Fantasy Football Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 1

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2010

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals is pictured during the NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week?  Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:

Start - Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England
Sit - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh

While there may be concerns about Palmer’s ability to throw the deep ball, the Patriots secondary has significant questions hovering over it.  Leigh Bodden, who signed a big free agent contract in the offseason, is out for the year.  His replacement, Darius Butler, did not look good against a Rams’ offense that certainly isn’t known for its explosiveness. 

It certainly opens the door for Palmer to have a big first week, with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens feasting on the weakness.  Even if Ryan had a positive matchup it would be tough to overtake Palmer, but he certainly is not going to find it easy to pick apart the Steelers defense.

Start - Arian Foster, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis
Sit - Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis

It certainly isn’t that Wells doesn’t have a favorable matchup, but Tim Hightower is set to open the season as the starter.  While Wells could ultimately get more touches, there certainly is reason to be concerned. 

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Meanwhile, the Texans easily could go to a more ground oriented attack against the Colts, in an effort to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands.  With the success that Foster had in the preseason, the strategy would be justified.

Start - Carnell Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cleveland
Sit - Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys at Washington

Jones is going to likely share carries with Marion Barber and Tashard Choice, which certainly will hurt his value.  The Redskins defense may not be elite, but a three-headed monster tends to hurt value across the board. 

As for Williams, he gets a chance to entrench himself as a fantasy starter in Week 1.  He draws the Browns, who were the fifth worst in defending the run in 2009 after allowing 144.6 rushing yards per game.  Toss in concerns over Josh Freeman’s thumb, and Williams not only has a positive matchup, but could easily be the workhorse.

Start - Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers at Kansas City
Sit - Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Denver

I haven’t made my concerns regarding Sims-Walker a secret, and this week the Jaguars top receiver is likely to be blanketed by Champ Bailey.  That certainly is not an ideal spot to be in considering the weak Jaguars passing attack, wouldn’t you say? 

Floyd, meanwhile, gets his first taste as a No. 1 WR in an enviable matchup.  Rivers torched the Chiefs for nearly 600 yards and five TD in two games last season and certainly could duplicate that success at the start of 2010.

Start - Bernard Berrian, Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans
Sit - Santana Moss, Washington Redskins vs. Dallas

Berrian steps into the No. 2 receiver spot in the absence of Sidney Rice and that easily could be a beneficial spot to be in Week 1.  The Vikings and Saints could be in store for a high scoring slug fest, with Berrian right in the thick of things. 

Moss, meanwhile, faces a Cowboys defense that was in the top 10 in sacks in 2009 and has a quarterback with an injured ankle.  While Moss may be his team’s top receiver, there are a few factors stacked against him this week.

Make sure to check out our Week 1 Rankings:

While kickers are often overlooked, they still play an important role on a week-to-week basis.  Let’s take a look at how I would rank the Top 15 for the upcoming week:

  1. Garrett Hartley - New Orleans Saints - vs. Minnesota
  2. Stephen Gostkowski - New England Patriots - vs. Cincinnati
  3. Nate Kaeding - San Diego Chargers - at Kansas City
  4. David Akers - Philadelphia Eagles - vs. Green Bay
  5. Mason Crosby - Green Bay Packers - at Philadelphia
  6. Ryan Longwell - Minnesota Vikings - at New Orleans
  7. Robbie Gould - Chicago Bears - vs. Detroit
  8. Rob Bironas - Tennessee Titans - vs. Oakland
  9. Jeff Reed - Pittsburgh Steelers - vs. Atlanta
  10. Matt Prater - Denver Broncos - at Jacksonville
  11. Lawrence Tynes - New York Giants - vs. Carolina
  12. Neil Rackers - Houston Texans - vs. Indianapolis
  13. Adam Vinatieri - Indianapolis Colts - at Houston
  14. Dan Carpenter - Miami Dolphins - at Buffalo
  15. Josh Brown - St. Louis Rams - vs. Arizona


  • Would it surprise anyone if the Saints and Vikings, as well as the Eagles and Packers, got into a shootout? That type of game would certainly benefit all four kickers, allowing them to rack up the points for their owners.
  • Will the Steelers be able to find the end zone or, with their top two quarterbacks on the sidelines, will their drives stall leaving them to attempt numerous field goals? My guess is they get a few extra field goals, meaning Jeff Reed’s value is increases.
  • Over the last two year’s Robbie Gould is 14-15 kicking on turf. Couple that with the chance for the Bears to score quite a few points under Mike Martz and you have to like him as an option this week.
  • Last season the Raiders tied for fourth in field goals allowed (30).  Considering their defense is not too bad, you certainly can imagine seeing them bend, but not break, leaving Bironas to connect on a few kicks.  That certainly makes him a good option for the week.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 1 Rankings: