Start & SitSeptember 4, 2012

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Week 1: It’s Here, and It’s Spectacular - 14 comments

By R.J. White

Football — the real football, not that Trent Edwards/Brady Quinn stuff that’s been served up on a platter for the past month — is back for 2012. Changes you’ll be seeing in Week 1 include replacement referees, longer games laced with more automatic reviews, later afternoon start times and some new QB in Denver. A change you’ll see right now involves our weekly start/sit column.

In the past, we’ve used a formula to give you each player’s start-ability on a 100-1 scale. This season, we’ll be offering up average rankings from our list-makers, meaning that for the first time in years in this space, lower numbers reign supreme.

Thanks to truninerfan for ranking all six fantasy positions with me, to murphysxm for hitting QB/RB/WR/TE and to unc_rules1540 for ranking QBs and WRs. I’ve combined their rankings with my own, which are published at Fantasy Pros along with those from analysts across the fantasy landscape, to give you the Cafe’s first Start/Sit of the season.

1Aaron RodgersGBvs. SF1.2
2Tom BradyNEat TEN3.0
3Drew BreesNOvs. WAS3.8
4Cam NewtonCARat TB4.0
5Matthew StaffordDETvs. STL4.4
6Matt RyanATLat KC5.8
7Eli ManningNYGvs. DAL8.0
8Tony RomoDALat NYG8.4
9Michael VickPHIat CLE8.6
10Robert Griffin IIIWASat NO9.8
11Philip RiversSDat OAK11.0
12Jay CutlerCHIvs. IND12.6
13Peyton ManningDENvs. PIT13.6
14Ben RoethlisbergerPITat DEN13.6
15Matt SchaubHOUvs. MIA14.4
16Carson PalmerOAKvs. SD16.8
17Andrew LuckINDat CHI17.2
18Joe FlaccoBALvs. CIN19.0
19Jake LockerTENvs. NE20.2
20Russell WilsonSEAat ARI20.2
21Josh FreemanTBvs. CAR21.0
22Sam BradfordSTLat DET22.4
23Alex SmithSFat GB22.6
24Ryan FitzpatrickBUFat NYJ23.0
25Matt CasselKCvs. ATL24.2
26Andy DaltonCINat BAL25.0
27Christian PonderMINvs. JAC27.0
28Mark SanchezNYJvs. BUF27.6
29Brandon WeedenCLEvs. PHI28.8
30Blaine GabbertJACat MIN29.0
31Ryan TannehillMIAat HOU30.6
32John SkeltonARIvs. SEA31.2
33Tim TebowNYJvs. BUF33.4
34Nick FolesPHIat CLE34.6

Start: Robert Griffin III. We’re clearly buying into the RG3 hype in Week 1, ranking him ahead of proven options like Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning. You may have heard something about the Saints defense this offseason, and a rash of injuries could make for a highlight-package debut for the Heisman winner.

Sit: Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning may be the biggest “name” commodity in the history of fantasy football, but if you can get past that Hall-of-Fame resume, you have a quarterback who still has trouble making all the throws necessary to succeed playing in an offense with a poor route-runner as a No. 1 option and a subpar line. If I owned him in any league (which didn’t happen in any of my drafts due to risk aversion), I’d sell high after one great performance. We don’t think that’s coming this week.

