Welcome to the Week 1 Start-Sit column! I think there should be some sort of festive tree, a special meal, maybe fireworks; just something codified so that we can all celebrate this national holiday in a similar fashion.
As we get the ball rolling on this new season, “So-Called Fantasy Experts” is putting up new content each day related to your inevitable Fantasy Football dominance. In addition to weekly rankings and reactions from our experts, we’ve got injury updates, waiver wire advice, tips on the daily game, and all kinds of other material to help you out this season.
I’ll be adding in a start-sit column each week to help out with those inevitable instances spent on your fantasy football app relentlessly putting in and then pulling out the same player over and over. We all know that you start Aaron Rodgers or Calvin Johnson each week. So instead of stating the obvious, I’ll try to focus on two types of players for this weekly article.
First, we will look at some lower tier guys that might deserve a shot in the starter’s job for a week. Second, we need to pay attention to those that are usually Fantasy starters that could underperform and might need to ride the bench.
While you may not be able to realistically bench some of these guys, at least you can prepare mentally for less than ideal returns.
Week 1 Start-Sit
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins
Tannehill enters this season expected to become a franchise guy after improving in each of his first three seasons. The Redskins are falling apart already and there hasn’t even been a regular season snap yet. Their secondary is a shambles with Bashaud Breeland, their top cover corner suspended, and DeAngelo Hall sporting a twice repaired Achilles. If you thought that was bad, check out their safeties. The young Dolphin passer has the best receiving corps he’s had so far in the NFL and should put up big points through the air against this team. Tannehill’s additional yards with his legs will always help to pad his numbers as well.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
Bridgewater will enter his sophomore season on Monday night with a souped-up offense compared to last year and plenty of good talent around him. If the Redskins are the Kardashians of football, then the 49ers must be the Chrisleys this year. Most of their talent up and walked once Jim Harbaugh left the organization and their season seems to be over before it starts. With two teams going in different directions, expect Bridgewater and the Vikes to prevail.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 7, 2015
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
I also like Bradford for Week 1. This game has the highest over/under at 55.5 for the week so Vegas expects fireworks. Bradford is DFS material as long as he can stay healthy.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
As previously mentioned, this should be a high scoring affair and I think Ryan will outperform his Fantasy draft position, at least for this week.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Wilson may be a Top Five quarterback in the Fantasy community again this season, but I don’t think he starts the year there. The Rams are going to be a tough unit to go against this year and Wilson draws them in Week 1. I would think Jeff Fisher makes a real effort to keep Wilson in the pocket and prevent those sprints up the field that are the driver of his Fantasy points. I think Wilson is a low level QB1 this week and would start someone like Ryan Tannehill or Matt Ryan over him.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Oh how you’ve fallen. Kelvin Benjamin’s injury may have injured Cam even more. I’m worried that this offense will be one dimensional for now in the passing game. This sort of machine can be handled by a competent defense. While Cam will run, his passing stats are a concern and I believe he could be in for another year of big lows and an occasional high in his Fantasy totals. I wouldn’t start him if possible until he proves me wrong.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns
I’m buying Ivory and his solid preseason performance. Chan Gailey may not be a great head coach, but he has always been creative working with offenses and appears to have a new toy in Ivory. If Gailey does indeed use his new back on all three downs, a big workload is in store. The Browns look more susceptible to the run and the Jet’s new spread offense could make Ivory start worthy unless or until he gets hurt.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders
Hill may be the top scoring running back in Week 1. You drafted him as your RB1 and he should show you why against a Raiders defense that is still the Raiders. It’s not like you were going to bench him, but I wanted to get my prediction about his finish out there just in case I might get it right.
Alfred Blue, Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Blue will be widely started with Arian Foster still working on his groin, but there is reason for concern here. Blue finished last year with a 3.12 yards per carry average … very pedestrian. Jonathan Grimes and maybe even Chris Polk will also siphon off some playing time. The Chiefs did finish 28th in rushing yards allowed per game last year, but I still view Blue as a lower end starting back. He’s got a decent floor, but I don’t see big upside to his game.
Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Gore could have some big weeks as defenses key on Andrew Luck and the Indy passing game, but this isn’t one of them. Buffalo is going to have a wall for a front seven and Gore is going to run head first into it. I see the Colts turning to their All-Star QB to shoulder the load in Week 1 while Gore spins his wheels on a 12-45 sort of day.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins
Morris is in for tough sledding in his first matchup this year. The Dolphins have added Ndamukong Suh and will own the line in this matchup. I also expect Miami to grab a lead in this game which means Morris comes out while the team passes more. This leads to Matt Jones getting on the field, not something Morris owners want to see. Jones is the shiny new back in Washington and any chance to prove he’s legit is a concern if you own Alf. Finally, the benching of RGIII hurts Morris as well since Griffin’s skill set helped to open up running lanes for Morris.
Darren McFadden/Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
I don’t trust where the Cowboys backfield is going right now. I would start Darren McFadden only if necessary and would be hesitant to put Joseph Randle in any starting lineups this week.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins
Landry is a must start every week in PPR leagues. I would trot him out this week even in standard set ups. DeAngelo Hall could re-tear his achilles at any moment backpedaling and the Skins best corner, Bashaud Breeland, is suspended. This could be a 10-135 week for Landry. The only concern I have is if Tannehill spreads the ball around to all of his wide open receivers.
Josh Brown, Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
The Cardinals second year wide receiver could be in for a big week. The Saints secondary looks to be of the barn door variety so far and Brown has looked every bit the part of Bruce Arian’s desert version of T.Y. Hilton in waiting. I like his chances of getting behind the defense at least once for a big play in this game.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Cooper should hog targets in the Raiders offense and I expect them to be down by 24 at halftime this week. Cooper looked smooth this preseason and he may be in line for an excellent rookie campaign, albeit due to his team being in catch up mode during every second half of the season.
Reviewing some young WRs’ preseason targets. Amari Cooper rinsed Patrick Peterson repeatedly in #Raiders 3rd game.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 9, 2015
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Carolina Panthers
Robinson has been a Fantasy sweetheart this draft season, but reality is about to set in. While I like his talent and think he could be a good WR2, he gets an ugly matchup against an above average secondary in the Panthers this week. Blake Bortles showed a pulse this preseason but he’s not headed to the Hall of Fame just yet, so I’m taking a wait and see approach with the Jags passing game.
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Recent elbow surgery and a knee that needs to be drained routinely screams that White is breaking down at age 33. I would bet he misses significant time again this season and I’m also concerned that when he does play, he will be unable to play at an NFL caliber level. I don’t want to start him until I see that he’s completely healthy and has something left in the tank.
Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
The Packers wideouts are obvious starts this weak against a bad Bears defensive unit, but Richard Rodgers is still sleeping. The tight end hasn’t historically been used extensively in the Green Bay offense but Rodgers had a solid preseason and the Pack are going to be spreading the ball around more without Jordy Nelson.
Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins
The Miami passing game should light up the Redskins this week. Washington’s defensive back field is in trouble and the safeties are particularly bad. While Cameron had a slow preseason, I like his chances to break out with a bang in Week 1. As long as he can stay healthy, he should be a frequent target for Ryan Tannehill.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
After using a fairly high draft choice on him, you don’t want to see Kelce show up on the sit column. While Kelce is a monster once he gets into the defensive backfield, he’s also an excellent blocker. The Chiefs are going to have to deal with J.J. Watt and Houston’s overpowering front so I could see the Chief’s tight end being forced in to helping the O-line keep Alex Smith upright. I would guess he still gets targets, but don’t be surprised if you see him stay in on passing plays more often than he goes into routes.
New York Jets D/ST vs. Cleveland Browns
The Jets are poised to make new coach Todd Bowles look like a genius, mainly thanks to Josh McCown and a Browns offense that scares no one.
Buffalo Bills D/ST vs. Indianapolis Colts
While Buffalo could be an elite defensive unit this year, they start out against one of the best offenses in the league. I actually ranked Buffalo No. 1 overall in my preseason rankings but I would avoid if possible this week. That’s not to say they could hold Luck in check, but I get nervous starting even the best defenses against top offenses.
There’s some food for thought related to start-sit for you as you set your lineups for a very important Week 1 in Fantasy Football. Make sure to check out the “So-Called Fantasy Experts” plethora of other material right here to help you convince your Fantasy rivals they should just give up now.