Ladies and gentlemen, Sharks of all ages, the 2011 NFL season is officially underway, and it’s time to get those IDP lineups submitted for the first weekend of fantasy football action.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some players you should give serious consideration to getting into your lineups or who could outperform expectations (Studs) and some that, for whatever reason, you may want to consider leaving alone, or at least take into account that they may be a relative disappointment this week. (Duds)
Enough blah blah blah, let’s play some football!
Michael Bennett – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DET): If the injury bug has bitten you early or you need a one week fill-in you could do worse than Bennett, who has secured a starting role for the Buccaneers.
Charles Johnson – DE, Carolina Panthers (at ARI): Right behind the Bears in sacks allowed were the Cardinals, so Johnson has a very good shot of notching his first sack of 2011 in the desert.
Barrett Ruud – MLB, TEN (at JAX): With Luke McCown (of the flailing McCowns) under center for Jacksonville Maurice Jones-Drew should carry the ball about 147 times for the Jaguars, meaning plenty of tackle opportunities for the new man in the middle for the Titans.
Daryl Washington – ILB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. CAR): The Panthers will lean on the run game to keep the pressure off rookie quarterback Cam Newton, so Washington should be in for a solid day tackle-wise.
Wesley Woodyard – OLB, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK): With D.J. Williams sidelined with a dislocated elbow Woodyard is the spot start du jour at LB in week one against a Raiders team that will likely pound the rock on Monday Night.
Oshiomogho Atogwe – SS, Washington Redskins (vs. NYG): Laron Landry’s Achilles will keep him out this Sunday, so Atogwe moves over to strong safety and could easily be a top ten IDP defensive back this week.
Melvin Bullitt – SS, Indianapolis Colts (at HOU): The Texans are apt to come out firing in an effort to get a leg up as new lead dog in the Manning-less AFC South, meaning plenty of work at the back end of the Colts defense for Melvin Bullitt.
George Wilson – SS, Buffalo Bills (at KC): Given how horrid the Bills were against the run last year you have to think that the Chiefs will shove Jamaal Charles down Buffalo’s throat, so look for a big day from the new man at strong safety for the Bills.
Robert Mathis – DE, Indianapolis Colts (at HOU): Mathis enters the season dinged up and faces off against a Texans team that was 20th in the NFL in sacks allowed in 2010, so it could well be a mediocre 2011 debut for him.
Julius Peppers – DE, Chicago Bears (vs. ATL): There may well be no more boom/bust IDP option at his position than Peppers, and since the Falcons allowed the third-fewest sacks in the league last season I fear that this week Peppers may lean towards the latter.
Justin Tuck – DE, New York Giants (at WAS): Tuck was the top ranked fantasy DL in my week one IDP Cheatsheet, but a stinger suffered in New York’s third preseason game caused him to miss practice Thursday and leaves his availability for Sunday in doubt.
Jon Beason – MLB, Carolina Panthers (at ARI): Beason will apparently give it a go this week, but his gimpy Achilles may limit the fifth-year pro considerably, so it’s probably wise to explore other options.
James Harrison – OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL): Harrison has admitted he’s only about 75% to begin the season, and the 33 year-old didn’t do a whole lot in two regular season tilts against the Ravens in 2010.
Stephen Tulloch – MLB, Detroit Lions (at TB): With Tulloch leaving the field in nickel situations in Detroit there’s next to chance he backs up last year’s top-five IDP finish at his position, and Operation: Disappointment begins this week in South Florida.
Dashon Goldson – FS, San Francisco 49ers (vs. SEA): Goldson’s knee injury is expected to sideline him against Seatlle, and even had he played he’d have been a shaky IDP option at best against a craptastic Seahawks offense.
Bernard Pollard – SS, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT): Tom Zbikowski will draw the start at strong safety for the Ravens, and while Pollard will see some work in Baltimore’s base defense against the Steelers he likely won’t get enough work to make a big dent IDP-wise.
Alterraun Verner – CB, Tennessee Titans (at JAX): Verner has been supplanted in the starting lineup in Tennessee by Jason McCourty, so fantasy owners hoping for a repeat of Verner’s 100+ tackle, top 20 finish at his position 2010 season are almost certainly you know what…out of luck.