Fantasy Football Start/Sit – Week 1
Start – Tony Romo vs Giants
There are a bunch of great matchups this week for fantasy football quarterbacks. You have Aaron Rodgers vs. the Bears, Ryan Tannehill vs. the Redskins, Sam Bradford vs. the Falcons and Matt Ryan vs. the Eagles but the best one can quite possibly be Tony Romo vs. the JPP-less New York Giants’ defense. Romo is coming off the best season of his NFL career throwing for 34 touchdowns to just 9 interceptions, a 69.9 completion percentage and a NFL best 113.2 passer rating. Fantasy owners of the Cowboys quarterback just hit the jackpot as he goes up against a familiar foe in Week 1 which he torched for 554 yards 7 TDs in two games last season. With the Cowboys still trying to figure out how to replace the NFL’s leading rusher Demarco Murray last season they will more than likely rely on Romo and the passing attack in what is shaping up to be an old fashioned shootout in Big D. Fire up Romo this week with no hesitation.
Notables – Ryan Tannehill vs. Redskins, Matt Ryan vs. Eagles, Eli Manning vs. Cowboys, Sam Bradford vs. Falcons
Sit – Jay Cutler vs Packers
Jay Cutler might salvage his fantasy output in this matchup against the Packers because of the amount of times he will have to throw the football but I’m not counting on it. Cutler has been all sorts of bad in his career against his divisional rival the Green Bay Packers. Since joining the Bears his overall record against the Packers is 1-11 completing 56% of his passes with 13 TDs compared to 22 interceptions. Adding injury to insult the Bears will be without number one pick wide receiver Kevin White who was drafted to replace Brandon Marshall. Furthermore, their Top 3 remaining receivers are all battling injuries. Alshon Jeffery’s calf injury has lingered all preseason long, Eddie Royal’s hip injury, and Marquess Wilson’s hamstring ailment is a concern. All indications suggest Cutler and the Bears’ offense will struggle in Week 1. CPGM doesn’t recommend it but play Cutler at your own discretion.
Notables – Joe Flacco vs. Broncos, Colin Kaepernick vs. Vikings
Start – Jonathan Stewart vs Jaguars
The Carolina Panthers’ backfield is not crowded nor confusing to figure out like it has been in the past now that Jonathan Stewart is the undisputed lead back. The departure of DeAngelo Williams to the Steelers finally gives Stewart the opportunity to be the man. Of course a lot will weigh on whether or not Stewart can stay healthy this season but one thing is for sure, he is healthy coming into a great Week 1 matchup against a Jaguars’ defense that finished last season as the 6th worst rush defense. Yes the Jags’ D improved this offseason with the addition of Jared Odrick and Dan Skuta but their best defensive lineman Sen’Derrick Marks will be out as he is still recovering from a knee injury. Look for Stewart to continue his success from the second half of last season and be the focal point in a Kelvin Benjamin-less Panthers’ offense. Just watch out for the Cam Newton “vulture TD” at the goal line.
Notables – Andre Ellington vs. Saints, Chris Ivory vs. Browns
Sit – Alfred Morris vs Dolphins
Let me start by saying I really like Alfred Morris as a running back because of his physical no nonsense rushing style. But my hesitation to start the Redskins’ running back has everything to do with his offensive line. Not only is the Redskins’ offensive line a work in progress but they have to go up against what may be the best defensive line in the league courtesy of the Miami Dolphins. Miami stole headlines with the signing of the mammoth Ndamukong Suh on a defensive line which already possessed playmakers Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, and Earl Mitchell. Not a good matchup for Morris and the Redskins’ offense as the Dolphins should dominate the line of scrimmage. Also if the Redskins get behind in this contest they will not hesitate to pull Morris in favor of their young talented 3rd round back Matt Jones a player the team has a strong affinity for.
Notables – Joique Bell vs. Chargers, Melvin Gordon vs. Lions, Alfred Blue vs. Chiefs
Start – Jarvis Landry vs Redskins
In the very near future Jarvis Landry will no longer be considered a sleeper in fantasy football circles as he will break out this season for the Miami Dolphins and it will start this week against the woeful Redskins’ secondary. Last season the Redskins gave up a NFL worst 108.3 rating against opposing quarterbacks. Although Landry is entering his second season in the NFL, he is the number one and favorite option for Ryan Tannehill. The loss of Charles Clay and Mike Wallace this offseason and the additions of Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Greg Jennings makes Landry the go to guy within the offense. Tannehill will look to Landry early and often in the ball game and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Landry catch close to double digit passes for 100+ yards and a TD. Furthermore, the Redskins will be without their best slot cover corner Bashaud Breeland due to suspension. Landry will eat in the slot in this one.
Notables – Davante Adams vs. Bears, Vincent Jackson vs. Titans, Jordan Matthews vs. Falcons, John Brown vs. Saints
Sit – Brandon Marshall vs Browns
Brandon Marshall vs. Joe Haden will be a matchup to watch this week as two big bodied competitors face off against each other on the outside. The gun slinger which is Ryan Fitzpatrick will not shy away from Marshall even if an elite cornerback is covering him but the amount of success he has is a another story. I expect Haden to win the matchup and keep Marshall in check this week. This game figures to be an ugly defensive minded game with few points on the scoreboard. Expect the Jets to try and take advantage of a Browns’ defense that struggled against the run last season and run Chris Ivory limiting Marshall’s targets.
Notables – Desean Jackson vs. Dolphins, Devin Funchess vs. Jaguars
Start- Larry Donnell vs Cowboys
Remember that shootout in Big D I referenced above, well tight end Larry Donnell will be a part of that high scoring affair and should produce for the Giants against the Cowboys. The absence of slot receiver Victor Cruz due to injury coupled with the amount of attention Odell Beckham Jr. will receive on the outside should free up Donnell in the middle of the field to feast. In 2014, the Cowboys’ pass defense allowed the 7th most passing yards in the league and the injury to top defensive back Orlando Scandrick further complicates the matter. Eli likes to target his tight ends in the red zone so look for Donnell to catch a TD in this one.
Notables – Kyle Rudolph vs. 49ers, Jason Witten vs. Giants
Sit – Coby Fleener vs Bills
Former college teammate of Andrew Luck at Stanford, Coby Fleener broke out last season finishing as a Top 10 tight end in fantasy football with 774 yards and 8 TDs. These numbers had a lot to do with the injury to fellow tight end Dwayne Allen who is back healthy this season. Allen back with the offense plus the plethora of receivers the Colts have at their disposal this season will make Fleener a difficult start week in and week out. In the offseason the Colts added Andre Johnson and first round rookie Phillip Dorsett to the potent duo of T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. The natural evolution of the Colts’ offense seems to be trending towards three and four receiver formations limiting the playing time of Fleener. Keep Fleener on your bench until we see how much playing time the tight end gets or an injury to Allen takes place.
Notables – Zach Ertz vs. Falcons, Vernon Davis vs. Vikings
Start – Jets D vs Browns
You can probably start any defense going up against Josh McCown and the Browns each week but the Jet’s defense is nasty with rookie Leonard Williams on the line and Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie back patrolling the secondary.
Notables – Chiefs vs. Texans, Dolphins vs. Redskins
Sit- Ravens D vs Broncos
I know Peyton Manning’s arm is deteriorating and the Ravens’ defense has had success against Manning in the past but Manning at home in the regular season is money.