Week 1 – Start’em – Sit’em
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to go with the players you drafted, as you selected them on draft day. However, there are always a few fringe players on most teams that depend on the right matchup to find your lineup weekly, and we always have to deal with injury concerns.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Ravens: It’s tempting to bench Ben Roethlisberger this weekend because he’s playing the Ravens, but remember this is still a shaky secondary outside of Ed Reed. Dawan Landry is gone to the Jaguars, and it looks like Bernard Pollard will take his place as a starter.
Pollard is great in run defense, but he struggles in pass protection, which is the reason why Houston let him go. Rookie Jimmy Smith is likely to be in the starting lineup, and if you watched the Ravens third preseason game against the Redskins, you know it’s going to take some time before Smith is ready to be a Pro Bowl caliber player, but his talent suggests he will be.
Furthermore, factor in that the Ravens failed to reach 30 sacks last year and did little in the off-season to help that area, and you have a tasty matchup for Roethlisberger.
With Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and Heath Miller as pass targets, Roethlisberger is likely to have a career year.
Reggie vs. Patriots (PPR especially): It’s time to believe in Reggie Bush as the Dolphins feature type back to start the year. While Bush won’t hold up for the entire season, he will be a respectable flex play weekly while on the field.
Rookie Daniel Thomas has struggled in camp and will be brought along slowly, and the Dolphins cut veteran Larry Johnson. Look for Bush to be used early and often in this offense. He’s also a must start in PPR leagues.
Beanie Wells vs. Panthers: Okay, maybe everyone in the world of fantasy football hates this guy, but I still feel it’s premature. Wells will be the feature back in this offense to start the season and with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, he should have a good year.
Look to Wells as a must start week one as the Cardinals host the Panthers week run defense. Carolina will have a hard time moving the football and Wells should touch the rock 25 times in this one.
Santana Moss vs Giants: I don’t care if Rex Grossman is going to be the quarterback, Santana Moss should have a good game in this one, as the Giants have a shaky secondary. Sure, the Giants front line will kill Grossman, but hey, I like John Beck as a better fit anyway, so let them knock Rex out of the game.
The Redskins will likely be playing from behind most weeks this year, so they will have to throw the football and Moss is a respectable WR-3 play weekly.
Aaron Hernandez @ Dolphins: If you’re in a league of 12 teams or more and you waited until the later part of your draft to take a tight end, give Aaron Hernandez a start this week. Chad Ochocinco is having a hard time picking up the offense and Tom Brady is likely to use both of his tight ends often this year.
Austin Collie @ Texans: This is a hard one because Collie was so dominant this time last year in Houston, but Peyton Manning won’t be at quarterback. Collie is still a good receiver to stash on your depth chart, but it will take a few weeks before Kerry Collins has a decent grasp of the offense.
Kenny Britt @ Jaguars: This one just tears me up, because Kenny Britt has all the talent to be a dominate player and the Jaguars still have one of the worst corner back situations in football. Still, it’s best to err on the side of caution with Britt as he has a new quarterback, and I would like to see his hamstring problems be a thing of the past.
Marques Colston @ Packers: Coming off of micro-fracture knee surgery this off-season, Marques Colston needs to prove he can get it done off the field before fantasy owners should trust him. Colston started out slowly last September and I expect the same thing this year.
Miles Austin @ Jets: While Darrelle Revis is battling a hip flexor injury, he should be a full go for the Jets opening game against the Cowboys. Miles Austin will line up up against Revis and he’s battling a hamstring injury in his own right. Keep an eye on both players as we get closer to the weekend, but if you have a respectable option on the bench, it’s worth sitting Austin.
Marshawn Lynch @ 49ers: Battling an ankle injury, Marshawn Lynch fantasy owners will have to wait on Lynch as a possible flex play option. I like what the Seahawks have done on the offensive line this off-season, but it will take some time for this offense to gel. While the 49ers will have a poor secondary once again, their front seven will be fine, even with the loss of nose tackle Abryuo Frankin to the Saints.
Shonn Greene vs. Cowboys: When it comes to this benching, you will have to take a look at the depth of your team to see if you have an option worth using. I’m not a big Shonn Greene fan and this guy need to run tougher before I’m solid that he’s ready for a breakout year.
With four running backs on the depth chart and LaDainain Tomlinson around to steal goal-line touches, Greene may disappoint fantasy owners yet again.
The Cowboys have their issues in pass protection, but they should be solid against the run. The only way I see Greene having a strong performance is if Dallas flops on opening day. That could happen, but don’t get your hopes up.