The concessional best practice to find your starters is using a saber metric approach. Yes, we play “Money Ball” except none of us is Brad Pitt. Remember Brad Pitt at least had his fictional sidekick Peter Brand the brains of the operation that had a magic math equations to assemble a major league ball team on a minor league budget. However the movie failed to mention that Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) had an ace in the hole… or rather three aces. Billy Beane possessed three of the best pitchers in major league baseball at that time and while saber metrics are useful later in the season you don’t posses pocket aces.
The truth is reading and gaining knowledge from periodicals (SI, USA Today, ESPN), listening to NFL beat writers (ProFootball Weekly Radio), and simply paying attention will make you the best source on your fantasy team. However saber metrics serves a very important purpose but saber metrics can’t help you right now because there are no variables to compare that plug into the formula.
This is week one and all you have is that good guess but that’s all anyone has right now.
Starters should never be benched even when the matchup is not in your favor.
Cam Newton is simply too good to bench and don’t overestimate the Seattle Seahawks defense. The Seahawks struggled last season with games that were played on the east coast all the way to the NFC playoff game against Atlanta. Also the Seattle defense is banged up and will be missing defensive end Chris Clemons.
Cam Newton is still the best overall offensive weapon on the Panthers roster and the Panthers finished 2012 winning five of six games when the Panthers simplified the offense.
Seattle’s corners didn’t allow quarterbacks to find an open receiver but with tight end Greg Olsen emerging as a favorite target for Newton I expect Cam to find an open target over the middle. However Cam Newton will need the support of his running game if he is going to have good day.
Overall I’d still start Newton today over a backup quarterback and I expect Newton to produce more points than his counterpart Russell Wilson.
You should start these players as well today,
- Start Giants runningback David Wilson against the Cowboys! The Cowboys have switched to 4-3 defense and my observations they lack a true three technique defensive tackle that can plug up the middle to stop the run. Wilson will find gaps the size of Jupiter.
- Start Packers receiver Jordy Nelson against the 49ers as Nelson will be covered by nickel corner Nnamdi Asomugha who was one of the league’s best corners but has faded quickly.
Sleepers are the players who could emerge as possible future starters but show potential on game day due to a matchup or an injury to a starter.
Tyler Eifert showed potential as a downfield threat and raised his stock in the 2013 NCAA Football Championship against Alabama this past January so much so he was drafted in the first round by the Bengals. As the Chicago Bears defense transitions at linebacker, with the departure of future hall of fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, the rookie has the potential for huge day.
Here are some other sleepers to consider.
- Houston runningback Ben Tate with Arian Foster on the PUP list through the majority of camp and the Chargers linebackers going through a transition this is a prime opportunity for Tate.
- San Francisco veteran receiver Kyle Williams will be lining up against the third cornerback on the Green Bay depth chart today and should be able to take advantage of the matchup to showcase why he was named Michael Crabtree’s replacement.
Bust, do I need to explain?
Jay Cutler… as a Chicago Bears fan I have no faith in Cutler who opened up so many practices and a preseason game with a guaranteed interception. I have no faith in Cutler and I wouldn’t start him today as you probably have some much better choices today.
Here are some other busts to avoid.
- Jacksonville runningback Maurice Jones-Drew was talking about walking away from the game a few weeks ago. MJD is over a year removed from the Dirk Koetter offense that had a heavy dose of the running game but Koetter is now in Atlanta. MJD will be lining up with a starting quarterback with a thumb injury on his passing hand, and the Jaguars are facing a healthy Kansas City defense.
- Any Indianapolis Colt runningback… it appears that Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton plans to air out the ball and the depth is crowded with touches at runningback. Until a clear runningback emerges as the rusher outside the twenties, I believe Bradshaw will be that runningback eventually, but this running back by committee system is just too crowded and uncertain right now.
If you are still uncertain who to start try this widget by NumberFire.com which is my preferred source for sabermetrics approach will simply compare your two choices at the position that is causing you a dilemma.