The most difficult fantasy football roster to set is often that of the first week of the NFL season. Fantasy football managers have no history on which to base decisions about matchups, and throw injuries, suspensions, and holdouts into the mix and … well … it can be a mess.
We can’t do anything about the lack of history, but we can do something about keeping up with injuries and holdouts. Here’s what our crack team of researchers has come up with for Week 1 of the fantasy football season.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks – Baldwin was back at practice on Monday and is looking good to start against the soft pass defense of the Arizona Cardinals.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans – In case you’ve been living in a cave, Britt is suspended for Week 1.
Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis Colts – Concussion Man will play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears and will be a “full go.”
Rashad Jennings / Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Jones-Drew is back from his holdout and will be active against the Minnesota Vikings. That will cut into Jennings’ value a little bit, but if you’re forced to choose one or the other, take Jennings against Minnesota’s tough run defense. Keep MJD on the bench.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks – Beast Mode has been dealing with some back spasms and missed the preseason finale. He still wasn’t back in practice on Monday, but head coach Pete Carroll is claiming he’ll be fine for the game against Arizona. Robert Turbin is still a wise pickup for Lynch owners.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers – Mathews is back in practice, but he’s not even taking hits yet. Don’t count on him on Monday night against the Oakland Raiders.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants – Despite being held out of practice on Sunday and Monday to rest his foot, Nicks is confident that he’ll start on Wednesday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Check about 30 minutes before gametime to make sure, but if Nicks starts on the field, he should start in your fantasy football lineup.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings – If Purple Jesus is active against the Jaguars—which isn’t a sure thing—he won’t see much action. Bench him. Toby Gerhart should be the feature back.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns – Richardson was back at practice on Sept. 3 and head coach Pat Shurmur is “very optimistic” that he’ll play against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Evan Royster, RB, Washington Redskins – Royster may be listed No. 1 on the Redskins’ depth chart, but even he doesn’t know whether or not he’s starting in Week 1. Head coach Mike Shanahan has been giving fantasy football owners heartburn over his running back decisions for years. Start Royster at your own risk.
Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks – Tate was held out of practice on Monday with a knee injury that he suffered in the preseason finale. It sounds like he may be out for at least two weeks. In Tate’s absence, Braylon Edwards is likely in for a lot more action than originally planned as the slot receiver. The Seahawks open against the Arizona Cardinals, whose pass defense was a sieve last year.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles – Vick is back in practice and taking all of the first-team reps. He’s fine. Unleash him on the Cleveland Browns without hesitation.
Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – Wallace practiced for the first time on Sept. 3 and appears to be in line to start against the Denver Broncos. He may not be 100 percent rust-free, but we’d start him.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys – Witten is making the flight to New York with the team but remains a huge question mark for Wednesday night’s game against the Giants. Nothing we’ve found sounds very encouraging about his status for the game, so make sure you have a backup tight end in place for your fantasy football team. (Perhaps Kyle Rudolph?)
Who did we miss that you’d like to know more about?