Week One is finally here. You have done all the research (you know, the usual: waiver wire picks…injury updates…comparing QBs to Michael Jackson songs…), you have gone through your draft, and most importantly, you have started talking smack to everyone in your league.
You only have one job left to do: start the right guys.
Nothing could be worse than having an awesome team…on your bench.
Each and every one of us has a fantasy sob story or two, and it’s almost a guarantee that one of them revolves around sitting the wrong guy.
So who are you going to start this week?
It’s free to enter, you get to compete against MSF writers and readers, and $250 in prizes will be awarded. What could be better than that?
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Em, Sit Em Lineup Advice
Obviously, if you have Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady, or Larry Fitzgerald, he will be in your starting lineup. But who is going to have a better week THIS week? Pierre Garcon or Malcom Floyd? Mike Tolbert or Shonn Greene?
Overall season predictions won’t help you win this week; so as we do every week here at Midwest Sports Fans, here are the guys to start and sit in Week 1.
One theme you will see this week is that I am really downplaying two groups of players: players on new teams and rookies.
While Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Mark Ingram may very well become great players, I just don’t see them doing much early on this season. Rookies already have a hard enough time adjusting to the NFL. Now you add a four month lockout, and it’s almost an insurmountable deficit they have to make up.
(The “Projected Worst Performer” – a new wrinkle in our Start/Sit coverage this year, is obviously chosen from among guys who will be in their team’s starting lineup this week. Of course a guy like Brady Quinn will be a poor performer…but hopefully, nobody will be starting him this week.)
As always, follow me on twitter @The_Dr_Twitch and @FantasyMSF for updates on this week’s fantasy goings on and to get any last minute lineup questions answered. Or feel free to comment at the bottom and I will try to answer as many of your thoughts as possible.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Em, Sit Em – Quarterbacks
Projected Top Performer: Philip Rivers
My overall #1 QB should have a fantastic week at home against a soft Minnesota secondary. He may get sacked a few times, but he will also hit on at least two or three home run balls.
Philip Rivers Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 340 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Projected Worst Performer: Chad Henne
I actually don’t think he’s as bad as everybody thinks, but the Patriots should win this game walking away and their new and improved defense will absolutely love pinning their ears back and getting to the QB throughout the entire second half.
Chad Henne Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 150 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs
Now for the tough calls:
Don’t be too scared by the “vaunted” Baltimore defense. A quick look at their lineup reveals a lot of flashy names and not nearly as much production. While Ed Reed will still be running around and may even come up with an interception, Big Ben and his new and improved passing attack should be flying on all cylinders. Look for Baltimore to do a reasonably good job stuffing the run and Pittsburgh to adjust accordingly by throwing the ball all over the field.
Ben Roethlisberger Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 285 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Other Start Em QBs for Week 1:
- Tom Brady (#2 by a hair)
- Colt McCoy (home against Cincinnati)
- Matthew Stafford (will explode at Tampa)
- Matt Schaub (no run against Indy? No problem)
- Jay Cutler (shootout with Atlanta)
- Matt Ryan (see Cutler, Jay).
Week One Sit Em QB: Tony Romo
It pains me – as a guy that drafted Tony Romo and NO OTHER QBs in his own league – to say this, but Romo will not have a good Week 1. I’m actually very high on Romo this year, and have him as the sixth ranked overall QB, but I don’t think he will be able to overcome everything in New York Sunday night.
Not only is the Jets’ pass defense one of the best in the league, but you also have the whole “9-11” thing. A few years ago, the Saints played the Falcons at home, shortly after Hurricane Katrina. It wouldn’t have mattered if the All-Madden Team walked out onto that field that day…the Saints weren’t losing. I have the feeling it will be more of the same in Week 1.
Look for Romo to have a decent amount of yards, but break down late near the red zone.
Tony Romo Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 245 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Other Sit em QBs for Week 1:
- Peyton Manning (obvious reasons)
- Michael Vick (on the road…in a dome…against an underrated defense…without a few weapons)
- Josh Freeman (Detroit’s line will be too much)
- Mark Sanchez (he’s just not good)
- Joe Flacco (Pittsburgh has his number).
