Starters

Fantasy Football Definition of "Starter"

When a player is referred to as a "starter", it means he is currently the top rated player for that team in that position. There are some exceptions -- for instance, since multiple WRs, RBs, and TEs (among other positions) can "start" a game, the player could be considered ONE OF the top rated players for that team's position. It is difficult for me to determine which one of the Patriots RBs, for example, would be considered the "top rated player", because of the way the Patriots use them -- as a kind of committee.

In the world of fantasy football, a starter is the player or players that you're using to earn points for your team that week. Starters are the only players who earn points for you in fantasy football, therefore controlling what players end up on your starting roster is one of the keys to fantasy football success.

Strategy based around starters changes as the season moves on. The best advice I've ever heard about week one starters is simple -- start who you drafted. Put your money where your mouth is and throw those draft targets out on the field. The worst that can happen is you have a couple of off weeks and save yourself a season's worth of misery on a player you may have otherwise have kept in reserve or as trade bait.

A major factor in your starting roster decisions will be injury. We have a crop of talented but aging QBs (Warner, Favre, Kitna, etc) who are more likely to get hurt during the course of a long NFL season than the younger guys -- though anything is possible. When preparing your stellar starting roster, don't forget that many of your bench names could end up on that list. Drafting garbage to replace your bejeweled starting roster makes less sense than drafting garbage to start with.

Many FF resources will offer you a list of "must starts" as the season progresses, especially towards the beginning of the season. There's no shame in depending on these lists as sources of inspiration -- maybe your head is a bit off kilter because of the excitement of the beginning of the season and you need a helping hand -- but try not to follow these suggestions too heavily. Your opponents can read these "must start" lists as well as you can, and you don't want to give your whole strategy away that easily.

Remember that it is often the specific opponent your starter is facing in the next week that determines whether a start is a good idea or not. If another big name passing attack was shut down by the defense your starting QB is facing, you might consider emphasizing another position. Another good reason to avoid a start is if the player you've ended up with is simply not very talented. . . I'm looking at you Brodie Croyle.

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