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Week 1: Matchups and Last-Minute Preparations

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Sing it Andy Williams. Yes folks; it’s that time we all love, NFL kickoff weekend and the first game of our fantasy season. With the holiday, live football games and kids going back to school, remember that this is a short week so get those rosters set.

Hopefully you are happy with your draft and confident that you have a team that can take you through to the playoffs. If you were paying more attention to the Hooters waitress bringing your beer than your draft strategy, there is still plenty of time to improve your team.

Free Agents

Over the weekend the teams have had to cut rosters down to 53. This sometimes creates opportunities for other teams to pick up these players and can become fantasy gold on another team. When the Giants could not put

 Ryan Grant on the roster, the Packers signed him and now he’s a quality fantasy RB. Other cuts can help the value of existing players such as the release of

Dominic Rhodes in Buffalo means

Fred Jackson will have the bulk of the carries until

Marshawn Lynch returns.

Waiver Wire

There are two ways to improve your team from here on out and that’s either to make a trade or pick someone off the waiver wire. Every year there are players you can get off waivers that can help you make the playoffs or fill injury needs. Even though you can’t read into preseason numbers, you can still look at players that are in good situations that can produce sometime this season.

RBs

Glen Coffee – 249 yards, 5.9 average. Coffee has been a popular handcuff for

Frank Gore owners, but he’s also been a target in drafts as some questions Gore’s durability.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 249 yards, 5.1 average, 3 TDs. Granted the Patriots backfield is crowded and you never know which one of the RBs will be the ‘flavor du jour’ but all of the RBs ahead of him have missed time due to injury and we saw last season that Green-Ellis can be a fantasy starter.

Mike Goodson – 197 yards, 4.9 average, 1 TD. Goodson’s value is low at this point but with the injury concerns of

Jonathan Stewart, he may get a chance to get some carries behind

DeAngelo Williams. Goodson will have to work on his ball carrying as he had three fumbles during the preseason.

James Davis – 186 yards, 7.8 average, 1 TD.

Jamal Lewis at the moment is the starter but Lewis is at the end of his career and

Davis could be the favorite of the new coaching regime. If he went undrafted in your league and your thin at RB, you might want to add

Davis just in case he does become the starter.

WR

Hakeem Nicks – 272 yards, 3 TDs. Nicks has the opportunity to produce this season. Dominic Hixon has dropped a ton of passes and

Steve Smith has been slowed by Injury. The Giants will need someone to throw to in the red zone and Nicks could be the go-to-guy.

Troy Williamson – 267 yards, 1 TD. Williamson was a disappointment in

Minnesota and last season he had just five catches for 30 yards due to injuries. So far in the preseason he has played well enough to secure a starting spot. Mike Sims-Walker has had injuries and

Torry Holt is slowing down. It’s worth keeping an eye on for now.

Chris Henry – 224 yards, 4 TDs. Chances are that Henry was drafted in your league but if he’s still available, put in your claim as Henry has an opportunity to put up some big numbers this year.

David Clowney – 243 yards, 3 TDs.

Chansi Stuckey has been named the No. 2 WR but Clowney put up the best stats during the preseason and could have a chance to start later in the year. Keep him on your radar.

This Thursday kicks off the season with the Steelers playing at home against the Titans. This will be a tough match up between two good defenses. This marks the sixth season the NFL opens with the Super Bowl Champions. Last season, the Giants kept the champs’ winning streak at 5-0.

 

 

MATCHUPS

Good QB matchups this week:

Drew Brees against the Lions

. Brees will start 2009 where he left off last season by shredding the Lions defense. The Lions were the worst team in the league last season and there is no way they have improved enough to stop Brees in this games. This game will get ugly early.

Carson

Palmer against the Broncos

. Palmer has been a forgotten man in fantasy but he is my pick for this year’s comeback player of the year. He still has good receivers in

Chad Ochocinco, Laveranues Coles and

Chris Henry. The Broncos have been a mess this offseason and I think the heat gets turned up on Josh McDaniels after a poor showing in this game.

Good RB matchups this week:

Brian Westbrook/

LeSean McCoy against the Panthers

. The Panthers struggled on defense in the preseason and have lost defensive lineman

Corvey Irvin and

Ma’ake Kemoeatu to IR as well as

Jon Beason not ready yet for the season with his knee injury, which is a big cause for concern for the team’s run defense. Look for the Eagles to control their game with the run as they will have great success on the ground.

Ray Rice/

Willis McGahee/

Le’Ron McClain against the Chiefs

. We know this is a committee situation but it is one that can produce with any of the RBs. The Chiefs are a work in progress and have too many holes to be able to stop this three-headed monster. If you can flex one of these guys, then you will have starter points.

Bad QB matchups this week:

Jason Campbell against the Giants

. Last season

Campbell threw for just 133 yards and one TD and was sacked once in the season opener against the Giants, and in the second meeting he passed for 232 yards with 1 INT and was sacked four times. Look for

Campbell to post one of the week’s lowest totals against a defense that will look to start the year off the way they did last season.

Byron Leftwich against the Cowboys

. Leftwich has won the job but the offense has been slowed by injuries to the starting WRs and was at the bottom of the league this preseason for passing. Leftwich has a slow release which will allow the

Dallas defensive ends time to rush him. If you haven’t watched Leftwich during the preseason, he has a tendency to over throw his receivers high which is never a good thing.

Bad RB matchups this week:

Jamal Lewis/

James Davis against the Vikings

. The Vikings were the best-run defense last season and they should continue being tough against the run this season. On top of the tough matchup, the Vikings will jump out to a big lead early forcing the Browns to abandon the run. Those two reasons alone should tell you to keep these guys on the bench.

Fred Jackson/

Xavier Omon against the Patriots

. The Bills run offense ranked at the bottom of the league this preseason even though they played an extra game. Not a good sign. New England has owned 

Buffalo as they have beaten them 11 straight games going back to 2003. The Bills are just 2-14 this decade against the Patriots and last won at Foxboro Nov. 5, 2000. This game could also get out of reach for the Bills early which will force them to try and play catch up the rest of the day.

Week 1: I’m happy how my drafts have turned out and look forward to setting my lineups and watching live football. Always play your studs and look for favorable match ups to fill your other positions.

 

Good Luck to everyone in Week 1.

 

Cheers!

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