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This Week in Football: Week 1 Sit/Start and Spreads

Last season I ran a semi-regular Fantasy Sit and Start feature, and we'll see how I do this year. To add some spice to things, I'm also going to discuss point spread match-ups to explore. Keep in mind, I am playing with many of you in fantasy football leagues of our own, and I would never, ever try to steer you towards victory over me. Of course, I'm joking, but last year was easily the worst fantasy football season I suffered as a regular participant. I'll blame that on me putting too much time into writing about fantasy football, instead of worrying about my own fantasy football rosters. Bottom line, while I intend for this post to be informative, don't get mad at me if my advice costs you a game (especially against me). Without further delay, let's get this party started.

Week 1 Starts

Kevin Kolb QB PHI vs. GB - Last year the Green Bay Packers struggled against top tier QBs. I expect Kevin Kolb to have an up and down seasons, with Week 1 against the Packers being a big up. Kolb and the Eagles will likely come out fired up and ready to put points on the board. The Packers really don't have many answers for the speed Philadelphia's receivers possess. If Andy Reid is Andy Reid (and he is), the Eagles and Kolb will be throwing quite often. Forecast: 275 Pass Yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT (17 points)

Jacoby Jones WR HOU vs. IND - Houston receiver Jacoby Jones is a wonderful sleeper prospect this season, and I think he can get out of the gate with a great start against Indianapolis. He may not be an ideal PPR-candidate, but he should be able to find space with the Colts defense double-teaming Andre Johnson, and stacking the box to stop Arian Foster. The speedster from Lane should be able to produce admirably this week as your WR3 or WR2 (especially in deep leagues). Forecast: 2 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD (12 points, 14 in PPR)

Brandon Jacobs RB NYG vs. CAR - I know Brandon Jacobs isn't the flashiest or best RB in this year's fantasy season, but in Week 1 against Carolina, I expect the Giants to run the ball heavily. Ahmad Bradshaw is the main man, but Jacobs is an absolute bulldozer at the goal line (a place I think the Giants will be often enough on Sunday to warrant a Jacobs start). Opening the new stadium is enough incentive for the Giants to try and steamroll the Panthers, which could be done with a heavy does of Bradshaw and Jacobs. Forecast: 65 yards, 1 TD (12 points)

John Carlson TE SEA vs. SF - Other than John Carlson, the Seahawks don't match-up too favourably against the 49ers. Last season, tight ends thrived against San Francisco and this season could be much of the same. With Matt Hasselbeck all too familiar with his opponents, you can bet Carlson will be in his sights for most of the afternoon. It won't lead to a Seattle victory, but Carlson's output could lead to your team's fantasy triumph. Forecast: 5 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD (11 pts, 16 in PPR)

After you get McFly and make the jump, the Sits of Week 1, and suggestions on how to (not to) make money with the point spread...


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Week 1 Sits

Chad Henne MIA @ BUF - This match-up may jump out as "must-start" to you on paper, but keep in mind Chad Henne and the Dolphins head to Buffalo and aren't in the friendly confines of Pro-Player Stadium (if its still called that). Last season the Bills were actually pretty good against the pass, and the Dolphins will likely run much of the way to victory on Sunday. Also, don't be shocked if the Bills have an upset in store for Miami, but at the very least don't fall for that "@ BUF" trick that's staring you in the face. Forecast: 175 pass yards, 1 PaTD, 1 INT (9 pts)

Hines Ward PIT vs. ATL - Naturally with Dennis Dixon starting for the Steelers, I don't recommend starting Hines Ward against the Falcons. Look for Pittsburgh to run much more than pass, although if the team falls behind, Dixon may have no choice but to start airing it out. However, I still don't like Ward much as a start this week against Atlanta. This is not a suggestion based on my dislike for the Steelers, it is an honest thought that Ward will flop against despite it being a home contest. Forecast: 4 catches, 60 yards, 0 TDs (6 pts, 10 in PPR)

Joseph Addai IND @ HOU - First off, I'm aware that the Houston Texans will be minus Brian Cushing, but that doesn't mean the rest of the front seven isn't up to the task of shutting down Indy's run offense. Joseph Addai is not a very good start this week, and with question marks along the Colts OL, it's hard to see many lanes for Addai to run through. Addai may stand to make a few catches out of the backfield, but I don't expect him to get a lot of total yards, or even find the endzone. Leave him on your bench. Forecast: 45 rush yards; 3 catches, 20 yards, 0 TDs (6 pts, 9 in PPR)

