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NFL Week 1: Fantasy football start ‘em/sit ‘em

Decisions, decisions. It’s time to be a coach again and make some tough decisions about your fantasy roster. We try to provide you with some information that might help.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Football is back, which means fantasy football is back. Yes, we can all pretend to be GMs once again. But we also get to be coaches, deciding who plays and who rides the bench. In the following podcast, we share our picks for week 1:

Quarterbacks

Start ‘Em

Eli Manning, NYG (vs Dallas Cowboys): The two-time Super Bowl MVP (sorry, but I like reminding people of that from time to time) loves playing the Cowboys. In 23 games against his NFC East rivals, he’s thrown 44 touchdowns and for over 5,800 yards. Now with Odell Beckham Jr., rookie Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz, he’s armed with the best group of receivers he’s ever had.

Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs Baltimore Ravens): The Bills are finally building around what they believe to be a franchise quarterback. Taylor’s breakout year in 2015 convinced the Bills to give him a 6 year extension, and his Week 1 matchup with the Ravens, who finished 24th in scoring defense while only intercepting six passes all last year, gives him one of the most favorable match-ups of the week. With Sammy Watkins on the perimeter and LeSean McCoy out of the backfield, the Bills look primed to explode on the scoreboard.

Sit ‘Em

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (vs Seattle Seahawks): Rishard Matthews, Greg Jennings and Lamar Miller are all gone, and Tannehill was already a bit underwhelming. Sure Kenny Stills showed promise in the preseason, but we don’t really know what the Dolphins’ offense will look like, which means you can’t trust Miami’s quarterback against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Running Backs

Start ‘Em

Spencer Ware, KC (vs San Diego Chargers): Jamaal Charles is behind on his rehab, which puts Ware front and center to get the bulk of the workload against a defense that he torched in limited carries last year. If he’s still floating around on waivers for some reason, pick him up and start him.

Sit ‘Em

Arian Foster, MIA (vs Seattle Seahawks): While he ran hard in the preseason, it’s a bit too early to decide if he’s completely recovered from last season’s Achilles tear, especially on the road at raucous CenturyLink Field.

Matt Jones, WAS (vs Pittsburgh Steelers): He suffered a separated shoulder in the preseason, so he could see a reduced workload. Also, with Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed torching the Steelers’ defensive backs, there might not be a lot of opportunities left for Washington’s running backs.

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em

DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs Pittsburgh Steelers): Remember him? One of the league’s most explosive receivers tends to get forgotten somehow. Missing six games last year (his first in Washington) didn’t help. But he should make the highlight reels Week 1 as he goes against a porous Pittsburgh secondary. (Psst, Justin Gilbert isn’t going to help.)

Donte Moncrief, IND (vs Detroit Lions): A breakout candidate in the making, Moncrief is poised to be Andrew Luck’s main target inside the 20 this year. Detroit’s secondary is suspect at best besides the up-and-coming Darius Slay, who will be preoccupied with burner T.Y. Hilton, so Moncrief has a great opportunity to start hot at home.

Sit ‘Em

Keenan Allen, SD (vs - Kansas City Chiefs): Overall, we’re really high on Allen this year. Based on how well he played against various coverages before he got hurt, he’s looking to produce big time with Philip Rivers. However, he’s facing Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters for the first time in an underdog encounter with the aggressive Chiefs defense. Having said that, Allen was probably a top 25 pick for most people, so start him if the rest of your receiving core is lacking. But if there’s a salivating matchup on your bench, consider it over Allen.

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em

Coby Fleener, NO (vs Oakland Raiders): He was solid during his time with the Colts, but his value shot up once he got a big contract from the Saints. Drew Brees will have to put up points to keep up with the Raiders, who were the worst team defending tight ends in terms of fantasy scoring last year, so Fleener could nab a score or two.

Sit ‘Em

Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs Miami Dolphins): Here’s a guy who could be one of the best at his position, or a middling performer. If he gets completely healthy and finds his place in Seattle’s offense, his production in New Orleans may well be replicated. However, Russell Wilson found his groove late last year after Graham went down with a torn patellar tendon. As for this week, the seventh year tight end almost certainly doesn’t deserve a start. He’s not a guarantee to play, and even if he does suit up, he may not start for the Seahawks, which is why you shouldn’t start him on your fantasy team.

Defense

Start ‘Em

Cleveland Browns (vs Philadelphia Eagles): Carson Wentz in his first game, Doug Pederson’s first time as a head coach, receiver Jeff Maehl’s first start... need we say more?

Sit ‘Em

New England Patriots (vs Arizona Cardinals): Playing in Arizona against a loaded Cardinals offense, this would be a week to look for other options.