Fantasy Football Start/Sit Lineup Decisions Week 1
By: Nate Georgy @KingN8G
Finally, after months of fantasy football drafts and season preparation, week one is upon us. It is time to dominate the competition and start your run to that first place trophy. That being said, welcome to the first official Start/Sit column of 2019.
This is going to be a recurring Start/Sit weekly article, in which I share my thoughts on the best and worst matchups at each position. Obvious starts will not be mentioned, start your studs! You do not need me to tell you to start Christian McCaffery, heck even Adam Thielen, start them.
The purpose of this article is to help you decide which fringe players you should start, as well as which fringe players you should look to bench, if possible. If I tell you to start Kenyan Drake, it does not mean bench Joe Mixon for him. If I tell you to sit Phillip Lindsay, do not go and sit him if it means starting Darren Sproles in his place.
All start/sit’s discussed will be in reference to PPR and .5 PPR scoring formats. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @KingN8G to answer specific questions.
Start – Jameis Winston vs SF
We are going to start this season off with a roller coaster player in Jameis Winston. There is a lot of optimism that Winston can put it together this season, and the week one matchup does not get much easier for the offense facing the San Francisco 49ers. Last season the 49ers gave up the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs including 35 TD passes. According to PFF the 49ers come into 2019 with the 29th ranked secondary in the league. The Bucs have little to no rushing attack and project to be one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league this year. This game figures to be a shootout, which will keep Tampa Bay aggressive on offense.
Lamar Jackson @ MIA – Jackson will have plenty of opportunities to run laps around Miami’s front seven.
Jimmy Garoppolo @ TB – The other side of this high scoring matchup, Garoppolo should throw plenty to be a startable asset.
Kirk Cousins vs ATL – No team gave up more fantasy points to opposing QBs last season than the Falcons.
Sit – Ben Roethlisberger @ NE
Historically Roethlisberger is always a good idea to sit on the road, this one is no exception. The Steelers head into Gillette Stadium on ring night for New England, which is going to have the stadium as loud as ever. Combine this tough environment with Big Ben’s favorite target, JuJu Smith-Schuster being shadowed by All-Pro corner Stephon Gilmore all night, and you get an easy sit.
Russell Wilson vs CIN – This game has the potential for a blowout, which puts Wilson’s arm in low demand on an already run heavy team.
Matt Ryan @ MIN – The Vikings gave up the third fewest points to opposing QBs last season, and they are at home.
Philip Rivers vs IND – The Chargers were one of the slowest paced teams in the league last season. They will be going up against an offense that figures to be run heavy to start the year, not a lot of opportunity here.
Start – Mark Ingram @ MIA
Before we bash the Miami Dolphins and their defense, let’s talk about the Ravens. It is no secret that the Ravens are going to be one of the run-heaviest teams in the league this season. Week one won’t be an exception, and Mark Ingram will lead their rushing attack. Last season the Miami Dolphins gave up the fourth most points to opposing RBs and coming into this season their run defense ranks 29th according to PFF. The Ravens figure to pull ahead in this game early, which will allow them to start pounding the rock at will behind a positive game script.
Matt Brieda/Tevin Coleman @ TB – Tampa Bay gave up the fifth most points to opposing RBs last season.
Duke Johnson @ NO – The Texans could turn to a pass-heavy approach trying to keep up with the Saints, Johnson should see a healthy share of targets.
Phillip Lindsay @ OAK – *see matchups to exploit*
Sit – Damien Williams @ JAX
Life is not going great for Damien Williams owners right about now. Just last week the Chiefs brought in LeSean McCoy to split backfield duties with Williams, and now it does not get much easier in a matchup against Jacksonville. Last season the Jaguars allowed the sixth fewest points to opposing RBs, and figure to be one of the leagues best again this year. Reports say that Williams and McCoy will both be starters for the team so we probably have a full blown committee in Kansas City. Williams time will come, but stay away this week in Jacksonville.
Justin Jackson vs IND – *see matchups to exploit*
Kenyan Drake vs BAL – The Dolphins will likely be trailing in this game early, leaving little to no carries to go around. Drake is fine in full PPR.
Start – Dede Westbrook vs KC
The amount of hype surrounding Dede Westbrook is reaching new highs, and be prepared for it to keep soaring after week one. Westbrook gets a favorable matchup against the Chiefs, whose secondary ranks 30th by PFF coming into the season. In last seasons matchup against the Chiefs, the Jaguars were forced to throw 61, yes you read that right, 61 times. The Chiefs are favorites in this game, and although not heavy favorites, by the second half Jacksonville should be turning to a more pass heavy approach.
Dante Pettis @ TB – Tampa Bay gave up some of the most points to WRs last season, Pettis looks to be the WR1 for San Francisco early on.
Marvin Jones @ ARZ – The Cardinals are without their two top corners in week one, this game could turn into a shootout.
