Fantasy Football Week 1: Start ‘em / Sit ‘em
Welcome to our first Start ‘em / Sit ‘em of the 2013 season. A little background on me, I have been playing fantasy football for so long that when I started I had to use the USA Today to calculate each team’s stats for the week. Needless to say, things have changed quite a bit since then. In my time I’ve won plenty of leagues, learned a few hard lessons (don’t trust Darren McFadden) and have been consistently competitive. I’m not going to be right every week, but I’m confident enough in my track record to publish my opinions and take whatever abuse you send my way when I’m wrong.
I’m not going to waste your time and tell you to start AP or sit Geno Smith (or any other Jet for that matter). If you’re counting on any Jets player to win you your league’s version of the Shiva, you’ve already lost. The point of this column is to give you advice on players you may be debating between for your flex spot or as bye week replacements later in the season. I’ll also throw in a longshot recommendation for those of you in deeper leagues and one player being started everywhere (90%+) who I think will be a bust that week. I will track how my picks fare each week so you can decide for yourself if my picks are worth a damn. I’ll be using Yahoo’s projected points to gauge whether or not my picks were successful each week.
Keep in mind that just because Eddie Lacy is on my sit-em list, doesn’t mean I am recommending you bench him in every circumstance. Use common sense, if you don’t have a better option to replace him with, then disregard and hope for the best. Players are on my start-em or sit-em lists because I think they are going to over or under perform their projected fantasy points. Enough with the boring intro, here are my picks for week 1:
Darren McFadden – @Ind (58% Started, 11.14 Projected): I know I just mentioned not trusting McFadden (I’ve been burned so many times), but if there is one week you can be confident he will produce it’s week 1 because he hasn’t gotten hurt yet! The Colts gave up the 4th most rushing yards last year and despite some minor improvements they should still be pretty bad this year. The Raiders line is beat-up, their QB is starting his 2nd game ever, and they might have the worst group of wide outs in the league. Basically McFadden is their best runner and receiver and will be leaned on heavily. He’s probably going to get hurt soon anyway, so you might as well get some production from him while you can.
Daryl Richardson (Rams) – Ari (35%, 12.55): With Isaiah Pead suspended for week 1 and Zac Stacy coming off an underwhelming preseason, Richardson is going to be on the field most of the game. I don’t think Richardson is a special back and Arizona has a tough defense, but on volume alone Richardson should exceed his projected point total.
Ahmad Bradshaw – Oak (35%, 8.35): Another guy who probably won’t make it through the season unscathed, he’s been practicing for two weeks and reports are that he will be good to go on Sunday. I’m not worried about reports he’s been running with the 2nd team, the Colts didn’t sign him to back up Vick Ballard. If you spent auction money on him (or drafted him if you’re a cretin), you might as well use him while he’s healthy because you and I both know it won’t last. Oakland’s run defense is average, but I expect the Colts to be up big early and focus on the run game enough for Bradshaw to get plenty of touches.
Tavon Austin – Ari (28%, 8.6): Either you believe that Jeff Fisher was purposely hiding his plans for Austin during the preseason or you don’t. If you don’t, watch this video and see if it doesn’t change your mind. Austin is one of the most dynamic WR talents that I’ve seen in years and I think the Rams will go out of their way to get him the ball in space. Expect big things.
Cecil Shorts – KC (50%, 10.99): Can you name Jacksonville’s other starting WR for week 1? With Blackmon suspended for the first 4 games, Shorts is going to be Blaine Gabbart’s go-to guy. Granted, Gabbert is one of the worst starting QBs in the league, but he will be throwing passes to somebody and Shorts is going to be the guy. Update: Gabbert is a game-time decision. Shorts owners should hope Gabbert doesn’t play as he averaged 20.1 more yards per game with Chad Henne under center.
DeSean Jackson- @Was (71%, 11.18): The Redskins had the 3rd worst pass defense last year and I feel like this game is going to be a shoot-out. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. A lot has been made about Chip Kelley’s new offense utilizing the run, but they still are going to throw the ball and D-Jax is the Eagles #1 WR. Riley Cooper & Brent Celek are Vick’s two other options and neither guy has the speed to stretch the defense. I’m betting Vick & Jackson connect on at least one long score Monday night.
RG3 – Phi (67%, 21.35): If there is a theme this week, it’s that you need to start your injury prone players before they get hurt and lose their value. You probably got a discount on RG3 because everyone is worried about his health; he’s never going to be healthier then week 1. Football is a grind. RG3 threw 6 TDs in two games against Philly last year and I already mentioned that I think this game turns into a shoot-out .
Zach Sudfield - @Buf (38%, 9.35): Sudfield will lose value once Gronk returns sometime in the next few weeks, but for now he is the best healthy TE on New England’s roster. We all know how much Brady loves throwing to his TEs and by default that means Sudfield should have plenty of targets in Week 1.