It's baaaaaaaaaaaaack. My sixth (!!!!!!!) year of writing fantasy columns begins with a fascinating Week 1 of false dreams and false hopes since everyone has an equal shot of making the Super Bowl going into this week. Yes, that means my Jacksonville Jaguars have just as good a shot to win it all as the New Orleans Saints do the day I type this. This will all be very different by Sunday at 4, but let me dream for a little bit.
Who to Start:
QB Colin Kaepernick (SF) vs. DAL: Even though it is incumbent on Kaepernick to improve his passing skills for the 49ers to win the Super Bowl this year, this week will make many wonder if someone had just been hit on the head when they said that. The Cowboys defense this year will end up being an insult to sieves, so anyone going up against him is a must-start. Include Kaepernick here.
RB Zac Stacy (STL) vs. MIN: Even though he has competition in the backfield with Benny Cunningham, with Shaun Hill under center the Rams figure to run the ball more. The Vikings run defense wasn't anything special last year, so Stacy may just have a solid outing on Sunday.
WR Victor Cruz (NYG) vs. DET MON: Despite the fact that Eli Manning is a scary proposition in fantasy and on the field, it doesn't change the fact that the Lions have no secondary, so Victor Cruz may have an amazing game by default. Cruz is a solid option despite the popular reservations.
WR Cordarelle Paterson (MIN) vs. STL: He's going to have a breakout season this year, as the final 4 weeks of last season proved. The Rams despite their incredibly scary front 7 had trouble defending opposing wideouts last season, so Paterson could have a monster afternoon.
TE Jordan Cameron (CLE) vs. PIT: Minus Josh Gordon, Brian Hoyer is going to need to throw the ball to someone. Jordan Cameron is the most reliable someone on the Browns roster right now. Despite the Steelers defense being improved, Cameron could still have a big game on Sunday.
DEF Philadelphia vs. JAX: Since Chad Henne is starting and not Blake Bortles, the Eagles defense will have a nice cushy opening to the season before facing Andrew Luck next Monday night.
Who to Sit:
QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. ARZ MON: He had an amazing resurgence in fantasy and on the field last season, but despite his relatively good value, the matchup against Arizona is not good. The Cardinals defense was quietly one of the best in football last season, and that makes this one a troubling play.
RB Bishop Sankey (TEN) vs. KC: He may end up becoming the starter by the end of the season for the Titans, but as of right now he's not. Even if the Chiefs are primed for a regression by season's end, Sankey won't be able to reap the rewards for that.
WR Mike Wallace (MIA) vs. NE: Some may forget that Darrelle Revis is actually a Patriot now, and as we all know that means bad things in fantasy land for the receivers going up against him. First on the rack this season: Mike Wallace.
WR DeSean Jackson (WSH) vs. HOU: In the Eagles offense, Jackson was an amazing prospect. For the Washington Washington's... probably not. Robert Griffin III has struggled in preseason, and Jackson is still learning a new offense. Despite going up against a poor secondary, Jackson won't be one to start this weekend.
TE Eric Ebron (DET) vs. NYG MON: Despite his great measurables, rookie Tight Ends are always scary fantasy plays because it usually takes them longer to bed in with the offense than other ones. He also has to compete with Christian Fauria as well.
DEF Houston vs. WSH: The Texans defense is overrated. The end.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Geno Smith (NYJ) vs. OAK: He now has actual offensive weapons to work with, and his performance last year was better than advertised despite the turnovers. So Smith going up against the 2007 all-pro team on defense in 2014 could be in for a good game.
RB Mark Ingram (NO) vs. ATL: He now looks to be on the top of the Saints depth chart, and despite the fact he has 2 other good backs to compete with, the matchup against Atlanta is surprisingly favorable.
DEF Chicago vs. BUF: Despite the fact that this defense is incredibly scary every other week as a fantasy option, the Bills offense is equally as scary. Maybe not any other week, but this week it might not be a bad play.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew (OAK (!!!!!!!!!)) vs. NYJ: He's a Raider now! I know, I'm surprised too. This matchup against the Jets might make him remember sadly some of the amazing(ly awful) Jaguars offenses he played on recently, with the Jets defense being as good as it is up front.
Good Luck in Week 1 and happy football season!