Hits & Misses – Week 1: Let the games begin!

With tomorrow already being opening day of the 2009-10 NFL season, it’s time for the first Hits & Misses post of the year. I’m trying a new table-based formatting this year, which should make it a little easier to distinguish between players at each position, so let me know what you think. With the Hit list, I usually try to  pick players that aren’t the most obvious, so you’ll rarely see a player with the name Adrian Peterson, Randy Moss, or Tom Brady (although I did include Drew Brees this week!) For the Misses list I try to include only players that are fantasy relevant, so while it’s probably a given that a fourth string receiver on the Raiders will  have a bad day, you won’t see his name on the list. Anyways, let’s get to the good stuff…

Hits

Misses

QB Drew Brees, Saints vs Lions – One of the best quarterbacks and passing offenses versus one of the pass defenses in the league…tough one here. Tony Romo, Cowboys @ TB – He’s lost his best receiver when T.O went to Buffalo and the Romo-to-Roy Williams project still seems like a work-in-progress. The Bucs may not be the dominant defensive team the once were, but they still can defend the pass.
Carson Palmer, Bengals vs DEN – Last season Denver was bad against the pass, allowing nearly 230 yards per game through the air and sporting a 20/6 touchdown to interception ratio. A finally healthy Palmer should put up solid numbers this weekend. Matt Cassel, Chiefs @ BAL – Cassel is questionable for the game but will most likely play. That does not mean you have to start him against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, who allowed under 180 passing yards per game last season.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs KC – He’s not a top-tier fantasy quarterback, but against the Chiefs this weekend Flacco should put up some decent numbers and makes a good fill-in if your QB1 is someone who’s match-up isn’t as favorable. Kerry Collins, Titans @ PIT – I wouldn’t recommend starting Collins very often anyways and the fact that he’s playing against the suffocating Steelers defense tomorrow makes him one of the worst starts of the week from a fantasy perspective.
RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins vs ATL – The Falcons allowed almost 130 yards per game on the ground last year and were not the greatest against the pass either, so I’m sure you’ll see a big dose of Brown in both the running and passing game this weekend. Chris Johnson, Titans @ PIT – It’s not just the Steelers pass defense that is good…the run defense is just as dominant. LenDale White might sneak in for a score, which is why he’s not listed here, but unless Johnson breaks a big one, his numbers could be limited tomorrow.
Reggie Bush, Saints vs DET – When Bush is healthy, he’s usually a solid play, as he’s so dynamic out of the backfield with his pass catching abilities. Factor in the Lions and an injured Pierre Thomas and this could be a perfect storm for his owners. Jamal Lewis, Browns vs MIN – Backup RB James Davis will be the starter by mid-season and after this first game the chants of his name will begin. The Vikings will have both members of the Williams-Wall on hand (their suspensions are still being figured out in the courts) and should be stuffing Lewis at the line all day, forcing Brady Quinn to show the stuff that earned him the starting job in Cleveland.
Ray Rice, Ravens vs KC – Rice gets his chance to prove that he has what it takes to be the starting running back for the run-happy Ravens and it comes against a great opponent in the Chiefs. Last year Kansas City gave up 5.0 yards per carry to opposing tailbacks and there is no reason to expect that it’ll be a whole lot better this year. Larry Johnson, Chiefs @ BAL – While Rice should do well against the Chiefs, his foil will have a much rougher go of it. Keep LJ benched if you can.
WR Greg Jennings, Packers vs CHI – The Packers will be out to show that they’re one of the best offenses in the league and their first challenge is a Bears defense that is not as good as their reputation dictates. Not that you considered benching Jennings…did you? Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs @ BAL – For the same reason Matt Cassel is a bad play this weekend, Bowe is also a miss. I would only replace him with a pretty decent WR though, as he still has skills to beat even the better defenses on a few plays per game.
Chad Ochocinco, Bengas vs DEN – This should be a great “coming out” party for Mr. Ochocinco, who gets reunited with a healthy Carson Palmer and gets to play one of the worst defenses in the league. I drafted Chad with big expectations this year, so this is where it starts. Roy Williams, Cowboys @ TB – He just recovered from a shoulder injury, is still working on his chemistry with quarterback Tony Romo and plays a Tampa Bay defense that is pretty solid against the pass. He’s a “wait and see” candidate if ever there was one.
Derrick Mason, Ravens vs KC – The un-retired receiver will be looked to often when the team actually decides to throw the ball. I expect Derrick to catch about 40% of the completed passes for the team and makes an even better play in PPR leagues. Torry Holt, Jaguars @ IND – Holt is looking to rejuvenate his career in Jacksonville, but the Colts might not be the team where he gets the ball rolling. Indy allowed an measly six (!) touchdowns through the air last season and should be pretty good again this year.
TE Zach Miller, Raiders vs SD – With the Raiders wide receivers being virtually nonexistent, expect Miller to play a huge part in what little passing game JaMarcus Russell can muster up. The Chargers gave up a lot of touchdowns (11) last season to opposing tight ends, so he stands a great chance to score in this one. Chris Cooley, Redskins @ NYG – The G-Men were great against the tight end last year and Cooley is still looking to score a touchdown…something he hasn’t done since October 5, 2007. I like Chris as a rebound candidate this season, but that rebound might start in week two.