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Good Call/Bad Call: Week 1

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Welcome back to another year of “Good Call/Bad Call.” If you’re new to the column here’s how things work; I comment on a few players from each major fantasy position, quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. I pick out those that I think would be a ‘good call’ for you to start this week, and those that I think are a ‘bad call.’  I try and stay away from the top tier guys, because telling you to start Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would be like telling you to mercilessly ridicule the guy who drafts Aaron Hernandez this year and then yells, “Championship!” You’re going to do it and not think twice about it. I also give a bit of fantasy football advice or commentary at the beginning of the article as well. I hope you enjoy it this season.

Since this is Week 1, your starting lineup shouldn’t involve too much thought unless you did some risky drafting. When in doubt for Week 1, start your veterans. Start the guys with a proven track record. If your rookie sleeper is on your bench for a game it’s no big deal, but having him throw a low single-digit performance because he fumbled under the pressure of the NFL lights isn’t how you want to start your fantasy season. See how he does for a week or two before you get him in your starting lineup. Now on to the calls of the week.

Quarterbacks

If you’re in a smaller league or have a top quarterback, start them and skip to the running backs' section. Now if you waited on a quarterback or are thinking about playing matchups with your two middle-of-the-road quarterbacks or you’re in a really deep league then hopefully you have Alex Smith this week. Smith gets to test out his new team, new weapons, and new scheme with an easy matchup against Jacksonville. The Jaguars allowed Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer and Ryan Tannehill to all have 20-plus point games against them last year, and I don’t see any offseason moves that have improved their defense enough to think that Smith won’t have a nice game against them.

A matchup play you don’t want to try this week is Andy Dalton against Chicago. The Bears defense was the fourth toughest for quarterbacks last year, and they’ve been consistently tough year in and year out. Look elsewhere for your starting quarterback this week. Dalton will have a tough time in Soldier Field. He’s a bad call.

Sam Bradford’s trip to Arizona is not one you’re going to want any part of. Surprisingly, Arizona has done a good job stopping quarterbacks in recent years. Maybe because quarterbacks don’t have to throw to beat the Cardinals or maybe because the Cardinals have some good defensive backs. Either way, they ranked as the second-toughest defense for quarterbacks last year. Bradford is not a good quarterback, and I’d sit him if you were going to start him for some reason.

Running Backs

A larger workload and an easy Week 1 matchup means you shouldn’t be thinking twice about starting Lamar Miller this week. His trip to Cleveland should start his season out on the right foot. Cleveland was 26th against running backs in fantasy last year. The Browns change to a 4-3 might make things a little more difficult, but Miller should get plenty of chances to get you points.

Ahmad Bradshaw is another guy who’s a good call for you to start this week. The knock on Bradshaw hasn’t been what he can do when healthy; it’s always if he can stay healthy. Going into the season he’s 100 percent, and gets a good opening game against Oakland. The Raiders were the easiest team for running backs to rack up fantasy points against and the loss of leading tackler Philip Wheeler isn’t going to help. Bradshaw should start out the season strong, and let’s hope he makes it all the way through the game without hurting himself (fingers crossed, I own him).

I told you above to keep your rookies on your bench for Week 1, well if you were thinking of starting Eddie Lacy or Giovani Bernard, think again. Both of these rookies draw tough matchups in Week 1. Lacy and Green Bay travel to San Francisco, while Bernard and the Bengals head to Chicago. These two defenses were the second- and fifth-toughest defenses for running backs to go up against last year, and I don’t expect much to change this year. They’re both bad calls for you to start this week.



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