RankRunning BacksTeamOppAverage
1LeSean McCoyPHIat CLE1.4
2Arian FosterHOUvs. MIA3.0
3Matt ForteCHIvs. IND3.0
4Ray RiceBALvs. CIN3.4
5Darren McFaddenOAKvs. SD5.0
6Marshawn LynchSEAat ARI7.4
7Steven JacksonSTLat DET8.0
8DeMarco MurrayDALat NYG8.2
9Doug MartinTBvs. CAR9.4
10Chris JohnsonTENvs. NE9.4
11Jamaal CharlesKCvs. ATL14.8
12Fred JacksonBUFat NYJ14.8
13Rashad JenningsJACat MIN15.4
14Stevan RidleyNEat TEN15.4
15Shonn GreeneNYJvs. BUF15.8
16Darren SprolesNOvs. WAS16.0
17Reggie BushMIAat HOU16.8
18Ahmad BradshawNYGvs. DAL18.4
19Kevin SmithDETvs. STL18.8
20Frank GoreSFat GB22.0
21Donald BrownINDat CHI22.4
22Willis McGaheeDENvs. PIT25.0
23Michael TurnerATLat KC25.2
24Cedric BensonGBvs. SF26.0
25Jonathan StewartCARat TB26.2
26Toby GerhartMINvs. JAC26.6
27Peyton HillisKCvs. ATL26.8
28Ronnie BrownSDat OAK27.6
29BenJarvus Green-EllisCINat BAL28.2
30Michael BushCHIvs. IND28.4
31DeAngelo WilliamsCARat TB29.4
32Beanie WellsARIvs. SEA31.8
33Ben TateHOUvs. MIA32.0
34Mark IngramNOvs. WAS35.6
35Roy HeluWASat NO37.2
36Jonathan DwyerPITat DEN37.4
37C.J. SpillerBUFat NYJ37.6
38Jacquizz RodgersATLat KC38.6
39Trent RichardsonCLEvs. PHI39.8
40Adrian PetersonMINvs. JAC39.8
41Isaac RedmanPITat DEN40.6
42Maurice Jones-DrewJACat MIN40.8
43David WilsonNYGvs. DAL41.0
44Daniel ThomasMIAat HOU42.0
45Ryan WilliamsARIvs. SEA42.8
46Alfred MorrisWASat NO44.2
47Pierre ThomasNOvs. WAS45.0
48Evan RoysterWASat NO45.8
49Montario HardestyCLEvs. PHI48.6
50Kendall HunterSFat GB49.0

Start: Rashad Jennings. Maurice Jones-Drew is back, but he’s relegated to carrying Jennings’s equipment this week, as the Jaguars have committed to starting the guy that’s been in camp all offseason. Against the Vikings, I think the Jags offense will consist of Jennings run on first, Jennings run on second, pass to Justin Blackmon on third. Count on 25 touches for the borderline RB1.

Sit: Isaac Redman. Redman has been drafted like a starter all throughout the preseason, but it turns out that he’s not only stymied by the impending return of Rashard Mendenhall (who could be back by Week 6) but also the emergence of Jonathan Dwyer, who seems likely to draw the start in Week 1 and could have a slight edge in touches by the end of the game. Sadly, Redman’s peak value came and went before any real football was played.

