Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Every week, usually on Friday, we will put together a "start them - sit them" list. Obviously, if Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees aren't walking on crutches you are going to start them. This list is aimed at the borderline start or sit players.
Oakland at Buffalo
Start - Darren McFadden, Sebastien Janikowski
Start - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, Steve Johnson, Rian Lindell
Comments - The Raiders didn't do much on offense, producing just 289 total yards, but McFadden got most of them and that trend should continue. Buffalo surprised Kansas City putting 41 points on the board. They won't get that many this week, but their starters should make you happy. Johnson missed practice on Thursday and will have to be watched to verify that he's active on Sunday. He's a "must-start" if he plays.
Green Bay at Carolina
Start - Aaron Rodgers, James Starks, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers defense
Start - DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith
Comments - The Panthers allowed Kevin Kolb to throw for 300+ yards, the sky is the limit for Rodgers and the Packers' passing game. Start everyone who is healthy. Stewart's numbers didn't show that he outplayed Williams - two of his big plays were called back due to penalty. The Panthers will emphasize the running game to take pressure off rookie Cam Newton who is up against a much better secondary this week and will be lucky to throw for 250 yards...much less 422.
Kansas City at Detroit
Start - Jamaal Charles, Ryan Succop
Start - Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson
Comments - Matt Cassel's ribs are no longer the problem, its a porous offensive line. He gets no rest this week facing Ndamukong Suh & Co. The Lions offense was solid last week, producing 431 yards and 27 points against Tampa Bay. They should have another good week.
Cleveland at Indianapolis
Start - Peyton Hillis
Start - Reggie Wayne
Comments - Cleveland's offense is still nowhere to be found. Hillis had 23 touches and is once again the only fantasy-worthy player on the team. I hesitate to recommend any Colts starters based on Opening Day, but I'll give Wayne the benefit of the doubt. The rest of them will have to show me something before they get into any of my lineups and you should feel the same way.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Start - Josh Freeman, LaGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow
Start - Donovan McNabb, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, Ryan Longwell
Comments - The Bucs were quick to abandon their running game last week against Detroit and coach Raheem Morris admitted it later. He'll likely work hard on the ground game this week, therefore Blount should stay in your lineup despite his five-carry, 15-yard effort last week. McNabb is not as bad as he showed last week and should show you he's worthy of consideration which means both Harvin and Shiancoe will get their opportunities.
Chicago at New Orleans
Start - Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Robbie Gould
Start - Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Jimmy Graham, John Kasay
Comments - The Bears demolished the Atlanta Falcons and Cutler put up a solid effort (22-for-32 for 312 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT). He'll have to do it again this week because the Saints figure to score 30+ points in their home opener after last weeks bad loss in Green Bay. With Marques Colston sidelined for a month and Lance Moore questionable with a groin injury, Meachem, Henderson and Graham figure to have big days and are "must starts."
Jacksonville at New York Jets
Start - Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Thomas, Josh Scobee
Start - Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Nick Folk, Jets defense
Comments - Keep playing Jones-Drew for as long as his knee holds out. There should be a little concern, though, that "MJD" was not involved in the passing game. Although Thomas only produced 55 yards receiving and no touchdowns, his fantasy owners have to love 11 targets. The Jets head coach Rex Ryan claims to be a run-first coach, but he threw the ball 44 times last week against just 16 rushes. The Jets ran 38 of their 64 plays out of the shotgun formation...of course, Sanchez needed a concussion test after the game too. Maybe this week the Jets will actually try to run the football with purpose.
Seattle at Pittsburgh
Start - none
Start - Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Williams, Shaun Suisham, Steelers defense
Comments - Pity the poor Seahawks coming into Pittsburgh after the Steelers were blown out by division rival Baltimore. Seattle managed just 219 yards of offense against San Francisco. Stay away from them. Pittsburgh will get back to basics, meaning more Mendenhall and less Roethlisberger.
Baltimore at Tennessee
Start - Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, Billy Cundiff, Ravens defense
Start - Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt, Rob Bironas
Comments - Everything went right for Baltimore last week, it won't always be like that but Tennessee isn't the team to slow them down. Johnson still won't be in "game shape," but he'll get more work than last week when he totaled 30 yards on 16 touches. The Matt Hasselbeck-to-Britt combination was solid last week (10 targets five receptions for 136 yards and two scores), but that was Jacksonville, not the Ravens secondary - keep expectations low.
Arizona at Washington
Start - Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells, Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Jay Feely
Start - Rex Grossman, Tim Hightower, Santana Moss, Fred Davis, Graham Gano
Comments - Washington was 31st in pass defense last year and didn't look much better yielding 268 yards to a struggling Eli Manning. Kolb did most of his damage to targets other than Fitzgerald (3-for-62) against Carolina, but you know that will change. It seems like Wells is finally ready to produce for his team and fantasy owners.
