Fantasy Football 2020: Who To Start – And Who To Sit – In Week 1

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Here we are, the first week of the NFL season is here. After everything that has gone down this year, this feels just a little bit sweeter.

This also means another year of fantasy football. Feels good to be back and my goal remains the same; to help you win a fantasy championship.

Let’s get down to business, here are my starts and sits for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.

Quarterbacks

Starts

Philip Rivers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Rivers will begin a new era as the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts this week. With an offensive line that is one of the best in the league along with some good offensive weapons, he’s set up to have a good season. His first matchup helps too as Jacksonville’s defense is a shell of itself from what it was a few years ago.

Kyler Murray at San Francisco 49ers

Murray proved a lot of doubters wrong last year. He was impressive as both a standard quarterback and for fantasy football owners, finishing in the Top 10.

Although the 49ers are one of the tougher defenses, Murray was able to score three passing and one rushing touchdown against them last season, scoring 23+ in both games, and he’ll have a bonafide top receiver in DeAndre Hopkins to throw to this time around.

Other quarterbacks to start: Ben Roethlisberger (Monday), Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo, 

Sleeper

Tyrod Taylor at Cincinnati Bengals

Taylor will be the first quarterback not named Philip Rivers to start for the Chargers since 2005.

He will get an easy matchup in Cincinnati that allowed over 20 fantasy points-per-game to opposing quarterbacks.

Sits

Matthew Stafford vs. Chicago Bears

The Lions lost Stafford to an injured back last year. With no preseason this will be the first live-action he’s seen since last November.

To make matters worse, I don’t like his matchup. He has to face a tough Chicago defense who allowed under 14 points-per-game to quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins vs. Green Bay Packers

Cousins’ fantasy value was a roller coaster ride last year; the first few weeks he barely threw the ball, then had a massive surge, but finished back at the bottom.

One team he struggled against last year was Green Bay, he scored just 15 points total in two games. He’s a sit this week.

Other quarterbacks to sit: Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones (Monday), Sam Darnold

Bust

Aaron Rodgers at Minnesota Vikings

Safe to say I’m not too excited about starting NFC North quarterbacks. I would almost go out on a limb and say Mitch Trubisky might be the best performing quarterback in the division this week. I got the shivers even thinking that.

Anyway, the future of Rodgers in Green Bay looks bleak, but his outlook this week looks even bleaker as he has struggled recently against the Vikings averaging under 12 points in two games last year.

Running Backs

Starts

Aaron Jones at Green Bay Packers

I don’t know why people are still hesitant about Jones, he proved last season that he can carry a fantasy lineup. What I especially love were his numbers last year against Minnesota; 270 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and 23.5 fantasy points-per-game.

Jonathan Taylor at Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m not too excited about starting rookie running backs this week as you’ll see, but the one I will roll with is Taylor. He and Marlon Mack should see an equal amount of opportunities, but the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the league, along with a favorable matchup, I like Taylor as a solid flex this week.

Other running backs to start: Kenyan Drake, Tarik Cohen, James White

Sleeper

Mark Ingram vs. Cleveland Browns

I can’t believe I have to put a player who rushed for over 1,000 yards and averaged over 14 fantasy points-per-game as a sleeper, but here we are. With the Ravens drafting J.K. Dobbins, we saw a huge drop in Ingram’s draft stock. Baltimore had the highest rushing play percentage (54.07%) and with Cleveland giving up the sixth-most points to running backs, he’ll have a solid game.

Sits

Leonard Fournette at New Orleans Saints

I’m gonna preface this by saying Fournette is a sit THIS WEEK. I did two drafts just hours before writing this and I was shocked to see him still available in the middle rounds. He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons, and now has a competent offensive line to block for him. Give him a couple of weeks to learn this offense.

Cam Akers vs. Dallas Cowboys/D’Andre Swift vs. Chicago Bears

As I previously mentioned, there are some rookie running backs I’m not suggesting you start this week. Both of these backs are going to share carries this week, their offensive lines are not as strong, and they have tough matchups. This is a situation you need to hold off and watch play out

Other running backs to sit: Devin Singletary, Jordan Howard, Antonio Gibson

Bust

Le’Veon Bell at Buffalo Bills

Remember in 2017 when we were playing with fidget spinners and drafting Le’Veon Bell number one overall? Simpler times.

