Who To Start in Fantasy Football

Who to Start in Fantasy Football Week 1

Our big list of who to start in fantasy football in Week 1 of the 2009 NFL season is up today. We’ve poured over all the team match-ups and analyzed the data, and these are the results of who to start. Keep in mind that we’re factoring in injury concerns and suspension concerns when deciding which fantasy football players to start each week. At a point, the risk/reward factor of players like Wes Welker and Brandon Marshall become too much to ignore, usually once you’re out of the elite, breakout game type players.

The NFL scheduled a number of mismatches in Week One, if you ask me. It seems like every other year, the National Football League alternates between Week 1 showdowns and Week 1 blowouts. This looks like a blowout year. That’s good for the experienced fantasy footballers, because you can get an advantage over your fantasy opponent by looking over the matchups and see who to start on your fantasy football team. A player like Mike Bell, who wasn’t even on the radar during most fantasy drafts, is actually a viable starter in Week 1 – due to the injury status of Pierre Thomas (who doesn’t make our list, for the same reason).

Who To Start – Fantasy Football Quarterbacks

This list might look a little like a draft list, but the top quarterbacks are generally going to be the most consistent players. Once the season is about a month to six weeks old, we’ll know better which defenses are the must-starts. For now, Kurt Warner vs the 49ers and Philip Rivers vs the Raiders look pretty nice.

1. Drew Brees
2. Tom Brady
3. Aaron Rodgers
4. Kurt Warner
5. Philip Rivers
6. Peyton Manning
7. Matt Hasselbeck
8. Tony Romo
9. Donovan McNabb
10. Carson Palmer
11. Jay Cutler
13. Shaun Hill
14. David Garrard
15. Matt Ryan
16. Brett Favre
17. Mark Sanchez
18. Matthew Stafford
19. Joe Flacco
20. Matt Schaub* – Beware that Schaub is Questionable. Rex Grossman would start in his place. If you are confident Schaub starts, rate him at #13.
21. Kyle Orton* – There’s still some doubt that Orton will be ready to go, but there have been several hints he’ll be healthy enough. If you are confident Orton starts, rate him at #16.
22. Marc Bulger
23. Eli Manning
24. Chad Pennington
25. Brady Quinn
26. Byron Leftwich
27. Trent Edwards – His offensive line looks shaky coming into Week 1.
28. Jason Campbell
30. Matt Cassel
31. Jamarcus Russell
32. Kerry Collins

Who To Start – Fantasy Football Running Backs

This list is about match-ups. Traditionally injury-prone running backs like Reggie Bush, Stephen Jackson and Brandon Jacobs are way up the list, because they play against lesser defenses and because injuries are less likely any one week than over the course of a season. AP is still #1, though it’s tempting to put LT vs. the Raiders as the pick of the week.

1. Adrian Peterson – Versus the Browns ugly run defense. What a way to start a season.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew
3. Brandon Jacobs
4. Reggie Bush – With Pierre Thomas iffy to start and the Detroit Lions across the line of scrimmage, Reggie Bush starts the season with a bang. Start Bush while you still can, then trade him if he has a huge game.
5. Frank Gore
6. Ladainian Tomlinson
7. Steven Jackson
8. Michael Turner
9. Ronnie Brown
10. Steve Slaton
11. Kevin Smith
12. Marion Barber
13. Ryan Grant
14. Cedric Benson
15. Steve Slaton
16. DeAngelo Williams
17. Clinton Portis
18. Mike Bell – I know, this looks crazy, but Mike Bell looks like the Saints starter this weekend and he’ll be running with big-time offense against the Lions Defense. If you have Mike Bell, start Mike Bell. This one week.
19. Ray Rice – Let’s see if his preseason translates to the regular season. The Ravens starts with the Chiefs, so it should.
20. Knowshon Moreno
21. Darren McFadden
22. Brian Westbrook
23. Felix Jones
24. Fred Jackson – Jackson is one of two veteran backs on the Bills active roster right now, and they should be playing from behind all day. That means lots of catches for Fred Jackson.
25. Larry Johnson
26. LenDale White
27. Larry Johnson
28. Thomas Jones
29. Joseph Addai – Donald Brown will be the man eventually, but Addai should get more touches than the rookie in an interdivision rivalry game in Week 1.
30. Cadillac Williams
31. Derrick Ward
32. Julius Jones
33. Tim Hightower
34. Leon Washington
35. Darren Sproles

Who To Start – Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

Since many leagues go three receivers deep, I’ll put out a Top 40 list of receivers. A few of the better players (Brandon Marshall, Wes Welker, etc) are down the list somewhat, because of the questions surrounding them due to injuries or suspensions.