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Em, Sit Em – Running Backs
Projected Top Performer: Jamaal Charles
To be honest, Charles would be my #1 running back if I wasn’t so scared about him getting hurt or worn down halfway through the season. Good thing for Charles owners he opens up the season at home against the Buffalo Bills.
He is probably the best home-run threat in football outside of Chris Johnson, and if your league rewards big plays, Charles could REALLY stand out in Week 1. I could easily see Charles rushing for over 200 yards, a-la Arian Foster last year against the Colts.
Jamaal Charles Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 22 carries for 190 yards and 2 TDs; 4 Receptions for 39 yards and 1 TD
Projected Worst Performer: Fred Jackson
There’s just not a lot going Jackson’s way this weekend. First, he’s not that good. Secondly, he has no quarterback so an already good run defense in Kansas City will be able to load the box against him. Third, CJ Spiller will probably be a better matchup against the Chiefs’ defense so FJax will get less touches. Fourth, I expect KC to win handily. And fifth, he’s not that good.
Fred Jackson Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 9 carries for 23 yards; 2 catches for 12 yards
Week One Start Em RB: Tim Hightower
He recently won the starting running back job in Washington and will be rushing in Mike Shanahan’s famous “zone blocking” scheme. You might be scared to start him week one because of Ryan Torain and Roy Helu; and I agree that eventually, as Torain and Helu will end up stealing carries from Hightower, but not until later on in the year. Helu is still a rookie that missed an entire summer’s worth of practice. Shanahan will need to rely on a running back that can pick up the Giants’ pass rush and Hightower will do the job. Also, the Giants’ rush defense is surprisingly mediocre, and Washington will rely heavily on the running game as long as John Beck and Rex Grossman are their quarterbacks. Don’t be scared to start Hightower early on in the season as the talented Helu struggles to learn the offense.
Tim Hightower Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 18 carries for 92 yards and 1 TD; 5 catches for 34 yards and 1 TD
Other Start Em RBs for Week 1:
- Peyton Hillis (home against Cincinnati)
- DeAngelo Williams (look for him to get a lot more touches now that he is healthy and Fox has moved on)
- LeSean McCoy (only player for Philly that will have a good game in a shocking loss at St. Louis)
- Chris Johnson (I think he sends a message to all the “fake” Tennessee fans).
Week One Sit Em RB: Ray Rice
Rice is my #4 ranked RB, and he will have a fantastic year, but facts are facts: nobody runs against the Steelers. Rice will probably be a decent threat out of the backfield, and may end up getting close to 80 yards on the ground and in the air, but that’s not exactly what you are hoping for out of your #1 running back.
You may not have much depth at the RB position, and you may feel compelled to start your first round draft pick…but don’t be scared. Nobody runs against the Steelers, not even Rice. Sit him with confidence, and try to hit a home run with a wild card.
Ray Rice Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 12 carries for 42 yards; 4 catches for 18 yards
Other Sit Em RBs for Week 1:
- Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh will begin throwing early and often against the Ravens)
- Knowshon Moreno (as soon as McGahee gets hurt, Moreno will break out…but the platoon system will hurt his value early on)
- Arian Foster (obvious reasons)
- Colts running backs (Houston will load up against the run with no Peyton Manning)
- LeGarrette Blount (Two words: Ndomakong Suh).
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Em, Sit Em – Wide Receivers
Projected Best Performer: Larry Fitzgerald
Kevin Kolb isn’t great…but he is better than me…and that’s really all Fitzgerald needs this season…especially against the Panthers in Week One.
Larry Fitzgerald Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 11 catches for 176 yards and 2 TDs
Projected Worst Performer: Dwayne Bowe
Not that it will hurt the Chiefs in any way…but I really don’t expect KC to be throwing the ball around too much against the Bills. Look for them to march out to a comfortable lead, and Bowe to take a backseat in the offense, at least for one day.
