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Fantasy football Week 1: Who to sit and start

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Football season is back and that means it’s time for fantasy football, too! Here’s who you should make sure you have in your lineups for Week 1.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the fantasy football season is probably one of the toughest for many fans. We still don’t have anything concrete to go off of quite yet. We have expectations of what every team will look like, but there are always a few surprises, especially in Week 1. With that in mind, I will try not to base too many of the picks on stats from last season.

With that said, make sure you start your studs. There is no point in benching guys you drafted in the first few rounds in Week 1. You took them to carry your team, so don’t over think it because of a matchup that could be viewed as a poor start.

Here are the sits and starts for Week 1 in fantasy football!

Running backs

Start them

Peyton Barber, Buccaneers at Saints: Barber is taking over the starting role for Tampa as a rookie, and he should get some great volume games out of the gate. The Bucs will be without Jamies Winston due to suspension, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t exactly a guy I’d want throwing 30 or more times in a game. Volume alone will give Barber the nod in Week 1.

Alex Collins, Ravens vs Bills: Collins had a strong season once he became the starter in Baltimore last season. The Bills also didn’t really address their poor run defense from last year. In fact they may have gotten worse as Preston Brown now resides in Cincinnati. The only thing that scares me with Collins is the Ravens may get a little pass-happy with all their new weapons at receiver. Even if they do, Collins should still have a great day.

Sit them

49ers running backs at Vikings: Jerick McKinnon’s injury injury has seemingly opened the door for Alfred Morris and/or Matt Breida to become fantasy relevant (I lean more toward Breida). However, no one knows how the touches will be divided up between the two, and the Viking defense is still one of the toughest in the NFL. It is best to leave these guys on your bench.

Browns running backs vs Steelers: Similar to the 49ers situation, the Browns have a pretty crowded backfield. It appears Carlos Hyde is the starter, and Nick Chubb is his backup. However, Duke Johnson Jr. also has to fit in there somewhere. Looking at this I just can’t see how you can trust starting any of these guys week-to-week until roles are more defined.

Sleeper

Jordan Wilkins, Colts vs Bengals: I know it seems a little sacrilegious for a Bengals fan to have a player facing Cincinnati as a sleeper Week 1, but Wilkins is probably the best running back you can grab off the waiver wire and he could produce a decent stat line. The Bengals had issues with running backs last season, so Wilkins could be inline for a decent flex game. This is 100 percent dependent on Marlon Mack not being able to play though, so if you have him in your lineup keep an eye on that. Mack is trending toward not being ready for Week 1.

Wide Receiver

Start them

Will Fuller, Texans at Patriots: When Deshaun Watson and Fuller were healthy last season it was a deadly combination. The two combined for seven touchdowns in four games last season. Fuller is dealing with a hamstring issue, but currently he is slated to play.

John Ross, Bengals at Colts: I’ll be real with Ross owners, there aren’t going to be many games you should feel comfortable playing him. It isn’t a matter of him having a bad season, but fantasy football is all about consistent volume. The weapons surrounding Ross on this offense won’t allow for him to be a consistent option, but against an awful Colts’ defense he is a viable flex option.

Sit them

Sammy Watkins, Chiefs at Chargers: Watkins was a big addition for the Chiefs this offseason, but Watkins will be limited by the lack of opportunities he will have, much like Ross. Not to mention the Chargers look like they could be a juggernaut on defense if things fall correctly.

Pierre Garcon, 49ers at Vikings: Garcon looks to revive his role in a Kyle Shanahan offense with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. Against the Vikings I don’t think Garcon will put up great numbers even in PPR leagues. I almost added Chris Goodwin to this list as well, but he has the added chance of making a huge play that Garcon just doesn’t.

Sleeper

Josh Gordon, Browns vs Steelers: Many will go the opposite way with this. There are doubts because he missed so much of camp and blah blah blah. The Browns want to show why Gordon was worth keeping this whole time. He has at least one big play in him for Week 1 and is a nice flex option.

Tight ends

Start them

Jack Doyle, Colts vs Bengals: This section will always start out with whatever tight end is facing the Bengals that week. It is just a fact Cincinnati has struggled to slow down tight ends, and they didn’t do that much to slow them down this offseason either.

Trey Burton, Bears at Packers: Burton was a pretty popular sleeper candidate for drafts. It makes sense considering he will be playing the same role that Travis Kelce has been playing for seasons. Burton will likely be a lock to start each week.

Sit them

Austin Hooper, Falcons at Eagles (Thursday Night): Hooper is a fairly deep sleeper that I’m on the hype train for, but the Eagles were fairly good at slowing down opposing tight ends last season, and the hype from the Eagles playing for the first time since winning it all will make Philadelphia just an insane place to play.

Quarterbacks

Sit of the week

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs at Chargers: Mahomes will likely have a great fantasy season, but this isn’t an ideal place to start. The Chargers have an amazing defense ready to shutdown most teams, and this is the first real game of the Mahome era in Kansas City. There will be a ton of pressure.

Streaming option

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Colts: This matchup for Dalton is just too good to pass up if your quarterback is facing an elite defense in Week 1. Not to mention, he will have a full arsenal that includes A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Joe Mixon and Ross.

Streaming options for defense and special teams

Saints defense vs Bucs: Any defense playing a Fitzpatrick-led offense has fantasy merit in my book.

Titans defense at Dolphins: I am not a huge believer in Ryan Tannehill. The Miami offense could end up being almost as bad as last season with Jay Cutler at the helm. The Titans also aren’t pushovers on defense.