RankWide ReceiversTeamOppAverage
1Calvin JohnsonDETvs. STL1.0
2Brandon MarshallCHIvs. IND3.4
3Julio JonesATLat KC4.4
4Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. SEA5.2
5Andre JohnsonHOUvs. MIA6.6
6Roddy WhiteATLat KC7.4
7Greg JenningsGBvs. SF7.8
8Hakeem NicksNYGvs. DAL10.0
9A.J. GreenCINat BAL10.4
10Jeremy MaclinPHIat CLE11.4
11Victor CruzNYGvs. DAL11.8
12Dez BryantDALat NYG12.2
13Marques ColstonNOvs. WAS13.4
14Percy HarvinMINvs. JAC13.4
15Jordy NelsonGBvs. SF14.2
16Wes WelkerNEat TEN14.6
17Steve SmithCARat TB18.2
18Dwayne BoweKCvs. ATL21.2
19Justin BlackmonJACat MIN21.6
20Miles AustinDALat NYG22.8
21Antonio BrownPITat DEN23.2
22Eric DeckerDENvs. PIT23.4
23Vincent JacksonTBvs. CAR23.6
24Torrey SmithBALvs. CIN23.6
25Reggie WayneINDat CHI24.0
26Nate WashingtonTENvs. NE25.2
27Mike WallacePITat DEN28.8
28Demaryius ThomasDENvs. PIT29.0
29Pierre GarconWASat NO29.6
30DeSean JacksonPHIat CLE30.4
31Brandon LloydNEat TEN31.6
32Darrius Heyward-BeyOAKvs. SD32.2
33Titus YoungDETvs. STL32.4
34Robert MeachemSDat OAK32.8
35Steve JohnsonBUFat NYJ33.0
36Malcom FloydSDat OAK33.8
37Lance MooreNOvs. WAS35.4
38Greg LittleCLEvs. PHI37.6
39Michael CrabtreeSFat GB39.4
40Danny AmendolaSTLat DET39.8
41Kendall WrightTENvs. NE42.4
42Anquan BoldinBALvs. CIN42.4
43Brandon LaFellCARat TB43.2
44Sidney RiceSEAat ARI44.0
45Davone BessMIAat HOU44.2
46Santonio HolmesNYJvs. BUF44.8
47Austin CollieINDat CHI46.2
48Steve SmithSTLat DET46.8
49Mike WilliamsTBvs. CAR48.8
50Santana MossWASat NO49.6
51Denarius MooreOAKvs. SD52.0
52Golden TateSEAat ARI52.6
53Emmanuel SandersPITat DEN53.8
54Devery HendersonNOvs. WAS54.4
55Doug BaldwinSEAat ARI55.0
56Steve BreastonKCvs. ATL55.6
57Brandon StokleyDENvs. PIT56.2
58Nate BurlesonDETvs. STL56.8
59Earl BennettCHIvs. IND57.4
60Harry DouglasATLat KC58.0
61Donnie AveryINDat CHI58.6
62Early DoucetARIvs. SEA59.2
63James JonesGBvs. SF59.8
64Laurent RobinsonJACat MIN60.4
65Julian EdelmanNEat TEN61.0
66Jason AvantPHIat CLE61.6
67David NelsonBUFat NYJ62.2
68Jon BaldwinKCvs. ATL62.8
69Josh GordonCLEvs. PHI63.4
70Keshawn MartinHOUvs. MIA64.0
71Randy MossSFat GB64.6
72Eddie RoyalSDat OAK65.2
73Preston ParkerTBvs. CAR65.8
74Damian WilliamsTENvs. NE66.4
75Domenik HixonNYGvs. DAL67.0

Start: Justin Blackmon. Let’s double up on Jaguars this week — did I just say that? The preseason has shown us that the Jaguars plan to take advantage of Blackmon’s catch-and-run abilities, a smart move considering Blaine Gabbert’s inability to stretch defenses. That’s going to mean a lot of wind sprints for Laurent Robinson and plenty of targets for Blackmon each week. I think he’s a safe WR2 at worst.

Sit: Santonio Holmes. The Jets offense looked like a complete mess this preseason, and while poor preseason play isn’t always a harbinger of things to come, fantasy owners can’t feel comfortable going to Holmes in Week 1, especially with Mario Williams likely setting up shop in the Jets backfield and pressing Mark Sanchez into five-yard ducks all day.

RankTight EndsTeamOppAverage
1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. WAS1.0
2Rob GronkowskiNEat TEN3.0
3Vernon DavisSFat GB3.6
4Aaron HernandezNEat TEN3.6
5Antonio GatesSDat OAK4.2
6Jermichael FinleyGBvs. SF6.6
7Fred DavisWASat NO8.8
8Kyle RudolphMINvs. JAC10.0
9Dustin KellerNYJvs. BUF10.2
10Tony GonzalezATLat KC10.6
11Greg OlsenCARat TB10.6
12Brandon PettigrewDETvs. STL11.0
13Jared CookTENvs. NE12.6
14Jermaine GreshamCINat BAL14.2
15Jacob TammeDENvs. PIT15.2
16Owen DanielsHOUvs. MIA15.6
17Brent CelekPHIat CLE16.2
18Lance KendricksSTLat DET18.0
19Heath MillerPITat DEN19.6
20Dwayne AllenINDat CHI20.8
21Martellus BennettNYGvs. DAL22.6
22Colby FleenerINDat CHI22.6
23Marcedes LewisJACat MIN23.2
24Anthony FasanoMIAat HOU23.8
25Jason WittenDALat NYG25.0
26Ben WatsonCLEvs. PHI25.6
27Scott ChandlerBUFat NYJ26.2
28Dennis PittaBALvs. CIN26.8
29Kevin BossKCvs. ATL27.0
30Tony MoeakiKCvs. ATL27.4
31Kellen DavisCHIvs. IND28.4

Start: Kyle Rudolph. This Vikings second-year tight end is one of my favorite breakout candidates of the year. Fully recovered from an injury that dogged him all of last year and part of his final college season, Rudolph has developed good chemistry with Christian Ponder. The absence of Jerome Simpson will also help Rudolph immediately establish himself as an under-the-radar TE1 option moving forward.

