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NFL Fantasy Start em & Sit em

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  • NFL Fantasy Start em & Sit em

    For those last minute decisions.

    START OF THE WEEK
    Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit: Jones' stock soared in the preseason, as some owners decided to choose him in the middle of the first round in countless drafts. Those owners will be rewarded for their wise selection in the regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers, whose run defense has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. The Pack were shredded on the ground throughout the preseason, so Lions head coach Steve Mariucci is certain to utilize his stud back on a regular basis in what has a chance to be a real shootout at Ford Field. Look for the former Virginia Tech standout to rush for better than 100 yards (which would be his fourth such performace in his past six starts) and one touchdown in this NFC North contest.


    QUARTERBACKS -- START 'EM
    Tom Brady, New England: Brady isn't underrated in the realm of pro football (how could he be with three championships in four seasons)? But the veteran does lack respect as a Fantasy Football starter because he doesn't post enormous stat lines like Peyton Manning or Daunte Culpepper. That label should be altered this season, however, and that shift in respect will start at Gillette Stadium against the Oakland Raiders. The silver and black will have a sick offensive attack with WR Randy Moss in the mix, but their defense could make their fans, well, sick. Brady, who has thrown three touchdown passes in two of his past three regular-season openers, should record solid numbers and is a nice option in most formats.
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    Carson Palmer, Cincinati: Palmer received an unbelieveable amount of attention in the preseason and became one of the more attractive quarterbacks in drafts. The former Southern California standout and Heisman winner will start to prove his fans correct in the opener on the road against the Cleveland Browns, who have one of the league's more questionable defenses. The last time Palmer faced his AFC North foe, he threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns in a 58-48 shootout. While he won't duplicate those impressive touchdowns totals, Palmer should pass for at least 250 yards and toss two-to-three scores (with at least one to WR Chad Johnson) in a contest that should produce a lot of points, both on the scoreboard and in Fantasy Football.
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    Other quarterbacks to start: Marc Bulger at San Francisco; Jake Dellhomme vs. New Orleans; Chad Pennington at Kansas City; Jake Plummer at Miami


    QUARTERBACKS -- SIT 'EM
    Aaron Brooks, New Orleans: The Saints have endured difficult times in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and face an uncertain future with the Superdome in virtual ruins. With these issues on their minds, it could be difficult to focus on the task at hand: a difficult intradivision contest on the road against a Carolina Panthers team that possesses a solid defensive backfield. Brooks, who has thrown for a mere one touchdown in each of his past three starts at Bank of America Stadium, will face relentless pressure from DE Julius Peppers and the Panthers' entire front seven and could be forced into some bad decisions that result in turnovers. The Saints won't score much in this NFC South battle, so expect little success from Brooks.
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    David Carr, Houston: Carr's name continues to be mentioned among sleepers and potential breakouts on preseason sites and print publications, but he has done little to warrant either label. He looked terrible in the preseason (one touchdown, four interceptions) and could lack some confidence as he heads to Orchard Park to face a Buffalo Bills team with a solid defensive backfield. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is certain to throw the house at Carr in order to force him into some poor throws and a turnover or two, which he's been prone to in the past. To further demean his value as a starter this week, Carr threw for a mere six touchdowns with 10 interceptions in eight road starts last season. Unless you're desperate for a starter, it's advised to leave Carr in park.
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    Other quarterbacks to sit: Drew Bledsoe at San Diego; Matt Hasselbeck at Jacksonville; Patrick Ramsey vs. Chicago; Kurt Warner at N.Y. Giants


    RUNNING BACKS -- START 'EM
    Steven Jackson, St. Louis: Rams head coach Mike Martz named Jackson the unquestioned starter in the offseason even with future Hall-of-Fame RB Marshall Faulk still in the mix, and the powerful back will make that decision look brilliant against a San Francisco 49ers defense that leaves much to be desired. Last season the 'Niners allowed 22 touchdowns on the ground -- that tied with Cleveland for the most in the league -- so Martz is certain to attack that weakness with a boatload of carries to Jackson. The former Oregon State standout, who rushed for 119 yards in his last start against San Francisco, should produce a solid stat line and is a great No. 2 or flex option in all formats.
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    Other running backs to start: Mike Anderson at Miami; Rudi Johnson at Cleveland; Curtis Martin at Kansas City; Brian Westbrook at Atlanta


