Week 1 fantasy: Start Croce, Markus

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
2:57
PM ET
As part of our football coverage here, I offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every week. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.

START 'EM

RB — Colin Markus, Masuk
Most of the preseason hype surrounding No. 1 Masuk has been centered on QB Casey Cochran, and rightfully so. Cochran is the best player in the state. But Markus has been hugely productive in the Panthers' offense — last year, he rushed for 1,535 yards and 25 touchdowns, and he also finished third on the team with 32 receptions (303 yards, six TDs). So whether Masuk is running or throwing, Markus is usually involved. The Week 1 matchup against Oxford is favorable, too. Last year, Masuk hung 69 points on Oxford.
Projection: 16 carries, 115 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD

QB — Kellen Croce, Pomperaug
Croce started slowly last year, but in the final eight games he completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,730 yards (with a 13-6 TD-INT ratio). Pomperaug has a strong group of experienced receivers returning, so Croce will be able to air it out even more this season. I think he's good for 20-plus touchdown passes and could possibly approach 30. One of his worst games of 2010 came against tonight's opponent, Brookfield, but I still think Croce will put up big numbers.
Projection: 22 of 32, 260 yards, 3 TDs

WR — Aaron Berardino, Windsor
Berardino was one of the state's top scorers at the WR position last year, putting up 850 yards and an impressive 10 touchdowns. And with junior QB Robert Fleeting back for another season under center, Berardino should see a bump in his numbers. Against Wethersfield tonight, I expect the Warriors to lean on him early. 10-plus targets seems like a lock.
Projection: 8 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD

BENCH CITY

RB — Amihr Bess, Notre Dame-West Haven
Coming off a 1,000-yard season in which he scored 11 touchdowns, you might think Bess is a good option to plug into your starting lineup this week. But look at the Week 1 opponent — Xavier. The Falcons are ranked No. 2 in the state, in large part thanks to their defense, which held Bess under 100 yards last season. If he gets more than 15 carries or over 90 yards, I'll be shocked. Stash Bess for now and start him against a better matchup next week.
Projection: 12 carries, 68 yards, 0 TDs

* Projections based on 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR format; No PPR

Want to join my (nonexistent) fantasy football league? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Mike Grimala is an associate editor for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter at @MGrimalaESPN »

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