Reporting Chris Fillar
Cleveland (92.3 The Fan)- A quick explanation at the extremely encrypted color code that myself and Kenny Kidd will be using for our weekly Preview & Sit/Start articles throughout this season:
Red- Warm, hot, fire, good. We’re high on this particular player. Not saying start him at all costs (use judgement, obviously), but we feel they will have a solid week in their match up.
Blue- Cold, frigid, ice, the Smurfs movie. Avoid these players IF you believe you have a better option.
If you see Player A in Red, and Player B in Blue, it does NOT necessarily mean we believe A should start over B. It simply means that, for this particular week, we believe A’s value is higher than normal and B’s is lower.
The top half of the article is the Sit/Start section, followed by the Game Previews. Kidd and I will rotate scribing each section every week.
Specific questions can be directed to our Twitter accounts each Sunday if you’re really pressing.
Phillip Rivers would be a fun play for this particular week. He’s one of the final two quarterbacks to play (making for a possible exciting finish to your opening match up), and is not the other quarterback in the game, Carson Palmer. Not to mention, the Raiders inability to prevent big plays last season. The Michael Vick owners would also be wise to use their breakable weapon while he’s healthy, especially if you did the right thing and drafted a capable backup shortly after taking the duel-threat, glass QB. A depleted, young, possibly unconditioned (Fujita?) linebacker corps for the Browns may have a lot of trouble from both air and land based attacks, both of which Vick can execute. Although, it’s tough to argue if those backups are Matt Schaub or Sam Bradford (no, screw it, you have to play Vick).
What to do with Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Trent Richardson is the obvious conundrum for the opening games. What makes this more difficult is that, due to a weak year for depth at the position, owners likely don’t have terrific options to sub in. “All Day” will reportedly get about 10-15 touches (CBS Sports). Jax coach Mike Mularky is claiming MJD will be the 3rd-down back behind Rashad Jennings. And finally, we haven’t even heard the official word from Pat Shurmur, prior to Sunday, that TRich will even play.
My recommendation for these three scalliwags is to start a feature RB in their place (If you’re lucky or smart enough to have one). Otherwise, roll with the studs, they’re at least capable of homeruns with limited work. Possible replacements that you may have on the pine could include Ronnie Brown (starting in place of the injured, and hated by me, Ryan Matthews), DeAngelo Williams (IF Jon Stewart ends up OUT), or Isaac Redman.
Ever hear a player statistic from a season ago and say to yourself, “Oooooooh yeah!”. Did you remember that Nate Washington was a 1,000+ yard receiver and top-15 fantasy receiver? Now you do, and should start him if you have him. I don’t feel confident with Mike Wallace‘s first game in a brand new offense, against a great pass-rushing Denver team, and with another, possibly better, option in Antonio Brown streaking down the field at the same time.
Also, probably not a great idea to get cute with rookies and sleepers this early in the season. Players like Randy Moss, Justin Blackmon, Kendell Wright, Randall Cobb etc. won’t be seeing my starting lineups until they get their NFL Speed Sea-legs.
I have no clue why, nor will I research the reason, but St. Louis and Baltimore led the NFL last season in defense against the Tight End position. I will simply role with this statistic and proclaim Brandon Pettigrew and Jermaine Gresham to be blue in color.
Who gave up the most, you ask? First of all, don’t be so pushy. Second of all, the answer is good news for Coby Fleener (one of my sleepers, no less) and Dustin Keller, who I refuse to paint red due to the putrid Jets offense.
I’m not a huge supporter of owner multiple defenses directly after the draft. If they’re good, they should hold their own against even great offenses (San Francisco vs. GB). This is the time of year when teams should wait for past poor defenses to emerge, then add them in case your D turns out to be a flop. Which does happen every single year, both ways. But for the record, I suppose I can predict a massive point collection for Seattle against the torrid QB tandem of Skelton/Kolb.
Seriously? They’re kickers. Just freakin’ start one.
Game Previews (Kidd)
Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears
As the number 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck will have the eyes of the world watching him in this game. Unfortunately for him & the Colts, I think after the game more buzz will be around Jay Cutler & Brandon Marshall who I look to put up monster stats against a very weak Indianapolis Defense.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
The Jets Defense is very good & I expect Stevie Johnson & Fred Jackson to have a rough day.
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints
Robert Griffin The Third. I see it taking RG3 some time to get accustomed to the noise in New Orleans & I don’t see the rookie being able to do enough to outscore Drew Brees & the Saints.
New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans
In this one I look for The Patriots to start quick w/ Tom Brady utilizing his newest weapon Brandon Lloyd with a deep ball in the 1st drive ideally for an embarrassing 1 play 80 yard TD drive. Then completely ignore him most of the game as they kill the clock with Steven Ridley & quick completions to Tight Ends Rob Gronkowski & Aaron Hernandez. The Titans will be forced to play catch up all game and ultimately come up short by at least 2 scores. Chris Johnson won’t have the chance to be CJ2K in this one.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings
The most explosive weapons on these teams, MJD & AP will effectively cancel each other out & be almost non factors making this game absolutely the most boring of the week
Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans
I look for Houston to dominate on both sides of the ball against the Dolphins (leave the whole team on the bench). Not a question in my mind, this game will be over at the Half. Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson & Houston Def. should be in all line-ups this week. Arian Foster may not play so keep an eye on his status.
St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions
Detroit is a team that can handle success. After finally having a good season in 2011, I look for them to regress in 2012. Does it start Week 1? Absolutely Not. The Rams hope to be on the upside this year & I think it’ll be a competitive game, but I don’t see them containing let alone stopping Megatron
Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City
I think a healthy & stronger Chiefs team will shock teams this year & it all starts Week 1 against the Falcons. I see Matt Ryan having a good game but in the end I think the Running Back Duo of Charles & Hillis will keep it much closer much than most would expect.
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
49ers Defense is very good but not good enough to stop a very focused Green Bay Offense lead by in my opinion the best Quarterback in the League Aaron Rodgers.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Maybe no Marshawn lynch, but Robert Turbin is more than capable of handling the bulk of the carries.
Sunday Night Game
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
I’m not ready to declare Peyton Manning as “Back”, but there is no question, he’ll be the most prepared & have complete command of his offense. There’s not much that Dick Lebeau can throw at him that he hasn’t already seen. I think he’ll have a solid game but will throw a few picks as well.
Monday Night Games
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Two very good teams, This will be a slobberknocker & a lot closer than the 6.5 point spread leads you to believe. Ray Rice will have a good day weather he’s rushing, receiving or both. Lawfirm will have a rough day against the Ravens Def. I’d leave him on the bench if you have better options.
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
I don’t trust Norv Turner, I don’t trust Philip Rivers, I don’t even trust the strength & conditioning coach. This game is the reason you drafted Darren McFadden. He’s healthy, and when healthy he’s the best back in the league.
Browns Games 1pm Sunday
Philadelphia Eagles @ Cleveland Browns
LeSean McCoy will run all over the Browns. Trent Richardson is reported to get limited work so if you have a better option, it’d be smart to roll with it.