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The Times
  • Fantasy football: Let the uncertainty begin

  • So you’ve drafted your team, you’re confident and ready to start your quest for a fantasy championship. Hope springs eternal and it all seems possible to be your league’s champion. There’s just one problem. The matchups for a bundle of your players aren’t too pleasing.

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  • So you’ve drafted your team, you’re confident and ready to start your quest for a fantasy championship.
    Hope springs eternal, and it all seems possible to be your league’s champion.
    There’s just one problem. The matchups for a bundle of your players aren’t too pleasing.
    Do you start your studs or sit them for the preseason sleeper ready to break out this season?
    It’s all about the matchups. Well, at least to a degree.
    It’s hard to know for certain how much better or worse a team’s defense has become stopping the run or slowing down the passing game. I would say teams like Tampa Bay, Oakland and Indianapolis likely won’t get a ton better at stopping the run — those three ranked in the bottom six run-stopping defenses in the league — but take a look at St. Louis.
    In 2011, the Rams were the second-worst rush defense in the league but were towards the middle of the pack (17th in yards given up a game) in 2010. So at Week 1 of the season, it’s harder to gauge how much better or worse a team has become over the offseason.
    This is why, during the first three or four games of the season, every year I tell fantasy owners to stick with their studs. Heck, some of them you may have to stick it out longer — I can hear Chris Johnson (TEN) owners from a season ago scoffing to themselves while reading that.
    Usually the strategy works and won’t leave you trading away a player like Arian Foster because of his rocky start last year.
    Sometimes just for peace of mind, it’s just better to stick with what you’ve got. You drafted these players for a reason, you know what you were doing when you drafted most of your studs. No need to panic on them just before the start of the season.
    Can’t Wait! Waiver Wire Pickups
    There likely won’t be many gems on the waiver wire to start the year, depending on how long ago you drafted your team.
    If you’re scraping at the bottom of the barrel, these six guys may be worth a flyer.
    QB: Sam Bradford (STL), Ryan Tannehill (MIA)
    RB: Mike Tolbert (CAR), Alex Green (GB)
    WR: Dexter McCluster (KC), Stephen Hill (NYJ)
    Breakin’ Bread List
    I won’t use this week to rant on why I despise Thursday night games (or in this week’s case, Wednesday night games), but I’ll just mention how these games make for porous defensive or offensive games that neither team is really all that prepared for.
    Page 2 of 2 - And the games are usually pretty bad. And it makes projecting players and injuries a pain.
    But outside of that, it allows me make the Breakin’ Bread List a tad more interesting. Each week, I will pick at least one player from each game I expect to be stud.
    The result for this week means there won’t be an Aaron Rodgers (GB) appearance for the list.
    QB: Drew Brees (NO) vs. Washington, Eli Manning (NYG) vs. Dallas
    RB: LeSean McCoy (PHI) at Cleveland, DeMarco Murray (NYG) at NYG
    WR: Calvin Johnson (DET) vs. St. Louis
    TE: Jimmy Graham (NO) vs. Washington
     
    The Purple Drank list — presented by JaMarcus Russell
    It’s his first NFL start, on the road and against a Chicago Bears team with all types of pressure on them to make a deep postseason run.
    I like Andrew Luck (IND) and I don’t think he’ll be on this list very often this season. But he will almost certainly appear to be on the Purple Drank after Chicago is done with him.
    This pick may come to bite me, but yeah, I’m putting Peyton Manning (DEN) and JaMarcus Russell on the same list. Oh boy ...
    QB: Andrew Luck (IND) at Chicago, Peyton Manning (DEN) vs. Pittsburgh
    RB: Marshawn Lynch (SEA) at Arizona, Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) at Minnesota
    WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey (OAK) vs. San Diego, Jeremy Maclin (PHI) at Cleveland
    Don’t sleep on my sleepers
    QB: Russell Wilson (SEA) at Arizona, Tim Tebow (NYJ) vs. Buffalo
    RB: LeGarrette Blount (TB) vs. Carolina, Ryan Williams (ARI) vs. Seattle
    WR: Nate Washington (TEN) vs. New England, Reggie Wayne (IND) at Chicago
     
    Joey Baskerville (@jmark79) writes his column every Wednesday during the NFL season. Reach him at jbaskerville@journalstandard.com.
     
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