|Brian Blanco/Associated Press|
|Why is she smiling? Her coach might have just ruined my fantasy team.|
The Packers and Saints had an entertaining kickoff to the 2011 season, and far be it from me to be bring in the negative (kind of like when you found out that Foster the People's song "Pumped Up Kicks" isn't as cheerful as the smooth melody indicates) but our commissioner has gone soft. It's true.
Roger Goodell has often delivered justice with a 2x4, much like a sports version of Buford Pusser, however he has yet to drop the gloves on the most egregious offender in recent memory.
Kenny Britt? No.
Cedric Benson? Nah.
Nope, that is child's play when you consider what the Buccaneers have done - announcing that you will have a running back by committee after most fantasy league drafts have commenced. Are you (expletive) kidding me?
The Buccaneers have extended their digitus tertius to every fantasy owner who picked LeGarrette Blount as a RB2 this year. And by every fantasy owner, I mean me, who somehow managed to grab Blount in four of my five leagues this season.
This move is so unconscionable even Mike Shanahan thinks this is a d-move.
This is horrible. Sure, people start handwringing when a player missteps in a nightclub, has a brush with the law or starts making it rain in a gentlemen's club. But does that impact your fantasy team? No, it does not.
So Mr. Commissioner, I am calling for you to suspend Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris for these RBBC shenanigans for a period of no-less than one-year, maybe permanently.
Seriously, Earnest Graham on third downs? This has to be a joke.
Now, for those of you who have not skipped down to the comment section to write, "You fantasy guys take this too seriously" here are my starts and sits. But I understand that our society does not think that way anymore, so I will borrow from that famed social network we all use, and deliver my "Likes and Dislikes." (The bolded names are the players I like or dislike in the body below.)
That's right, Facebook will not give you a "dislike button," button but I certainly will.
And without further ado ...
This might seem like a sick, twisted Raheem Morris-like joke to lead off with Rex Grossman, but hear me out. The Giants have been devastated by injuries. And remember Grossman passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns in Week 17 against the Giants last year.
And of course, that means that Santana Moss is in store for a huge game, too. Moss had nine receptions for 74 yards in that Week 17 game last year.
Begrudgingly, Tim Hightower deserves a start, too, because of that banged up defense, but we certainly have an eye on the way Shanahan uses the running backs. I would start Hightower over Matt Forte.
The best running back to start is Jamaal Charles who had 238 scrimmage yards against the Bills last year, but you already knew that. A sneaky flex start would be Tom Jones who had 77 yards against the Bills in that game, too. And figure that the Chiefs will be relying heavily on the run, but more on that in the dislike section.
Our Elliot Harrison advised everybody to sit Ray Rice against the Steelers in Week 1 based on last year's stats. Oh yeah, in 2009, Rice had 310 scrimmage yards in two games against the Steelers. Here's the deal: don't bench your studs.
If you used a high draft pick on Chris Johnson, do not be afraid to start him. But you already knew that. And yes, that is a second Alberto Del Rio reference, who I am favoring at Night of Champions, but more on that next week.
Who do I like more between rookie receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green? Go for the Bengals rookie. A.J. Green had nine receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown in the preseason, and he is the guy who QB Andy Dalton looks for in the red zone. The thing that scares me about Jones is that he will get lost in the shuffle with so many weapons in Atlanta.
Peyton Hillis had 192 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Bengals last season. The Bengals allowed 16.2 points to fantasy running backs last year, but with a worse offense this year, that defense will spend more time on the field.
The Sons of Anarchy season premiere was intense and was everything that we have grown to love about this series. Well-written, and this season looks like this will be the best one yet.
Josh Freeman threw only six interceptions in 2010, tied for the third fewest total by a first-year starter in NFL history. The other guys -- David Garrard, Jeff Hostetler, Jim Harbaugh, Charlie Batch and Chad Pennington. Wait, why do I suddenly feel worse about Freeman right now?
Darren McFadden scored all 10 of his touchdowns on the road in 2010, which shows that he hates Raiders fans as much as the rest of us. McFadden had 354 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in two games against the Broncos last year.
Wait, McFadden's on the road. Everybody got that, right?
The Cowboys could be without Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins this weekend. Which is exactly the kind of news you want to hear about a team that allowed 28.1 points to fantasy receivers last year (the most in the league, mind you). So Mark Sanchez is a good option for people bumming over the loss of Peyton Manning.