1. Randy Moss
2. Greg Jennings
3. Calvin Johnson
4. Anquan Boldin
5. Larry Fitzgerald
6. Andre Johnson
7. Marques Colston – I would place Colston higher, but Drew Brees spreads it around high enough that it’s hard to say who the #1 Saints receiver will be every week.
8. Steve Smith, CAR
9. Roddy White, ATL
10. Vincent Jackson – Had a huge game against the Raiders in their last showdown, in Week 14 of the NFL Season 2008. If you were in the fantasy playoffs, you’re likely to remember that game.
11. Reggie Wayne, IND
12. TJ Houshmandzadeh
13. Lance Moore
14. Roy Williams
15. Eddie Royal
16. Braylon Edwards
17. DeSean Jackson
18. Jerricho Cotchery
19. Chad Ochocinco
20. Santonio Holmes
21. Anthony Gonzales
22. Brandon Marshall
23. Antonio Bryant
24. Terrell Owens
25. Wes Welker
26. Dwayne Bowe
27. Donald Driver
28. Josh Morgan
29. Devin Hester
30. Laveranues Coles
31. Derrick Mason
32. Hines Ward
33. Donnie Avery
34. Santana Moss
35. Torry Holt
36. Chris Henry
37. Laurent Robinson
38. Bernard Berrian
39. Ted Ginn
40. Earl Bennett

Who To Start – Fantasy Football Tight Ends

This list is a little smaller, because most leagues only allow 1 tight end starting. This list is especially helpful for those teams that waited a little while on tight ends, and therefore might have two of the guys on their roster from spots 9 through 18.

1. Antonio Gates
2. Dallas Clark
3. Jeremy Shockey
4. Greg Olsen
5. Jason Witten – Witten has had sub-par games in his last two starts against the Bucs, but this is a different Buccaneers Defense. Jason Witten goes against new strong safety Sabby Piscitelli, who may or may not be the answer in Tampa.
6. Owen Daniels – The Jets are going to be blitzing all day, which means Daniels should be a safety valve option for either Matt Schaub or Rex Grossman. In receptions leagues, Daniels should be gold.
7. Zach Miller
8. Kellen Winslow
9. John Carlson – Don’t expect Carlson to get as many looks as last year, now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh is signed and the Seahawks receiving corps is off the I.R.
10. Tony Gonzales
11. Chris Cooley
12. Jermichael Finley
13. Marcedes Lewis
14. Vernon Davis
15. Brent Celek
16. Dustin Keller
17. Anthony Fasano
18. Visanthe Shiancoe

Who To Start – Fantasy Football Defenses

Since most leagues only have 1 starting defense, I’ll give you a rating for the Top 12 and then some, in case you waited a little while on your defense. If you don’t have any of the teams on this list, your matchups aren’t so good and you should just start your best defense.

1. Baltimore Ravens Defense vs Chiefs
2. San Diego Chargers Defense vs Raiders
3. Minnesota Defense vs Browns
4. New York Giants Defense vs Redskins
5. New England Patriots Defense vs Bills – The Bills have fired their offensive coordinator and waived their starting left tackle in the last week. Their star running back is on suspension and their star receiver received almost no preseason work.
6. Houston Texans Defense vs Jets – The Texans young defense is starting to get seasoned, while they get Mark Sanchez in his first NFL start.
7. New Orleans Saints Defense vs Lions – Going against the rookie QB in his first start is always a nice defensive play.
8. Dallas Cowboys Defense vs Buccaneers – The Buccaneers fired their offensive coordinator, too. I get the idea the Bucs will have an awful 2009.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs Titans – The first game of the season is usually a surprise blowout, and the home team usually has a big advantage. Expect to see the Steelers have a surprisingly easy time of it against the Titans tonight.
10. Seattle Seahawks Defense vs. Rams – The Rams don’t appear ready to go in Week 1, with injuries and other strangeness on their offensive unit. The Seahawks were an underrated defense two years ago, and having a healthy offensive unit should help them in 2009.
11. Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs Panthers
12. Indianapolis Colts Defense vs Jaguars
13. Arizona Cardinals Defense vs Niners
14. Green Bay Packers Defense vs Bears – The Packers have installed a Dom Capers blitz-first defense, so if you play in a league that awards mainly for sacks and turnovers, they’re a pretty good play against Cutler, who should be looking downfield at average receivers.
15. Tennessee Titans Defense vs. Steelers
16. Washington Redskins Defense vs Giants