Week 1: Sit or Start – Rashad Jennings or Willis McGahee?
After a few years in real football and now one year out of it, Dish convinced me to try to see what I can do in fantasy football. What seemed like a great idea at the time took a turn for the worse when I found out that my commitment involved not only helping him pull together a roster in a keeper league of “experts,” and then a 45-round-draft dynasty league of even more “experts,” but also running my own team in the FI writers’ league. What’s even better, last week he texts me as I’m headed home to have dinner with my wife and three kids to tell me that I’m on the clock in a draft that I never even knew about.
So now here I sit trying to make my first sit-or-start decisions with a roster of guys that I only half picked. I need to start 1 TE and 3 WR, and those choices are easy with Aaron Hernandez, Julio, Greg Jennings, and future star Alshon Jeffery. I also need 2 RB plus 1 Flex. At RB, I have the two-headed monster in Carolina, Willis McGahee, and Rashad Jennings to choose from this week. LaMichael James may start down the road after Gore gets hurt, and Rashard Mendehall may start soon but probably not before week 5 against Philly. I don’t like any of my receivers for the flex this week—TJ Graham will have to wait, Brent Celek doesn’t excite me, and Santonio Holmes is Dish’s own form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Unless Stewart’s ankle looks like a real problem, I’m tempted to start both him and DeAngelo against Tampa. I just don’t like what I see in Tampa on either side of the ball, so I expect Carolina to run over them with my QB Cam doing it in the air and on the ground. With Cam doing his thing, there will be some big lanes open for the backs and many opportunities to take advantage of them. I don’t know which back will get the most; I just believe that the two of them will produce a lot in total.
So that leaves me with my flex—Rashad Jennings or Willis McGahee. Almost any other week, I’m going with McGahee. I expect him to have a big year with Peyton running the offense. Lots of 10-play
drives and lots of goal-line opportunities to punch it in, and we sure McGahee can do that—think 2009 Ravens. I also think Mike McCoy is going to limit the chances for Peyton to take hits, so that means more opportunities for the backs. Combine that with a good D that gets them the ball back quickly and in good field position, and you’re looking at the recipe for a strong showing by Denver RBs, and McGahee certainly leads the pack. Only one problem in Week 1, Denver plays Pittsburgh.
So what about Rashad Jennings? This is a guy I liked coming out of school in 2009. Not many people know his story, but this was my summary: I didn’t know if he’d ever make the most out of his physical talents, but I knew he’d be successful wherever he was, in football or outside of football, and I’d be very proud if my son grew up to be like him. Why’s that? Rashad Jennings was the fourth true-freshman RB to ever start the season opener at Pitt (yes, that Pitt, LeSean may have been the fifth). But then his father became ill so he transferred to Liberty University to be near him. All he did was tear up the lower division competition on the field and then put together a good workout at the combine—showing good lower-body explosiveness with good 10 and jumps and very good agility at his size, but lacking in breakaway speed. Even more impressive on a personal standpoint were the reports I saw about his character, not always things that a scout would like in a player but definitely things that father would like in a son. With MJD still out and a suspect Vikings team on tap, opening day is his chance to prove that he is a successful professional football player. I expect him to do just that.