FANTASY BLITZ: Facts, figures and trends to set your Week 1 lineups

Fantasy FANTASY BLITZ: Facts, figures and trends to set your Week 1 lineups

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If you want to win your league, spend five minutes a week with Fantasy Blitz, where we take a fast view of every game and highlight the sleepers who will score and the elite players who will not.


For this first week, the defensive rankings are from the end of the 2008 regular season


Always note the defensive statistics when setting your line up


Dolphins at Falcons, Over- Under 43.5


Dolphins, Falcons defense vs run 25th vs pass 21st


Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are still sharing carries, Brown should have 14-fifteen rushing touches, 60 yards and a score….Chad Pennington had a great preseason and with the release of veteran TE David Martin, Anthony Fasano will have more passes thrown his way, this match up favors him against Atlanta linebackers who do not cover well.


Falcons, Dolphins defense vs run 10th vs pass 25th


Michael Turner will get his 100 yards and at least 1 TD but a tough Dolphin run defense will force Turner to touch it 30 times to get there….a much improved Dolphin pass rush with Jason Taylor and Cameron Wake will have Matt Ryan throwing shorter than he wants when he using play action – his staple; not an easy match up for Roddy White, yardage will be limited for him but TE Tony Gonzalez should find the goal line.


Chiefs at Ravens, Over- Under 36


Chiefs, Ravens defense vs run 3rd vs pass 2nd


No matter if it is Matt Cassell or the below average Brodie Croyle starting they will test the Baltimore cornerbacks early and often with short drops; Dwayne Bowe will be their focus on short out patterns and he should get close to double digit receptions bringing value in point per reception leagues, but his yards per reception will not be high…..Larry Johnson averaged 5 yards a carry in the pre season but he is facing a run defense that allowed just 3.6 yards a carry in 2008, there is almost no value in Johnson or Jamaal Charles this week.


Ravens, Chiefs defense vs run 30th vs pass 28th


Joe Flacco will only attempt around 20 passes this game so his value is limited, Derrick Mason should be good for 60 yards and a score…..the Chiefs allowed 158 rushing yards a game and 25 rushing touchdowns in 2008, you will see Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’ Ron McClain, Rice will get 20 plus touches and the most rushing yardage but McGahee has value in this game also, look for 50 plus yards rushing and for him and to at least share the goal line work.


Broncos at Bengals, Over- Under 43.5


Broncos, Bengals defense vs 21st vs pass 15th


Kyle Orton should start, but his finger injury could have Chris Simms or even Tom Brandstater start against an improved Bengal pass defense; Eddie Royal is the only Bronco in the passing game with any value this week….veteran Correll Buckhalter will get most of the carries and should get close to 100 yards with a touchdown, rookie Knowshon Moreno will get some touches and fullback Peyton Hillis will get some goal line work but both will have limited yardage.


Bengals, Broncos defense vs run 27th vs pass 26th


Carson Palmer, while slightly injured  will have a multiple touchdown pass game, both Chad Johnson and Chris Henry will score touchdowns with Laveranues Coles working the slots and catching short passes…..the Broncos allowed 146 rushing yards a game and 26 scores on the ground in 2008, Cedric Benson has value this week, look for 70 yards and a touchdown.


Jets at Houston, Over- Under 43.5


Jets, Houston defense vs run 23 rd vs pass 17th


Mario Williams and company will come after rookie Mark Sanchez with multiple blitz packages trying to force turnovers, Sanchez will have to throw short, Leon Washington catching screens and TE Dustin Keller have the most value in what will be a limited Jet passing game this week….Thomas Jones will get a heavy workload and will handle the goal line carries, he should be around   90 yards rushing with at least one score.


Houston, Jets defense vs run 7th vs pass 29th


Matt Schaub has the talent around him to have a huge season but this will not be a big game for him, the Jet secondary is talented, Andre Johnson starts every week and should get 70-80 yards and a score but a slightly injured Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels will not have one of their better fantasy days…..Steve Slaton will get a lot of touches but the Jets will limit him to around 80-110 combined rushing and receiving yards but will he score a touchdown…..Slaton’s over all value for the season will drop if Chris Brown does get the goal line work.


