Week 2: Start 'Em
Here are a list of players you might want to consider starting if you're in a jam this week and need a starter. Good luck this week, feel free to reach out to me for any questions on twitter. @dkalles8
Joique Bell was a surprise in 2012 as he split touches with a list of undistinguished running backs, yet still put up 899 total yards with 52 receptions and three touchdowns. The Lions brought in Reggie Bush to be their main running back and he showed them how good he could be in week one. Despite not being number one on the depth chart - and the Lions being very happy with Bush -, Bell had a very productive week one and looks like he will have a role in the offense all season. He rushed six times for 25 yards, but scored two short-yardage touchdowns. Bush also received touches near the end zone, but look for Bell to remain in the mix for goal line carries. He also caught five passes for 67 yards. The Lions pass the ball so often Bell will have no problem catching between 3-5 passes per game. If you're a team that is stacked at receiver but weak at running back, Bell makes for a great start. At the very least, he is worthy of a start in your flex spot.
All the preseason talk in Buffalo was obviously about C. J. Spiller and rookie E. J. Manuel - as it should have been. That allowed Fred Jackson's return to health to go unnoticed. Jackson took a back seat to Spiller in 2012 with an injury plagued and underperforming season as Spiller took off. While all the excitement going into Week 1 was about Spiller, the veteran was the one who had the better all-around game. Despite the young buck starting and being the lead back, Jackson still outgained him on the ground and in the air, with a total of 107 yards on only 17 touches including four receptions. Spiller is still the man in Buffalo, but for Jackson to get that many touches makes him worthy of a flex start in deep leagues.
Ever since consecutive1,000-yard seasons in 2008 and 2009, DeAngelo Williams has been trying to get back to that level. Now with Jonathan Stewart out for the first half of the season, Williams has his chance. In Week 1, his first returning to the role of go-to guy, he rushed for 76 yards and caught three passes for 14 yards. All of that came against a very tough Seahawks defense. His day could have been better if he didn't fumble the ball inside the opposition 10-yard line. This week the Panthers face a Bills team that gave up 158 yards rushing last week and shouldn't be expected to be any better this week. Williams makes for a good RB2 and a very good flex start.
When discussing who would replace all the receivers no longer with the Ravens for one reason or another, Marlon Brown's name kept coming up this summer. In the preseason he caught a team-high 10 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Fine, that's just preseason, but it's an indicator that Joe Flacco is getting comfortable with Brown. Brown entered the season as the Ravens No. 3 or 4 receiver, but moved up when Jacoby Jones went down early in Week 1. Brown came into the game to replace Jones, and proceeded to catch four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. While the Ravens were hoping to bring him along slowly, they won't have that chance now with Jones missing additional time. This coming week Brown faces the Browns and should be a good start as a flex or WR3. The Browns will use their best shutdown corner, Joe Haden, to cover Torrey Smith, leaving Brown to face easier coverage. Not saying Brown will do the same, but last week Miami's Brian Hartline had a big day not being covered by Haden, catching nine passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. Just something to think about. Last week Brown was mentioned as a good pick up. He is now worthy of a potential start in deeper leagues that start three receivers and a flex spot.
Cecil Shorts was one of the biggest surprises of 2012, finishing the year with 55 receptions for 979 yards and seven touchdowns in only 14 games. Much of his production came in the second half of last season. The bulk of that came when Chad Henne took over for Blaine Gabbert as Jacksonville's quarterback. Shorts didn't have a big Week 1 despite being targeted a team-high 11 times. He only caught three passes for 40 yards, but that seems more to do with the fact that Gabbert can't complete a pass than Shorts not catching them. Gabbert suffered a deep laceration to his hand and needed stitches and will be out for some time. With Justin Blackmon still suspended, look for a big week from Shorts. He makes for a great WR3 or flex.Injury Status: Doubtful - Knee