    RUNNING BACKS -- SIT 'EM
    Thomas Jones, Chicago: Jones had a fantastic preseason and will start the regular season atop the Bears' depth chart, but that doesn't mean he's a must-start option in Week 1. The older brother of Cowboys RB Julius Jones, Thomas has a difficult task on the road against a Washington Redskins defense that allowed the second-fewest rushing yards (81.5) and tied for the third-fewest rushing touchdowns (7) last season. To further decrease his value as a potential starter, rookie RB Cedric Benson will be active and in the mix on offense, albeit in a limited role due to his lack of reps in the preseason. Unless you're in desperate need of a flex starter in leagues with 12-plus teams, it's better to leave Jones on the bench.
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    Ronnie Brown, Miami: The extended contractual holdout that limited Brown to a mere 11 carries in the preseason will keep him from a true featuered role in his first pro regular-season contest. Dolphins head coach Nick Saban said he will allow the rookie between 12-15 touches against the Denver Broncos, which isn't enough looks to produce the sort of numbers owners want to start the season. In fact, it could be Sammy Morris or Travis Minor, not Brown, who sees more reps in the backfield as Saban looks to ease him into the offense. Though his long-term potential as a pro starter is limitless, Brown is surrounded with questions this week and should be left either on the bench or activated as a desperation flex option in leagues with 12-plus teams.
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    Other running backs to sit: J.J. Arrington at N.Y. Giants; Reuben Droughns vs. Cincinnati; Travis Henry at Pittsburgh; Larry Johnson vs. N.Y. Jets
    WIDE RECEIVERS -- START 'EM
    Hines Ward, Pittsburgh: Ward didn't see much action in the preseason due to a contractual holdout, but that won't affect the veteran wide receiver when the regular-season bell tolls. One of the best overall wideouts in the entire league, Ward should be able to find open seams in the Tennessee Titans' defensive backfield and will be a prominent option for second-year QB Ben Roethlisberger when the Steelers look to the air. Though the addition of rookie CB Adam "Pacman" Jones should be a positive for the future, the Titans still have a mediocre pass defense at best and will struggle to hold Ward down. Against a unit that allowed a brutal 29 receiving touchdowns last season, look for Ward to record around six receptions, 80-plus yards and one touchdown.
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    Donald Driver, Green Bay: In short, Driver has owned the Detroit Lions in recent seasons. The veteran wide receiver recorded nine receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in his last visit to Ford Field, and has combined for 33 receptions, 468 yards and four scores in his past five contests against the crew from the Motor City. Mariucci's crew did improve their defensive backfield in the offseason with the additions of SS Kenoy Kennedy and return of LB Boss Bailey from an injured knee, but this battle has the potential to be a real shootout between two talented offenses. Owners should look for Driver to create enough space between himself and CB Fernando Bryant to become a regular target for QB Brett Favre in this NFC North contest.
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    Other wide receivers to start: Laveranues Coles at Kansas City; Lee Evans vs. Houston; Steve Smith vs. New Orleans; Roy Williams vs. Green Bay