It was not a good first year in New York for Bell; he had career-low rushing yards-per-game and yards-per-attempt. There was a lot of tension between Bell and coach Adam Gase in the offseason. Also, he may lose carries to Frank Gore who turns 75 years old this season.

Wide Receivers

Start

Michael Gallup at Los Angeles Rams

Gallup proved last year that he’s one of the best number two options in the league and he’ll see plenty of opportunities this week and the whole season.

Keenen Allen at Cincinnati Bengals

Allen will play his first game without Philip Rivers. Luckily, he gets a very favorable matchup against a bad Bengals defense. As Tyrod Taylor’s most reliable receiver, he should see a lot of targets and is a strong play in PPR.

Other wide receivers to start: T.Y. Hilton, Diontae Johnson (Monday), DK Metcalf

Sleeper

Brandin Cooks at Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday)

Cooks had a forgettable season last year for the Rams, but you can’t forget he had 1,000+ receiving yards in his previous four seasons.

He has a brand new start in Houston where he’ll likely be the main receiving option with DeAndre Hopkins gone.

This is going to be an exciting game with two high powered offenses. Even without the benefit of the preseason, Watson will look to Cooks, he’ll have plenty of targets on Thursday.

Sits

Jarvis Landry at Baltimore Ravens

Landry is coming off hip surgery in the offseason and Baltimore is going to be a tough matchup. I like his overall outlook as a strong PPR receiver, but not for this week.

Christian Kirk at San Francisco 49ers

I think Kirk will benefit from having DeAndre Hopkins on the team, but I don’t it’ll be this week. Kirk did not have good numbers against San Fransisco last year, just eight catches for 49 receiving yards in the two games.

Other wide receivers to sit: Odell Beckham Jr., DeVante Parker, A.J. Green

Bust

Amari Cooper at Los Angeles Rams

This is one of those “you probably have to start him, but don’t expect too much” situations. Cooper is going to be facing Jalen Ramsey throughout this game and Dak Prescott has other options to throw to in Michael Gallup and an emerging Blake Jarwin.

Tight Ends

Start

Hayden Hurst vs. Seattle Seahawks

Hurst made an impression last year when he had an opportunity to start in Baltimore, so much that Atlanta grabbed him to replace Austin Hooper who signed with Cleveland.

He’ll have a prime matchup to get his Falcons career in the right direction, he goes against a Seahawks defense that gave up the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends last year.

Tyler Higbee vs. Dallas Cowboys

Higbee was a top tight end at the end of last season and that will continue. He’s going against Dallas which gave up the seven-most points to the position last season.

Other tight ends to start: Darren Waller, Hunter Henry, Eric Ebron (Monday)

Sleeper

Noah Fant vs. Tennessee Titans (Monday)

I’m very high on Fant this year, think of him as the 2020 Darren Waller. This is a great matchup to start the season; Tennessee allowed the fifth-most points to tight ends and was just behind Arizona (16) and Cleveland (10) for most touchdowns allowed last season.

Sits

Mike Gesicki at New England Patriots

His stock rose towards the end of last season. This week though I’d be hesitant to start him. This Pats defense is just as tough as last year and allowed under seven points-per-game to tight ends.

Evan Engram vs.Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday)

He’ll try to rebound after an injury-plagued 2019, but this matchup won’t help. Minkah Fitzpatrick and the Steelers secondary is one of the best and will shut down this Giants passing attack.

Other tight ends to sit: Chris Herndon, Jonnu Smith (Monday), Dawson Knox

Bust

Austin Hooper at Baltimore Ravens

I think most NFL fans were shocked to see the Cleveland Browns sign Austin Hooper, but it happened and we must accept it. Hooper’s draft stock dipped from where he was in his final season with Atlanta and rightfully so, there’s a lot of mouths to feed in the Dawg Pound.

Baltimore allowed the fewest amount of fantasy points and just three touchdowns to tight ends last year. Hooper is a bad play in his Browns debut.