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Fantasy Football Help: Favorable Week 1 Matchups

Ben Roethlisberger (theonion.com)

During the season I will be doing a weekly column on players to add from the waiver wire and bye-week replacement options. Since there are no byes for a few weeks, we’ll look at some players with favorable Week 1 matchups to help you with start/sit decisions. This will usually feature players who are not locked-in, every week starters. Matt Ryan and Pierre Garcon meet that criteria in most leagues, but  their respective matchups and situations are too juicy to ignore this week.

QUARTERBACKS

Matt Ryan (ATL @ NO)  If you drafted Ryan he is probably starting for you every week, but Ryan could well be the overall QB points leader for Week 1 after a shootout against a Saints defense without Jonathan Vilma that allowed 292.6 YPG allowed to opposing offenses in 2012.

Ben Roethlisberger (TEN @ PIT)  Big Ben gets last season’s 25th ranked pass defense at home to start 2013. He should be in line for a solid fantasy stat line due to the Steelers dicey running back situation in the wake of Le’Veon Bell’s injury.  I would start Roethlisberger over Sam Bradford (ARI @ STL), Eli Manning (NYG @ DAL), and Ben would even make me think long and hard about benching Russell Wilson in Carolina.

RUNNING BACKS

Ahmad Bradshaw (OAK @ IND)  Overall, I am not a Bradshaw supporter, but the Raiders are not good at all and Indy figures to build a lead at home.  Bradshaw will get plenty of chances to score in this one both on the ground and through the air.

Daryl Richardson (ARI @ STL)  I like Richardson to carry the load against an Arizona defense that was better in defending the pass than the run in 2012.  Arizona also added Tryann Mathieu and boasts Patrick Peterson.  Don’t be surprised if the Rams look to find Richardson on swings and screens as well as giving him 15-20 carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Pierre Garcon (PHI @ WSH)  Garcon is poised for a monster game reunited with RGIII against a poor Eagles pass defense.  Garcon owners will be hoping he replicates his 2012 opener against New Orleans without the injury.

Cecil Shorts (KC @ JAX)  Shorts should benefit from both Justin Blackmon’s absence due to suspension and a nice matchup against the Chiefs at home.  I would start him over Jordy Nelson (@ SF), Hakeem Nicks (@DAL), and even Vincent Jackson (@ NYJ)

T.Y. Hilton (OAK @ IND)  Hilton is a guy I liked a lot this draft season only to have someone grab him well before I had the chance in each of my leagues.  Great matchup, superior talent, you can count on him being drafted no later than Round 6 in 2014.

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Sudfeld (NE @ BUF)  Sudfeld is taking over Aaron Hernandez’s position in the Patriots offense.  He gets a great matchup in Buffalo as the top receiving tight end in an explosive offense.

Brent Celek (PHI @ WSH)  Celek will be on the field almost all the time in Chip Kelly’s offense based on preseason snaps .  He faces a Redskin defense that ranked 30th against the pass in 2012 and the Eagles are probably going to need to catch up to Washington in this game.

KICKERS

Greg Zuerlein (ARI @ STL)  Greg the leg certainly can make from 60+ yards indoors in St. Louis and the Arizona defense is good enough to force the Rams into field goal attempts once the approach the red zone.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Tampa Bay (TB @ NYJ)  This column is likely to consistently feature the team who plays the Jets in the DST category.

About Kevin O'Keefe - @KevinOKeefe14

I am an attorney practicing in New Hampshire.  Previously I practiced in Florida, and have a Massachusetts license I have never used.  I am contributing with fantasy football pieces now and hope to expand my contributions in the future.   I attended college at the University of New Hampshire and was captain of the tennis team.  I graduated law school in 2007.    I love to surf, hike, and travel all over especially to Central America. I started playing fantasy sports in 8th grade when my friend and I would mail in our newspaper fantasy baseball salary cap league.  I play fantasy football, hockey, baseball and NASCAR.  I am happy to expand my current audience of fantasy advice recipients beyond my friends and family.  If you have lineup or draft questions, find me on Twitter @KevinOKeefe14.

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