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Start/Bench: Week 1

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Welcome to a new season of Start/Bench! There's a lot to digest at this time of the year as five rookie quarterbacks will begin the season as their teams starting quarterback. Per ESPN, The Elias Sports Bureau researched back to 1950 and determined that the most rookie quarterbacks to start a season opener in any season was three, and that hasn’t been done since 1968 and 1969. We also have to deal with a slew of injuries and suspensions muddying the waters as we attempt to set our lineups. So, grab a beverage and some breakfast and let's get started with Week 1.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees
Tom Brady
Cam Newton
Matthew Stafford
Eli Manning
Matt Ryan
Tony Romo
Philip Rivers
Ben Roethlisberger
Peyton Manning
Jay Cutler

START

Jake Locker, Tennessee vs. New England: New England was the second most generous defense versus quarterbacks in fantasy football during the 2011 season. They allowed 6-of-8 opponents to pass for over 300 yards, while allowing two 400-yard passing games. I'm a little hesitant to make this call with Kenny Britt having to sit out this game serving a one game suspension, but you know that New England is going to put up a boatload of points forcing the Titans to stay aggressive in their play calling.

Russell Wilson, Seattle at Arizona: Wilson has been utterly impressive this preseason, flat-out taking the starting QB position away from newly signed free-agent Matt Flynn. Listed at under 6-feet tall, word is that if Wilson were 6-2 or 6-3 he would have been a Top 10 pick rather than a 3rd-rounder. Wilson completed 40-of-63 passes for 536 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception during the preseason. The Cardinals defense allowed only 2-of-8 visiting offenses to rush for over 100 yards last season so the Seahawks will have to win this one via the air.

BENCH

Robert Griffin III, Washington at New Orleans: If you drafted RG3 as your starter then you were drinking way too much of the kool-aid. And if you drafted him as a backup, and are thinking about being cute and starting him against New Orleans, don't be foolish. First off, RG3 is not Cam Newton, and secondly, even Cam Newton struggled at New Orleans in Week 17 of last year throwing for 158 yards and one touchdown, while throwing one interception and failing to score on the ground. The Saints have made themselves the victims throughout the bounty-gate scandal and won't need to set a bounty as motivation as they open the season against a rookie quarterback.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets vs. Buffalo: I can't understand under what circumstances you would have drafted Sanchez, but if you did, you must be a masochist. The countdown has already begun as to when Tim Tebow will take over as the starter, and even if he never starts a game, Tebow will be a thorn in Sanchez's fantasy value all season. The only upside in the Jets' quarterback situation will be if Tebow gets the full-time starting job.



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