We're entering the season, which means "who to start" and "who to bench" questions begin. But don't limit yourself to just that facet of the mailbag. Send your questions my way throughout the season, and I'll do my best to get to all of them!
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Flex in non-PPR — Mark Ingram (Saints), Tim Hightower (Redskins) or Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants)?
— @jts11511 via Twitter
Bradshaw gives you the best matchup. Over his last three games against the Redskins, he's averaged 16 carries for 60 yards, 1.3 touchdowns and two receptions for 15 yards. Remember, Bradshaw's been less than 100 percent the last couple of years and comes into this game as healthy as he's been. Last year Washington gave up 128 rushing yards and 0.94 touchdowns on the ground per game. He's worth the play as a No. 3 fantasy back. Too many owners drafted him too high as he'll share time with Brandon Jacobs. Let's make sure Hightower isn't just a preseason wonder and Ingram is sharing touches with Pierre Thomas but he's also facing a much stronger defense in Green Bay.
I need a kicker and have to drop either Deji Karim or Montario Hardesty (I have Peyton Hillis). My other RBs are Ray Rice, Hillis, Knowshown Moreno, Mike Tolbert and Brandon Jacobs.
— @RubenKarter via Twitter
I would try to trade Karim to the Maurice Jones-Drew owner. Heck, if he has a stud of a placekicker, it's worth a shot. Maybe you can get a PK and a solid No. 3 fantasy wideout. It's worth asking. If forced to drop someone, I would rather tell you to drop a second tight end or defense. If you can't do that, then drop Karim. His primary role is the handcuff to MJD. Sure he'll see a bigger role with Rashad Jennings on injured reserve, but we don't know how much yet. You also own Hillis, so Hardesty is the natural handcuff.
TE1 — Jared Cook (Titans) or Lance Kendricks (Rams)?
— mikezap via Twitter
Great question. Cook is a breakout candidate at tight end, and this year we have plenty of them. Cook, Kendricks, Jimmy Graham and Evan Moore all could break out — and that's not counting the elites and quality second-tier players. Deepest group I've ever seen. Kendricks has stuck out this summer, and the Rams plan to line him up in various formations to disguise his use as well as sending him deep. Remember, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels works his tight ends in various ways. Kendricks could be one of this season's top tight ends, at least based on his preseason play. Go with Cook, though, as he's facing the Jaguars, and they're a team in turmoil. Last year they gave up 250 yards and 1.75 touchdowns per game to receivers.
Looks like I'm without Manning in Week One. Start Kolb or Stafford in his place?
— Eric McClung via Facebook
Against the Panthers, Kolb is the easy play, but Stafford has a similar statistical matchup against the Buccaneers when looking at last season's stats. There are two ways to look at the Panthers defense. Their run defense is so bad, I can see the Cardinals rushing all day to give RB Beanie Wells his confidence. I then see Kolb picking his shots. However, I think the team will try to give their offensive line and backs confidence heading into the season with a big game against the Panthers. Last year Carolina allowed 212 yards passing per game and 1.2 touchdowns through the air per game. In comparison, the Buccaneers allowed 201 passing yards and 1.4 passing touchdowns per game. They're nearly equal statistically, but the Panthers have looked the worst I've seen them since the team came into the league. I thought last season was bad! Then again, it's preseason. Go with Kolb and remember this: A rookie quarterback will have a few three-and-outs. The Cardinals could gain an extra series or two.
Starting 3 RBs. Who to bench Week One? Chris Johnson (Titans), Felix Jones (Cowboys), Jahvid Best (Lions) or Beanie Wells (Cardinals)?
— Skitzi via Twitter
You've seen my take on the Panthers' run defense. Wells may have a career day becuase the Carolina run defense is so bad. He's a must start. Over his last three games vs. the Jaguars, C.J. is averaging 131 rushing yards and one touchdown, with two receptions for 15 yards per game. Granted, this takes into account a game from his monster 2009 season. The Jaguars are going with a new quarterback and will probably struggle offensively. The Titans are also not going to ease the load on C.J., as his backup Javon Ringer hasn't practiced in a few weeks with a hip injury. Best is electrifying, and he's facing a young defense trying to reach the next stage as they mature and grow. Best is healthy and will have opportunities, as the Bucs allowed 132 rushing yards a season ago. Let's be honest, we knew the answer all along. The Jets and defense go hand-in-hand, and Felix Jones is facing a team that last year allowed only 91 yards rushing and 0.7 touchdowns on the ground per game.