Fantasy Football Week 1: Sit 'Em

Michael WhooleySenior Writer ISeptember 12, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 22:  Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins watches the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Fed Ex Field on August 22, 2009 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Sitting your studs is typically the most difficult decision you will encounter in fantasy football each week. When your top overall pick is playing a tough defense like the Pittsburgh Steelers, it takes some serious guts to sit them for lesser talented players, but it can be that foresight that will lead to fantasy football championships.

No, we aren’t suggesting you bench your studs in Week 1, but we do recommend you check out the Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit Ems for players to think twice about before plugging them into your opening day lineup. 


Jake Delhomme (Carolina Panthers) vs. Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles were a very good defense in 2008, and even with the losses of Brian Dawkins and Lito Sheppard they figure to be once again in the top-10. It seems as if the Panthers best shot at winning will be to run the ball with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart with only small doses of Delhomme. Keep this in mind, and comfortably sit Delhomme in Week 1 because quite frankly he hasn’t produce at a high enough level to be fantasy relevant in some time.

Brett Favre (Minnesota Vikings) @ Cleveland

Sure, it seems like a great match-up for all the Brett Favre lovers out there. Typically you could assume Favre would have a field day against a sub-par defense like the Cleveland Browns, but with Cleveland struggling against the run it will be Adrian Peterson doing most of the damage. Being this is his first game as a Viking and we saw him in limited action this preseason we don’t really know how much Favre will be relied on, which makes us uneasy to give him the green light in Week 1. 

Matt Cassel/Tyler Thigpen/Brodie Croyle (Kansas City Chiefs) @ Baltimore

Even if Cassel was healthy (and with a better team), he would still not be a good start against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense. Hopefully you didn’t pick Cassel as your QB1, but if you did, this may be a good week to let him stay where he can’t get more seriously injured, the bench. The Ravens will be blitzing early and often and trying to prove a point this season that their defense can once again lead them to a Super Bowl. The Chiefs’ are likely to fall behind early on and be forced to pass the entire second half but that’s still not enough to warrant Cassel a fantasy starter in Week 1.


Steve Slaton (Houston Texans) vs. New York Jets

The last time Slaton faced a Rex Ryan-led defense, he mustered seven yards on four carries. That time Ryan was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens but this time around he will face Slaton in his debut game with the New York Jets.  While Slaton should see a few more touches this go around, there is no guarantee that he posts the impressive numbers most fantasy football owners are hoping for out of their first or second round pick.

It’s obviously tough to sit such a high-investment, so realize you should only sit him if you have some fantastic options ready for plucking on your bench. And by fantastic we mean running backs who have similar skills but a better match-up then Slaton.

Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins) @ New York Giants

Even with former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo out of the picture, the Giants are still a force with a fantastic defensive line. In 2008, Portis was held to 106 yards on 34 carries and no touchdowns in his two games against the New York Giants and nothing has changed to help his chances of producing in Week 1. Similar to Steve Slaton, only if you have a more viable option should you bench Portis, but don’t be surprised if he can only muster 5-7 fantasy points. Fantasy owners should be home for a short yardage touchdown to save what otherwise will be a pedestrian day from the veteran.

Tim Hightower/Chris “Beanie” Wells vs. San Francisco

While on the surface this looks like a good match-up against a favorable opponent, Tim Hightower was put in check by the Singletary-led 49ers (13 rushes, 22 yards) in their 2008 match-up. The 49ers have stressed the importance of defense, and this will certainly be a week where it will be necessary. The most important thing is while Hightower has been named the starter, there is a good possibility at a 60-40 split with Chris “Beanie” Wells. As with many platoons, use Week 1 to gauge how this duo should be used moving forward, and sit both these RBs on your bench.


Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs) @ Baltimore

In Week 1, Bowe is forced to be unsure about who his starting QB will be in what was already a difficult match-up against a fired up Baltimore Ravens defense.  Granted Bowe is the only offensive weapon in Kansas City, but doesn’t that mean the Ravens will do their best to shut him down and make the Chiefs other wide outs beat them?

Bowe could see some solid yardage and receptions, but don’t expect him to find pay dirt in Week 1. If you are in a start three WR league you are going to want to play Bowe, but in a league that starts just two WRs you might want to consider other options.

Chad Ochocinco (Cincinnati Bengals) vs. Denver

There is no doubt about it that this game projects to be a shootout. Both teams ranked towards the bottom in overall defense in 2008 and have done little to improve on that statistic from a year ago. After reading that last sentence you are probably asking yourself why is Chad Ochocinco on the Week 1 Sit Em list.

The answer…Champ Bailey.

The last time Ochocinco faced Bailey he went by Chad Johnson and he put up a measly 32 receiving yards on three receptions (in 2006). If you drafted him to be your WR2, you are obviously not going to sit him, but temper your high expectations of him for this week. 

Lee Evans (Buffalo Bills) @ New England

Even though we’ve listed Terrell Owens as a Week 1 Start Em for this week, we feel that Evans is in for a tough assignment. The Patriots defense is aging but still one of the best in the league, and Evans’ deep threat ability will probably be shut down. Much like Santana Moss, Evans can put up some games that have you wonder why you drafted him as a low WR2 (five games with four points or less in 2008). On top of his inconsistencies, Evans have never scored a touchdown in 10 career match-ups against the Patriots.


Visanthe Shiancoe (Minnesota Vikings) @ Cleveland

We believe Shiancoe can take the next step in his development as he gains rapport with quarterback Brett Favre, but Week 1 may not be the time for that. With All-Day Adrian Peterson running the ball against a weak Cleveland Browns defense, their need to throw to Shiancoe could be minimal.  With the Browns offense struggling to find an identity this game could be put away early, so the lack of opportunity makes Shiancoe a recommended sit even with a great match-up this week.


David Akers (Philadelphia Eagles) @ Carolina

People thought David Akers kicking career was just about finished before last season, and then he came back with a stellar 2008 where he put up the second most fantasy football points by a kicker. Whether or not, in Week 1 he faces a Carolina Panthers defense that looks to make a statement this week and there are definitely better options out there. Check out our Week 1 Kicker Rankings and find someone that has a more favorable match-up.


New York Jets D/ST @ Houston

While we don’t particularly like Steve Slaton’s match-up vs. the New York Jets, they could struggle stopping the high-powered Houston Texans passing attack. Quarterback Matt Schaub figures to throw early and often against one of the worst pass defenses from 2008, and even without wide receiver Kevin Walter (check on Sunday morning for updates), wide out Andre Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels should be able to more than bail Schaub out. The Jets won’t be stumping the “Schaub” this weekend.




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