Jaguars at Colts, Over- Under 44


Jaguars, Colts defense vs run 24th vs pass 6th

The Colts allowed just six scoring throws in 2008, David Garrard did have one of those last year but there is little value in the Jaguar passing game except for short passes to Maurice Jones-Drew here this week even with Torry Holt…in his last 4 games against the Colts he has 496 combined rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns, but he will frustrate you some this season as Greg Jones will take some goal line carries, Google Barry Sanders’ 1992-1994 seasons and you will see what to expect from Jones-Drew this year. 


Colts, Jaguars defense, vs run 13th vs pass 24th


You know the drill, Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, now Anthony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark start almost every week, last year in week 17 both Wayne and Clark went over 100 yards and both scored against Jacksonville…..different story with the Colt running game, Joseph Addai will average just around 16 carries a game, he should be close to 70 yards this week and for now consider him the goal line back, he had 2 rushing scores vs. the Jaguars week three last year, Donald Brown will get at least 10 touches but would take a wait and see approach with him for now.


Bills at Patriots, Over- Under 47.5


Bills, Patriots defense vs run 15th vs pass 11th


The Bills were awful in preseason, they are starting 2 rookies on the offensive line, fired their offensive coordinator, and Trent Edwards has shown no ability to throw a NFL caliber deep pass, based on this Terrell Owens and Lee Evans should be no higher than flex players this week against an improved Patriot pass defense….Fred Jackson and Xavier Omon will run the ball for the Bills while Marshawn Lynch serves his suspension, Jackson does have value  this week, he should gain close to 90 combined rushing and receiving yards and score.


Patriots, Bills defense vs run 22nd, vs pass 13th


Tom Brady and Randy Moss should have big games but Wes Welker has an undetermined injury and has admitted his timing with Brady is off, use Welker only as flex player this week to be safe…..Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney will share most of the carries this week, Taylor has the greater value, look for 70 yards and a score, the Bills allowed 121 rushing yards a game in 2008.


San Diego at Raiders, Over- Under 43


San Diego, Raiders defense vs run 31st, vs pass 10th


The Raider pass defense is above average but quarterback Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, and a completely healthy Antonio Gates should be started, Jackson and Gates each had touchdowns against the Raiders in 2008….yes the word is LaDanian Tomlinson will have a down season but based on where he was drafted he is must start every week, in 2008 he rushed for 196 yards and had 2 touchdowns against the Raiders, he should have little trouble crossing the 100 yard mark and the goal line again this game.


Raiders, San Diego defense vs run 11th vs pass 31st


JaMarcus Russell and his receivers do not bring much to the fantasy table but San Diego does not cover the TE well, Zach Miller should approach 50 yards and score this game….Darren McFadden will get 15-20 carries depending on the pace of the game gaining 60 plus yards.


Detroit at New Orleans Over/Under 48.5


Lions defense 27th vs. pass, 32nd vs. run


Every Saint you have should be started against the worst defense in football, sleeper of the week might be running back Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas may not play,  even if he does he will be limited.


Saints defense 23rd vs. pass, 17th vs. run


Calvin Johnson is a must start every week and Kevin Smith has a favorable match up against a vulnerable Saints’ run defense.


Dallas at Tampa Bay Over/Under   39.0


Cowboys defense 5th vs. pass, 12th vs. run


The only Buccaneer to consider starting is TE Kellen Winslow, the running backs will be rotated, Carnell Williams, Derrick Ward, and Earnest Graham will all get carries but none will get enough to create fantasy value against a solid Cowboy run defense.


Buccaneers defense 11th vs. pass, 19th vs. run


Tony Romo will not have a huge yardage game, TE Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton should score this week, Marion Barber will be held to around 70 yards but should be able to find the goal line.


