Fantasy Football: Week One IDPs Starts & Sits

Sean Haugh, fantasy defensive players specialist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs

Howdy all! Welcome to the first edition of IDP starts and sits for the 2008 season. Check out Chad Samuels’ excellent advice on the offensive side of the ball.

The ironic thing about Week One's lineup-decisions is you know for a fact that several players will come out of nowhere to surprise everyone (including, let’s hope, all the sleepers you drafted), but you know you have to go with your depth chart until things shake out. The adage “always start your studs” is never more true than it is Week One.

Chad picked a Panther as his Offensive Start of the Week, and I will pick a Panther, too.

Start of the Week


DE Julius Peppers: Fantasy football is very much a “what have you done for me lately?” kind of business, and lately, Peppers has been a profound disappointment to his owners. I am happy to report, based on his preseason body of work, that the Julius Peppers of old is back with a vengeance.

Peppers totally exposed the struggles of Indianapolis’ first-string offensive line in Week One, creating total havoc on every play he was on the field. No one is playing with a bigger chip on his shoulder this year, except maybe Kevin Jones.

Don’t worry that he is up against a top OL in San Diego. He will shred them and regularly harass the relatively immobile Philip Rivers. 

Defensive Linemen to start

One kind of IDP you want is the guy who is used in multiple ways, depending on the different looks defenses want to show their opponents. Having a player who is scored as a DE but spends a lot of time playing with his hands up is a special advantage.

This year, both

Justin Smith of the 49ers and the Ravens’

Terrell Suggs meet that beautiful description. Smith, this week, gets a special treat with the rebuilding offensive line of Arizona, but both will establish themselves as weekly studs on Sunday.

I know this is said more about college football, but one thing that distinguishes great programs is when they lose players they just reload. Michael Strahan retired? Osi Umenyiora blows out his knee? No worries!

Justin Tuck was ready to come into his own anyway, and as it happens,

Mathias Kiwanuka is just standing around looking for something productive to do.

And look! The Eagles just left Jerome McDougle sitting on the waiver wire to come in and back them up. Nobody is going to be asking Strahan to be coming out of retirement after Thursday.

New England’s

Richard Seymour gets a special gift for coming back fully recovered from his injury woes these last two seasons. He gets to introduce Kansas City’s Brandon Albert to the NFL. Expect Seymour to run rampant all day.

Linebackers to start

The hottest IDP debate of the offseason was between proponents of Nate Webster and Niko Koutouvides for the coveted MLB spot in Denver. Webster has won the job for now, but don’t be distracted.

D.J. Williams is still the man in for the Broncos. He gets to toy with the hapless Raiders on Monday night and put the spotlight back on himself where it belongs.

I touted them in my introductory column and will stand by my two rookie studs for 2008. 

Curtis Lofton has taken control in Atlanta and gets poor Detroit for his first matchup. That whole game will probably be a mistake-filled horror, leading to big-play opportunities for Mah Sooner.

In addition, we already mentioned New England gets to feast on Kansas City this week, which makes it easy for

Jerod Mayo to prove my faith in him was well placed. 

Larry Foote was going to make my injury-special list of LBs to sit, but instead, allow me to use this opportunity to introduce you to Pittsburgh’s

Lawrence Timmons. The second-year man has elevated his play so much during the preseason that once he hits the starting lineup, they may just have to keep him there.

Houston will give him a test, but the former Seminole will rise to the occasion. 

Defensive Backs to start

LaRon Landry is fully recovered from his hamstring issues. Starting the season on Thursday night against the Giants, Landry is another second-year player ready to show his dominance. "The Boom King" will watch from Heaven as his mantle is passed on to his rightful successor. 

One of the greatest sports quotes ever was uttered about Landry by his high-school coach Lou Valdin, “He can hit you and hurt your whole family. Interception for a touchdown, or put a guy in the hospital? That’s a tough decision for LaRon.” 

This is the season we see the truth of Coach Valdin’s wise words. 

The roving multi-dimensional DBs are a somewhat different beast than their hybrid DE/LB counterparts. They can be very exciting players but are inconsistent from game to game.  Pretty much like all DBs. However, if you spot a tasty matchup, that’s definitely the guy you want to start.

