The fantasy football season is finally here, which means you have some decisions to make. Here are a list of players you should start and sit during week one.
Please note that obvious names such as Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady will not appear in the start ‘em section.
Kevin Smith vs STL
The Detroit Lions will be down two running backs, Jahvid Best and Mikel LeShoure, against the Rams. This means Kevin Smith will see the bulk of the carries. Smith proved to be a valuable option last season with the Lions.
Add in the fact that he’s going against a Rams defense that struggled against the run in 2011 and you have a nice option. If you’re looking to start someone in the flex, Smith is a nice way to go.
Michael Bush vs IND
Matt Forte was the higher fantasy pick, but Michael Bush has a chance of being Vulture of the Year in 2012. Last year that award went to Mike Tolbert. The Bears have a favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in week one. The Colts are known for being weak against the run.
If the Bears are able to get into goal-line situations, Bush would likely enter the game. It’s not hard to imagine Bush getting two touchdowns in this game.
DeAngelo Williams at TB
With Jonathan Stewart battling through an injury, DeAngelo Williams will likely see the ball more than he normally would this week. He also is going against a team that had an atrocious run defense in 2011. The only thing that concerns me about Williams is having Mike Tolbert or Cam Newton steal touchdowns away from him at the goal line. Other than that, he should be in for a good game this week.
Nate Washington vs NE
Kenny Britt is serving a one game suspension, which means Nate Washington will be the go-to receiver. He also has a favorable matchup since the Patriots were one of the worst teams against the pass in 2011.
Also, last season when quarterback Jake Locker saw limited action, he targeted Washington quite a bit. In fact, Washington caught all four of Locker’s touchdown passes in 2011. Two of those touchdown passes came from 40 yards out.
Reggie Wayne at CHI
The Colts could get down quickly in this game, which means they will air it out to stay in it. We in the fantasy football business call this “garbage points.” Reggie Wayne is the best option at receiver for the Indianapolis, which means he should see most of the targets.
The Bears defensive scheme allows for short passes to be completed, which favors Wayne. He could see a 100-yard game with the possibility of a touchdown this week.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew at MIN
You probably invested a first round pick on MJD and you’re happy that he ended his holdout, but don’t trust him this week. He’s has a very small amount of time to get back with the team. The Jaguars want to get him in game shape before they make him the main guy.
Rashad Jennings will be the starting running back for Jacksonville. Jones-Drew will take on more of a third-down role. Later in the season, even possibly next week, Jones-Drew will be reliable again, but week one is not that time. Go with another option at running back.
RB Adrian Peterson vs JAC
Adrian Peterson is questionable to even play in this game. He’s been recovering from a major knee injury and it’s incredible he’s even remotely ready to play. Even if Peterson is activated for the game, it’s going to be hard to trust him.
The Vikings will want to work him into the offense slowly so that they don’t re-injure his knee. If you drafted Peterson, you need to be patient. Eventually he should turn into the top-fantasy player that he can be. As for now, Toby Gerhart will get the workload in Minnesota.
RB Willis McGahee at PIT
Broncos running back Willis McGahee was a nice pickup for anybody that claimed him last season. He ended up rushing for almost 1,200 yards. This year, however, he might be a bit of a disappointment. Especially in a week one matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a tough run defense. Their defense held McGahee to just 61 yards in the 2011 postseason and caused him to fumble twice.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis at BAL
The Law Firm is in the same predicament as McGahee. The Baltimore run defense is no joke. Even though Terrell Suggs is sidelined, they’re trouble for opposing running backs. Expect Green-Ellis to rush for under 100 yards in this game. His only saving grace for being relevant in fantasy this week is if he finds the endzone.
WR Stevie Johnson at NYJ
Stevie Johnson has had success against Darrelle Revis, but a broken clock is right twice a day. Revis is a fantasy nightmare for number one receivers. That doesn’t bode well for Johnson. Add in the fact Johnson is battling through a groin injury and fantasy owners could get upset with Johnson in their lineup.
It’s a tough decision to bench a player like this, but if you have an option that you feel comfortable with, start him over Johnson.
WR DeSean Jackson at CLE
DeSean Jackson would be a better option this week if Browns cornerback Joe Haden had to serve his suspension. Since the NFL hasn’t made a ruling on the appeal yet, Jackson is a risky start. Haden and the Browns secondary don’t allow very many points to opposing wideouts. Unless Jackson is able to get deep on a long scoring play, his numbers could be disappointing in week one.