Week 1 Fantasy Football Rundown

Week 1 Fantasy Rundown
Fantasy football Guru David Hoover takes a look at the week 1 sleepers and duds as the NFL season kickoffs tonight in New Orleans.

Starters

Quarterback
1. Jay Cutler vs Detroit
Analysis The Lions were dead last in the NFL against the pass last year giving up over 265 passing yards and 2 TDs per game. Cutler and new OC Mike Martz will have fun carving up the Lions in front of the home town fans.
2. Carson Palmer @ NE
Analysis: Palmer has looked solid this pre-season completing 71.2% of his passes. He’s excited about his new targets T.O and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham, as well as his old go-to, Chad Ochocinco. Throw in a questionable NE secondary and Palmer should have a decent outing.
Other QBs with good matchups: Alex Smith vs Seattle, Kyle Orton vs Jax, Derek Anderson vs St. Louis

Running Back

1. Ryan Matthews @ KC
Analysis: The Chiefs run defense was among the league’s worst in 2009 and Matthews should be hot pick in Week 1. Norv Turner is high on his 1st round draft pick and although Darren Sproles will steal some carries, Matthews will steal the show in the 10:15 Monday Night game. The rookie from Fresno St. must be salivating at the thought of facing last year’s 31st ranked rushing defense on national TV in his pro debut.
2. Arian Foster vs Indy
Analysis: Foster has been impressive in the pre-season averaging 6.0 yards a pop. With Ben Tate done for the year and Steve Slaton’s turf toe and issues with ball security, Foster could have a big year in Houston alongside Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. The Colts were 24th in rush defense last year and even with Bob Sanders back and healthy (for now) Foster should be strong.
Other RBs with good matchups: Ahmad Bradshaw vs Carolina, Ronnie Brown vs Buffalo, Jerome Harrison vs Tampa Bay

Wide Receiver

1. Pierre Garcon @ Houston
Analysis: There will be a shootout in Texas this Sunday and Peyton Manning will be firing bullets. Garcon got a chance to play last year after Anthony Gonzalez went down and did well, catching 47 balls for 765 yards and 4 touchdowns. With all the attention that Houston must pay to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, Garcon should get some good looks this week.
2. Johnny Knox vs Detroit
Analysis: Knox is no longer considered a sleeper in fantasy leagues. Like Jay Cutler, he projects to have a big week.
Other WRs with good matchups: Mohammad Massaquoi vs Tampa Bay, Bernard Berrian vs NO, Michael Crabtree vs Seatlle

Tight End

1. Kellen Winslow vs Cleveland
Analysis: Winslow had a surprisingly good 2009, finishing ahead of some top TE’s in fantasy points, including Jason Witten. I can see Josh Freeman taking some strides forward and if Tampa rookie WR Mike Williams is anywhere near as good as his hype, maybe things will open up even more for Winslow. This week, Winslow plays his hapless old team, the Cleveland Browns. The Brownies were down near the bottom in pass defense last year and will be running down the stairs to the cellar again this year.
Other TE’s with good matchups: Tony Scheffler vs Bears, Jeremy Shockey vs Minnesota

Defense

1. Baltimore @ Jets
Analysis: This might be a very low scoring, boring affair. Vegas has the over/under set at 35…take the under. The Ravens secondary is a concern but do Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards have fantasy value?
Other Defenses with good matchups: Tennesse vs Oakland, Arizona vs St. Louis

Reserves

Quarterback
1. Kevin Kolb vs Green Bay
Analysis: I just don’t know what to make of Kolb. He showed flashes of stud-ness last year but was a nuclear meltdown this pre-season. His new-look O-line is still gelling together and Green Bay’s pass defense was 5th in the league in 2009. That said, the Packers will be without CB Al Harris and S Atari Bigby in their secondary, both are on the PUP list.
2. Dennis Dixon vs Atlanta
Analysis: There’s probably someone out there who drafted Dixon or picked up the third year pro this week. Try to fight the urge to start him this week.
Other QB’s with tough matchups: Mark Sanchez vs Ravens, Joe Flacco vs Jets, Matt Hasselbeck vs SF

Running Back

1. Clinton Portis vs Dallas
It appears that Portis and Larry Johnson will split time in the Washington backfield. I don’t like either of them vs the Cowboys this week. Dallas was 4th overall in run stuffage last season and until any semblance of a pass attack forms in the Nation’s Capital, teams will be stacking the box and forcing McNabb to thrown to one of his nameless receivers.
2. Michael Turner @ Pittsburgh
I’m not telling you to bench Turner. You drafted him in the Top 5 to be your every week stud. All I’m saying is with the return of Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith, and Lawrence Timmons having the look of being a stud this season, the Steelers rush defense should be back into top form this season.
Other RBs with tough matchups: Pierre Thomas vs Minnesota, LeSean McCoy vs Packers, Any NE RB vs Cincy

Wide Receiver

1. Hines Ward vs Atlanta
I wouldn’t start any Steelers WR until Ben comes back in Week 6 vs the Browns. Ward is a solid 3rd option when Roethlisberger returns but Too many questions linger right now. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons, ranked 15th against the pass last year, added free agent CB Dunta Robinson to help shore things up. Hines and company may have their hands full for this one.
2. Wes Welker vs Cincy
Analysis: I love Welker. I just don’t have the stones to start him until that knee proves it can hold up. If I’m Bill Belichick, I’d substitute Edelman throughout the game to spell Welker. Bengals have one of the top tandems at the cornerback and Adam “Pacman” Jones has fit in nicely thus far.
Other WRs with tough matchups: Mike Sims-Walker vs Denver, Dwayne Bowe vs SD

Tight End

1. Greg Olsen vs Detroit
Analysis: If you drafted the Bears TE, drop him immediately and find someone else on the waiver wire. Actually, try to trade Olsen to a less informed member of your fantasy league before he finds out that Tight Ends don’t exist in Mike Martz’s world.
Other TEs with tough matchups: John Carlson vs SF, Todd Heap vs Jets

Defense

1. Saints/Vikings
Analysis: The Saints pass defense is aweful and without Darren Sharper, who is on the PUP list, they will be worse. I like the Vikings defense but can’t justify using them against the defending Super Bowl Champs.
Other Defenses with tough matchups: Carolina vs Giants, Philadelphia vs Green Bay, Houston vs Indy

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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