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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fantasy football: Start and sit, expanded playlist and more for Week 1

The predictions, prognostications and prolonged holdouts are all behind us (well, expect for you, Michael Crabtree), and it's finally time for a full slate of Week 1 games.

Before we get to the start-and-sit advice and the expanded playlist, here are a couple quick plugs.

-- Click here for a column I wrote today about Brandon Marshall, which includes injury advice and thoughts from Thursday's season opener. The link also has the audiocast Sports Editor Mark Podolski and I record each week.

-- We'll have a live fantasy football chat on the N-H's Web site this Thursday at 4 p.m. Go to the homepage of and look for the link to the chat at the top.

-- If you have a question, e-mail or post a comment at the bottom of this blog and we'll answer it in the audiocast or the Saturday blog.

On to the lists ...

Five to start

Our first look at part-time starters and fantasy backups who should benefit from a favorable matchup:

-- Reggie Bush, RB, Saints, vs. Lions: Pierre Thomas is out because of a knee injury, which should mean more touches for Bush against a Lions defense that was the league's worst against the run last season, allowing an average of 172.1 yards per game, along with a league-high 31 rushing TDs. Detroit also ranked 27th against the pass, which should mean six or more catches for Bush. Another player to watch in this game: Mike Bell, who should share carries with Bush with Thomas sitting.

-- Donnie Avery, WR, Rams, at Seahawks: He's recovered from a foot injury that held him out of the majority of the preseason, and he gets to open the real season against 2008's worst pass defense. The Seahawks allowed 259 passing yards per game last season. Opposing quarterbacks had 25 TD throws and just nine interceptions.

-- Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens, vs. Chiefs: He should be more productive in Year 2, and there's no telling how bad the Chiefs' defense will be in the first year of the Todd Haley/Scott Pioli regime. Kansas City's pass defense was the league's fifth-worst last season.

-- Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks, vs. Rams: He reportedly is healthy after a back injury wrecked his 2008 season, and he should have a big day against the Rams, who were 19th vs. the pass in 2008.

-- Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals, vs. Broncos: The once-troubled Bear wasn't featured at all on "Hard Knocks," but he should play a prominent role against a Broncos run defense that ranked 27th in 2008, yielding 146.1 rushing yards, 5.0 yards per attempt and 26 TDs on the ground (the second-most in the NFL).

-- More favorable matchups: Seahawks running back Julius Jones vs. the Rams, who ranked 29th against the run in 2008; Ravens running back Ray Rice against the Chiefs (No. 30); Cardinals running back Beanie Wells against the 49ers; 49ers wide receiver Isaac Bruce at the Cardinals (No. 22 vs. the pass); Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson against the Rams (No. 19); and if Anquan Boldin doesn't play because of a hamstring injury, Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston vs. the 49ers (No. 20).

Three to sit

If you have a quality backup with a favorable matchup, these starters should take a seat for a week:

-- Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders, vs. Chargers: This is more of an indictment of the Raiders' weapons-less offense that it is an endorsement of the Chargers' defense, which ranked 11th vs. the run last season.

-- Santana Moss, WR, Redskins, at Giants:
The frustrating thing for Moss owners is his inconsistency, and the Giants were very good defending the pass last season (No. 8, 196 yards per game, 17 TDs, 17 interceptions).

-- Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs, at Ravens: He probably can't be called an every-week starter at this stage of his career, and he should definitely be on your bench against the Ravens, who ranked third vs. the run in 2008 and allowed the fewest rushing TDs (4) in the NFL.

-- More matchups I don't like:
Roy Williams, WR, Dallas, at Buccaneers (No. 4 vs. pass last season); Lee Evans, WR, Bills, at Patriots (No. 11); any New York Giants receiver vs. the Redskins (I'd prefer to wait to see if Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith are Eli Manning's preferred targets); Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos, at Bengals (will he get the majority of the carries or share with Correll Buckhalter?); Jamal Lewis, RB, Browns, vs. Vikings (the league's top run defense a year ago).


