The start of the fantasy season is finally here! By now, you have likely completed your draft and you’re just counting the seconds until Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Broncos (exactly 161,722 at the time this sentence is being written). However, before the games begin, you have a few decisions to make.
With the exception of Rob Gronkowski, you’re probably thinking about playing the people you drafted in the first 5-6 rounds, and that’s smart. Why would you spend an early pick on someone you don’t feel comfortable playing every week, regardless of the matchup? Still, there are some great defenses out there and if you’re looking for a solid flex play, you probably have a few options, so here’s a little something to make that decision easier.
The Bengals/Bears game starts things off with two of the best defenses in the league going head to head. Although some teams cover the run better than the pass or vice versa, these two teams do it all pretty well so a low scoring game seems pretty likely. This is bad news for Giovani Bernard, Alshon Jeffery, and Mohamed Sanu. Let’s be honest, if you were thinking of playing Sanu already, you have bigger problems than that, but I figured I’d mention him anyway. On the QB side of things, both Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton should probably sit on the bench as well, but with an ADP of QB15 and QB16, this should really only come into play in 2QB leagues.
The Packers/49ers game should be another defensive matchup, but luckily for Frank Gore owners, The Packers are a whole lot better against the pass than they are against the run. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for San Francisco so if you’re an Eddie Lacy owner, proceed with caution. It sounds like he’ll be receiving the bulk of the carries so he’s still worth starting, but you should drop your expectations down from RB2 numbers to flex. As for receivers, both James Jones and Anquan Boldin will likely see a decrease in their usual production so if you have other options, use them this week.
Keeping with likely flex options, Shane Vereen, Chris Ivory, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, and Steve Smith are all in tough matchups this week so if you’re trying to decide between two guys and one of them is listed in this paragraph, it’s probably best to choose the other one.
Of course, there’s always a flip side to the coin and some flex options get to start the year in ideal situations for a strong performance. Steven Jackson has an incredibly easy matchup against New Orleans as he gets a fresh start with a new team. Ahmad Bradshaw is in the same situation in Indianapolis playing against a weak Oakland Raiders team. Maurice Jones-Drew should also have a nice outing against Kansas City. Further down the ADP list, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman will both be starting against weak defenses.
As for receivers, Miles Austin and DeAndre Hopkins may both be #2 receivers on the depth chart, but against relatively weak pass defenses, they should both see a healthy number of targets. Of course, that also means Tony Romo and Matt Schaub are nice options at QB this week.
Need a few sleepers? Look for Ryan Broyles and Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano to get you through week 1 if you’re in a pinch.
Best of luck to everyone in 2013!