Let the anxiety begin.
With NFL preseason 2007 in the books and fantasy football drafts over and done, the time is now for fantasy owners everywhere to prepare their rosters for the action. The Hazean is going to offer a weekly column with some advice on who to start and who to bench, and here is the first edition.
- Peyton Manning versus New Orleans: I know, Captain Obvious. But we may as well get this out of the way now … this Manning should never see your bench.
- Drew Brees at Indianapolis: Brees is playing against Peyton this week, which means one thing: shoot-out. Expect impressive aerial displays and lots of points by both units Thursday night.
- Willis McGahee at Cincinnati: This is McGahee’s first game as a Raven, and he should see quite the workload against the Bengals’ suspect defense.
- Larry Johnson at Houston: LJ said he might not be ready physically for week one, but I do not believe him. Besides, Kansas City has no passing game. He is a stud, start him no matter what.
- Marvin Harrison/Reggie Wayne versus New Orleans: You know Harrison and Wayne are going to light it up Thursday night. These guys go as Peyton Manning goes, which means you should start them every week.
- Terrell Owens versus New York Giants: You think TO will be ready for this game? Finally, an offseason with very little TO drama. He seems more mature, and it helps that Tony Romo loves throwing the ball to him.
- Oakland versus Detroit: Oakland has one of the most under-rater defensive units in the league. Expect them to make a statement at home for the 2007 season against Mike Martz’s pass-happy (and turnover friendly) offense.
- Minnesota versus Atlanta: The Falcons may be the 2007 version of the 2006 Houston Texans, but the Vikings have a good enough defense to start against anyone. Joey Harrington looked good in the preseason, but now the games count … expect a return to mediocrity.
- Jon Kitna at Oakland: Everyone and their Mom has been drinking the Detroit Lions Kool-Aid this offseason. But do not sleep on Oakland, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Kitna may throw a touchdown, but expect multiple turnovers as well.
- Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland: Big Ben was terrible on the road last year, and until he proves otherwise this year, he should be on your bench when Pitt hits the road.
- Warrick Dunn at Minnesota: Dunn is aging and has a young back behind him in Atlanta, and it does not help that he is going against the Vikings defense in week 1. Plus, this will be the Falcons first real game sans Michael Vick, so we should see how the offense performs in the Joey Harrington era (read: not well).
- Cedric Benson at San Diego: You think teams are going to lay back to defend the potent passing attack of the Chicago Bears? Not likely. Benson is going to see a lot of attention as a result of having Rex Grossman at quarterback, and the Chargers D is one of the best in the business.
- Randy Moss at New York Jets: Moss barely practiced this preseason, and Tom Brady is known for spreading the ball around. Do the math.
- Lee Evans versus Denver: Denver has two of the best cover-corners in the NFL in Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly. Evans is going to get all the attention in the Buffalo passing-game.
- Denver at Buffalo: Despite having great cornerbacks, Denver’s D has been suspect this preseason. Now, we know it was just preseason, but we had to pick someone here.
- Carolina at St. Louis: Everyone’s favorite Super Bowl contender last year (Carolina) disappointed on offense and defense. Not much has changed on the defensive side this offseason, which certainly does not bode well for this matchup.