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Fantasy Football: Week 1 starts, sits

09.07.13 at 9:04 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 1 starts and sits. I’m looking forward to another season at WEEI, and we’ll be bringing you all the usual fantasy guidance. For those of you with lineup questions not addressed here, feel free to attend our Sunday chat that kicks off at 11 a.m. You can then look for us on Tuesday, when we’ll be back with our first waiver wire column of the season.

As for the recommendations in this post, just remember that I am doing my best to stay away from painfully obvious advice, like saying that Tom Brady is an advisable start or that you might want to keep Calvin Johnson active every week. I do my best to keep the advice where you might actually have a lineup decision to make. We also post full lineup rankings at Rotobahn every week in advance of the Thursday night game, and they get updated every Saturday.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Raiders

He’s a weekly starter in most formats, but this is a week to play him for sure. The Raiders are not going to slow him down. Luck should have a big day and is a quality QB1 in any league size.

Robert Griffin, Redskins vs. Eagles

We haven’t actually seen Griffin yet, so if you have another QB1 on your roster, you have a decision to make. Having said that, no way am I sitting Griffin for a typical backup option. He should slice and dice the Eagles whether he is running or not.

Michael Vick, Eagles at Redskins

Yes, I am expecting a high scoring game. Vick may not last for the whole season, but he is a very startable commodity while he is healthy and the Redskins can be thrown on.  Add in some of Vick’s usual foot-points, and you have a solid starter if you are in need.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Titans

He’s at home and the Steelers will be putting the ball in the air with a stable of very mediocre tailbacks on hand. He should be good for QB1 stats against a mediocre Titans defense.

SITS

Cam Newton, Panthers vs. Seahawks

This is a rare troublesome matchup for Newton. You might consider benching him if you have the right backup. Play him if you need him. He’s still a viable option, but if there’s a week to consider yanking him, this might be it. If Newton has a big game Sunday, he’ll be an almost teflon start going forward.

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Bears

I’m a buyer on Dalton this year, but this is a nasty road matchup to avoid if you can. The Bears may have made some changes on defense, but I like new DC Mel Tucker and I expect typical Bears defense.

RUNNING BACKS

STARTS

David Wilson, Giants at Cowboys

It’s his first game as the lead back. With Ahmad Bradshaw gone to Indianapolis and Andre Brown out with a broken leg, Wilson is the focal point of the ground game and a big part of the passing game too. If you drafted early and were lucky enough to land Wilson as a RB3 in a smaller format, you might want to bench your RB2 in favor of him this week. I have Wilson ranked as my 12th overall back in 12-team formats for Week 1.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins at Browns

Don’t worry about the Daniel Thomas controversy. I’m not saying that it was manufactured, but if the Dolphins are serious about winning, they will play their best players. Unless you have other stellar options, I’d be very content to roll with Miller as a RB2 in Week 1.

Ben Tate, Texans at Chargers

There are so many reasons that this makes sense. Tate has a solid matchup and he’s playing behind Arian Foster, who missed a ton of practice time in camp. The Texans should have this game in the bag by halftime and Tate will be the guy to close things out.  He’s a decent option as an RB2 in 12-team leagues.

Shane Vereen, Patriots at Bills

If your league uses a flex spot, then Vereen should be on your radar this week, especially in PPR formats. I was already high on him going into this season, but the release of Leon Washington in addition to tight ends Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard really solidified things for me. I expect an even larger role for Vereen than Danny Woodhead played in 2012 and with Vereen’s talent edge, that could lead to significant fantasy numbers. The Bills have too much flux right now with injuries and a whole new defense. They are ripe for the taking. I expect Vereen to make a few big plays. He’s a nice flex back in 12-team formats.

Felix Jones, Steelers vs. Titans

He should get significant carries this week versus Tennessee and he’s a better back than starter Isaac Redman. I don’t want to start Jones this week in typical leagues, but if you are in a jam in a large format, Jones can help you and he’s available in a lot of leagues as a plug-and-play option.

SITS

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers vs. Seahawks

Though I think you will be able to squeeze RB2 value out of him on a lot of weeks, I don’t see this being one of them. He’s more of a flex option in 12-team formats against the Seahawks.

