Welcome to the 2016 edition of the Start or Sit column. Everyone has their own version of a start or sit column, but I wanted to make mine more about taking chances.
Anyone can say to start Antonio Brown and to sit Carson Wentz. I want to give you the type of plays that are the opposite… okay maybe there will never be a time to sit Brown.
I do plan on trying to find the times to sit what may be seen as “must-start” players. I’m talking about players that are ranked as RB/WR 1s or in the Top 8 of the TE/QB consensus rankings.
Starting a player without reason would be a neglectful decision. I plan to help you avoid these type of choices. Now you might not always have a better option, but I will at least let you be wary of these guys as well as to stay away in weekly games.
As far as guys to start, I will find the gems that are ranked outside of the Top 30 RB/WRs and Top-12 QB/TEs. I want these guys to make everyone in your league respect your decision. Da Ali G anyone?
So without further ado, let’s get to the Week 1 Start or Sit!
(All consensus rankings are based off the staff consensus rankings for each position.)
Week 1 Start or Sit
Robert Griffin III, QB, Cleveland Browns (Consensus Rank: 19)
RG3 gets a welcoming first game in a Browns uniform against the putrid defense of Philadelphia. The Eagles gave up the third most Fantasy Points to quarterbacks last season.
Griffin has been a trendy sleeper because of his weapons, but is getting overlooked without Josh Gordon this week. Corey Coleman, Terrelle Pryor, Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge give the former Baylor Bear enough ammunition and his rushing statistics will make him start-worthy. I see RG3 getting 280 yards passing, 40 yards rushing, and three touchdowns.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (CR: 18)
You can almost copy and paste the RG3 paragraph and put it here for Prescott. The Giants were even worse than the Eagles against Fantasy Quarterbacks last season. I would also say Dak has even more weapons at his disposal.
The consensus thought is that Dallas will try to control the clock and run the ball with Ezekiel Elliott. Don’t you think the Giants are prepared for that? There will be one-on-one opportunities for Dez Bryant, and as we saw in the preseason, Dak will take advantage of them. I give Dak 250 yards passing, 55 rushing, and three total touchdowns.
— ✭ 8️⃣8️⃣ ✭ (@Jaxsoy) August 21, 2016
James White, RB, New England Patriots (CR: 42, PPR: 35)
Jimmy Garoppolo will need to check down a ton against the vaunted Cardinals secondary, and I expect White to be the beneficiary. With Dion Lewis still sidelined, I expect White to pick up the majority of running back receptions, which the Patriots had 104 of last season.
Furthermore, while they gave up the fifth fewest Fantasy Points to running backs last season, they did give up the 12th most receiving yards on a sterling 79% catch rate. White will get enough touches to be startable in both Standard and PPR leagues. I think White gets 7-8 catches, with 90-plus yards and a touchdown.
DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders (CR: 44, PPR: 37)
Another guy who is more of a PPR play (I am in ELEVEN leagues and EVERYONE of them is PPR. I don’t know anyone that even plays standard leagues still, but I digress), Washington will have value in any scoring system this week. A large theme for this season of Start or Sit will be focusing on who is playing New Orleans.
While Latavius Murray will get the start, I expect Washington to get plenty of third down work. What gets lost with these type of backs in standard leagues is the 3rd and long draw play. This has become to go-to play for this situation and gets these running backs rushing yardage previously not found. Nevertheless, I see five catches with 75-plus total yards for Washington.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders (CR: 34, PPR: 31)
I swear this will not always be a Texas Tech-homer article, but I can promise that the passing game against the Saints will be featured each week. Crabtree had the most quiet 900-yard, 9-touchdown season last year. I see him starting this year strong with 90 yards and a touchdown.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (CR: 49, PPR: 48)
In our Staff Bold Predictions, I predicted that Boyd will be the second-highest PPR scorer among rookies. He is the second option to A.J. Green in Cincinnati. This week the Bengals face the Jets, meaning Green goes to Revis Island. This also means Boyd will primarily be covered by Buster Skrine. I think I’ll take Boyd in that matchup for seven catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (CR: 21, PPR: 19)
While I would not be a Rudolph season-long owner, I think he will be serviceable in Week 1. With a backup quarterback in, you can be sure that there will be some tight end check-downs. Throw in the fact that Tennessee was the fifth worst against tight ends last year, and I see Rudolph pulling in 50 yards and a score.
Titans D/ST (CR: 17)
Points and yards will be hard to come by with a backup quarterback in for the Vikings, so I think Tennessee could be a good value play this week.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (CR: 9, PPR: 7)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not believe in David Johnson this season. Sunday will be the first step into proving if my own research was neglectful or not. I would bet that David Johnson is not the highest scoring back for the Cardinals this weekend.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (CR: 8, PPR: 9)
Jacksonville’s defense is sneaky good now with the renovation they did in the offseason. Everyone has talked about how Eddie Lacy is trimmed down due to P-90X, but I still think this is a time-share with James Starks. Let alone the fact that Aaron Rodgers will want to start proving last year was a fluke, and I think Lacy gets less than 80 yards and zero touchdowns.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears (CR: 13, PPR: 13)
I might be fudging a little bit picking a guy at 13, but I just don’t see Jeffery doing much this weekend. He has been hampered by a hamstring issue all preseason. I think Houston is all over Jay Cutler as the Bears line gets accustomed to their new additions. Give me less than 75 yards and zero touchdowns for Alshon.
On the other side, Alshon Jeffery gets a #Texans D that limited opposing #1 WRs to 55.5 yards per game last year — 4th best in the league.
— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) September 6, 2016
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans (CR: 5, PPR: 4)
Only eight teams gave up fewer touchdowns than the Vikings last year, so it will be tough in the Red Zone for Walker. Not to mention that Tennessee is going with their exotic smash-mouth and will try to pound this style in Week 1. I love Walker for season-long leagues once DeMarco Murray gets hurt. His production for the first week will be down. Rudolph will put up more points this week.
Eagles D/ST (CR: 9)
The Eagles defense was awful last season and we already established how much I like the Browns offense in Week 1.
That’s it for the first edition of Start or Sit! If you have any other start/sit questions, feel free to reach out on Twitter, @Tomlin3. Also, make sure you check out our Week 1 rankings.
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