1. Drew Brees, Saints, vs. Lions (No. 27 vs. the pass in 2008)
2. Tom Brady, Patriots, vs. Bills (13)
3. Kurt Warner, Cardinals, vs. 49ers (20)
4. Peyton Manning, Colts, vs. Jaguars (24)
5. Philip Rivers, Chargers, vs. Raiders (10)
6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers, vs. Bears (30)
7. Matt Schaub, Texans, vs. Jets (29)
8. Donovan McNabb, Eagles, at Panthers (16)
9. Matt Ryan, Falcons, vs. Dolphins (25)
10. Carson Palmer, Bengals, vs. Broncos (26)
11. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks, vs. Rams (19)
12. Joe Flacco, Ravens, vs. Chiefs (28)
13. Tony Romo, Cowboys, at Buccaneers (4)
14. Jay Cutler, Bears, at Packers (12)
15. Shaun Hill, 49ers, at Cardinals (22)
16. Chad Pennington, Dolphins, at Falcons (21)
17. Eli Manning, Giants, vs. Redskins (7)
18. Brett Favre, Vikings, at Browns (14)
19. David Garrard, Jaguars, at Colts (6)
20. Trent Edwards, Bills, at Patriots (11)

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings, at Browns (No. 28 vs. the run in 2008)
2. Matt Forte, Bears, at Packers (26)
3. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers, at Raiders (31)
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, at Colts (24)
5. Steven Jackson, Rams, at Seahawks (18)
6. Brian Westbrook, Eagles, at Panthers (20)
7. Michael Turner, Falcons, vs. Dolphins (10)
8. Thomas Jones, Jets, at Texans (23)
9. Steve Slaton, Texans, vs. Jets (7)
10. Frank Gore, 49ers, at Cardinals (16)
11. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins, at Falcons (25)
12. Brandon Jacobs, Giants, vs. Redskins (8)
13. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers, vs. Eagles (4)
14. Marion Barber, Cowboys, at Buccaneers (19)
15. Ryan Grant, Packers, vs. Bears (5)
16. Cedric Benson, Bengals, vs. Broncos (27)
17. Kevin Smith, Lions, at Saints (17)
18. Reggie Bush, Saints, vs. Lions (32)
19. Ray Rice, Ravens, vs. Chiefs (30)
20. Clinton Portis, Redskins, at Giants (9)
21. Julius Jones, Seahawks, vs. Rams (29)
22. Joseph Addai, Colts, vs. Jaguars (13)
23. Derrick Ward, Buccaneers, vs. Cowboys (12)
24. Beanie Wells, Cardinals, vs. 49ers (13)

1. Andre Johnson, Texans, vs. Dolphins (No. 25 vs. the pass in 2008)
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, vs. 49ers (20)
3. Randy Moss, Patriots, vs. Bills (13)
4. Roddy White, Falcons, vs. Dolphins (25)
5. Marques Colston, Saints, vs. Lions (27)
6. Reggie Wayne, Colts, vs. Jaguars (24)
7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks, vs. Rams (19)
8. Greg Jennings, Packers, vs. Bears (30)
9. Calvin Johnson, Lions, at Saints (23)
10. Vincent Jackson, Chargers, at Raiders (10)
11. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals, vs. Broncos (26)
12. Steve Smith, Panthers, vs. Eagles (3)
13. Wes Welker, Patriots, vs. Bills (13)
14. DeSean Jackson, Eagles, at Panthers (16)
15. Lance Moore, Saints, vs. Lions (27)
16. Eddie Royal, Broncos, at Bengals (15)
17. Anthony Gonzalez, Colts, vs. Jaguars (24)
18. Derrick Mason, Ravens, vs. Chiefs (28)
19. Terrell Owens, Bills, at Patriots (11)
20. Donnie Avery, Rams, at Seahawks (32)
21. Kevin Walter, Texans, vs. Jets (29)
22. Braylon Edwards, Browns, vs. Vikings (18)
23. Brandon Marshall, Broncos, at Bengals (15)
24. x-Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, vs. 49ers (20)
25. Bernard Berrian, Vikings, at Browns (14)
26. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs, at Ravens (2)
27. Donald Driver, Packers, vs. Bears (30)
28. Laveranues Coles, Bengals, vs. Broncos (26)
29. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets, at Texans (17)
30. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers, vs. Cowboys (5)
31. Torry Holt, Jaguars, at Colts (6)
32. Roy Williams, Cowboys, at Buccaneers (4)
33. Ted Ginn Jr., Dolphins, at Falcons (21)
34. Nate Burleson, Seahawks, vs. Rams (19)
35. Isaac Bruce, 49ers, at Cardinals (22)
36. Devin Hester, Bears, at Packers (12)

x-Make sure Boldin (hamstring injury) plays. If not, teammate Steve Breaston would be a good start.

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