Minnesota at Cleveland Over/Under   39.5


Vikings defense 18th vs. pass, 1st vs. run


The Browns will not be able to run, keep Jamal Lewis on your bench. Brady Quinn could attempt close to 50 passes this game creating value for Braylon Edwards and Mike Furrey.


Browns defense 14th vs. pass, 28th vs. run


The Browns allowed 151 yards rushing a game in 2008, Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor will have fantasy friendly games, Brett Favre will not attempt more than 20 passes, TE Visanthe Shiancoe has the highest value of any player in Viking passing game this week.


Philadelphia at Carolina Over/Under    43.5


Eagles defense 3rd vs. pass, 4th vs. run


There are no surprises here, DeAngelo Williams who will get a few more carries with Jonathan Stewart banged up and wide receiver Steve Smith are your only plays, Jake Dehomme is no more than a back up, keep an eye on rookie Mike Goodson.


Panthers defense 16th vs. pass, 20th vs. run


Good battle here, Panthers allowed just 5 multiple touchdown pass games but Donovan McNabb will score fantasy points this week along with DeSean Jackson and Brett Celek. Brian Westbrook is still the center of the Eagle offense but LeSean McCoy will get touches.


St. Louis at Seattle Over/Under   41.5


Rams defense 19th vs. pass, 29th vs. run


Matt Hasselbeck ,TJ Houshmandzadeh, and John Carlson  are must starts, and running back Julius Jones has a rare favorable match up against a below average defensive line.


Seahawks defense 32nd vs. pass, 18th vs. run


There is not much here besides Steven Jackson who had 47 touches against the Seahawks last year.


Washington at New York Giants Over/Under   37.5


Redskins defense 7th vs. pass, 8th vs. run


Eli Manning and the Giant passing game will not score much this week, Brandon Jacobs should score a couple of touchdowns and rush for close to 110 yards.


Giants defense 8th vs. pass, 9th vs.  run


The Giants allowed just one touchdown to a TE in 2008, Chris Cooley does not have a favorable match up, you can say the same thing for the entire Redskin passing game, based on where you drafted Clinton Portis he is a must start every week, he should gain around 90 yards and will get the goal line carries.


San Francisco at Arizona Over/Under   46.0


49ers defense 20th vs. pass, 13th vs. run


Kurt Warner has shredded San Francisco the past couple of season, start all of their receivers but Chris wells and Tim Hightower will share carries, sit both.


Cardinals defense 22nd vs. pass, 16th vs. run


San Francisco will try and keep this a slow paced game, Frank Gore has value because of the workload he will get but Shaun Hill could surprise and have a multiple touchdown pass game, veteran Isaac Bruce will score points this game, as always do not even think about starting TE Vernon Davis.


Chicago at Green Bay Over/Under   46.5


Bears defense 30th vs. pass, 5th vs. run


The Packers gained over 700 yards and averaged almost 4 touchdowns in 2008 against the Bears, and Chicago had no sacks, this is easy, start all of your Packers this week even TE Jermichael Finley.


Packers defense 12th vs. pass, 26th vs. run


You will hear this all year long, start Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Greg Olsen, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett will score during the season but you to wait and see who becomes the go to here after a couple of weeks before starting them.

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Kurt Backert

About Kurt Backert

Kurt's passion for the game began in the 60's watching the Colts on TV and at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. He began following the statistics of not only his beloved Colts but also those of the Colts opponents, with a keen eye on Vince Lombardi's Packers. His thirst for and attention to statistical detail would eventually lead Kurt on a journey to the world of fantasy football in the late 1980's where he's captured more titles than John Wooden's UCLA Bruins   Kurt carries a distinction that no other fan of the NFL can boast about.  He is the reigning NFL National Trivia Champion and he credits his Dad for passing on such passion for the game, something Kurt also hopes to pass along to his 9-year-old son. More from Kurt Backert


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