By Kevin Lewis
QB’s To START
QB Rex Grossman, WSH – I never ever thought I would put Rex Grossman’s name here as a “start em” candidate but his play in Washington so far has earned him some praise. In four starts as a Redskin, Grossman has 1,145 yards pass with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s going against the same Arizona Cardinals defense that gave up 422 yards passing to Cam Newton this past Sunday. Grossman is a must start this week, as I think he puts up huge numbers.
QB Chad Henne, MIA- Also file Henne under the surprise in the “Start Em” category. He did throw for 400+ against the Patriots on Monday night and the Houston secondary is spotty until proven otherwise. Their scrimmage against the Colts meant little by way of evaluation. Couple the fact that Houston will score repeatedly meaning more pass attempts and you have a big game for Henne. I think he goes for 300+ and at least 2 again.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT– Only reason he is here is the fickle nature of fantasy football owners. I’ll keep this short and simple. I know he stunk last week, but he’s Ben Roethlisberger and he’s playing against the Seahawks this week. Take this to the bank.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF– Fitzpatrick has turned out to be a decent fantasy option over the course of the last two years. Since he took over last year only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have thrown more touchdowns. That being said, I think it is more of a fluke than anything else. Oakland can rush the passer, and I think Oakland’s running game keeps Fitzpatrick off the field enough to negatively affect A) his rhythm B) his # of opportunities.
Kevin Kolb, ARI– The Skins did a good job in flustering Eli Manning last week. I like the Redskins defense this year and I think Kolb could be a little risky with the football this week leading to a couple turnovers.
Sam Bradford, STL– Bradford is already banged up, he still has no WRs, the playcalling seems exactly the same as it was last year and the Giants will be looking for revenge. Now it’s still early and all of the Rams woes can turn around but I wouldn’t rely on Bradford this week, especially given the fact that he’s wounded.
Matt Cassel, KC– I’m not a big believer in Cassel to begin with for a variety of reasons. Add that the limited time he had to work with his targets in the offseason, a brutal performance last week, and that Detroit defensive line and you have several reasons to sit him this week.
RB’s To Start
James Starks, GB– It’s quite clear to even the untrained eye that James Starks is the best running back on the Packers roster. Starks had 12 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown last week against the Saints. This Panthers team let up 102 yards to Beanie Wells last week. Starks is a better back, so he should make the most of his opportunities this week.
LeGarrette Blount, TB– He will not contribute much in the passing game, and needs game conditions to be ideal to be a good start. That being said, do not rush to judgment based on last week’s game. He will get more carries this week and should be productive. Do not panic.
Tim Hightower, WAS– Hightower had 97 total yards and a touchdown last week against the Giants. Arizona’s defense is very spotty and in PPR leagues he should contribute coming out of the backfield.
Mark Ingram, NO– Chicago’s defense is nasty. Mark Ingram is in his second professional game and given the nature of the Bears defense, Darren Sproles will see a lot of playing time I believe. I like Ingram this year but not Sunday.
Ladainian Tomlinson, NYJ- Tomlinson was instrumental in helping the Jets in their comeback effort against the Cowboys. He had just five carries for 16 yards, but also had six catches for 73 yards. The Jets should be ahead in this game, which means Tomlinson won’t be needed as much as a receiver. And with Greene expected to get the bulk of the carries, Tomlinson’s production should take a significant hit.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR- The Packers run defense was up to its usual self against the Saints by holding Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles to a combined 78 rushing yards on 20 attempts. Sproles and Thomas did combine for 112 receiving yards on 11 catches, but Williams has shown he isn’t a factor in the passing game. He also struggled in Week 1 at Arizona with 12 carries for 30 yards and one catch for 6 yards, and don’t be surprised if he has another low total this week.
WR’s To Start
Mario Manningham, NYG– I expect Nicks to be limited, and I expect the Giants to take advantage of a leaky secondary. Both things being considered, I expect Manningham to bounce back from his four catch, 47 yard output last week. Start him with confidence.
Santana Moss, WAS- Moss is coming off a solid game against the Giants with six catches for 76 yards on a team-high eight targets. The Cardinals looked lost on defense in Week 1 against the Panthers when they allowed 13 catches for 269 yards and two touchdowns to receivers All the Redskins receiving targets are viable plays this week, but Moss is unquestionably the best of the bunch.
Jordy Nelson, GB- The Panthers secondary let up 300+ yards to Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals last week. They face arguably the best set of WRs in football this week. Nelson went for 6 catches and 77 yards against the Saints and was targeted eight times. I expect that trend to continue. He’s a solid start as your #3.
Chad Ochocinco, NE-I took him in two of my leagues but I’m not panicking. That being said, if he’s having trouble picking up the playbook and the Pats just put up 512 passing yards on the Dolphins, what makes anyone think he’s going to get significant playing time this week? Unfortunately I think Ocho has to actually do something before getting back into the starting lineup.
Julio Jones, ATL- The Eagles have an incredible secondary, and if last week was any indication they’re going to have some issues in pass protection. In his second professional game, it’s probably a good idea to sit Jones down.
Mike Thomas, JAC-Thomas was great for PPR owners in Week 1 when he had eight catches for 55 yards on 11 targets, but in a standard league those numbers aren’t very attractive. This week, Thomas will struggle going against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie this week. Leave him on the bench.
TE”s To Start
Aaron Hernandez, NE- This will probably be the last time he’s listed here as from here on out it should be common sense to start him. That being said, even against an excellent pass defense he should get his. Hernandez lines up everywhere and that should help his production all year. Start him with confidence.
Brandon Pettigrew, DET– The Chiefs allowed Bills tight end Scott Chandler to score two touchdowns last week on five catches for 63 yards. Pettigrew had a productive game in Week 1 at Tampa Bay with four catches for 57 yards, but he should improve this week based on the matchup. Eric Berry being out will be critical to the Chiefs secondary.
Tony Gonzalez, ATL: Gonzalez had five catches for 72 yards on seven targets against the Chicago Bears, and he should play well again this week. The smart way to attack Philadelphia’s defense is over the middle since they have amazing cornerbacks, and Gonzalez could be featured in this matchup. Last year at Philadelphia he had three catches for 19 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s worth starting this week in the majority of leagues.
Dustin Keller, NYJ– While Keller will be good this year I believe, with an injured CB and the fact that the Jets are trying to reinforce the run this week I’d stay away from Keller.
Jared Cook, TE– The Ravens defense is excellent. While a TE is a QB’s best friend, Cook should struggle this week with Hasselbeck throwing him the ball against a great Ravens defense.
Zach Miller, SEA– This one is easy. The Steelers got embarrassed last week. The Seahawks are going against the Steelers this week. Tarvaris Jackson is his QB. Don’t start him.