Giovani Bernard, Bengals at Bears

I expect good things from Bernard on the whole, but avoiding him this week makes some sense. He’s a risky flex in 12-team leagues and an ultra light RB2. The Bears are very sound against the run and they limit big plays with good tackling.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STARTS

Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. Titans

I like him this week in just about any league size. It’s a very solid matchup and the Steelers will throw more than normal with starting tailback Le’Veon Bell out of action. Add in the loss of Heath Miller and I expect a very nice day for all of the Steelers’ receivers. Emmanuel Sanders is also a stronger play than he would normally be as is rookie Markus Wheaton.

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs at Jaguars

It’s hard to see him having a bad day when he is the core element in their passing attack. Bowe is going to see the ball a ton. He’s a strong option in any league size or scoring system for Week 1.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs. Raiders

He’s been a blur all preseason and the Raiders are basically at his mercy this week. I know there are some concerns about Hilton technically being behind Darrius Heyward-Bey, but Hilton is a guy that is featured when he’s on the field. It’s not true with all players, but Hilton’s target total is far more important than his snap total. The bottom line is that he’s the most dangerous weapon the Colts have. He’s a fine WR3 in any format or league size.

Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots at Bills

With Aaron Dobson nursing a hammy and with Rob Gronkowski very likely out, it’s hard to imagine anything but a major role for Thompkins in Week 1. The more I see this kid, the more I like him. He’s a good WR3 option in 12-team leagues and even 10-team PPR formats.

Rueben Randle, Giants at Cowboys

Victor Cruz is nursing a bruised heel and I’ve yet to see the real stuff from Hakeem Nicks. Randle may be the third receiver, but he’s going to play a lot and could end up being the number one option for all we know. The Cowboys scare nobody defensively with injuries all over the defensive front. Eli and the Giants should complete some passes this week. Randle makes a nice flex option in deep formats.

Kenny Stills, Saints vs. Falcons

I’m a big Stills booster as some of you may already know, but he should get something done in this game, which promises to be very high scoring. I like him as a flex option in leagues with 12-teams or more. Stills is also a player to keep a watchful eye on if he is available in your league. I’m very impressed with this kid and playing with Brees is a plus.

SITS

Mike Wallace, Dolphins at Browns

Wallace is a player I like for the entire season, but he’ll most likely be locked up with CB Joe Haden and that could make for a long day. Wallace is a viable WR3 option in 12-team leagues, but if you have a deep receiving group, you might consider other options in Week 1.

Greg Jennings, Vikings at Lions

I worry about Christian Ponder being chased around by the Lions’ front four. I don’t see him being a position to throw Jennings open the way Aaron Rodgers are Brett Favre have over the years. This is not the week to play Jennings if you have other options.

TIGHT ENDS

STARTS

Jared Cook, Rams vs. Cardinals

Sam Bradford may have to throw away from the Cards’ cornerbacks and that will lead him to Cook, who could break out in a big way. If I own the big tight end, I am looking to get him active in Week 1.

Fred Davis, Redskins vs. Eagles

It’s a home game versus a ripe defense and you may see Robert Griffin throwing a bit more often than normal. I expect Davis to be his second option in the passing game for the most part and that should lead to TE1 numbers in all formats.

Jordan Cameron, Browns vs. Dolphins

Confirm that he starts as he’s been nursing a groin injury, but he’s practiced all week, so we expect him to be a go. With Josh Gordon out for the first two weeks, we expect big things for Cameron, who is looking like a breakout player in 2013.

Zach Sudfeld, Patriots at Bills

If you are looking for an tight end option, Sudfeld could be a good one. With Rob Gronkowski almost certainly out, Sudfeld seems very likely to play a major role versus the Bills.  He can be a starter for you in 12-team leagues if you are in need.

Scott Chandler, Bills vs. Patriots

He’s coming off of a major injury, but he’s going to start and he’s got a solid history of scoring against the Patriots. He’s a guy to add if you are in a bind.

SITS

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals at Bears

I’m not writing Gresham off for the year, but they are going to need him in pass protection this week, so look elsewhere if you have that option.

Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. Seahawks

He’s still a viable play if you need him, but this could be a down week considering how tough Seattle’s defense is. If you have a strong second option, you might consider that.

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