It is finally Week 1 of the NFL season, and that means one thing. Fantasy football is back!
Oh, I guess it means regular football is back too, but we can be honest. Fantasy football is probably the bigger deal.
Hopefully, these posts help guide you to that ultimate goal at the end of the season, but before we get into the starts and sits this week, let me go on a quick rant regarding Week 1 in fantasy football.
Week 1 rant
This is something I feel like I’ve done every year I’ve been fortunate enough to write this post. That is to remind you to do one thing:
Play the players you drafted to carry your team.
If you see that Deandre Hopkins has a touch matchup against the 49ers in Week 1, and your instinct is to sit him, please stop. These first few weeks are so hard to predict, and it would be terrible to start off in a hole because you benched a player you took in the first few rounds who went off Week 1.
This first week, I’m trying to help people decide on their flex options or possibly a RB2 or WR2 if you’re thin at that position. I shouldn’t need to tell you to play players like Saquon Barkley, Julio Jones or Jason Kelce. That is honestly a waste of space, and I’d rather help you in areas that you may actually need it.
With that being said, here are Week 1’s starts and sits:
Mark Ingram, Ravens: Ingram will be going against a Browns defense that already was terrible at stopping running backs last year before losing their two starting linebackers from last season (Mack Wilson to injury and Joe Schobert to free agency). Baltimore should be more than willing to let Ingram carry the ball to victory.
Aaron Jones, Packers: Jones may be one of the few players that fantasy players may be thinking about benching in Week 1 despite probably taking him early. The team just drafted A.J. Dillon in the second round, and Green Bay is facing Minnesota. The Vikings are a great at stopping running backs, but that didn’t stop Jones from putting up two fantastic performances against them last season. You should still feel pretty good about Jones to start this season.
James White, Patriots: Cam Newton loved to target Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield the brief time they were together in Carolina. We could see more of the same here with White in New England. I’d normally stay away from a committee in Week 1, but some of you in deeper leagues may be forced to make a choice. Mine would be White to take advantage of the Dolphins’ defense this week.
Rams’ running backs: One backfield I wouldn’t want to take a stab at in Week 1 is the Rams’. Sean McVay has already come out and said he wants to use a three-running back committee to start the season. I don’t care who they are playing, that is a recipe for disaster. Unless you are in 14 league team I’d look elsewhere for a flex option. Cam Akers would be my choice gun to my head, though.
Leonard Fournette, Bucs: This may not be the case for long, but Tampa Bay already has a few running backs they expected to play before acquiring Fournette not that long ago. He could vulture a touchdown, but that is probably his ceiling in Week 1 on a pretty loaded offense going against the Saints.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars: Garage time points are a beautiful thing in fantasy football. They still count all the same in the final score. Expect plenty of that for Chark this season as the Jaguars have looked like they are in the midst of an overhaul very soon. Chark should be Gardner Minshew’s favorite target as he overtakes the quarterback job, and the Colts weren’t exactly stonewalling teams last year in the passing game.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles: Philadelphia will be without Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor this week. That opens up the door for Jackson to show off against one of his former teams, Washington. It also helps that Football Team (I really can’t believe they didn’t come up with another name) wasn’t good at stopping the pass last season, and Carson Wentz is healthy for this game.
DK Metcalf, Seahawks: This one is pretty simple. This should be a high scoring game, and the Falcons secondary isn’t really equpped to deal with a guy like Metcalf on the outside. It is such a good matchup that I’d even consider throwing in Josh Gordon in some of the deeper leagues out there.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys: Cooper is already a pretty inconsistent player. He doesn’t have much of a middle ground between being absent or taking over games. This week he will be going up against Jalen Ramsey who is still one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. If I had to guess, this will be one of those weeks we wonder where Cooper was.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals: Arizona has a new toy in Deandre Hopkins, who will likely be stealing the show in Week 1. The 49ers defense is no joke, and Kirk could see very few targets with a good corner on him and Hopkins being the more attractive option. He should have better weeks down the road.
Hayden Hurst, Falcons: Matt Ryan loved the tight end position the past few seasons with Austin Hooper, and now Hurst is taking his spot. I’m not trying to say he will put up Hooper numbers this week, but if you are unsure of what to do at the position Hurst is a nice option. He is playing with guys like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley who are going to take away plenty of attention, and the Seahwks were one of the worst teams against tight ends last season.
Noah Fant, Broncos: Drew Lock is entering his first full season as the starter for Denver. He has a pretty talented offense surrounding him, but nothing is safer for a young quarterback than a young athletic tight end matched up against a team that struggled to stop tight ends last year.
No sits in Week 1 for this position. You likely have a guy you feel good about. Play him and don’t over think it. At least for Week 1.