The NFL season starts tonight!!! More importantly, the fantasy football season starts tonight!!! Why else would any of us watch Cleveland vs. Cincinnati unless we have AJ Green and want to see what our rookie will do in his first game. For that reason, fantasy football is now bigger than the sport itself.
Do you have any questions about who to start over who in the first week? Let’s take a look at all the matchups and determine who are good starts, decent starts, and bad starts. Football is incredibly unpredictable, and it’s almost impossible to read splits the way you can with baseball. Because of that I can tell you all season long who will give you the best CHANCE to perform for you. Nobody can ever predict the day that Mike Tolbert rushes for 3 TD’s. It’s impossible. Keep that in mind. I base the starts on matchup obviously and I also look at how each player has done historically against the opponent. I also factor in who I think will win the game, and whether a team will be more pass or rush oriented in that game. Whether they are up or down on the scoreboard has a lot to do with their weekly values.
New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers:
Good starts: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Greg Jennings, Marquis Colston, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby
Decent starts: Jordy Nelson, Ryan Grant, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, John Kasay, Green Bay Defense
Bad starts: Donald Driver, James Jones, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, James Starks, Darren Sproles, Garrett Hartley New Orleans Defense
Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears:
Good starts: Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant, Robbie Gould
Decent starts: Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Michael Turner, Matt Forte, Atlanta Defense
Bad starts: Roy Williams, Earl Bennett, Jason Snelling, Kellen Davis, Chicago Defense
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns:
Good starts: Peyton Hillis, Phil Dawson, Cleveland Defense
Decent starts: Colt McCoy, AJ Green, Andre Caldwell, Greg Little, Cedric Benson, Benjamin Watson, Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Defense
Bad starts: Andy Dalton, Jordan Shipley, Jerome Simpson, Mohamed Massaquoi, Joshua Cribbs, Bernard Scott, Montario Hardesty, Jermaine Gresham
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs:
Good starts: Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Defense
Decent starts: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel, Stevie Johnson, Steve Breaston, Thomas Jones, Ryan Succop
Bad starts: Roscoe Parrish, Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller, Scott Chandler, Leonard Pope, Rian Lindell, Buffalo Defense
Philadelphia Eagles @ St. Louis Rams
Good starts: Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Josh Brown
Decent starts: Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Ronnie Brown, Alex Henery, Philadelphia Defense
Bad starts: Steven Smith, Jason Avant, Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibson, Steven Jackson, Brent Celek, St. Louis Defense
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Good starts: Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Mike Williams, LaGarrette Blount
Decent starts: Josh Freeman, Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, Kregg Lumpkin, Kellen Winslow, Jason Hanson, Connor Barth, Detroit Defense, Tampa Bay Defense
Bad starts: Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Pettigrew
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars:
Good starts: Matt Hasselbeck, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew
Decent starts: Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Rob Bironas, Josh Scobee, Tennessee Defense
Bad starts: Luke McCown, Mike Thomas, Jason Hill, Javon Ringer, Deji Karim, Craig Stevens, Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville Defense
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Good starts: Ben Roethlisberger, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Billy Cundiff
Decent starts: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Defense
Bad starts: Joe Flacco, Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Lee Evans, Torrey Smith, Ricky Williams, Ed Dickson, Baltimore Defense
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans:
Good starts: Matt Schaub, Austin Collie, Andre Johnson, Neil Rackers
Decent starts: Kerry Collins, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Kevin Walter, Joseph Addai, Derrick Ward, Ben Tate, Dallas Clark, Adam Vinatieri
Bad starts: Peyton Manning, Anthony Gonzalez, Jacoby Jones, Arian Foster, Delone Carter, Derrick Ward, Indianapolis Defense, Houston Defense
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
Good starts: Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAngelo Williams, Beanie Wells, Jay Feely, Arizona Defense
Decent starts: Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Andre Roberts, Jonathan Stewart, Greg Olsen, Todd Heap, Olindo Mare
