Every week of the 2011 NFL season I will be putting out an article of the top “starts” and “sits” for the upcoming week in fantasy football. Keep in mind that no one can predict what will happen on NFL Sunday’s and I encourage everyone to make their own decisions, but hopefully I can provide some insight. Players I deem as good “starts” I believe will have a better than projected week and should find a way into your starting lineup. On the other hand players I name as “sits” I personally would rather find room on my bench in favor of someone else. Of course when it comes down to week to week decisions you always start your studs, and just because I think Josh Freeman is “sit” worthy this week doesn’t mean you necessarily have someone worth starting over him. As always feel free to leave comments giving your opinions of who you think should make the list every week. Take it for what it is worth and good luck this week, football is finally here.
-Tom Brady(start): Although the Dolphins have a good secondary, at this day and age it is hard to slow down Brady and the Patriot’s offense. Easily the most proficient offensive performance throughout the preseason, I don’t see any signs of them slowing down.
-Kyle Orton(start): Orton somehow managed to stay in Denver this year, so his rapport with the receiving core has only grown. Although John Fox is known for the run, this should help Orton who was without much of a run game all of last year. And I forgot, that guy named Nnamdi Asomugha? He isn’t in town any more for the Raiders.
-Matt Cassel(sit): This matchup looks deceivingly good for the Chiefs offense, but don’t be fooled. With Cassel getting banged up earlier in the week, and the offense in general looking miserable throughout the preseason, the Chiefs could really struggle to move the ball. And if they do find a way to stroll down field the Bill’s defensive issues are in their run defense, hello Jamaal Charles.
-Josh Freeman(sit): Josh Freeman had a very successful 2010 campaign, but much of his success might have led to teams not necessarily being ready for him. This year expectations are high again, but teams are aware of his talent and will be able to better prepare. This week Freeman may find issues against a heavily bolstered Lions defensive line. Look for them to pound the ball with Legarrette Blount.
-DeAngelo Williams(start): Williams matches up well this week against the Cardinals defense who gave up the second most points to running backs last year. The issue with Williams has always been his health not his ability. Being that it’s week one and he just got a nice paycheck over the off season, expect Williams to have a solid day especially with the Panthers looking to ease Cam Newton into the offense.
-Frank Gore(start): This selection is more a product of the situation. Gore lines up across from the Seahawks who were in the bottom five of points allowed to running backs last year. On top of that, Gore’s quarterback is still Alex Smith, so if the 49ers want to win this game the rock has got to be in Gore’s hands. That being said Gore is also one of the best backs in the league. Pairing this with the situation, he is certainly lined up for some big numbers.
-Joseph Addai(sit): With Peyton Manning out for at least 2 months after an additional neck surgery today the Colt’s offense simply won’t be the same. The Colts should run a lot of two tight end sets which will pose beneficial for the run game in between the tackles, but this simply isn’t Addai’s strength. Kerry Collins is an underrated quarterback but don’t be surprised if the box is still stacked for most of the afternoon, the guy did retire for a reason.
-Tim Hightower(sit): A lot of hype has been given to Hightower over the offseason after the Redskins acquired him. He then took advantage of a Ryan Torain injury with an impressive preseason. The Giants have a very good defensive front line and with all the injuries in their secondary and line backing core, if there is anything they should be able to focus on it is stopping the run.
-Mario Manningham(start): Manningham has been put into a situation to flourish this year after finishing the season with three 100 yard games and the departure of Steve Smith to the Eagles. With Hakeem Nicks drawing most of the secondary’s attention, look for Manningham to get open early and often. Rumors of Manningham being used in the slot when the team reaches the red zone, also increase his fantasy value.
-Santonio Holmes(start): Holmes and Sanchez have created an efficient connection over the last year and it continued to show in the preseason. With Cowboys cornerback Terrance Newman seeming likely to sit out, Holmes will have an advantageous matchup and is likely to find the end zone.
-Miles Austin(sit): Miles Austin is a great player but unfortunately he runs into a better player this week in Darrelle Revis (Jets). Week after week this star cornerback shuts down opposing fantasy wide receivers and only the elite find ways to enjoy their stay on “Revis Island”, Austin isn’t one of them.
-Reggie Wayne(sit): Similar to the reason why Addai might not be the best start for this week, Peyton Manning not playing certainly hurts Wayne’s value too. Besides that though, Wayne seems to be on the decline in general and with just a week under his belt it will be hard for Kerry Collins to properly run the offense.
-Lance Kendricks(start): Somewhat of an unknown commodity, Kendricks will surely become a well known name throughout the season. The possibility of it starting this week is good since he runs into the Eagles defense. Their weak and unexpereinced line backing core begs for the tight end to have a big day making while making big gains down the middle of the field.
-Mercedes Lewis(start): Coming off what was a great fantasy year Lewis will be given a good opportunity to continue his success going into week one of 2011. With Garrard being released by the Jaguars, Luke McCown will man the helm and who a better friend for the not so talented starter than 6’6 275 pound Mercedes Lewis.
-Brent Celek(sit): It should be noted that Brent Celek is a great tight end and in another system could be a top guy. Unfortunately it has been well documented that the connection between him and Mike Vick just isn’t there. Not to mention with a young and troublesome offensive line it would not be surprising to see the Eagles keep Celek in to block on the majority of sets.
-Tony Gonzalez(sit): Tony Gonzalez was a top five tight end not so long ago, but unfortunately those days are behind him. Though he carries a big intriguing name, the 36 year old tight end has looked slow and worn down during the preseason and seems more suited to be used in the blocking game as of late.
-Browns(start): Although the Browns defense is probably not the first team that comes to mind for fantasy after finishing just 18th overall last year in total points for a defense, the matchup this week may provide value in deeper leagues. Andy Dalton has looked far from great throughout the preseason and the Bengals running back, Cedric Benson, was just released from prison a couple days ago. This matchup could shockingly provide a solid start.
-Giants(sit): Despite the matchup against the Redskins seeming very favorable for the G-men, as mentioned early the Giants defense has taken its share of hard hits over the preseason. After losing two linebackers, two cornerbacks, a defensive tackle, and big names Prince Amukamara and Osi Umenyiora out indefinitely this unit as a whole might be weaker than usual.