Fantasy Fool: Who should play and who should sit?

Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler has the supporting cast that can get the Bears off to a winning start at home against the Buffalo Bills.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler has the supporting cast that can get the Bears off to a winning start at home against the Buffalo Bills. (   CARLOS OSORIO / Associated Press)
Posted: September 06, 2014

Wondering whether to start Drew Brees and A.J. Green, or to bench Geno Smith and Jason Avant? If you're looking for help with your starting-lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 1 of the 2014 season.

Watch 'em roll

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears vs. Bills. With an explosive array of weapons at his disposal, and a porous secondary in his sights, Cutler should get his season off to a rousing start.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers at Cowboys. One of the easiest decisions you can make all season is to start your players against Dallas' historically inept defense.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills at Bears. Buffalo's passing game is still a work in progress, but we know the Bills can run. Spiller and Fred Jackson will lead the way against a Chicago run defense that was as bad as they come in 2013.

Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts at Broncos. No longer a no-brainer start, Wayne should enjoy his return to action against Denver's suspect secondary.

Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles vs. Jaguars. Chip Kelly will tune up his offense against one of the NFL's weakest pass defenses, and Cooper will be one of many beneficiaries.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Nick Foles, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers; RBs Reggie Bush, Giovani Bernard, Fred Jackson, Shane Vereen, Chris Johnson, Ben Tate, Mark Ingram; WRs Emmanuel Sanders, Marques Colston, Jeremy Maclin, Cecil Shorts, Anquan Boldin, Pierre Garcon, Terrance Williams, Brian Hartline, Julian Edelman.

Roll 'em back

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers at Buccaneers. To put up solid fantasy numbers this year, Newton will have to run.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans at Chiefs. It's just too soon. Shonn Greene is the starter and Sankey will be eased into the rotation early in the season.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars at Eagles. His best chance to produce will be on a goal-line plunge, because Jacksonville will likely have to abandon the run early in this contest. Philly's run defense is pretty salty.

Victor Cruz, WR, Giants at Lions. Eli Manning has been downright awful throughout the preseason, and now he'll be facing Ndamukong Suh and friends with a depleted offensive line.

Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins vs. Patriots. He and Ryan Tannehill remain as out of sync as ever entering the regular season. And though Miami tends to give New England fits, Wallace won't be the one advancing the ball.

More thumbs down: QBs Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Griffin III; RBs Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Ryan Mathews, Rashad Jennings, Lamar Miller, Bernard Pierce, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Steven Ridley; WRs Golden Tate, Cordarrelle Patterson, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Danny Amendola, Torrey Smith, Reuben Randle, Mike Evans, all Raiders receivers.

Taking a flier

Cody Latimer, WR, Broncos vs. Colts. Latimer has been impressive throughout the preseason and is in line for plenty of snaps Sunday night.

Don't be the bonehead who . . .

fails to track the inactive reports before the games. Several key players - including Cam Newton, Michael Crabtree, and Rob Gronkowski - are banged up heading into the opener and could be sidelined.

Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). He was a finalist again in 2013. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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