Wondering whether to start Aaron Rodgers and Rob Gronkowski or to bench Ryan Tannehill and Kenny Britt? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If youre looking for help with your real lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 1.
Watch em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Chiefs. He and his elite receivers have been locked in all preseason. Kansas City might be without its best corner, Brandon Flowers (foot); but regardless, the Chiefs defense will be overmatched.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers at Buccaneers. Normally, I avoid this backfield. But Jonathan Stewart (ankle) could be out, leaving Cam Newton as Williams primary competition for carries and rushing scores. Tampa Bays putrid rush defense makes the decision easier.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions vs. Rams. His preseason ankle injury appears to have subsided, though its only a matter of time before his next injury. Better start him now while Mikel Leshoure is serving of his two-game suspension and Jahvid Best (concussion) is on the PUP list.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers at Broncos. Uncertainty in the backfield and Mike Wallaces extended holdout should make Brown the busiest man on the field Sunday night. Already a favorite of Big Bens, Brown will stake his claim to the leading receiver role in Pittsburgh.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts at Bears. Pass defense was Chicagos Achilles heel in 2011, and the Colts rushing attack wont pose much of a threat. Indianapolis will likely be playing from behind, making Wayne a good prospect for trash-time production, at worst.
Roll em back
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos vs. Steelers. He will probably make me look like an idiot for doubting him, but I would be reluctant to start Manning in his first real game action against the mighty Pittsburgh defense. There are lingering concerns about the nerves in his right (throwing) arm, and he has yet to show he can consistently fling the ball deep.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals at Ravens. I have high expectations for the Law Firm in Cincinnati, but the matchup is worrisome. Green-Ellis should get the bulk of the carries, but that might not matter.
Cedric Benson, RB, Packers vs. 49ers. One of the safest start/bench calls last season was whichever RB was playing the Niners. Theres little reason to think that will change now, especially when Benson is starting his first game in Green Bays pass-first offense.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens vs. Bengals. The torch is being passed from the veteran Boldin to the upstart Torrey Smith. Against the solid Cincinnati secondary, Boldin is unlikely to see much daylight.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers vs. Panthers. Josh Freeman struggled through the preseason, not to mention all of 2011, and the Bucs new run-oriented offense.
TAKING A FLIER
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers at Broncos. The Steelers tailback has had an impressive preseason, and could even draw the Week 1 start, thanks to a slew of nagging injuries to presumptive starter Isaac Redman. Rashard Mendenhall (knee) also is unlikely to suit up.
Dont be the bonehead who fails to follow late-breaking news, including game-day inactives, prior to Sundays games. Ill be tweeting all day Sunday (www.twitter.com/ladd_biro).
Ladd Biro has been named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011). Follow him at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and Twitter (@ladd_biro).