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2009 Start/Bench List Week 1

Welcome to the Start/Bench list for 2009! I utilize statistical analysis combined with over 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look of how players will perform on a week-to-week basis. The Studs list will be updated on a regular basis as players emerge and injuries occur, but be patient with those players listed early in the season. They were ranked and selected high in your draft for a reason.

When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:

1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.

2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.



Tom Brady, New England vs. Buffalo

Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Detroit

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville

Tony Romo, Dallas at Tampa Bay

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Chicago

Philip Rivers, San Diego at Oakland


Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia at Carolina: Forget about the

Michael Vick distraction. When all is said and done, McNabb will perform well enough to keep Vick on the sidelines. The Panthers have suffered a ton of injuries in the preseason and McNabb will take full advantage in Week 1 with a solid performance.

Kurt Warner, Arizona vs. San Francisco: Warner will find 

Larry Fitzgerald and

Anquan Boldin early and often as

Tim Hightower will not be effective against

Patrick Willis and the 49ers run defense. Look for Warner to accumulate stats quickly and kick back in the second half with a bunch of points already under his belt.


Carson Palmer,

Cincinnati vs.

Denver: Palmer suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the final three preseason games for Cincy. While team officials are saying that Palmer is ready to go on Sunday, you’ve got to wonder if the rust will show early in the season. Don’t take the chance of failing to 0-1 as Palmer works through the kinks.

Jay Cutler, Chicago at

Green Bay: I think Cutler was a solid addition to the Bears offense and he’ll definitely win them some games. Now putting on my fantasy football hat, I can say that Cutler won’t be anywhere near the QB he was last year in


Chicago will run all day against

Green Bay and Cutler won’t be asked to do much but not lose the game.

Running Backs


Adrian Peterson, Minnesota at Cleveland

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Matt Forte, Chicago at Green Bay

Steven Jackson, St. Louis at Seattle

Frank Gore, San Francisco at Arizona

Steve Slaton, Houston vs. N.Y. Jets

Chris Johnson, Tennessee at Pittsburgh

Michael Turner, Atlanta vs. Miami

Marion Barber, Dallas at Tampa Bay

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina vs. Philadelphia

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia at Carolina

LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego at Oakland


Ray Rice, Baltimore vs. Kansas City:

Willis McGahee may steal a few goal-line TDs this year, but Rice is the top dog in Baltimore.

Kansas City allowed the third most rushing yards per game last season and they didn’t do much in the offseason to improve their situation. Rice has a nice matchup in Week 1 and he’ll show you why he belongs in your starting lineup this week.

Ronnie Brown, Miami at Atlanta: Miami will do their best to keep

Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense off the field in the Georgia Dome and

Brown will be a big role in that effort. No,

Ricky Williams hasn’t retired to

Jamaica yet, but this is not a RBBC. Brown is the man and he’ll post solid numbers in

Atlanta in Week 1.

Brandon Jacobs, N.Y. Giants vs.

Washington: In last season’s opener, Jacobs rushed for 116 yards on 21 carries. Can you guess which team the Giants faced? You got it, the Redskins. If Jacobs does improve his receiving skills as promised, he’ll be doubly dangerous in PPR leagues.


Joseph Addai,

Indianapolis vs.

Jacksonville: Addai’s fall from grace was quick and painful. With

Donald Brown now in the equation, the dreaded RBBC seems to have reared its ugly head in

Indianapolis. Even though

Marvin Harrison is gone, Indy still has

Reggie Wayne,

Anthony Gonzalez and

Dallas Clark to catch

Peyton Manning‘s many passes. The Colts passing game will overshadow the running game this week as Addai continues his downward spiral to obscurity.

Jamal Lewis,

Cleveland vs.

Minnesota: The Browns still haven’t announced who the starting QB will be, but at least we know

Jamal Lewis will be starting at RB. Not that it will matter much against a Vikings run defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards all season in 2008, but at least we know who will be stopped for no gain on the majority of the running plays. Thanks coach Mangini!

Larry Johnson,

Kansas City at

Baltimore: Hmm, an angry RB playing for a team still searching for their offensive identity facing the Ravens defense. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Avoid L.J. this week and don’t have the bar too high on his season totals either.

