Week 1: Sit 'Em
Wow, another fantasy season is upon us after the lock-out and all the behind the scenes millionaires vs. billionaires squabbles. Now it is time to get your draft wrapped up and your line-up set for Week 1. This article features players who are not worth a roster spot this week due to match-up, injury or other circumstances. Making a decision based upon match-up can be a tough call. I have seen players go out and surprise stingy opponents only to falter against an easy foe. Benching a player for injury is an ease decision unless it becomes a game-time decision dilemma, then consider your options. Other circumstances might include: running back by committee fears, quarterback switches that influence a receiver or backs utilization, or research-based calls relating to trends and statistics.
This week I think you should sit:
Matt Schaub - with a banged up or absent Arian Foster, Houston might struggle against Indianapolis.
Joe Flacco - Flacco drew a tough Week 1 match-up against Pittsburgh. At least he is on home turf.
Matt Cassel - Cassel suffered a rib injury in the pre-season finale when Howard Green pummeled him. Cassel might not be able to start Week 1.It has been reported Cassel is on the mend, but rib injuries can be nasty and nag players for weeks with limitations. Buffalo is also soft on the run and Jamaal Charles should have a field day this week. Watch for updates.
Matt Forte - Cutler and Chicago are going to have to pass to keep up with Atlanta. Forte could play a role in the passing game, but Cutler has other targets.
Knowshon Moreno - Yes, he has been named the starter, but Willis McGahee has the ability to steal goal-line carries and more if he has the chance. Chances are McGahee will prosper under the Coach Fox offense with a focus on the ground game.
A.J. Green - Rookie quarterback and not much else in Cincinnati this season. I am not predicting much here.
Mike Sims-Walker - It appears he will be shadowed closely by the Philadelphia top defenders this week.
James Starks - Starks suffered an ankle injury early in preseason and has a rebounding Ryan Grant to deal with. This situation coukld be a running back by committee approach until Starks is fully healed and a clear starter is identified - or we will see a RBBC out of Green Bay this season.
Wow, the geniuses in Kansas City decided to keep playing Matt Cassel in pre-season and now he has a rib injury that may limit him or keep him out of Week 1 against Buffalo. This is not the start to the season that Cassel bargained for. Green Bay's Howard Green ground Cassel into the ground during the second quarter of the pre-season finale. Cassel has some time to recover, but rib injuries can linger and if he has broken ribs he might be in considerable pain for weeks. This does not bode well for Dwayne Bowe owners. Tyler Palko will start if Cassel is unable to go this week, but he is not worth a look in my opinion. I foresee a Week 1 filled with Jamaal Charles running all over a soft Buffalo run defense.
Update - Matt Cassel joined practice for a bit Monday and appears to be on the mend, but what this really means is yet to be determined.
Flacco and Roethlisberger both drew tough match-ups for Week 1. I think Big Ben will be alright this week and Pittsburgh will take it to Baltimore on the road. Flacco is at home, but the Pittsburgh offense and defense are strong and I think they can limit Flacco. Ray Rice might fare better in the ground attack and Baltimore will carry the load offensively in that direction. Look for Flacco to encounter a stingy Pittsburgh defense and have a turnover or two.
I have a strong feeling that Schaub and his offense are going to struggle with the absence of Arian Foster (or at best a banged up Foster taking limited reps). Schaub is a quality quarterback, but I think that the Houston offense will need a strong ground game to take it to Indianapolis. If this works out to be an air war between Manning and Schaub, it could be interesting. Indy will likely assist Manning by taking their ground game up a notch. This could make for a tough outing for both teams.
Jay Cutler is going to have to be pass happy this week to keep pace with a high-powered Atlanta offense. Matt Ryan appears to have the go ahead to pass first and look for other options, meaning Michael Turner later. Cutler has weapons and will use them. Forte can be an option in the passing game and will likely get some balls thrown his way, but I think the Chicago ground attack and the short passes will not be that effective this week. Look for Forte to have average at best numbers. It might be difficult, but you might want to consider keeping him on the pine.
Moreno is a central character in John Fox's run-focused offensive scheme, but Willis McGahee is poised to split the workload and vulture goal line carries and more. There should be plenty of work to go around given Fox's nature of calling the run, but Kyle Orton has actually looked decent this season and the pass will be called too. I personally do not trust the workload of Moreno and will not until he clearly gets more carries and delivers on his fantasy value over McGahee. Start Moreno with caution in Week 1 and if you can, keep him on the bench.