Bench: Jacob Tamme. His familiarity with Peyton Manning led to Tamme shooting up draft boards throughout August, but he could very well split targets evenly with Joel Dreessen this year. We still like Tamme as the better option, but not enough to rely on him as a starter until we see how things develop in Denver.

RankTeam DefenseTeamOppAverage
1TexansHOUvs. MIA2.2
2BearsCHIvs. IND3.8
3LionsDETvs. STL4.0
4GiantsNYGvs. DAL4.4
5EaglesPHIat CLE6.2
649ersSFat GB6.6
7SeahawksSEAat ARI8.2
8PackersGBvs. SF9.2
9BillsBUFat NYJ9.6
10RavensBALvs. CIN10.6
11PatriotsNEat TEN11.0
12SteelersPITat DEN11.2
13VikingsMINvs. JAC12.0
14BengalsCINat BAL12.0
15JetsNYJvs. BUF13.6
16RaidersOAKvs. SD15.8
17FalconsATLat KC16.8
18BroncosDENvs. PIT17.4
19CowboysDALat NYG17.6
20SaintsNOvs. WAS19.0
21BuccaneersTBvs. CAR19.8
22JaguarsJACat MIN20.2
23CardinalsARIvs. SEA21.2
24ChargersSDat OAK21.6
25PanthersCARat TB21.8
26ChiefsKCvs. ATL26.4
27DolphinsMIAat HOU28.0
28ColtsINDat CHI29.0
29RedskinsWASat NO29.0
30TitansTENvs. NE29.2
31RamsSTLat DET29.4
32BrownsCLEvs. PHI30.4

Start: Buffalo Bills. The addition of Mario Williams makes this front seven an imposing bunch, while Stephen Gilmore gives the secondary an immediate talent boost. It’ll be hard for even great offenses to have regular success against this defensive unit, and the Jets offense is most certainly not great. Give the Bills multiple sacks and multiple turnovers this week.

Sit: Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have a rough task ahead of them in Week 1, taking on a Giants offense that has to be feeling a ton of disrespect after winning a Super Bowl and then being rewarded with 24-hour Tebow News Network coverage. They’ll take it all out at home on the Cowboys, who should struggle keeping up with all the weapons the Giants have to offer.

1David AkersSFat GB1.6
2Sebastian JanikowskiOAKvs. SD1.8
3Jason HansonDETvs. STL4.6
4Garrett HartleyNOvs. WAS4.6
5Robbie GouldCHIvs. IND6.0
6Alex HeneryPHIat CLE6.0
7Stephen GostkowskiNEat TEN6.2
8Mason CrosbyGBvs. SF8.6
9Dan BaileyDALat NYG10.2
10Nate KaedingSDat OAK10.4
11Matt PraterDENvs. PIT11.2
12Matt BryantATLat KC13.2
13Lawrence TynesNYGvs. DAL13.4
14Shayne GrahamHOUvs. MIA15.2
15Dan CarpenterMIAat HOU16.0
16Mike NugentCINat BAL17.0
17Rob BironasTENvs. NE17.2
18Shaun SuishamPITat DEN17.2
19Justin MedlockCARat TB20.2
20Justin TuckerBALvs. CIN20.6
21Steven HauschkaSEAat ARI21.0
22Rian LindellBUFat NYJ21.6
23Greg ZuerleinSTLat DET21.6
24Nick FolkNYJvs. BUF22.0
25Jay FeelyARIvs. SEA23.4
26Connor BarthTBvs. CAR25.4
27Ryan SuccopKCvs. ATL26.4
28Billy CundiffWASat NO26.6
29Josh ScobeeJACat MIN27.4
30Adam VinatieriINDat CHI29.0
31Blair WalshMINvs. JAC30.4
32Phil DawsonCLEvs. PHI32.0

