Week 2: Start 'em
Like I said, week 1 is the hardest week to predict because all you can really do is start your top drafted players and hope for the best. Week 1 was full of intrigue with some great finishes and spectacular performances and some major injuries. After a wild week like that it's hard to get a real sense of anything, other than the fact that football is back and I ,for one, love it. Here's hoping I do a little better this week.
After missing some time near the end of training camp, rookie RB Brandon Jackson had a solid first game. With Vernand Morency out with an injury, Jackson was the feature back and received 15 carries and caught the ball 4 times. As long as Morency stays injured, Jackson is a solid #2 RB option and can also be used as a flex, so make sure to follow Morency's injury status. Jackson will be facing a terrible Giants defense that gave up over 450 yards last week, and has also lost some players to injuries. This should allow Jackson to have a big game and he even has a good chance at getting into the end zone. Throw him into your lineup and reap the benefits.
Here we go again, it's week 2 of the season and Tampa Bay starting running back Cadillac Williams is already injured. Cadillac has been in and out of the lineup over his first few years, and got knocked out in week 1 with a rib injury. In steps Michael Pittman, who is a great blocker and has great hands out of the backfield, so in point per reception leagues, he could be very big. While he might split carries with Earnest Graham at the outset, Pittman will take over the every down role with his versatility and is capable of putting up solid #2RB points. Be sure to follow Cadillac's injury status all week and if he is declared out, make sure to get Pittman in your lineup.
With Giants starting running back Brandon Jacobs out for at least one week (and most probably for more), having Derrick Ward on your team and starting him this week is a must. Ward came into the game after Jacobs got injured and rushed for 89 yards and caught 4 balls for 27 yards and a TD and looked great. With it looking like Eli Manning will also be missing from the game, the Giants will look to establish the run early and try and get Ward involved in the game. If you're in a point per reception league, Ward will be even more valuable because even if Eli plays, he probably won't go deep too often with his shoulder, and will look to throw a lot of short passes to his RB, allowing Ward even more opportunities to score points.
Burleson hasn't looked good since 2004 when he put up 68 catches for 1006 yards and 9 TD's, but with the injury to D.J. Hackett, Burleson gets the start this week. Seattle faces the Arizona Cardinals in what will likely be a shootout, so Burleson will have plenty of opportunities to make plays. While everyone thinks that the Seahawks will try and get Deion Branch more involved this week, I'm sure the Cardinals will think the same and be watching Branch very closely, thus leaving Burleson open to make some big plays, and maybe even get into the end zone. If you were lucky enough to have Burleson stashed away on your bench, give him a try as a #3 WR or flex.
2nd year WR Brandon Marshall looked good in week 1 as the starter opposite Javon Walker, going for 5 catches for 52 yards and TD. The Broncos face the Oakland Raiders this week, who will be focused on stopping Travis Henry and Walker and not paying too much attention to Marshall, a tall (6"4) WR with good speed. With Walker facing the best corner the opposition has to offer, Marshall should get plenty of opportunities to get open and make plays. With Rod Smith on the PUP and almost ready to retire, and Brandon Stokley playing the slot, the Broncos have been looking for a WR to start opposite of Walker and take some of the pressure off of him. Throw Marshall in your lineup this week and watch him come up with some big plays.