Welcome to the Start/Bench list for 2011! It was a strange offseason with lots of uncertainty, but one thing we know for sure: we are ready to lead your team to the promised land. As in year’s past, the Studs list will evolve as the season progresses, but we are steadfast in our predictions and confident that we are supplying the best information to help you dominate your league. Come along for the ride. You just might like it.
I utilize statistical analysis combined with more than 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look at 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 decision.
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.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Baltimore: Roethlisberger has looked about as good as you can in the preseason, but we all know that means next to nothing. Roethlisberger has the weapons and no distractions this year which bodes well for the Steelers offense. The last time Roethlisberger faced the Ravens was in the playoffs when he threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Look for better numbers this week as Roethlisberger starts the season off with a bang.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants at Washington: With big brother on the sidelines, Eli Manning will happily take some of the headlines this week against the Redskins. As good as Roethlisberger has looked in the preseason, Manning has looked bad. Real bad. The beauty of it all is they both start out 0-0 with a clean slate this week. The Redskins will help Manning find his rhythm as they haven’t exactly been stellar at stopping the pass. Last season, the Redskins allowed 261.7 yards passing per game, which was the second-worst in the NFL. Washington didn’t improve during the shortened offseason so look for their defensive woes to continue and Manning to post solid numbers this week.
Donovan McNabb, Minnesota at San Diego: McNabb’s season in Washington last year was one he wishes he could forget. Being replaced by Rex Grossman was one of the many lowlights that McNabb had to withstand in an otherwise rock solid career. Things in Minnesota should improve for McNabb’s stats mostly due to Adrian Peterson carrying the offense, but McNabb starts the season with a tough matchup against the Chargers. San Diego allowed the fewest passing yards last season (177.8 per game), and since their run defense looked very shaky against the San Francisco 49ers in their last preseason game, expect a heavy dose of Peterson with just a dash of McNabb in the Vikings game plan. That’s certainly not enough to warrant a start this week.
Kevin Kolb, Arizona vs. Carolina: The Kolb-to-Larry Fitzgerald connection is one you can expect to hear a lot of this season and the main reason why Fitzgerald is listed near the top of the Studs list for wide receivers. In this game, Kolb will face a tough Panthers defense which knows they need to step it up with a rookie quarterback leading their offense. Carolina defended the pass well last season and that trend will carry over into this game. You won’t see Kolb’s name on the bench list very often this season but when you do, beware.