2014 Accuracy: 57.00% (3rd out of 20 Experts, Range: 58.40% – 48.10%).
After months and months of analysis, mock drafts, and ultimately the actual draft, it’s finally time to set your Week 1 lineup. There is nothing more alternately exciting and terrifying as having to make the choice between two players that you valued similarly at draft time. The rankings below will hopefully help make some of those choices, but given that this is the first week of actual football, the best plan is to keep things simple. Typically, the guy you drafted first is the guy you want to start this week. There will obviously be exceptions to that rule, mostly due to injuries or suspensions, but don’t overthink matchups at this point. Basing lineup decisions around matchups is difficult for IDPs in general, and even more so when all we have is training camp and preseason games to analyze. Instead, the goal is to simply get as many snaps for your guys as possible. I tend to play things safe in Week 1, going with someone I know will at least get me some points instead of a guy who could potentially throw up a goose egg and contribute to an 0-1 start…
Here are some situations I’ll be monitoring this week:
Jason Pierre-Paul – I feel like I discuss him in every post, but he’s the player with the largest range of outcomes in the IDP world. After their meeting this week, JPP walked away without signing his franchise tender, which is a bad sign. There is talk that he’ll miss the entire season, and while I hope that isn’t the case, there hasn’t been any good news coming out of this situation. I would temper expectations even more, if that’s even possible.
Dontari Poe – There have been several reports that Poe could play on Sunday against Houston, which is encouraging news for anyone who drafted him late. But original reports had him missing the first month of the season, and while I have to assume that Poe is working his ass off to get back on the field, the Chiefs are likely going to be conservative about his playing time. Nose tackle is a tough enough position to play when you’re 100%, so coming off back surgery, Poe likely won’t get his usual snap count until October at the earliest.
Vontaze Burfict – The Bengals finally made the decision to put Burfict on the PUP list this week, and it’s a continuation of one of the most frustrating situations in the IDP world. When healthy, Burfict has been in discussion for the #1 overall IDP, however he hasn’t been truly 100% in about two years. At least the PUP designation doesn’t have his owners wondering exactly how questionable he is, and hopefully it will lead to a full recovery for Burfict. Right now Vincent Rey is the man to own in Cincy, though Rey Maualuga and AJ Hawk could edge their way into the discussion as well.
Christian Jones – The LB situation in the Windy City is a well-documented mess. Cutting Mason Foster gives a little bit more clarity, but between Jones, Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic, there are still more questions than answers in the middle. At this point I prefer Jones, and I like his matchup against Green Bay, so he’s my biggest mover from the preseason rankings.
Jason McCourty – He still hasn’t been ruled out, but much like Poe above, I’m staying away from McCourty this week. Recovering from groin surgery and trying to keep up with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson just sounds like an all around bad idea to me. If he does play, he may be targeted more than usual, but there is also the risk of re-injury, which a team like the Titans can’t afford. I’d prefer guys like Peanut Tillman and Brent Grimes at corner.
Rookies – In general, I’m knocking rookies down a few notches this week. This isn’t a stellar IDP rookie class, and most of the guys who are ranked are only in the discussion due to situation and not talent. If at all possible, I’m going with known commodities (and higher floors) to ensure that I start my season out on the right foot. For every CJ Mosley, who hits the ground running from day one, there’s more than a few Calvin Pryors, who don’t find their footing until (hopefully) their second year.
Best of luck in Week 1!
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