Who Should I Start? Week 1 Strength of Schedule

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

As we look down our rosters every week, sometimes we wind up with more questions than answers when we’re trying to decide who to start. There are certainly no-brainers every week, but often we will be looking at a position on our roster that is weak.

We draft players every year that we hope to count on, only to wind up counting them out due to injury. One way to decide which player to play or even pick up is to look at who they are playing.

Ideally, we want to play the guys we draft.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Here’s some Week 1 strength of schedule information to help you decide, if you are having issues already.

Week 1 Strength of Schedule



Minnesota, Tennessee and St. Louis were among the league’s worst teams last year at defending quarterbacks.

Minnesota will be facing the Lions. This is one of those no-brainer situations. If you own Matt Stafford, you are going to start him no matter who he faces.

On the other hand, if you are on the fence about your QB for Week 1 and you own Carson Palmer, go ahead and throw him out there. There’s a good chance Palmer will have a big game vs. St. Louis.

Ben Roethlisberger is going to face a weak Tennessee defense this week. I know he is not the Fantasy QB that he once was, but I think that we can all agree that the Steelers aren’t going to be able to run the ball this year as well as they would like to. Don’t be surprised if Big Ben has a big game against the Titans.

Running Backs

Minnesota also defended running backs poorly last year, as did the Packers and the Bengals.

Owners that are looking for RB possibilities might go ahead and start Mikel Leshoure, since he could make a good flex player this week as well vs. the Vikings. Reggie Bush will get the majority of the carries, but Leshoure should have success when he does get his attempts.

If you’re really hurting for a RB or flex players, LaMichael James could be a chance worth taking. He is explosive and might bust a long one for you against a very porous Packers’ defense.

The Chicago Bears’ Michael Bush is another option, but only if you have to choose between two very poor bench players. I am an ex-owner of Bush that had to rely on him last year, only to watch him under-perform. But occasionally, Bush will sneak in a TD for you, maybe this week against the Bengals.


Wide Receivers

If you’re looking for wideouts this week, time to pick on Cleveland and Carolina.

Both teams struggled vs. WRs in 2012 and the Browns are still unsure of their cornerback situation, other than Joe Haden.

Mike Wallace will be across from Haden all afternoon vs. the Browns. That could leave Miami’s No. 2 receiver covered by Buster Skrine.

Those of you that grabbed Miami’s Rishard Matthews this year should play him this weekend if you are in need of a flex spot or are just simply not sure which WR to play. Skrine struggled all year last year for the Browns and I see Ryan Tannehill trying to avoid Haden.

Seattle’s Golden Tate could be a surprise performer this week against the Panthers. Percy Harvin’s absence will require someone to step up for the Seahawks. It’s either going to be Sidney Rice, or Golden Tate  — might as well take a chance on Tate if you don’t have any better options.


Tight Ends

Denver’s Julius Thomas has risen to the top of the depth chart in Denver. He is an Antonio Gates-type player that has been a two-year project for the Broncos. With injuries to Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme, Thomas could be the man this year. Denver is facing a Ravens defense that really struggled defending tight ends all last year.

Although the Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph didn’t have a ton of receiving yards last year, he did have nine touchdowns. Make sure you pencil him this week against a Lions defense that doesn’t handle tight ends well.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Big Ben should see more opportunities to pass this season, as the Steelers running game struggles to get going. Photo Credit: Blackroc

When Heath isn’t trying to figure out who to play on his or someone else’s Fantasy Football team, he writes for 643ball.com. Follow Heath @hgarrison643 for daily tweets.

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