of all, it's really tough to run against the 49ers' defense. Second, Lynch has been banged up for awhile during the preseason and probably isn't ready to get mauled. Third and most importantly, the guy is just plain awful.
Look elsewhere if for some strange reason you drafted Mr. Fugly.
Start 'Em: WR Santonio Holmes (New York Jets vs. Dallas Cowboys)
Cowboys starting CB Terence Newman has been ruled out for this game, and I expect the veteran Holmes to take full advantage of the situation. With the game likely to be a close one and the Jets sporting a couple new receivers next to Santonio, look for Sanchez to turn to the most familiar face out there and watch Holmes explode in Week 1.
Sit 'Em: WR Miles Austin (Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets)
There's no need to get all long-winded on this one, so I won't. Austin has been nursing a hamstring injury for about three weeks now and gets to visit Revis Island in his first game back.
Start 'Em: WR Wes Welker (New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins)
Thus far in his seven-year career, except for against Tampa Bay, The Slot Machine has averaged more yards and catches versus Miami than against any other team he's played against at least twice. In seven games, Welker has averaged a whopping 7.9 receptions and 97.6 yards per game with two TDs.
Plain and simple, Welker LOVES playing the Dolphins. Get him in your lineup.
Sit 'Em: WR Santana Moss (Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants)
The Giants have shut Moss down pretty well over the last three years.
In six games against them, Moss has put up just 25 receptions (4.25 rec/gm) for 251 yards (41.8 yds/gm) with only one TD.
I expect more of the same this weekend with Sexy Rexy running the show.
Start 'Em: WR Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears)
Julio looks like he's gonna do something special in this league—and it could start rather quickly in his first professional game.
The Bears will probably put their best cornerback (Charles Tillman) on Roddy White for the duration of the game, which means Julio will be looking across the line at CB Tim Jennings. Now Jennings is no slouch at CB, but the fact is...he's only 5'8", 185 pounds. Jones is 6'3", 220 pounds and plays even bigger than that.
I'd bet on the rookie in this one.
Sit 'Em: WR Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans)
Reggie Wayne may be able to scrape out a good game due to his talent.
Austin Collie and Dallas Clark may be able to put up a few stats grabbing dump-offs and check-downs from the Colts' new starting quarterback Kerry Collins.
Basically, Pierre Garcon is the odd man out in this one.
Start 'Em: TE Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals)
Olsen looked great for his new team in the preseason and gets a nice matchup to start the year against a Cardinals defense that allowed eight TDs to tight ends last season.
Rookie QBs tend to not take chances, checking down to their TEs more often than not—and Cam Newton will not be an exception.
Expect at least eight to 10 targets for Olsen this Sunday, with at least five of them caught for a good chunk of yardage.
Sit 'Em: TE Zach Miller (Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers)
The 49ers gave up the least amount of fantasy points to tight ends in the NFL last season. With Miller playing for a new team this year and Tarvaris Jackson being that team's QB, I just don't see it working out for Zach here...at least not in Week 1.
Start 'Em: TE Lance Kendricks (St. Louis Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
If there's one thing the Eagles might have a tough time with this season, it'll be covering tight ends. Last year, they were last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to TEs, and it won't get a hell of a lot better in 2011.
Kendricks was an absolute beast in the preseason and from what it looks like, Sam Bradford has fallen in love.
Pretty soon, you will, too.
Sit 'Em: TE Brent Celek (Philadelphia Eagles @ St. Louis Rams)
The Eagles' offensive line isn't quite up to speed yet, so you can bet the farm the coaching staff will have Celek stay in and block as much as possible.
The Rams also allowed the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2010.
Don't waste your time hoping for a break-out here in Week 1.