Wide Receivers


Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. San Francisco

Andre Johnson, Houston vs. N.Y. Jets

Randy Moss, New England vs. Buffalo

Calvin Johnson, Detroit at New Orleans

Roddy White, Atlanta vs. Miami

Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Philadelphia

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville

Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Detroit

Greg Jennings, Green Bay vs. Chicago


DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia at Carolina:

Jackson had a solid rookie season and is looking to take his game to the next level this year. He’ll start off on the right foot as

Donovan McNabb will find success in the passing game against

Carolina to which

Jackson will clearly benefit.

Jackson could easily be the top WR in Philly this season when all is said and done.

Vincent Jackson, San Diego at Oakland:

Jackson had a breakout season last year catching 59 passes for 1,098 yards averaging an incredible 18.6 yards per catch including two games against the Raiders where he caught a total of eight passes for 200 yards and a TD. With more question marks surrounding LT2 than the Riddler, look for

Philip Rivers to keep airing it out to Gates short and V-Jax long. Enjoy.

Anquan Boldin,

Arizona vs.

San Francisco: Boldin is dealing with a hamstring injury, but after watching him play last season after getting his face destroyed, I’ll never count this guy out. The Cardinals will have success in the passing game and they’ll be more than enough to go around for both

Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin to post solid numbers this week.

Santonio Holmes,

Pittsburgh vs.

Tennessee: The playoffs last season were a foreshadowing of the WR situation in


Hines Ward is still here, but Holmes is the one you want on your fantasy team. Back in Week 16, Holmes caught five passes for 93 yards and a score against these same Titans. Look for more of the same as Holmes kicks off the NFL season with a bang.


Lee Evans,

Buffalo at

New England: Let’s see, the Bills fired their offensive coordinator, they face the Patriots in Week 1,

Marshawn Lynch is suspended and

Terrell Owens is in town. I’ll pass on Mr. Evans, thank you very much.

Laveranues Coles,

Cincinnati vs.

Denver: Where have you gone

T.J. Houshmandzadeh? Bengals Nation turns its lonely eyes to you … boo-hoo-hoo. Coles will have a decent season in Cincy assuming

Carson Palmer can stay healthy, but don’t expect big things early on as the Bengals will struggle offensively.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota at Cleveland: I think Harvin will have a solid rookie campaign, but I don’t like him this week as Minnesota will run, run, then run some more against a porous Browns defense.

Justin Gage,

Tennessee at

Pittsburgh: Gage will surprise some of you when the season is over, but

Tennessee will focus on the run this week to try and keep Heinz field as quiet as a church.

Tight Ends


Jason Witten, Dallas at Tampa Bay

Antonio Gates, San Diego at Oakland

Dallas Clark, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville

Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City at Baltimore

Greg Olsen, Chicago at Green Bay

Chris Cooley, Washington at N.Y. Giants


Vernon Davis, San Francisco at Arizona: If Davis ever “gets it”, he’ll be on the Studs list with the rest of the dominant TEs. Look for

Davis to post solid numbers, but I can’t guarantee he won’t sucker punch a cheerleader or something to ruin everything.

Jeremy Shockey,

New Orleans vs.

Detroit: Speaking of troubled TEs, Shockey moves to center stage with the word that

Billy Miller tore his Achilles tendon and is done for the season. Considering

Drew Brees will pass the ball about 800 times this season, I’d say the chances are pretty high that some of those passes go Shockey’s way, especially against the Lions who couldn’t stop anybody last season.


Kellen Winslow,


Bay vs.

Dallas: I think Winslow will have a solid season for


Bay, but

Dallas defends the passing game very well and

Byron Leftwich doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of defenders. Winslow can help your fantasy team this season, just not this week.

Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets at

Houston: Keller developed a nice rapport with

Brett Favre last season, but I’m not convinced that it will carry over with

Mark Sanchez, at least at the beginning of the season. Look for the Jets to run as much as possible this week as

Houston‘s run defense is less effective as their pass defense in order to minimize the chances of Sanchez looking like a rookie QB starting his first game.

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