Welcome to the first of many Heroes and Zeroes on Top Fantasy Football! In this weekly article we will discuss who should be starting and sitting because of matchups. I'm not going to mention every player obviously on this article...if someone like LaDainian Tomlinson isn't mentioned just assume he is a must-start. Though if a guy like Steve Slaton is going up against a defense like Pittsburgh he might get a mention as a player to sit.
Each week starting in week 2 I'll review my previous picks and assess if I was right or wrong. I realize my predictions won't always be close but we will know if a player was a dud or stud.
I'd like to take this time to remind all you fantasy nuts like me to look into our Dominator Service! It's an incredibly cheap way to make make sure you have the best team every week. Once you start using it you won't be able to live without it.
Now, let's get down to business!
Featured Hero of the Week
Anyone who knows my fantasy football opinions knows that I'm not a Reggie Bush advocate. This week though, I feel like Reggie Bush could be the top fantasy contributor not named Drew Brees. Why?
Reggie Bush is a very explosive and versatile player. Pierre Thomas is due to take carries from Bush all season but as of now Thomas won't be seeing much action so look for Bush to get around 20 touches against the Detroit Lions. With Bush's homerun potential every time he touches the ball, expect a 50+ yard rush or reception from The Prez.
Fantasy Forecast: 12 carries, 85 RuYds, 9 receptions 104 ReYds, 2 TDs
Ray Rice RB BAL
|Week 1 Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs
It won't take long for Ray Rice to grab the attention of the nation with his tasty matchup against Kansas City. Kansas City was one of the worst defenses in the league last year, especially against the run. Baltimore lead the league last year in rushing attempts per game so look for them to force the ball down the Chiefs' mouths. The great thing about Ray Rice is that he should see some passes his way too. Lastly, when Baltimore gets ahead in the 4th quarter we will see a lot of running plays to drain out the clock. Last year the Chiefs gave up 25 rushing TDs...don't you want a piece of that pie early on? Ray Rice is a must-start.
Fantasy Forecast: 18 carries, 92 RuYds, 4 catches, 30 ReYds, 2 TDs
Anthony Gonzalez WR IND
|Week 1 Matchup: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The two players that Jacksonville fears the most are probably Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Reggie Wayne always has nice games against Jacksonville and if you look at the 15 games Peyton has played against the Jags you will find some of his best numbers. What does this mean for Anthony Gonzalez? Well look for Wayne to get double teamed early on, which opens up the field for Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez is now playing in Marvin Harrison's old spot, which is a pretty nice place to play in my opinion.
Fantasy Forecast: 8 receptions, 80 ReYds, 1 TD
|Shaun Hill QB SF||Week 1 Matchup: @ Arizona Cardinals
Shaun Hill might be the biggest sleeper of the year that was never mentioned on a major fantasy football site. Where is the love for him? Last year he had 15 total TDs in 9 games. Some people don't even see Hill being the starter down the road but why not? He hasn't done anything to lose his job. In fact, Shaun Hill was a top 10 QB from week 9 onward (when he started playing). Arizona gave up an eye-popping 36 TDs through the air last year, a league worst. If you don't have the balls to start Hill this week, at least pick him up and let him sit on your bench. You'll thank me later.
Fantasy Forecast: 24 completions, 310 PaYds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
|Fred Jackson RB BUF||Week 1 Matchup: @ New England Patriots
Last year when most fantasy championships were already decided, Fred Jackson ripped off the best game of his career against the Patriots in week 17. Check it out if you don't believe me! I really don't think Jackson is a threat to take too many carries from Lynch after the suspension but the fact that Buffalo released Rhodes shows me that the team has great confidence in their second year rusher. Don't be afraid to lean on Jackson in week 1 to get some solid production but don't depend on him after this week.
Fantasy Forecast: 19 carries, 90 RuYds, 1 TD, 1 reception, 7 ReYds
|Pierre Thomas RB NO||Week 1 Matchup: Detroit Lions
Under normal circumstances, this would be a fantasy match made in heaven. Last year Thomas slashed the Detroit defense for 103 total yards and a touchdown. This year Thomas is a little banged up heading into the season though. Now, as of Thursday morning we haven't heard if Thomas will play or not but even if he did play it'd be a bad idea to start him. New Orleans will get ahead quickly against the Lions and they won't want to risk losing their best running back between the tackles. It looks like he won't be in playing from what I've heard but if he does play he will see limited action.
|Clinton Portis RB WAS||Week 1 Matchup: @ New York Giants
This might be the year that Portis falls off the gravy train. Every year he has been dependable for top 10 numbers but this year the 'Skins are discussing putting in Betts as a third down and passing back. This may not work out but the team will at least try it out during this game. You don't want to be a sucker to an experiment, so if you have a guy like Reggie Bush or Beanie Wells on your bench you may want to consider letting Portis sit out the first week until his situation is a little more clear. If my original reasoning doesn't convince you, know that Portis has only seen the end-zone 4 times in 9 games against the Giants. Do you think he will score with Betts hawking TDs from him?
Fantasy Forecast: 15 carries, 72 yards, 0 TDs
|Matt Cassel QB KC||Week 1 Matchup: @ Baltimore Ravens
If Cassel is your #1 starter on your fantasy team, you may not want to watch the Chiefs play this Sunday. It's going to be very very ugly. Cassel went from unknown to wonderboy last year but this year he will fade into obscurity very quickly. Playing one of the best passing defenses in the first week is no way to start off your career with your new team, but that is the case with Cassel. I still believe Cassel was a product of his environment last year. He may have Dwayne Bowe this year but that's all he has. Expect poor numbers.
Fantasy Forecast: 11 receptions, 120 PaYds 0 TDs 2 INT
|Torry Holt WR JAC||Week 1 Matchup: Indianapolis Colts
What do you do when you play the Colts? You run the ball until your running back's legs fall off! Last year the Colts allowed a league low 6 passing TDs to opposing offenses. Their corners are talented but teams just want to run the ball all day against that soft defensive line. I don't expect Torry Holt to play a big role against the Colts on Sunday.
Fantasy Forecast: 2 receptions, 14 ReYds, 0 TD
Is He Crazy?!
In this section I'll pick out one player who I think will surprise everyone and have a monster game. Be warned: this pick is not for the faint of heart. These players are high risk but also high reward type players. Play them if you are desperate or...
...as crazy as me.
|Mark Sanchez QB NYJ||Week 1 Matchup: @ Houston Texans
So you think I'm a certified nut for recommending Sanchez in the first game of his NFL career? Am I really that crazy though? Sanchez has been very impressive in the preseason throwing 24 - 37 with 347 PaYds, 3 TDs and only 1 INT. Forget what you learned about Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco last year. This kid is beyond a "spot starter" in 12 team leagues. This kid is the real deal, and he will show us all from the start why he was one of the top draft picks. I expect him to be in the top 15 QBs this year but I really really wouldn't be surprised if he was a top 10 QB by the end of the year.
Fantasy Forecast: 24 completions, 245 PaYds, 2 TDs