Jay Cutler is a Hot start this week as he opens up the season at home and reunited with his favorite toy - Brandon Marshall. He also has a financially happy Matt Forte bolstered by the arrival of Michael Bush in this run oriented offense under Mike Tice. Coming to town is rookie Andrew Luck who will be facing Peppers, Urlacher and Briggs and one of the best special teams units in the league whom together should afford many stops and opportunities; and that's all Cutler needs to have a successful day. Start with confidence.
Kevin Smith is my "start of the week." Kevin smith is the only show in town the first two weeks of the season in Detroit with Best on the PUP and LeShoure suspended the first two games. At home going up against a Rams defense that will be improved over last year, but that's not saying much. The 2011 Rams Defense allowed the 5th most points and 3rd most yards to RB's including 15 rushing TD's. St. Louis drafted Michael Brockers DT to help the defensive line, but he was hurt in the preseason and will miss this contest. Kevin Smith is a must start in PPR and RB2 in standard.
Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd are both good starts in the WR3 position with WR2 upside in this divisional matchup. The Raiders have done little to try and improve their defense who last year gave up the 3rd most points to WR's and 2nd most receiving TD's (21). The last time these two teams met in week 17 Rivers put up 310 yards and 3 TD's with Floyd catching 7 balls for 127 yards and 1 TD. Recently departed Vincent Jackson also scored and that's Meachem's new role.
Dustin Keller is expected to be active and he is facing the Bills who in 2011 allowed the most points and TD's (13) to TE's in the league last year. The second highest total receiving TD's to TE's was 9, four behind the Bills. The pressure is on Sanchez to perform and perform well in front of the home crowd if he hopes to keep the boo birds at bay. Keller will be targeted and targeted often. Keller offers upside in PPR in this matchup and is serviceable in standard leagues.
In my NOT section I don't serve up the obvious cream puffs or players easily expected to struggle, that's why I have listed Chris Johnson as a week 1 not. In this matchup, Bill Belichik is going to do everything he can to be sure that it's not Chris Johnson who beats him and he's going to force rookie QB Jake Locker to carry the Titans. Bill will accomplish this in two ways. 1. he will load the box and even maybe spy CJ2k. 2. Josh McDaniels opening up the season reunited with Brady and his new toy Lloyd are going to put the pressure on the Titans offense to keep up with their scoring and forcing them to pass. This obviously makes CJ2K appealing in PPR, but cautionable in standard leagues.
AJ Green is going to struggle this week and he won't get any help from Benjarvus Green-Ellis against a stout Ravens run defense. Additionally Bernard Scott is out, so there is no real threat out of the backfield. With it being week 1, Ed Reed is as healthy as he is going to be all season and he can just sit back and watch 2nd year QB Andy Dalton and roll or double to AJ Green. With no run support and a fresh Ed Reed at home on Monday Night Football, I'd look elsewhere this week. The 2011 Ravens defense allowed the 2nd fewest receiving TD's to WR's, giving up just 8 all year.
You aren't going to bench Rob Gronkowski because of where you drafted him and most likely you don't have a decent TE2 on your roster. However, this is the week when Hernandez out produces and out scores Gronk, no doubt. Gronk does alot of his damage in the red zone, but the Titans in 2011 allowed only 5 TD's to TE's all year; the 4th fewest in the league. The real stat that points the arrow to Hernandez and away from Gronk is the fact that the Titans allowed the 3rd most yards to TE's last year, and Hernandez is considered the more athletic and speedier TE. I'm not telling you to sit Gronk, but his 2012 season may get off to a slow start.