Brandon Marshall should be in your lineup this week, but you already knew that. But people keep thinking telling me that Marshall had a down year in 2010 because his streak of three consecutive 100-catch seasons was snapped. Yes, he struggled to 86 receptions. He is going to reach 100 receptions again this year and he has a big game against the Patriots.
CT from MTV's Challenge could be a special teamer in the NFL. You will never convince me otherwise. I should work with ESPN's Sports Guy to make this happen.
The Raiders ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed last year (133.6), and 19.4 fantasy points per game last year, meaning that Knowshon Moreno should be in your lineup this week.
The Chargers still have a committee in the backfield, but Ryan Mathews had 175 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the last two games, and six rushing touchdowns in the past six. The Vikings were tough against the run last year, but there is no Williams Wall this week. Do not be scared off by his injury problems from last season.
The DC Comics reboot started this week, if you can pick only one, make it the Detective's Comics.
Cedric Benson had 210 rushing yards and a touchdown in two games against the Browns last year.
And you have to like NFL researcher Bill Sudell for gathering these numbers.
Kerry Collins' facial hair. If he did not come back to the Titans, is there any doubt that he would be doing one of those Just for Men commercials with Emmitt Smith? Shave the beard, man. It is making you look old.
Speaking of Collins, he had nine touchdowns and three interceptions over his last four starts. One of those games came against the Texans. But Houston has a new coordinator, Wade Phillips, who has given Collins fits over his career. Collins is 0-7 as a starter against Phillips when he is the defensive coordinator. Collins has averaged 212 passing yards, and has thrown five touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games.
Like the Chiefs running backs, but not the quarterback. Matt Cassel got hurt against the Packers in the team's final preseason game (whoops) and he had no touchdowns and five interceptions in his final two games (including playoffs), and fewer than 200 pass yards in five of the last seven games. So as long as his ribs are healthy enough to hand off the ball 50 times to Charles and Jones, he should be cool. But I dislike him as a starter.
Dwayne Bowe killed fantasy enthusiasts last year when he had just one touchdown in his final five games.
Utah is going to knock off USC this week, but that does not translate into a good game for the Panthers Steve Smith who has 15 consecutive games without 100 receiving yards and has no touchdowns in 12 consecutive games.
LeGarrette Blount - thank you for nothing Raheem Morris. But keep an eye on this, he might have been blowing smoke about the committee, but this is a bad, bad sign.
Tony Romo has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 consecutive regular season games, and that streak could continue against the Jets. Just do not expect a huge game in Week 1, considering the Jets allowed 156 fantasy points last season (good for sixth in the NFL). Sanchez will have more points than Romo this week.
Gary Kubiak. Seriously, if there is a way to ruin this Arian Foster business, Kubiak will find it. And everybody is saying that Ben Tate is going to be the guy if Foster can't go. And I would play him, but that does not mean that I have to like it because somehow Kubiak would throw Derrick Ward or Steve Slaton into the mix.
Jeremy Maclin's mystery illness scares me. The last celebrity who had a mystery illness was Eazy-E. The guy I am keeping an eye on is Steve Smith who could become a major part of that offense, and a guy that Michael Vick checks down to.
Speaking of mystery illnesses, Contagion comes out this week. It looks wonderful, but I liked it better the first time I saw it when it was called Outbreak.
Jason Campbell looks like he has a great matchup against the Broncos who gave up the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year. But even with those great matchups, Campbell had 442 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in two starts against Denver last year.
The Charlie Sheen roast is going to be a train wreck. But hey look, they added Slash to the dais. He's hilarious. Seriously, how am I not on that dais?
The Chargers allowed 9.9 fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, fewest in the league. Donovan McNabb had a touchdown pass or less in 11 of his 13 starts last season. When Grossman and John Beck are better options, you know something is up.
Seems like we have been waiting for years for Shonn Greene to emerge as the Jets lead runner â¦ keep waiting. The Cowboys allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards in five of their last seven games. LaDainian Tomlinson is the perfect regular season running back, you just do not want him around during the playoffs. So the Jets will likely keep Greene from burning out early because peaking early in the season is something that the Raiders do.
I am not crazy about Felix Jones, either. He might fullfill his promise this year, but not in Week 1. Look for better options. I would rather have Tom Jones or Beanie Wells this week.
For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL.com Fantasy Live, Michael Fabiano or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL.com Fantasy has 18,000 followers, Fabiano has 30,000, me, I only have 1,800. So your odds are better that I will answer a question, just based on the numbers. So hit me up on both via Twitter or via Facebook. Be sure to catch the latest on the Dave Dameshek Football Program.