StrategySeptember 7, 2011

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Week 1 Lineup Decisions: Get ‘Em In There! - 6 comments

By Spencer Hilliard

Here are a few guys who you’re probably on the fence about starting but are primed to put up big numbers for you to kick off the 2011 fantasy football season. I’m not going to include guys like Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, etc. because you are starting these guys no matter what. I just want to give you some guys who might end up on your bench, but they need to be in your starting lineup.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Beanie is set up to have a great opening day against the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Williams, who was the favorite to steal carries from Beanie this year, is out for the season. The Panthers were horrible against the run last year, and they didn’t work too hard in the draft to improve their rush defense. They used their first overall pick to draft Cam Newton instead. With their rookie quarterback who, because of the lockout, hasn’t had the time rookies usually have to learn an offense and develop chemistry, expect the Cardinals to control this game and get ahead early, which will mean even more opportunities for Beanie.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints: The Jimmy Graham hype is picking up more and more steam each day. If you did your draft early this season and had the luxury of picking up Jimmy Graham late as a back up tight end, it’s going to pay off in Week 1. In fact, Antonio Gates is the only tight end I would start in front of Graham this week. The Saints are playing the Packers on Thursday for the season opener and it is going to be a shootout. Neither team is known for relying on their run game, so expect a lot of passes to be thrown during this one. Drew Brees has shown in the preseason that Graham will be one of his favorite targets, and while the Packers have a great defense, they give up a lot of fantasy points to tight ends. Expect Jimmy Graham to be a headache for the Packers and expect big numbers on Thursday.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens: I know, I know, it’s hard to recommend starting anyone who is going up against the stout Steelers defense, but of the Ravens I expect Boldin to have the best game fantasy wise. With speedy receiver Lee Evans spreading the field now for the Ravens, Boldin will be able to take on more of the role he had in Arizona alongside Fitzgerald. Not that Evans is anywhere close to the receiver Fitzgerald is, but he is still speedy enough to give Boldin some room, and Flacco will be looking for him often. Boldin also tends to fare very well against the Steelers, even though they’re one of the scariest defenses in the league.

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers and Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers: Everyone who had the luxury of picking up Mike Williams last year understand the chemistry these two developed so quickly in Williams’ rookie year. While Detroit has an improved defense that will get after the quarterback, their pass defense is still lacking and I don’t think it has developed enough to stop this solid young Buccaneers team. In the preseason Mike Williams has proved to still be Freeman’s favorite target, and they will hook up several times on Sunday against the Lions. Expect a huge opening day for these two Buccaneers.

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6 Responses to “Week 1 Lineup Decisions: Get ‘Em In There!”

  1. Hippo45 says:

    The only player people are drafting as a back up is Beanie Wells. Right now Wells looks like he is going to have a terrible day against the Panthers. The Cardinals are going to throw a lot and I just don’t see him putting up enough points to be starter worthy unless you have terrible starting running backs.

    People drafted Graham as their starter. He is the 5th TE being drafted right now. Of course they are going to start him.

    Boldin is a solid WR 2 for many fantasy owners this year. Yes, I agree that he should be started unless they have quality back ups. I wouldn’t say he is a must start this week.

    Freeman has been drafted as the starting QB in 12 team leagues. So it is pointless to tell people to start him. Also, if you picked him up as a back up, there is no way in hell people are going to bench Vick or Brady to start Freeman.

    Here is my list of must start candidates for week 1.

    RB- Hightower: He is going up against a banged up Giants defense and has looked good in preseason.

    TE- Kendricks: The Eagles gave up the most points to TEs last year and they don’t have great LBs or SS to cover him. Also, the WRs are going to be blanketed by the Eagles amazing CBs. So Bradford will be forced to look Kendricks way.

    WR- Berrian: McNabb and Berrian had good chemistry as Percy Harvin wasn’t on the field much during preseason. Don’t be surprised when McNabb sends the deep ball Berrian’s way a few times this week.

    QB- Orton: Going against the pathetic Raiders.

  2. TreyvianM says:

    Actually I am in a dilemma myself involving Freeman (who I have started based on this article). I am in a Keeper League where this is my first year and many of the others have been playing for at least 5. Meaning My QBs for the year are Kolb and Freeman. Everyone else has a strong hold on the “premier”QBs. So the ? to hippo is Kolb or Freeman since you believe cards will be throwing a lot.

  3. User avatar spinnuh says:

    Hippo, I understand your point about Graham being drafted highly in today’s drafts, but if you did your draft early enough which is what some experienced fantasy football managers prefer to do Graham was going very late. He was going after guys like Greg Olsen. The reason I say experienced players prefer to do early drafts is because many recreational players had no idea who Graham was until people started picking him up in drafts during early to mid August.

    Also, you act like Freeman is a must start but a great deal of managers don’t trust starting him after all the hype of Detroit’s revamped defense which looks like they intend on putting tons of pressure on quarterbacks. Not to mention he is also still a young quarterback that people have questions about, so some people are risking putting people that you mention like Orton into their starting lineup which is a horrible suggestion. Orton is a decent quarterback, but he is in a new system and his public discontent in Denver makes him a super risky start.

    In addition your prediction that the Cardinals will be throwing a lot is completely unfounded. Whisenhut has given nothing but praise to Beanie during this preseason and he will be getting tons of carries.

    And I won’t even comment on the suggestion that Hightower against the Giants and Berrian against the Chargers are “Must Starts”.

    You criticize my picks as obvious starts, but your picks are obvious reserves week one unless for some reason you’ve had a starter at each position break their leg during the preseason. Maybe in a 18 team league you contemplate starting the players you suggest. I understand they could end up being viable options, but I highly recommend not risking your opener on the guys you suggest.

  4. User avatar spinnuh says:


    I know you addressed this question to hippo, but roll with Freeman baby! You won’t be disappointed.

  5. TreyvianM says:

    Thanks. Thats who I have in atm. But im not comfortable enough with williams (as much as id like to) to bench welker or Nicks

  6. Hippo45 says:


    Go with Kolb. He passed a lot in the preseason and Panthers defense is worse than the Lions. Not to say that I don’t hope Freeman plays well because I own him in my league, but I think Kolb will do better. “Experts” on were saying that he would get around 290 yards and a couple touchdowns. He seems to be the safer option this week.


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