    WIDE RECEIVERS -- SIT 'EM
    Drew Bennett, Tennessee: Bennett went from waiver-wire fodder to Fantasy Football stud last season and led countless teams to the postseason, but he still has much to prove before he should be considered a must-start option. Most of Bennett's success came with QB Billy Volek, not Steve McNair, at the helm of the offense. Furthermore, Bennett will have to face No. 1 cornerbacks each week now that WR Derrick Mason is in Baltimore. To make him even less attractive as a starter, Bennett must contend with a formidable Pittsburgh Steelers defense on the road at Heinz Field. Outside of teams who are in real need of a No. 3 receiver or flex starter, it's advised to place Bennett on the pine in this AFC tilt.
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    Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants: Burress' move to the Big Apple is seen as a real positive for the Giants' offense, but whether he meets expectations and can become a true No. 1 wide receiver remains to be seen. The former Michigan State standout has dealt with several injuries and recorded an inconsistent level of production over the past two seasons, and questions about QB Eli Manning's sore elbow and the prospect of a battle against a much-improved Arizona Cardinals' pass defense makes Burress a questionable start. This contest between former NFC East foes could turn into a defensive battle at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, so owners should either reserve Plax or utilize him as no more than a No. 3 option in leagues with 12-plus teams.
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    Other wide receivers to sit: Michael Jenkins vs. Philadelphia; Eddie Kennison vs. N.Y. Jets; Muhsin Muhammad at Washington; Jerry Porter at New England
    TIGHT ENDS
    START 'EM: Alge Crumpler will be the most prominent option in the Falcons' pass attack for QB Michael Vick, who has no true No. 1 wide receiver on offense. ... Randy McMichael should see several opportunties in the pass attack as Broncos CB Champ Bailey puts the clamps on WR Chris Chambers for most of the contest. ... L.J. Smith started to look like a real star at the end of last season and in the postseason, so expect him to be a prominent option in the red zone for QB Donovan McNabb. ... Jason Witten will be the main target for QB Drew Bledsoe and should resume his role as one of the league's most feared tight ends at San Diego.
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    SIT 'EM: Bubba Franks recorded 48 combined yards and no touchdowns in two contests against the Lions last season and has a mere one touchdown in his past four starts vs. the NFC North foe. ... Eric Johnson missed the entire preseason due to an injured foot and has been given a 50-50 chance to start, so owners should look for healthier alternatives. ... Doug Jolley has been demoted to second on the Jets' depth chart in favor of Chris Baker, who will start in Kansas City against the Chiefs. ... Ben Troupe continues to recover from an injured foot and is listed as questionable for the regular-season opener, which makes him a gamble as a starter in all formats.


    KICKERS
    START 'EM: Shayne Graham has returned from an injured groin and should be active against a Browns team that surrendered 16 points to him in their last regular-season contest. ... John Kasay scored a combined 24 points in two starts against the Saints last season and has averaged close to 11 points against them over the past two seasons. ... Jeff Reed converted 92.9 percent of his field-goal attempts at home last season, compared to 78.9 percent on the road, and should see several chances this week against the Titans. ... Jeff Wilkins should be active in most leagues against San Francisco in an AFC West contest that should put more than its share of points on the scoreboard.
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    SIT 'EM: Jason Hanson has recorded double-digit points in just one of his past six contest against the Packers and has averaged a mere seven points in that timeframe. ... Nate Kaeding fell apart last postseason and misses several field goals in the preseason, so he's better left as a reserve until he can get back to his more productive collegiate form. ... Rian Lindell emerged as a solid starter for owners last season, but the move from Bledsoe to J.P. Losman under center makes him a bit of a risk in the regular-season opener. ... Olindo Mare attempted a mere 16 field goals last season and needs to re-establish himself as a viable starter before owners should consider him in most formats.


    DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
    START 'EM: The Bears DST is one of the most underrated units in the league and should be productive this week at Washington, where questions about QB Patrick Ramsey and the offense are rampant. ... The Bills DST forced a league-high 39 takeaways (24 interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries) last season and will remain agggressive in thier season opener against Carr and a questionable Texans offense. ... The Redskins DST faces a Bears team with a rookie quarterback in Kyle Orton under center, so expect defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to be aggressive and look to force him into several turnovers. ... The Panthers DST has a chance to be one of the top units in Fantasy Football this season and should start with a productive performance at home against what could be a vulnerable Saints offense.
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    SIT 'EM: The Dolphins DST made some improvements in the offseason with the additions of DT Vonnie Holliday, NT Keith Traylor, SS Tebucky Jones and rookie LB Channing Crowder, but it has a lot to prove before it warrants a start in most leagues. ... The return of DE Michael Strahan from an injured pectoral muscle is a positive for the Giants DST, but this team must prove it can re-kindle past successes before it will warrant a start in most formats. ... The Packers DST tied for a league-low 15 takeaways (eight interceptions, seven fumble recoveries) last season and did little to improve itself in the offseason, so reserve it this week against a formidable Lions offense. ... The Seahawks DST has some questions on the line and could fall into a trap in Jacksonville, where QB Bryon Leftwich and the Jaguars will look to throw the ball all over the field in coordinator Carl Smith's new offense.
    Sponsor of:
    Brian Elliott
    Kolten Wong & the arch in the outfield grass at Busch Stadium
    5-29-14-House77 turns down offer of free beer from me
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