Dwayne Bowe Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 4 catches for 35 yards
Week One Start ‘Em WR: Reggie Wayne
The Colts will definitely struggle in Week 1, especially without Peyton Manning. Houston will almost definitely stack the box to stuff the run, and if they get an early lead, the Colts will be forced to throw the ball a lot. Whether it’s Painter or Collins, one thing is for sure: Wayne will have a good day.
He has been outspoken in his defense of Painter, and Painter has clearly trusted him in the pre-season. Clark, Collie, Garcon, and Gonzalez may have bad days, but you can start Reggie with confidence this week.
Reggie Wayne Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 14 catches for 145 yards
Other Start Em WRs for Week 1:
- Calvin Johnson (statement win for Detroit)
- Mario Manningham (he and Nicks will take turns having mammoth games…it’s Super Mario Week in Week 1)
- Brandon Marshall (Dolphins will be playing from behind so he’ll rack up yards)
- Percy Harvin (probably 8 catches…and he gets to return the ball against San Diego)
- Roddy White (obvious reasons)
- Johnny Knox (shootout in Chicago).
Week One Sit ‘Em WR: Dez Bryant
It was either him or Miles Austin, and I think Revis Island will settle on Bryant for most of the night. Romo still trusts Miles Austin a little more, and will look to him and Jason Witten on hot routes while trying to escape pressure all night.
It’s definitely possible that Bryant will be able to make something happen in the return game on Sunday night, but if not, look for Bryant to have a frustratingly poor opening night.
Dez Bryant Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 2 catches for 14 yards; 1 rush for -2 yards
Other Sit Em WRs for Week 1:
- Greg Jennings (just a weird game for the Packers…I think their rushing attack and role players get more touches against Sean Payton and Gregg Williams’ D)
- Anquan Boldin (because Joe Flacco’s awful)
- AJ Green (not yet…just wait for him)
- Santonio Holmes (because Mark Sanchez is awful)
- Mike Thomas (new QB in Jax).
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Em, Sit Em – Tight Ends
Projected Best Performer: Jason Witten
Romo and his best friend will connect on a lot of underneath passes all game long. If Witten can even get into the end zone once, he should have a huge day.
Jason Witten Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 12 catches for 125 yards and 1 TD
Week One Start Em TE: Aaron Hernandez
I have been very outspoken about Hernandez, so I will just keep it simple with facts: nobody in the entire league has caught more balls than him this pre-season; he’s the more talented of the two tight ends in New England and wants to prove it this season; and Tom Brady will be throwing the ball all over the place against Miami.
Aaron Hernandez Fantasy Football Week 1 Projection: 8 catches for 110 yards and 2 TDs
Other Start Em TEs for Week 1:
- Vernon Davis (against Seattle)
- Owen Daniels (against the Colts)
- Jimmy Graham (GB shuts down the Saints’ WRs and Graham gets a lot of touches)
- Greg Olsen (Cam Newton’s new best friend)
- Brandon Pettigrew (everyone in Detroit will have a good fantasy week).
Week One Sit Em TE: Jermichael Finley
Finley has been getting lots of love this season because in the past he’s been a TD machine. However, Aaron Rodgers adapted quite well without him, and with the extended lockout I think it will take Finley a few weeks to find his niche in the offense again. Finley won’t have a HORRIBLE week, but he won’t be blowing anyone away either if you another good option.
Jermichael Finley Fantasy Football Week 1 Projected Stats – 5 catches for 43 yards
Other Sit Em TEs for Week 1:
- Zach Miller (normally, bad QBs equate to good days for TEs…but Tarvaris Jackson hasn’t even attained the “bad QB” level yet)
- Marcedes Lewis (I just don’t think he’s good, and the new QB will be rough for him)
- Tony Gonzalez (you are starting him for his name, and nothing else…so don’t start him
- Dallas Clark (rough day for the Colts and Dallas)
So there you have it. The first Start Em, Sit Em post for 2011 is in the books. The comment section is now yours.
Best of luck in Week 1 everybody!