NFL Week 1 Fantasy Fill-ins
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to start their fantasy football season off with a Loss, although half of us do. I want you to end up in the happy half so I’ve uncovered some guys you can plug in if you are dealing with an injury (Willis McGahee owners) or tough matchups (Jake Delhomme/Marc Bulger owners).
Kurt Warner - How many people snagged Kurt Warner as their starting QB? Probably not many, especially with Matt Leinart as the projected starter. Well, Warner won the gig and should be rolled out in Week 1 vs. San Francisco. He’s got a pair of outstanding WRs and finished the season with a flurry. Feel free to plug him in over a Hasselbeck, a Bulger, a Cutler, and a Delhomme.
Stat Line: 19 or 30 for 197 yards, TD
Selvin Young - I know not many of you took Selvin as your #2 RB this season. It’s OK to bench your starter in Week 1 if he is facing a tough matchup (Jonathan Stewart, Ronnie Brown [bet you wish you had that pick back], Ryan Grant, and LenDale White to name a few) or is an injury-risk (Ryan Grant, McGahee). Young gets to face a Oakland Run Defense that was putrid last year. Oakland is great against the pass and Brandon Marshall is sitting this one out because of suspension. Mike Shanahan is on the hot seat this year. Think he wants to get off on the right foot? Think he knows the best way to beat Oakland is on the ground? Think Selvin Young is a good play? Me too.
Stat Line: 7 carries for 36 yards, TD
Ray Rice- If McGahee sits this one out I would have no problem using Rice against Cincinnati. Rice had a fantastic preseason, is capable running and catching the ball, and the Bengals D isn’t very strong. The Ravens are using a Rookie QB in Joe Flacco so they will lean on the running game. Even if McGahee plays Rice could be an option at a Flex or 3rd RB position if you have them in your leagues.
Stat Line: 22 carries for 64 yards, 3 catches for 19 yards
Jerricho Cotchery - I’ve been singing Cotchery’s praises since #4 signed with the Jets. I envision an old style Jets-Dolphins shootout. Last year this game was fantasy puke, but this year Cotchery, Favre, Pennington, Thomas Jones, Ricky Williams, Coles, and even Ted Ginn, Jr. could produce decent fantasy points. He’s a nice play if you have Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall, or Kevin Curtis on your roster. I’d also use him over guys like Hines Ward, Chris Chambers, Lee Evans (it’s not December), or Bernard Berrian.
Stat Line: 3 catches for 80 yards, TD
DeSean Jackson - WIth Kevin Curtis out and Reggie Brown hurting, Jackson could find himself quite busy in the season opener. I’d roll with him over the likes of Anthony Gonzalez, Ronald Curry, Reggie Williams, or Isaac Bruce.
Stat Line: 6 catches for 106 yards
L.J. Smith - The Birds aren’t going to rely solely on Westbrook and DeSean Jackson. While he’s healthy they may as well get some production out of the big fella. I’d roll him him over the likes of Benjamin Watson, oft-injured Todd Heap, Tony Scheffler, and sucky Chris Cooley (oh wait, it’s too late for that).
Stat Line: 5 catches for 39 yards, TD
David Akers - St. Louis tied Baltimore for allowing the most points from Kickers (146) last year. They tied with Kansas City for allowing the second most Field Goals (34, Baltimore allowed 37). I mentioned the Birds will be without some of their weapons so their drives could stall out. Akers could be a busy guy on Sunday. Robbie Gould faces Indianapolis (72 points), Kris Brown faces Pittsburgh (83 points), Rob Bironas faces Jacksonville (85 points), and Josh Scobee faces Tennessee (86 points). It’s conceivable Akers scores higher than all of these Kickers.
Stat Line: 1 FG, 5 PATs
Arizona - Some of the top Defenses (Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Houston) face some difficult challenges. Arizona gets to face J.T. O’Sullivan and the 49ers. They have a lot of new pieces on Offense. It could take some time for them to click. Arizona could pile up the Sacks and Turnovers.
Stat Line: 1 INT, 3 Fumble Recoveries, 4 Sacks, 13 points allowed