Your drafts are over so now it’s time to get down to business and start playing games. As I’ve done for the past two years, I’ll be providing some insight on which players I believe you should be starting and sitting each week. Everyone knows they should start LeSean McCoy, so his name will never show up in this space. The players mentioned are more or less guys in your final starting roster spots who you’re debating wheter to start or sit. I’m here to help you with the tough decisions.
The Twitter followers were thankful for my work last year, so I’m back to help them again. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics, like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Tony Romo (QB - Dallas)
It's Week 1 of the season, so all the elite QBs are healthy and primed for big seasons. You're decision on who to start at QB is only a true decision if you decided to go with a pu pu platter carousel. If that pu pu platter contains Tony Romo, then you're in pretty good shape. Romo will face a Giants defense that just lost a starting safety for the season and has talent and experience questions at cornerback. Romo should feast on these guys with a healthy set of receivers. And this comes from a guy who's a Giants fan.
Lamar Miller (RB - Miami)
One can only hope that talent wins out in competition. That's what Miller's owners have been hoping for in the so-called "competition" between he and Daniel Thomas for reps. Word out of Miami is that the coaching staff wasn't giving Miller the outright job to keep him motivated. We all know Thomas sucks. We've seen that for two straight years. Miller will see plenty of the rock in this road game.
Darryl Richardson (RB – St. Louis)
The wheels seem to be turning just west of the Mississippi. The Rams' offense looks ready to turn the corner, which means red-zone opportunities are on the horizon. Richardson is locked in as the #1 rushing option and primed to make fans forget Steven Jackson. (Ok, not really, but he'll do enough to be fantasy relevant starting with this week.)
Miles Austin (WR - Dallas)
If I'm on board with Tony Romo, that means I'm on board with Austin. His hamstrings aren't an issue this year after a new offseason program. With the Giants focusing their attention on studly Dez Bryant, look for Austin to shine in single coverage regardless of who the Giants have on him.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR - Pittsburgh)
This looks to be somewhat of an in-between year for Pittsburgh, but they still have some weapons in the passing game. With the running game in flux, look for Ben Roethlisberger to rely on his receivers this week against a Titans team that finished 26th against the pass last year and didn’t do enough to upgrade their pass defense in the offseason.
Zach Sudfeld (TE – New England)
If Sudfeld is going to be fantasy relevant this year, this is the week for him to show that. Rob Gronkowski won’t play and the Bills rookie QB could potentially give New England good field position throughout the game. Sudfeld won’t play the whole game, but his 30-40 snaps will be meaningful.
You Know Who Should Sit?
Andy Dalton (QB - Cincinnati)
The Bengals made upgrades to their offense this year by drafting Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert, but the offense won't be in full sync for a couple weeks. A.J. Green and Eifert missed preseason games due to injury and Andrew Hawkins is on IR for the first half of the season. Combine that with a tough road environment in Chicago plus a tough opposing defense and the results won't necessarily be there for Dalton this week.
Ryan Mathews (RB – San Diego)
Previous owners of Mathews know that he's a bum. He's actually looked somewhat sharp in preseason, but we're all waiting for that other shoe to drop. Houston's run defense is among the league's toughest and the Chargers don't have the air attack to keep the defense honest. Mathews may find his footing at some point, but it won't be this week.
Montee Ball (RB - Denver)
Rookie RBs can be fantasy gold, but Denver isn’t ready to unleash Ball just yet. It looks like Knowshon Moreno will start and Ball will be part of a three-headed monster. The potential is there and it could all be a smokescreen, but the Broncos showed last year they’re willing to use a committee. Ball could turn into something, but it’s not worth risking the start this week on a seven carry for 38-yard performance.
Vincent Jackson (WR – Tampa Bay)
I’m calling this on a big hunch for Week 1. It would definitely be tough to bench Jackson given that he’s probably your #1 or #2 WR, but sometimes you need to make bold decisions. Jackson will be going up against Antonio Cromartie this weekend and that doesn’t bode well for his numbers. Cromartie has the straight line speed to prevent Jackson from getting his typical downfield catches. Cromartie will also be extra motivated to show Darrelle Revis that the Jets aren’t going to miss their former teammate.
Steve Smith (WR – Carolina)
Richard Sherman has proven he’s as good a cornerback as there is in the NFL. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason between Sherman and Revis, so Sherman will be fired up for Week 1. His physical brand of defense should work well against the smaller Smith. Smith will have his days this year, but there are better options this weekend.
Jermichael Finley (TE – Green Bay)
Finley sucks. He’s sucked for the past two seasons. He has hands of stone. I’m not buying that he’s on the same page as Rodgers now. That doesn’t fix his lack of hand talent. The 49ers only gave up double digit points to TEs in 4 games last year. Finley has to show me something before I back him.