Start: A kicker. If you did the smart thing during an early draft and passed on drafting a kicker in favor of picking up a wild card at the RB position, don’t forget to cut someone on your team and grab a kicker before it’s too late. We’ve seen in the past that kicker points are hard to predict — turn this list upside down and you might have just as good a shot at finding a good one …

Sit: Phil Dawson. Except for Dawson. The Eagles gave up the fewest points to kickers last season, and the defense has improved immensely, both at the LB position and by finally treating Nnamdi Asomugha like Nnamdi Asomugha and not Charles Woodson. If Trent Richardson can’t play or is limited, this offense doesn’t have a prayer at moving the ball, which could limit Dawson to four or five points at best.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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14 Responses to “Week 1: It’s Here, and It’s Spectacular”

  1. User avatar joejlitz says:

    Woo Hoo! Football is back! Great list, guys! Looking forward to reading this every week.

  2. As am I!

  3. Antonio Brown should be higher!

  4. towelie616 says:

    Who would you start between Miles Austin and Donald Brown, no PPR?

  5. User avatar daullaz says:

    I’d probably go with Austin over Brown.

  6. sparrowsmad says:

    Any body want to give me their advice on which 2 i should start? Slim Pickins
    Michael Turner
    Frank Gore
    Rashad Jennings
    DeAngelo Williams


  7. User avatar rclement3915 says:

    Good stuff.

    Sparrow, id say start Turner and Gore in week1.
    No need to get fancy.

  8. msimmons says:

    I’ve got Mason Crosby and am looking at picking up Folk (NYJ) but i don’t have the bench space to carry both. Does it make sense to drop Crosby for Folk based in this week’s projections or should I keep the higher ranked kicker?

  9. User avatar rasmusDoh says:

    You got Nicks ranked at 8, but do you think the giants might limit his snaps to help his (former) foot injury?

    I’ve gotta start 2 of Nicks, Harvin and Nelson and really wanna start Nicks – but i’m scared they’ll limit his snaps!

  10. User avatar daullaz says:

    @msimmons: Keep Crosby.

    @sparrowsmad: Jennings is a must-start out of that group. Turner and Gore figure to lose a lot of touches this season. Between the two, Turner’s probably a safer play this week.

    @rasmusDoh: If Nicks is active, he deserves a spot on your starting roster. The Giants will pick on rookie CB Morris Claiborne, who will be tasked with covering Nicks.

  11. User avatar rasmusDoh says:

    Alright! But since i’m from Denmark and ain’t gonna be staying up until game time (2.30 am here), do i take the risk of starting him with his questionable tag? I mean is it pretty much for sure he’s starting? I know he says so himself, but still?

  12. User avatar daullaz says:

    @rasmusDoh: Yes, I’d go with him.

  13. mattk89 says:

    QB PPR – Luck, Wilson, or Alex Smith?

  14. ArgyleSocks says:

    ok this is my first time trying Fantasy football. I promise i won’t comment as much as this again. :)
    i’m having difficulties choosing my QB i know not to start Brandon Weeden, but i’m trying to choose between RB3 and Russell Wilson. In a No PPR league.

    WR I have:
    Pierre Garcon
    Marques Colston
    Braylon Edwards
    Steve Johnson
    Steve Smith(Car)

    RB I have:
    DeAngelo Williams
    LeSean McCoy
    Michael Bush
    Mark Ingram

    I’m looking at starting these
    Russell Wilson
    DeAngelo Williams
    LeSean McCoy
    Pierre Garcon
    Marques Colston
    Aaron Hernandez
    Braylon Edwards
    Garrett Hartley kicking and
    Eagles def.

    Is this a good choice of start? I know it’s alot to digest but maybe someone can throw some help my way.
    thanks in advance


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