Start/Sit Week 1
Now that your fantasy football draft is over, it is time to start evaluating matchups to get the most fantasy points for your squad on a weekly basis. When evaluating matchups, I want to point out how I plan to help you out in this weekly blog.
Generally, you will play the guys you drafted in the first few rounds of the draft unless they have an extremely tough matchup and your team has a backup available on the bench who can play and be successful. With that in mind, I will never tell you to start LaDainian Tomlinson for example against the Oakland Raiders because it is a no brainer. With that being said, I will give you 10 guys to start on a weekly basis who you generally wouldn't have in your lineup all the time.
I will then give you 10 guys to sit based on bad matchups. These guys may be big names who you may not have noticed has a tough game coming up. If Tomlinson is playing the Steelers defense, his name could be included here. I won't give you some off the radar guys having tough matchups. For instance if Jake Delhomme is playing the Eagles defense and may not be successful, I likely won't name him here because you more than likely won't depend on him to start that given week anyway.
Now that you understand my angle for the blog, let's get down to the good/bad matchups of Week 1:
10 Guys to Start
1. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos
The rookie has a solid matchup for Week 1 as he plays the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Kyle Orton injury, the Broncos may need to rely on Moreno to create offense for the team to start the year. Moreno is healthy and will be ready to play.
2. All of your Bengals players
You will probably play Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, but you should also play Cedric Benson, Laveranues Coles, and Chris Henry. The Bengals will have a strong offensive game against a rebuilding Denver Broncos team.
3. Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints
You will want to start anyone you have from the New Orleans Saints, as they play the Detroit Lions. The reason you need to make sure you get Bush into your lineup is because he will run all over the field against the Lions. Pierre Thomas may not play, which means Bush will get added carries on top of the receptions he gets out of the backfield.
4. Marion Barber, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Most weeks Barber is the starter for your fantasy team, but if you are wavering over other options, then simply don't do it. Barber is going to have a field day against a rebuilt defense for Tampa Bay. Expect the Cowboys to rely on Barber to be their offense in Week 1.
5. Derrick Mason (WR), Ray Rice (RB), and Joe Flacco (QB), Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are built around their defense, but this trio should have a strong game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are young on defense and will not be able to stop Baltimore in Week 1.
6. Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle Seahawks
A good Week 1 matchup for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks, as they face the St. Louis Rams. Hasselbeck will want to establish the passing game early and often, which could lead to a solid game to start out the year for the QB.
7. San Diego Chargers Defense
I expect the Chargers defense to return to top form in 2009 and there isn't a better way to get started then against the Oakland Raiders. If you are looking for a defense to put up top points for the week, then start the Chargers.
8. Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals strength is their passing game and they will be playing the San Francisco 49ers, whose weakness is their pass defense. The game could get out of hand though, meaning the Cardinals will turn to their running game. Hightower will be the starter, and although Chris "Beanie" Wells will steal carries, this could be the one week Hightower is a good starting option.
9. Eli Manning (QB) and Domenik Hixon (WR), New York Giants
The NFC East battle between the Redskins and Giants will depend on the arm of Manning and who he throws to. The Redskins brought in Albert Haynesworth to limit the running attack of their foes but did not address their secondary. Manning should have a good day and his favorite target, Hixon, should do just as well.
10. Seattle Seahawks Defense
It wasn't long ago Seattle's defense was consistently ranked in the top 10. While they may be a fringe top 10 D all season long, they will be in the top 5 in points after Week 1 thanks to their matchup with the Rams. Expect big things from this defense in the first week.
10 Guys to Sit
1. All of your Steelers/Titans
The opening game of the 2009 NFL season is going to be a defensive game. Two top defenses (who are the only plays in fantasy but you will play them every week) will battle it out in a close scoring affair. If you can sit the likes of Chris Johnson, Willie Parker, and others, then do so. One or two guys may score a touchdown but it's hard to say who it will be.
2. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
I know you picked him early and will have to play him regardless of his matchup. But if you have another option with a great play, consider sitting him down to start the season. The Eagles have a strong defense that will rely on stopping the run and tell Jake Delhomme to try and beat them. Williams may surprise me, but I doubt he lights it up in Week 1.
3. Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
He is the sleeper pick by a lot of teams to carry their team from the quarterback position. Playing the Jets defense, you can almost guarantee pressure will be coming from all angles. Schaub will need a quick release in order to have any chance at good numbers. This is not a good play for the sleeper pick in Week 1.
4. Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings
I'm sure some of you see the matchup for Favre against the Browns and think he will light it up. But he will likely not have to throw very much with Adrian Peterson in the backfield running all over Cleveland Browns Stadium. With Peterson likely carrying the rock for most of the game, Favre won't be asked to do much, which means he doesn't do much for your fantasy team either.
5. Thomas Jones, RB, New York Jets
The strength of the Texans is their defensive line, which will make it tough for Jones to get going on the ground. Add to that the Texans likely stacking the box, forcing rookie QB Mark Sanchez to beat them and it adds up to a slow day for Jones.
6. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
For the Bears to win this game Matt Forte will have to be the star. While Cutler may put up decent stats, he still isn't in sync with his receivers and will passing against a Packers team whose strength is in their secondary. Cutler won't be the fantasy star you may expect in Week 1.
7. Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins
Portis will be up against the Giants, who have one of the best defensive lines and know of the shaky play behind center for Washington. New York will force Jason Campbell to beat them, meaning they will do everything in their power to shut down Portis.
8. Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
This one is a no brainer. Playing an extremely tough defense in the Ravens and the lack of stellar players on offense for the Chiefs and you can expect a long day for the former Nittany Lion.
9. Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
While the team has said Williams is healthy enough to play, I don't buy it. Shoulder injuries are tough to come back from, especially for a receiver. The Buccaneers secondary is the best part of their defense, meaning Williams could be in for a long day.
10. Brandon Marshall, WR, Denver Broncos
Denver does have a nice matchup against the Bengals, which makes it a shame Marshall isn't familiar with the offense. He will struggle getting continuity in the Denver offense and although he has been reinstated by the Broncos, he should remain on your bench for now.
Have lineup questions? Each week Greg Warnock will provide the answers to your fantasy needs. Email him at: Gregory.A.Warnock@email.disney.com