Football fans, let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. We did it. We endured 214 days without a single snap, a single tackle, or a single salsa dance and now the NFL is back in full force.
Now that Week 1 is over, and there are some official fantasy stats to pore over, it’s time for the first edition of my new weekly column where I tell you everything you need to know about which players to start and which to bench — or drop altogether — for the coming week of games. Let the Week 2 preparation commence.
Julius Thomas TE, Denver Broncos
It just seems right to start this list with a Bronco after the beat down Denver gave Baltimore on Thursday and Thomas was a breakout star that night.
If you haven’t realized it by now, Peyton Manning loves throwing to his tight ends. After years of connecting with Dallas Clark in Indianapolis, Manning completed 93 passes to Denver TEs Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen in 2012. Thomas, a former college basketball player at Portland State, is quicker and more athletic than either of those two and could develop into a huge weapon for Denver this season.
The 25-year old will likely be a popular waiver wire pickup after 110 yards and 2 touchdowns, so move quickly to get him and start him against a Giant pass rush that gave Tony Romo enough time to catch up on that night’s episode of Breaking Bad before he threw.
Arrow Pointing: UP
CJ Spiller RB, Buffalo Bills
Bill Belichick called Spiller “one of the toughest players in the league to match up against” in the lead up to the Patriots’ game at Buffalo, but New England did a very good job of matching up with the 26-year old, holding him to 2.4 YPC on 17 attempts in one of the biggest disappointments of Week 1.
Spiller is obviously an explosive back, but he faces an uphill battle toward a solid fantasy game this week. Not only does he face a Panthers defense that held Marshawn Lynch to 43 yards, but the former Clemson star also faces the prospect of splitting carries with Fred Davis, who had much more success -5.2 YPC on 13 rushes-against New England.
Spiller will almost certainly have some great games this season, so hold on to him if you have him, but you might want leave him on your bench for Week 2.
Arrow Pointing: Down
Terrrelle Pryor QB – Oakland Raiders
All Pryor did in Week 1 was pass for a career-high 217 yards and a touchdown, lead all rushers on Sunday with 112 yards and single handedly make Matt Flynn a forgotten man again, so really it was a pretty quiet weekend for him.
The former Ohio State quarterback faces the toothless Jaguar defense this weekend, so it is entirely possible that he equals or even eclipses his Week 1 stat line. Before anyone anoints Pryor as the next RGIII, however, let’s remember the two Rex Grossman-like interceptions that began and ended his day in Indianapolis.
The 24-year old is definitely still a work in progress as a passer, as he sports a career 55.9 completion percentage and apparently didn’t even know how to throw until coaches in Oakland taught him during this offseason.
Pryor is definitely a starting candidate against Jacksonville this weekend, but going forward he probably won’t put up eye-popping passing numbers.
Arrow Pointing: Sideways
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