Sit/start fantasy football advice: Which Lions to play in Week 1

Andy Clayton King

Here is a look at the Detroit Lions' Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings from a fantasy football perspective.

Before each game last season, I provided fantasy football advice about which Detroit Lions you should start or sit. I have no idea how many people paid any attention to it, but I'm going to tee it up again this season. Even if you weren't able to snag any of your favorite Lions in your fantasy draft(s), this might still be useful in projecting how the week will pan out for the Honolulu Blue and Silver.

Of course, same caveats as last year apply: I'm just a regular NFL fan who has an armchair where I like to sit and read a lot and develop opinions. These are some of them.

QB Matthew Stafford

Stafford says he's his own worst critic and nobody's more ready for the regular season than he is, which is good, because he was pretty awful in the preseason. Luckily, the preseason don't count for nothing [sic] in the fantasy world.

Stafford has respectable numbers against the Minnesota Vikings in his career and threw for over 300 yards in each game against them last year with 4 total touchdowns opposite 1 turnover. The Lions will continue to throw a lot -- we know that -- and the Vikings secondary, 24th against the pass last year, currently has more questions than answers.

VERDICT: Start. Top 8.

RB Reggie Bush

A lot like Stafford, Bush thinks he has a lot to prove, but he's not feeling the pressure as he enters his eighth year in the league. Bush has the potential to be an elite fantasy performer this year, especially in PPR leagues.

Bush will feel the pressure of the Vikings defense, though. How effective Bush is on handoffs is the biggest question mark for this season and may have somewhat of a butterfly effect on the rest of his production. It doesn't start easy against a defense that held teams to just a 2.7 in Good Blocking Productivity last year, according to KC Joyner. In fact, this might be one of the tougher matchups for the Lions run game all year.

VERDICT: Start in PPR; low-end RB2 otherwise.

WR Calvin Johnson

Do you think starring in a commercial with Diddy will be a curse? Because that crazy line of thinking is the only way you would bench Megatron in Week 1. He's healthy, he's fresh, he caught 12 balls for over 200 yards and a touch in his last game against Minnesota, and yeah, he's just the best.

VERDICT: Start.

WR Ryan Broyles

He might break out this year, but don't get too excited too soon.

VERDICT: Sit.

WR Nate Burleson

Despite all the hype on Broyles and the younger wide receiver going first in fantasy drafts, Burleson remains the WR2 on the Lions' depth chart. I think it has gotten to the point I believe Burleson could be a bit of a sleeper this year. Even so, in Week 1 he's a bench warmer unless you play in a 16-team, 4-WR league.

VERDICT: Sit.

TE Brandon Pettigrew

Pettigrew is someone I think poses as a bit of an interesting play in Week 1 because he'll be Stafford's favorite target when the secondary locks down on Megatron and Bush. Now, if only he could hang on to the ball in the red zone...

VERDICT: Sleeper play, unless you have a Top 9 TE.

K David Akers

How often do you think the Lions offense will stall out? If last year (or the preseason) is any indication, it could bode quite well for Akers' fantasy value. The Lions were ninth in the NFL in red zone scoring attempts last year (sixth in scoring touchdowns) and sixth in field goal attempts. At home (indoors) against a Vikings team that will give up its fair share of scoring opportunities, I think Akers is a fine play.

VERDICT: Top 10 kicker.

Detroit D/ST

If you're playing the matchups, there's probably a more obvious one out there, but it's hard to not be intrigued by the Lions defensive line disrupting Christian Ponder and forcing a lot of mistakes in Week 1 at home.

VERDICT: Lots of time to recover if you go out on a homer limb and pick the wrong defense in Week 1... just saying.

What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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