Owen Daniels HOU vs. IND - No, this is Houston vs. Indy fantasy weekly, but keep in mind Owen Daniels is likely only to play around 20 snaps on Sunday as he's still coming back from injury. It's probably a good idea to find another option (like Carlson) for this week, and guage Daniels playing time before inserting him into your starting lineup on a regular basis. Maybe not the boldest sit suggestion, but in case you haven't been following along he's not the best bet this week (unless of course you have a junk back-up TE like I do in our 16-man Yahoo! league, nice of me to trade Kevin Boss away eh?). Forecast: 4 catches, 50 yards, 0 TDs (5 pts, 9 in PPR)


That's all for the Sit and Starts, I'm going to move on towards some point spreads match-ups for this week. Back in April, I put together a list of Week 1's match-ups and handicapped the games. Saving space and boredom, I won't get too specific in my formula, but I will state this: don't expect to get rich. Also, I won't be getting into all the match-ups, just a few (ones I favour heavily compared to others). To put it simply, if a game I handicapped ended up with a worse spread than I expected, I'll bet against it, if it ended up better, I'll obviously bet with it.

The Spread

Thursday's Game: Minnesota @ New Orleans -5.5 (as of this article, according to Football Locks) - My first initial thought was the Saints would be -3.5 in the spread. At the beginning of August, the Saints were -4.5, and now they've jumped up to -5.5. What this means? Vegas and bookies are looking to get more money on the Vikings, as bets are favouring the Saints currently. Since I forecasted the Saints to have just a -3.5 line, I obviously hate that it has jumped to -5.5. Also, even though the game is in New Orleans, the Vikings are likely heavy on the revenge mission and I think at the very least, Minnesota can cover the spread after seeing the Super Bowl banner raised. Take: Minnesota.

Sunday Early Game: Cleveland @ Tampa Bay -3 - With Buccaneers facing the Browns I completely love this match-up. Initially I put the spread at -2.5 for Tampa Bay, so this -3 actual line isn't killing me at all. The odds in early August had TB -2.5, but it was bumped to -3 at the end of the month (and currently still remains). While the odds of a push are enough to make any man sick, I still like the Bucs chance at covering even with Josh Freeman's broken finger. Many may want to argue that the Browns will have too many offensive weapons for the defense to handle, but the home match-up favours the lesser of both evils. Take: Tampa Bay

Sunday Late Game: Arizona -4 @ St. Louis - This game definitley doesn't have me completely comfortable, but considering I pegged the game -4.5 for the Cardinals originally, I'm happy to get the push option. Considering that this spread has remained the same since early August, I assume no one wants action on this game, or Vegas is receiving the right amount of cash in both teams' direction. Derek Anderson at QB doesn't make the Cardinals a lock, but I certainly like the defending NFC West chances even on the road against an improved Rams team. Take: Arizona

Monday Night Game: Baltimore @ New York(J) -2 - I'm not sure why I went so heavy on the Jets when I handicapped a -3.5, but in early August, Vegas was somewhat agreeing with me pegging New York at -3. Since that time, the spread has dipped to -2.5 and now has reached -2. Do I like that trend? Well personally I do, but it could scare someone into taking the Ravens (since Vegas now wants your money on New York). The reason I like the Jets so much? It's Monday Night Football and while I hate Rex Ryan, he'll have his guys ready to show the world (and his former employers) that New York won't be messed with in the new Meadowlands. Take: The Jets

Monday Night Game Part 2: San Diego -4.5 @ Kansas City - Typically, the sea of red is a tough place to play (especially for division opponents), but I can't see the Chargers coming close to losing to the Chiefs (especially on a National Stage). Originally I had the Chargers at -6.5 and I'd still be comfortable taking them at those odds. Early in August Vegas had San Diego as -5, then it jumped to -5.5 before landing down at -4.5 as this article hits. Maybe it's the Vincent Jackson situation, maybe it's the Marcus McNeill situation, maybe it's everyone buying into the Chargers being on the decline. One thing I think I know? The Chargers still have enough talent to beat Kansas City without Jack or Mac. Take: San Diego

So that concludes this week in football (according to Andrew Davidson). Make sure you give me some feedback as to what you think could improve this feature. Also, don't be shy about completely bashing me in the comments (especially if you disagree with any of my thoughts). Remember, if I end completely wrong, we can always use this information as something not to do for future references. Just keep in mind, I want you to be informed, entertained and rich. I'm not out to get you.