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NFL Fantasy Football: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em - Week 1

Week 1 NFL match-ups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team.

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

As a reminder, this article isn’t meant to literally tell you that you should always start the guys I say to start and/or always sit the guys I say to sit. This is just my prediction as to who will do better than expected (Start ‘Em) and who will do worse than expected (Sit ‘Em). I also try to avoid putting the obvious names on this list. Yes, you’re pretty much always going to start Cam Newton, Antonio Brown, Gronk, and the like. It goes without saying.


Start ‘Em

  • Drew Brees, NO (vs Oakland Raiders) - Brees was on fire to end the season last year and the Raiders pass-defense figures to be pretty bad again. I like the Michael Thomas addition and there’s no way David Amerson is actually a good player... is there?
  • Derek Carr, OAK (@ New Orleans Saints) - This game’s going to be a shoot-out with a lot of throwing. Carr is poised for a big, breakout year and Amari Cooper is a stud entering his second season. Remember the Saints defense last year...?
  • Jimmy Garappolo, NE (@ Arizona Cardinals) - This one’s going to surprise a lot of people. He didn’t exactly have a great preseason and the Cardinals have a very good defense. Here’s the thing though, the Patriots pass it all the time. They like never run the ball. And they have Gronk. You figure the Cardinals are going to put up some points on the Pats (especially at home), so the Pats are going to be throwing it even more to keep up. He’s been in that offense and you know Belichick wasn’t showing everything in the preseason.

Sit ‘Em

  • Tyrod Taylor, BUF (@ Baltimore Ravens) - The Ravens don’t typically give up a lot of yards, especially through the air. I’m thinking this will be a run-focused, defense-dominated game. Aside from Watkins, I don’t really like Taylor’s weapons and I expect a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy.
  • Andy Dalton, CIN (@ New York Jets) - The Jets defense is really, really tough and Dalton’s on the road. Plus, no Eifert.
  • Jameis Winston, TB (@ Atlanta Falcons) - The Falcons defense looks pretty good, especially against the pass. Even last year when their defense didn’t look as good, they didn’t allow many fantasy points to opposing QBs. Plus, that pumped-in, artificial crowd noise...

Running Backs

Start ‘Em

  • Spencer Ware, KC (vs San Diego Chargers) - He’ll be starting in place of the injured Jamaal Charles. Even if Charcandrick West gets some snaps, there are mad points to be had here against a putrid Charger running defense.
  • Mark Ingram, NO (vs Oakland Raiders) - He’s healthy and one of the few backs in the league who is really the guy in their team’s backfield. Ingram’s going to get all the carries and plenty of the receptions. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get a TD in the season opener at home.
  • Latavius Murray, OAK (@ New Orleans Saints) - He was real good last year and again, remember that Saints defense? Can you tell which game I like for a lot of offense?

Sit ‘Em

  • Derrick Henry, TEN (vs Minnesota Vikings) - I truly believe DeMarco Murray is going to be the lead back in Tennessee. I think people are a little too excited about Henry and sleeping just a little too hard on Murray.
  • Arian Foster, MIA (@ Seattle Seahawks) - He’s almost always hurt and oldish now. Oh, and he’s playing in Seattle.
  • Chris Ivory, JAX (vs Green Bay Packers) - People are sleeping hard on T.J. Yeldon. He’s going to take a lot of snaps from Ivory. May even take his starting job at some point this season... Plus, they’ll have to throw to keep up with the Pack.

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em

  • Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs Cincinnati Bengals) - The dude is consistent and Fitzmagic loves him. The Bengals have a good defense, but the Jets are at home. Also, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bengals get a lead and the Jets have to throw a little bit more than they’d like.
  • Alshon Jeffery, CHI (@ Houston Texans) - Jeffery is so far and away the best player on that offense it’s crazy. They’re going to force-feed him. Plus, he’s actually/finally healthy right now.
  • Mike Evans, TB (@ Atlanta Falcons) - This one is a surprise. He had a down year last year and the Falcons pass defense is good, especially in Atlanta. But I saw what Mike Evans can do his rookie year. I think last year may have just been a sophomore slump. He’s big and by far their best target. That kind of status should be good for a TD at the least. Where else are they going to throw the ball?

Sit ‘Em

  • Kamar Aiken, BAL (vs Buffalo Bills) - Tough, defensive test that will probably be low scoring.
  • DeVante Parker, MIA (@ Seattle Seahawks) - He’s banged-up, has no experience, and is going against The Legion of Boom. No, thanks.
  • Laquon Treadwell, MIN (@ Tennessee Titans) - So many reasons. He’s still a backup. Rookie WRs don’t typically do well in their first games. THEY HAVE NO QB! They should just change their team name to the Minnesota Adrian Peterson Show.

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em

  • Travis Kelce, KC (vs San Diego Chargers) - He’s like the primary target there and they’re without Jamaal Charles. They’re at home and the Chargers defense is pretty bad.
  • Coby Fleener, NO (vs Oakland Raiders) - Let’s see: pass-happy offense + one of the very worst defenses against TEs last year. I think I’ve made my point clear on how I feel this game will go...
  • Gary Barnidge, CLE (@ Philadelphia Eagles) - I know we all have our doubts about RGIII, but Barnidge proved last year that he’s QB-proof. He’s going to be a friendly, security blanket of a target for RGIII and outside of Josh Gordon, there’s really no where else to go with the ball. Also, the Eagles suck.

Sit ‘Em

  • Clive Walford, OAK (@ New Orleans Saints) - Surprised you, didn’t I? There’s going to be a lot of scoring and throwing by both teams, but the Raiders heavily favor their WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. They’ll gobble-up a vast majority of the targets, leaving Walford as an afterthought.
  • Jared Cook, GB (@ Jacksonville Jaguars) - The guy is the definition of inconsistency. I don’t know how you can trust him until you see what he looks like in this offense. Jags defense will probably be improved too and the weather forecast looks like a rainy day in Jacksonville.
  • Zach Miller, CHI (@ Houston Texans) - The Texans are at home with a great defense. Again, Jeffery’s their only guy. Miller’s going to have to stay at home and block that tenacious front seven to help give Cutler a chance.

Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can. It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's matchups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make. These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.