Engel's Mailbag: Lineup decisions

Joseph, (Los Angeles): Do I start Vincent Jackson against the Bears or do I sit him in favor of Mark Clayton, who faces the Ravens? Do I start Adrian Peterson, or go with Chester Taylor (whom I drafted just in case Peterson is a bust?) I also have both the Steelers and Vikings defensive/special teams units. Who do I go with?

Engel: I do like Jackson to have a breakout season in 2007, but I don't believe it will begin against the Bears in the season opener. I can't see him having a very good day against either Nathan Vasher or Charles Tillman. Clayton also has a tough matchup against Cincinnati cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who is on the rise, but sometimes lets receivers get behind him for big plays. I'll take Clayton over Jackson. Atlanta will be without standout defensive tackle Rod Coleman, weakening their run defense. Peterson is more explosive and I expect him to have a good opener as Minnesota plays very well defensively and gives their running backs a chance to take advantage of good field position.

Taylor is not a "handcuff" to Peterson, as they share time, and if Taylor is needed to play more often, he will suffer as he gets more defensive attention. Taylor can only benefit from sharing time with Peterson, as they will keep each other fresh and will keep defenses off balance when the matchup is favorable. Peterson has more upside and I'd give him the edge. Both the Steelers and Vikings have fine matchups, but I like Pittsburgh better to apply pass pressure and force turnovers against Charlie Frye.