This week,

Kerry Rhodes of the Jets gets to feast on the Dolphins. Chad Pennington is looking good in aqua and orange, but folks; he is still Chad Pennington, throwing to a bunch of horribly-inexperienced receivers. 

Indeed, one very easy way to find solid spot-starters at DB is to take advantage of ragged offenses and more importantly, rookie quarterbacks. 

So who starts against Joe Flacco this week?

Leon Hall and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

What about Matt Ryan? That would be the Lions, and there I will go with

Daniel Bullocks, despite doubts over his keeping the starting job over Gerald Alexander while recovering from a knee injury. 

Let’s include Aaron Rodgers in this, just for fun. He faces the Vikings, where rookie phenom

Tyrell Johnson gets the call in place of an injured Madieu Williams. If you really like rolling the dice, bear in mind that Johnson also meets the criteria of being a rookie DB that will be tested often, giving him more tackle and interception opportunities. 

Sit of the week

LB Lofa Tatupu

One of the greatest names in football today, for sure. However, I am concerned over his offseason DUI, and as I revealed last time, all players from USC should be suspect. The knee bruise suffered last week seals it. Unlike the injury specials below, Tatupu probably will play, and probably shouldn’t.

Defensive Linemen to sit

Even the best rookie DEs often have a tough time establishing themselves. It took almost two full seasons before people realized the Texans were total geniuses for taking Mario Williams over Vince Young and Reggie Bush.

Therefore, if you are in a dynasty or keeper league, be happy you nabbed

Chris Long of the Rams, and be happy to let him sit on your bench until he starts showing you something. 

The other rookie DEs are going to have an even tougher time of it. I am afraid to even watch what happens to Miami’s

Philip Merling


Jason Taylor is a dreaded “game-time decision” for Thursday night. If he does play, it probably won’t be for too long.  Once he gets over the injury, he is a must-start player, along with his new bookend partner Andre Carter, but you’ll have to wait a week to enjoy Taylor’s stats in a Redskins uniform. 

Linebackers to sit

One possible rookie bust is already rearing his ugly head in the Meadowlands. Early drafters the world over threw up their hands in disgust when

Vernon Gholston was officially switched from DE to LB. But the sad truth of the matter is that he might fail at any position. 

He’s been slow in figuring out what he heck he is doing on the field, which just might be because his coaches haven’t got a clue on the topic either. Stay far away from Gholston until somebody with the Jets makes sense out of this mess.

There are a number of LBs who may not see much action this week due to preseason injuries. Green Bay’s

A.J. Hawk is down with a “chest sprain,” whatever that is. St. Louis’s

Will Witherspoon is having issues with his groin, and you know that's never fun. 

Then there is the strange case of San Diego’s

Shawne Merriman, who obviously spent his offseason watching Hancock over and over, convincing himself he can stop that train even better than Will Smith can. So very sad. I doubt he’ll even last a game. If anyone will give you anything for him in trade, even if it’s just a warm Nu-Grape and a pack of Nabs, take it and run. 

Defensive Backs to sit

Continuing on the injury beat, Baltimore’s

Ed Reed has messed up his shoulder something awful. Normally, an NFL tough guy would just try to play through this kind of injury and be mediocre all season.

So it worries me when such a fellow with such an injury says he won’t play until he’s 100 percent. That means either he’s a crybaby or it’s really bad. Ed Reed ain’t no crybaby. 

Many owners got way too excited when

Leigh Bodden left Cleveland for Detroit. Bodden could well end up being a solid player for the Lions, but first he has to beat to Seahawks cast-off Travis Fisher for a starting gig. Not a good sign. Keep Bodden stashed away and check back later. Maybe several weeks later. 

Finally, let’s return to the thought we started with. What have you done for me lately, Mah Sooner

Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys? Simply lose your role as an every-down player?

Forget all his Pro Bowls, Roy Williams is just one more horsecollar tackle away from a lengthy suspension, followed by an even lengthier period of unemployment. 

Source :

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