Fantasy Football: Week 1 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em
It’s finally football season. Which means it’s finally time to invest a lot of time reading article after article to perfect your fantasy football lineup. Congratulations on surviving another offseason. Read below for this week’s start ’em, sit ’em advice.
Cam Newton (vs. SF):
Newton barely played in the preseason and is coming off an offseason shoulder operation. Coach Ron Rivera has sung high praises about his QB’s health and preparedness. He is also facing the lowly 49ers, a team he destroyed in a week 2 matchup last season. It is reasonable to have some concern heading into his first action, but it is the 49ers defense. Look for Newton to produce in Week 1.
Eli Manning (vs. DAL):
Manning may not have OBJ to throw to in Week 1, but have you seen the Giants’ WR depth chart? Even if the Beckham Jr. cannot suit up, Manning will have the luxury of feeding veteran Brandon Marshall and second-year wideout Sterling Shepard. Expect this matchup with the Cowboys to be a shootout. The Giants struggle running the ball, so Manning will have a chance to put up big numbers.
Philip Rivers (vs. DEN):
Rivers hasn’t played well against the Broncos in years past. The Broncos have one of the best defenses in the league, as usual, and it will be tough to move the ball this week. When the Chargers are moving the ball, I expect it to be due to Melvin Gordon’s legs more often than Rivers’ arm.
Dalvin Cook (vs. NO):
With Latavius Murray spending most of the offseason injured, the Vikings will have to rely on Cook. One of the most electrifying rookie running backs, Cook will have plenty of opportunities this week. Playing the Saints defense, Cook and the Vikings should be able to move the ball with ease.
Christian McCaffrey (vs. SF):
Jonathan Stewart is aging, and he has never been the productive every-down back that translates to fantasy production. The explosive McCaffrey exploded during the preseason. Newton is going to have to rely on someone to bail him out, and McCaffrey will likely be the offense’s safety blanket. He should be able to do some damage against the 49ers on the ground, and in the air.
Ameer Abdullah (vs. ARI):
The Lions running back situation is murky. Theo Riddick and Abdullah are two excellent, versatile running backs that will be at Matt Stafford’s disposal. Each of these players will see the field in Week 1, which may eat into Abdullah’s opportunities. I expect him to have an excellent season, but the Cardinals’ defense should present some problems this week.
Martavis Bryant (vs. CLE):
After finally being reinstated by the NFL, Bryant is expected to produce immediately. Playing against a Browns defense that he once torched back in 2015, Bryant will see plenty of targets alongside Antonio Brown. He is always a deep threat and he should be able to expose the Browns secondary this week.
Larry Fitzgerald (vs. DET):
Will he ever stop performing? Fitzgerald is coming off yet another impressive season, and you better expect Carson Palmer to continue looking for him. Expect Fitzgerald to get the season started strong against the Lions defense.
T.Y. Hilton (vs. LAR):
With no Andrew Luck this week (or ever?), Hilton is an iffy option. Scott Tolzien will target Hilton, but the Rams know that as much as anyone. Hilton will still get targets, but don’t expect much without Luck.
Charles Clay (vs. NYJ):
The Jets allowed plenty of production to tight ends last season, and that trend will likely continue this season. The defense hasn’t improved and Clay should remain being a reliable safety blanket it Taylor’s offense.
Coby Fleener (vs. MIN):
With Willie Snead being suspended, Fleener should see a spike in targets. It’s always nice to have Brees as your QB, and he and Fleener performed well together last season. Last time Snead missed time, Fleener hauled in 7 of 11 targets.
Jack Doyle (vs. LAR):
See TY Hilton, above.
Steelers (vs. CLE):
The Steelers are playing the Browns — start them. They also boosted their defense over the offseason and have an exciting rookie named TJ Watt. This squad will perform well in Week 1.
Steven Hauschka (vs. NYJ):
Anyone playing the Jets should be worth your consideration to start. They are going to put points on the board and move the ball, which bodes well for a kicker.