Sit – Alshon Jeffery vs WAS
I actually like Alshon Jeffery season long, I think he is being undervalued. That being said, this matchup is not a good one for the sole reason of volume. The Redskins come in as one of the worst teams in the NFL, and the Eagles come in as Super Bowl contenders. I expect the Eagles to jump out to an early lead and continue to build on it through the ground. It also does not help that Josh Norman will likely be on his side of the field throughout the matchup. Jeffery is a great player, he is just simply not needed in this week one matchup.
Calvin Ridley @ MIN – *See Matt Ryan*
Curtis Samuel vs LAR – The Rams have one of the better defensive units in the league, the Panthers will have some struggles this week, look to pivot from Samuel.
Start – Jared Cook vs HOU
Tight End is such a thin landscape, but one guy who will get some love is Jared Cook. Cook is a great start this week going up against Houston who gave up the second most receptions to TEs last season at 90. Cook is not going to be the main focus of the Texans game-plan with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas on the field. So he should be able to receive a healthy share of targets in a game that should be high scoring and a tight matchup.
Darren Waller vs DEN – If you are desperate, take a dart throw on Waller. All reports all offseason say he has been dominating camp, TE is so shallow, it won’t hurt.
Sit – Austin Hooper @ MIN
If you are streaming TE this week, avoid Austin Hooper. Hooper is heading to Minnesota to play the Vikings in one of the toughest stadiums to play for opposing teams. Last season Minnesota gave up just 64-726-3 all season against TEs. There is just simply not enough room for Hooper to have a good week in this matchup, as Atlanta will probably be halted on offense often.
Jordan Reed @ PHI – Reed is still in concussion protocol, and if cleared, he has one of the toughest matchups for TEs in Philadelphia.
Cowboys DST vs NYG – The defensive matchups to start the season for Dallas are great, it starts off against the turnover prone New York Giants.
Ravens DST @ MIA – The Ravens get what figures to be the easiest matchup to play all season long, Miami.
Eagles DST @ WSH – The Eagles come in with one of the best defensive units and get to face the Redskins who have question marks everywhere on offense.
Broncos DST @ OAK – If you can find better options I would look to avoid this matchup. Going on the road week one is always tough, and there is a lot of hype surrounding the Raiders offense right now. Look to pivot to a safer play.
Rams DST @ CAR – Not a terrible matchup for the Rams defense, but the Panthers come into the season with a lot of hype surrounding their offense.
Texans DST @ NO – Not only do they lose Jadeveon Clowney before week one, they also have to face Drew Brees Monday night in the Superdome.
Five Matchups to Exploit
1) Seattle RBs vs CIN Front Seven
Last season the Bengals gave up the second most points to opposing RBs. This year figures to be more of the same as PFF has ranked their run defense 24th. The Seahawks are one of the run-heaviest teams in the league, expect Seattle to run at will this week. Get Seahawks lead RB Chris Carson in your lineups as he will receive the bulk of the carries. Backup Rashaad Penny is also a good play in deeper leagues, he should be in line to receive a fair amount of carries.
2) Tampa Bay WRs vs SF Secondary
San Francisco were among the leagues worst at stopping opposing WRs, giving up the most TDs at 27. They come into this season making little to no change and have been ranked 29th overall by PFF. Tampa Bay enters the season with a pass heavy approach, and this game feeds right into it as it should be a shootout. WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are going to benefit from this matchup and have big games.
3) Denver Offense vs OAK Defense
The Raiders defense as a unit come into this season as one of the worst in the league. Their front seven, along with their secondary are ranked 27th by PFF. Denver will have no trouble running the ball against Oakland, which makes Phillip Lindsay a good play, as well as backup Royce Freeman in deeper leagues. WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton could also see good games if the Raiders offense can put the pressure on Denver to pass the ball.
4) Baltimore Offense vs MIA Defense
Miami appears to be in full tank mode, moving on from almost any talent they have on both sides of the ball. The defense is gutted right now and Baltimore gets the first chance at blowing out the Dolphins. The best way to exploit this matchup is going to be with Baltimore RBs and Lamar Jackson. Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson are easy plays this week, but don’t ignore rookie RB Justice Hill who could get some carries, and appears to be the passing down RB. We will be looking to exploit Miami’s defense all season long.
5) Chargers Offensive Line vs IND Front Seven
The Chargers offensive line is one of the worst units in all of the league. PFF had them ranked 29th overall, and that was before Russell Okung was ruled out. The best way to exploit this weakness is Keenan Allen. The Chargers may have to revert to a running through the air style early on in the season, which bodes well for Allen. Allen is the main slot WR and QB Philip Rivers favorite target, Rivers could be looking his way early and often on short to intermediate routes. RB Austin Ekeler is also a good play, as he should see a lot of checkdown receptions when Rivers is pressured.
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