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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Week 1

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With Week 1 finally here, find out who to start and who to sit.


Matt Hasselbeck -- He seems to have recovered from the back injury that derailed his 2008 season, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh gives him a legitimate receiving threat. Clearly their rushing game is in shambles if signing EdgerrinJames is an upgrade, so expect Hasselbeck to throw early and often against a horrible St. Louis defense.

Carson Palmer -- He was limited in the preseason with an ankle injury, but the Bengals play a Denver team that is in disarray and will surely give up some big plays. He'll look like the old Carson for at least one week.


Mike Bell -- He's been off the fantasy radar since 2006, where he fell into the Mike Shanahan-running back graveyard. It sounds like Pierre Thomas won't be at full strength, and even though prime health isn't required to succeed against the Detroit defense, they're likely to rest him in favor of Bell.

Cedric Benson -- I was surprised how late Benson went in some of my drafts. Sure, he was a huge disappointment in Chicago, but the Bengals don't have anyone else. And with 20-plus carries against the Broncos, Benson should get decent yardage numbers and a score.

Kevin Smith -- Smith was a huge part of the offense in Detroit's third preseason game, and with rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford starting, that will continue. Even with the Starcaps Twins Will Smith and Charles Grant on the field, it's not like the Saints are the '85 Bears. Smith is also a solid receiver out of the backfield, and like Benson, competition is limited.

Ray Rice -- The Ravens backfield situation was a mess last year, but they want Rice to be the guy this season. A date with the Chiefs should get him off to a good start, especially in PPR leagues.


Anthony Gonzalez -- Teammate Reggie Wayne has averaged 116 yards per contest in Indy's past five games versus Jacksonville. The Jags will be out to shut down Wayne, leaving plenty of openings (and single coverage) for Gonzalez.

Chris Henry -- Henry was a touchdown fiend this preseason. He's a monster in the red zone and should be the recipient of a Palmer TD toss.

Josh Morgan -- As much as the 49ers want to become a running team (step 4 of the Mike Martz cleansing process), they'll have to throw it to stay close with Arizona. Morgan is their top threat and had four catches for 54 yards and a TD in his lone game against the Cardinals last year.

Lance Moore -- What better way to jumpstart a season than facing the porous Lions secondary? Drew Brees will pick them apart, and his chemistry with Moore will be on display.


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John Carlson -- In week 15 last year, Carlson posted 76 yards against the Rams. That was with Seneca Wallace under center and a patchwork receiving corps around him. Imagine what he'll do with Hasselbeck and Housh.

Heath Miller -- Tennessee has the corners to limit opposing wideouts, but they've been susceptible to giving up big games to opposing tight ends, much like Miller's eight catches and 69 yards against them last year.


Brett Favre --It seems enticing to play Favre against the lowly Browns, but how much are the Vikings going to have to throw it to win?

Eli Manning -- With so many questions at wide receiver for the Giants, they'll play to their strength, which is the power running game of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. When Eli does drop back, he could see some increased pressure which will lead to more short passes.


Larry Johnson -- He did nothing this preseason outside of one 41-yard run against the Rams. He might also be lining up behind Brodie Croy ... against the Ravens.

Willie Parker -- Despite Mike Tomlin's comments about Parker being "the guy," his chances for success against the Titans aren't very high. Albert Haynesworth is gone, but Tennessee has plenty of talent on the D-Line. They held Fast Willie to 31 yards on 19 carries last season, and it doesn't look like he will get goal-line carries.

LenDale White -- It took him 15 carries to get 48 yards against the Steelers last year, so don't look for much here.

Rookies -- After the performances of Matt Forte, Chris Johnson and SteveSlaton last year, rookie runners became as fashionable as Crocs. With no rookie RBs locked into a starting role, I hesitate to start any of them until I see how they're used.


Antonio Bryant -- What's not to worry about here? Knee problems limited him in the preseason. Last season was the first time he actually looked like a legit receiver. He has a quarterback with a long delivery going against a team that notched 59 sacks last year. The team is committed to running the ball.

Ted Ginn Jr. -- One beat writer described Ginn as "almost invisible" for two preseason games, not exactly a ringing endorsement for fantasy glory. ChadPennington didn't look his way in the exhibition season and always spreads the ball around. Even in his "breakout" 2008 season, Ginn caught just two TDs, and his inconsistency will continue.

Devin Hester -- How poorly has Hester performed against Green Bay's physical corners Al Harris and Charles Woodson? He had zero catches in limited action during their 2007 matchups, and he posted just three receptions and 19 yards in two games last season. I still like him for the long haul, just not this week.

Domenik Hixon -- Outside of the New England backfield, the Giants receiving corps might be the biggest quagmire out there. Hixon is the de facto top guy, but I don't like his matchup against Washington's corners. Again, I look for short passes from the Giants, and Hixon is more of a deep threat.


Vernon Davis - After three years, the only things I know he's good at are getting in training camp fights and disappointing fantasy owners.

Tony Scheffler -- Regardless of how bad Denver is, big numbers from the tight end were never a staple of the Josh McDaniels era in New England. Scheffler clearly has talent, but if there's one thing we know about "mini Bill" it's that he's stubborn.