Game on, Fools!
How great is the first Sunday of the NFL season? I hope you're as pumped as I am.
It's fitting that it should come on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. A solemn day, to be sure. But NFL football back and better than ever is proof that the terrorists haven't won, and never will. God bless the U.S.A.
Back to the ultimate First World problem: setting our starting fantasy lineup...
Of course, it's always a whole new ballgame in the opener. We don't have recent trends we can follow, and there will be plenty of surprises. Still, we need to make tough decisions, so let's take a swing around the league for the late-breaking news we can use to dominate in Week 1.
First, we're dealing with the quintessential wild card factor with several teams: New/backup QB starters for New England, Minnesota, Dallas, Philly, Houston, Cleveland, LA and San Fran. Trevor Siemian showed the difference between what it takes to win your first start, and what we need to win in fantasy. His personal stat line was mediocre (178 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), and none of Siemian's receivers reached 50 yards. His biggest contribution was getting the ball to C.J. Anderson.
You already know the biggest inactive news of the day: Gronk is out. That could mean a big game for Marty B, but there's plenty of risk associated with him in his first game as a Pat, going up against a stout Cards D with Jimmy Garoppolo starting on the road. Two Patriots OL starters are also out for the opener. This won't be the same New England offense we've become used to...
In Kansas City, Jamaal Charles is out, leaving the Chiefs' backfield in Spencer Ware's capable hands. He should have a very good game today against the Chargers.
Also, NFL Network just announced that Chris Ivory not only won't play today for the Jags, but has been admitted to the hospital and could miss more than one week. Keep an eye on this one. Could be a nice opener for T.J. Yeldon.
Also out today: Markus Wheaton (shoulder), Jay Ajayi (doghouse), Javorius "Buck" Allen and C.J. Spiller. DeVante Parker (hamstring) is also unlikely to suit up.
Kevin White is expected to make his debut as a Bear.
Colin Kaepernick will sit for the national anthem on Monday night, and for the rest of the game. Fine with me.
Those of you banking on Devonta Freeman this year need to pray for him to get off to a huge start, because the door is wide open for Tevin Coleman to seize a larger share of the carries. Even moving into a committee setup. Many observers feel Coleman is the more-talented back of the two, so he simply needs Freeman to play more like he did in the second half of 2015 than he did in the first half to turn this backfield upside down.
Victor Cruz will play in his first game in forever, and he'll get to square off against his old nemeses in Dallas. I'm not expecting much from him in his return; but if he comes up big, he'll be a hot waiver-wire commodity on Tuesday.
On a side note, Demaryius Thomas injured his hip in Thursday's opener. No word yet on how much time, if any, he'll miss. But his owners may need to go to a backup plan in Week 2, or beyond. Look beyond Denver for other options.
That's it for now. Inactives coming up via Twitter (@ladd_biro) next. Have a great first Sunday, thank and pray for a veteran and first responder, and let's get to 1-0 together!