One of the most crucial parts of playing fantasy football is playing the matchups. With that said, some players are considered “matchup proof.” You aren’t going to sit Aaron Rodgers, David Johnson or Antonio Brown. Below are some week one fantasy football starts and sits to help you win your week one tilt.
Week One Fantasy Football Starts and Sits
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is one of this year’s breakout candidates. The Buccaneers upgraded their offense with DeSean Jackson and rookie O.J Howard. In week one, Winston plays the Miami Dolphins, who have one of the weakest secondaries in the NFL. They also gave up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. Winston is a smart play in week one.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for around a decade. He is going up against division rival Cleveland Browns, a team he has dominated throughout his career. The Browns have had one of the NFL’s weakest defenses for the last few seasons. Cleveland also surrendered the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season. Roethlisberger now has Martavis Bryant, so he should produce solid fantasy numbers in week one.
Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West is now the lead back for the Ravens with the season-ending injury to Kenneth Dixon. West is a solid running back-two in week one versus divisional opponent Cincinnati Bengals, who are going to be without their best linebacker for a few weeks. West should enjoy a nice outing for the opener.
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount was one of the best running backs in fantasy last season when he was with the New England Patriots. He’s now playing for the offensively-gifted Eagles, so he’ll see plenty of work and goal-line opportunities. He will be facing the Washington Redskins in week one. A franchise that has struggled against the run in recent years, the Redskins gave up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs last season.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is coming off a year-long suspension and has looked good in camp and preseason. When he has played along side Antonio Brown, Bryant sees a fair amount of single coverage and has torched defenses. With the Cleveland Browns defense having to deal with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, expect Bryant to contribute mightily in week one against a weak Browns secondary.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been a solid flex option for fantasy owners throughout his young career. Last season was a down year for the Panthers, and Benjamin is now two years removed from his ACL injury. In week one, he’ll face off against the San Francisco 49ers, who allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receiver in 2016. Benjamin is a good wide receiver-two choice in week one.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has been respectable, yet inconsistent in fantasy. Despite his up-and-down play, Ertz has been deemed a breakout candidate for the season. With the Eagles overhauling their offense this off-season, Ertz should see plenty of opportunities this year. In week one, he is going up against division rival the Washington Redskins, who gave up the 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends last season.
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker has finished as a top-five tight end in back-to-back seasons. Walker is one of the most consistent tight ends in fantasy. He is a good play in week one vs the Oakland Raiders, who allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends last season.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles struggled throughout the preseason and was on the verge of losing his job to veteran Chad Henne. Bortles is going to start week one, but he has a tough bout against divisional foe Houston Texans. The Texans have one of the best defenses in the NFL and fantasy, thanks to their overwhelming defensive line. Bortles will most likely be under pressure throughout the entire game and could struggle to deliver fantasy points. He should remain on fantasy owners benches in week one, as the Texans forfeited the third-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler was retired just a few weeks ago and now is the starting quarterback for the Dolphins. Cutler has struggled over the last few seasons to put forth fantasy numbers and to stay healthy. He is a risky selection in week one when they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore has been one of the best and most consistent running backs for over 10 years. In week one, he has a difficult matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The reason Gore is another risky play is that his quarterback Andrew Luck will probably be unavailable. If Luck is out, Gore will most likely see seven men in the box and struggle to produce fantasy points.
Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy has struggled and looked slow in the preseason. He has dealt with weight issues and a nagging ankle injury the last two years. Lacy is a boom or bust, touchdown-dependent pick in week one versus his former team, the Green Bay Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was one of the most explosive players in fantasy from 2016. He is now the number-one wide receiver for the Chiefs. In week one, he will most likely be shadowed by Malcolm Butler of the other defensive backs of the New England Patriots, a team that’s very good at taking away number-one receivers. The Patriots gave up the seventh-fewest points per game to wide receiver last season. He is a questionable call on Thursday night.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt was signed in the off-season to be the Browns number one after a 1,000-yard season with the Rams in 2016. His Week one game will be against division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who have just signed Joe Haden formally of the Browns. Britt could be in for a tough game in week one.
Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron has not been able to consistently produce or stay healthy in his young career. Week one he plays the Arizona Cardinals, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Cardinals gave up the fewest Fantasy points per game last season to tight ends. Fantasy owners should look at other options in week one.
New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener was one of the big sleeper picks in 2016. Fleener had a decent season, but many critics expected Jimmy Graham-like production from him. He is going up against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. The Vikings have a solid defense, and it was tough on tight ends last season.
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