Erin Skelley, aka "Erin the Fantasy Girl" on SportsRadio 610 in Houston, sifts through key questions for Opening Week.
Fantasy football is a game of pretend, so let's pretend I am bombarded – I mean absolutely flooded – with questions headed into Week 1. My pretend staff has worked all day and all night with the painful but honorable task of sorting through heaps of mail (some are adoring fan letters). After scores of paper cuts, they found the most burning questions just for you. Naturally, I am dictating this article to my pretend intern.
Week 1 Questions
Do I start Maurice Jones-Drew? – Hoping to go from "Jags to Riches," the pocket-sized running back has presented big-time problems in fantasyland. First, we debated where to draft him. Now, he's on your team (like it or not), and you're questioning whether to sit him or start him. The Jags have announced that Jones-Drew will play this week, but only on third downs. Rashad Jennings will get the start instead. You should do the same and bench MJD, as he won't get many touches.
What about Mike Wallace? – According to Steelers.com, the holdout-wideout is now spending extra time on the field taking extra reps, and off the field learning the playbook. All team reports sound very positive. While it is estimated he'll play, check his status as Sunday approaches. If he plays, start him.
Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart? – This one is easy. Bench Peterson, start Gerhart. AD is not ready. Not today. Not Sunday. Remember, he tore his ACL with only two games left in 2011, and he's only eight months removed from surgery. For now, you'll have to exercise patience, just like Adrian. Just like the Vikings.
What about Jamaal Charles? – Yes, Charles tore his ACL, too, but during the second game of the season, so he's had nearly a year to recover. Charles ran for 62 yards over 12 carries in the preseason. Not bad. He is likely not 100 percent, but he is still a playable RB1. Start him with confidence Week 1.
What can we expect from Peyton Manning? – Manning was ho-hum early in the preseason, so I see why you're skeptical. You were waiting for the signal-caller, who is coming off iffy neck surgery, to prove himself. Then in his final game, he completes 10-of-12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. And of course, you think, 'Manning needs to be tested against a good defense. And what about taking a big hit?' Again, he needed to prove himself. Only this time, he faced San Francisco and he got clocked. Now do you believe he's back? Expect big things. Viable QB1.
Who's the lead back in Pittsburgh? – For the first four weeks, and maybe longer, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman will split duties while Rashard Mendenhall recovers on the PUP list. Right now, the favorite is Dwyer. But that's right now, so stay tuned. Both are startable as RB2s.
Is Matt Schaub undervalued? OK, this may not be on everyone's mind, but it's on mine. And probably Texans fans, too! Yes, he's wildly undervalued. Currently, among fantasy experts, he's listed as the No. 14-18 QB for fantasy production, coming off a year with 2,479 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 10 games played. But let's look at the situation. Schaub and Andre Johnson played in only three full games together last season. Talk about a buzzkill for his stats. Plus, over time, the Texans game plan changed (hello, Arian Foster and Ben Tate). And who needs to sling it when you're nursing a lead? A healthy AJ means healthy stats for Schaub. Sunday projection: 200 yards, two scores.
Erin Skelley joins Houston Texans Radio every week on SportsRadio 610. Follow her on Twitter @erinskelley. She'll babble fantasy to anyone who will listen.