Dallas at San Francisco
Start - Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cowboys defense
Start - Frank Gore, David Akers
Comments - Dallas put up 24 points and 390 yards against one of the toughest defenses in the league and figure to do more versus San Francisco. Start all the usual suspects including Bryant, who injured his quad in Week 1. Owners/GM Jerry Jones confirmed that Bryant will start this Sunday. The 49ers "beat up" on Seattle, but it wasn't their offense that did the damage, it was special teams. Gore rushed 22 times, but for just 59 yards. That's good news that he got the huge workload, but bad news that the Seattle defense shut him down. Alex Smith threw just 20 times and that kind of production eliminates any 49ers receiver from your starting lineup.
Cincinnati at Denver
Start - Cedric Benson, Jermaine Gresham
Start - Kyle Orton, Willis McGahee, Brandon Lloyd, Eric Decker, Matt Prater, Broncos defense
Comments - The Bengals are likely to rely on Benson for most of the day what with rookie starting quarterback Andy Dalton hurting (wrist). Gresham and Jerome Simpson led the receiving corp in targets, but Gresham actually caught most of the balls that came his way, unlike Simpson who caught just four of nine. Orton still has the backing of his teammates and head coach and the Orton-to-Lloyd combination is fantasy-worthy. Check back Sunday morning concerning Lloyd's healthy (groin). Eric Decker would earn starting fantasy status if Lloyd can't go. The combination of a short work week and an injury to his hamstring means you must sit Knowshon Moreno. McGahee figures to get the majority of the action and is worthy of a start.
Houston at Miami
Start - Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones, Owen Daniels, Neil Rackers
Start - Chad Henne, Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter
Comments - The decision on Arian Foster/Ben Tate will be the most difficult fantasy decision of the week. Foster was limited in Thursday's practice, but coach Gary Kubiak said "As long as everything's smooth tomorrow, he should be ready to go. He puts us at our best." Start Foster as long as you don't hear any negative news on Friday or Saturday. Jones gets a starting nod because of the injury to Kevin Walter (shoulder). The Dolphins ran into a buzz saw on Monday night which hid the fact that the Miami offense played very well. Bush saw 21 touches (94 yards, one touchdown), Marshall was targeted 13 times for 139 yards and Henne threw for 416 yards and two scores. Rookie running back Daniel Thomas is expected to play this week, but Bush will still see the majority of the action. We will know more about the Texans defense this week since they weren't challenged last week against Kerry Collins and the Colts, but in 2010 they owned the worst pass defense in the league (267.5 ypg).
San Diego at New England
Start - Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert, Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak
Start - Tom Brady. BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Stephen Gostkowski
Comments - This will likely be the "Shootout of the Week" as oddsmakers have put the over/under total at 54. It'll probably go "over' and you want as many players in this game as possible...even the newly-signed kicker Novak. The Patriots offense looked magnificent on Monday night, particularly the two second-year tight ends - Gronkowski and Hernandez. In 2010 the Chargers were No.1 in defense yielding just 271.6 ypg and gave up just 187 yards in the opener against Minnesota, but even they won't stop New England.
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Start - Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Alex Henery
Start - Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant
Comments - The Eagles offense started slowly but finished well and the "Big Three" Vick, McCoy and Jackson all produced very good numbers. The Eagles put up 31 points against the Falcons in 2010 with Kolb at quarterback (23-for-29 for 326 yards, 3 TDs). Jeremy Maclin was the big receiver that day (7-159-2), but his training camp illness has him behind the rest of the offense. Give him one more week on the bench. The Falcons figure to be mad at the world after getting embarrassed by the Chicago Bears last week and Ryan is pretty good in the Georgia Dome (home record 20-2). This could be a high-scoring affair.
St. Louis at New York Giants
Start - Sam Bradford, Cadillac Williams, Brandon Gibson, Lance Kendricks
Start - Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Lawrence Tynes
Comments - The Rams are hurting. Bradford has a bad finger, Steven Jackson has a quad injury and Danny Amendola is out for six weeks. Though Jackson hasn't been ruled out of the game, Williams figures to be the play in the St. Louis backfield. Gibson was targeted five times last week and that number should rise without Amendola. Rookie Greg Salas will start for Amendola. The Giants must return to the ground game - a.k.a. Bradshaw and Jacobs and use Manning only off play-action. Nicks claims he'll be ready by Monday night, but Manningham is the better play among the wideouts. Still, if Nicks is in uniform, you have to start him too because he's so talented.
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