Bad starts: Legedu Naanee, Brandon LeFell, Early Doucet, LeRod Stephens-Howling, Carolina Defense
Minnesota Vikings @ San Diego Chargers:
Good starts: Adrian Peterson, Ryan Mathews, Nate Kaeding
Decent starts: Donovan McNabb, Phillip Rivers, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Vincent Jackson, Mike Tolbert, Antonio Gates, Ryan Longwell, San Diego Defense
Bad starts: Michael Jenkins, Greg Camarillo, Malcolm Floyd, Patrick Crayton, Toby Gerhart, Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Defense
Seattle Seahawks @San Francisco 49ers
Good starts: Josh Morgan, David Akers, San Francisco Defense
Decent starts: Tarvaris Jackson, Alex Smith, Sidney Rice, Mike Williams, Braylon Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Seattle Defense
Bad starts: Golden Tate, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Crabtree, Justin Forsett, Kendall Hunter, Zach Miller, Steve Hauschka
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
Good starts: Mario Manningham, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lawrence Tynes
Decent starts: Eli Manning, Rex Grossman, Hakeem Nicks, Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Jacobs, Tim Hightower, Chris Cooley, Graham Gano, New York Giants Defense, Washington Defense
Bad starts: Jake Ballard, Jabar Gaffney, Ryan Torrain, Roy Helu, Fred Davis
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets
Good starts: Felix Jones, Jason Witten, Shonn Greene, Nick Folk
Decent starts: Tony Romo, Mark Sanchez, Dez Bryant, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Dustin Keller, Dallas Defense, New York Jets Defense
Bad starts: Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Tashard Choice, LaDainian Tomlinson, Dan Bailey, David Buehler
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
Good starts: Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Davone Bess, Stephen Gostkowski, New England Defense
Decent starts: Chad Henne, Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edelman, Brandon Marshall, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Reggie Bush, Rob Gronkowski, Anthony Fasano, Dan Carpenter
Bad starts: Deion Branch, Stevan Ridley, Brian Hartline, Daniel Thomas, Aaron Hernandez, Miami Defense
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos:
Good starts: Darren McFadden, Matt Prater
Decent starts: Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Jacoby Ford, Brandon Lloyd, Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee, Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Defense, Denver Defense
Bad starts: Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Chaz Schilens, Eddie Royal, Michael Bush, Kevin Boss, Daniel Fells
What is your take on Hardesty as a # 3 or 4 back?
I like Hardesty long term. I just don’t think Hillis is going to lose that job this year. He won’t be as good as last year, but he’s still a solid RB. Since the Browns will never blow anyone out I don’t see Hardesty really getting a chance unless Hillis gets banged up. If the job is his he is a must add. But he does have injury concerns of his own. So basically I think guys like Carter, Helu, and Hunter are better backup options.
I know Harvin is the number one on his team but would you start Julio Jones over him in weeke one?
It’s a risky move, but I really think Julio scores a TD in his debut. Harvin doesn’t have the best matchup this week.
So we have a flex spot and I mostly went with high upside guys, but a lot of uncertainties. Who would you start for week 1?
Daniel Thomas, James Starks, Spiller, or Jordy Nelson?
Daniel Thomas is hurt so he’s out. I can’t trust Spiller without seeing him first. I can see Jordy Nelson scoring a TD tonight, so I choose him. Green Bay will win the game, so they will run, but Grant will get most of the carries. Nelson has a better chance to score and Green Bay will mostly air it out.
Sydney Rice or Jordy Nelson?
I really think Nelson will score a TD tonight so I gotta go with him. I don’t see a whole lot of offense in the SEA/SF game happening.
Last year Bill Barnwell (now of grantland fame) wrote the following which struck accord with me, I assume Mark would second it.
“One final note of caution: As the season goes on, we know more and more about each team, so our projections of how we think they’re playing or going to play are filled in more and more by concrete data. As a result, these projections tend to get more accurate as the season goes along.”
In week one uncertainty is everywhere as maddening as it is we have to learn to deal with it.
PS – Great call on Nelson, Mark.
How about Jordy Nelson. And remember how I had Starks ranked pretty high on my RB rankings? This is why people should continue to come here all football season.
So Schaub has obviously been more consistant in his career but would you think about starting Stafford over him this week?
No. Schaub is very very good at home and very good vs. IND. I would roll with him.
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