Who To Start And Sit In Week 1 Of The 2016 Fantasy Football Season
The season is finally here! No more offseason, no more drafts (unless you want to take advantage of overreactions in Yahoo! Pro leagues after Week 1), and no more preseason. It’s go time. Now we get to see how good or how bad you fared putting your team together. It’s a long season, but every win counts and you need to get on the board right away. Don’t be afraid to bench good players in bad situations. No regrets!
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Matthew Stafford (QB – Detroit)
Some were avoiding Matt Stafford in the draft because Calvin Johnson retired, but old Matty will be just fine. He’ll feast on a depleted Colts defense this weekend as Indianapolis lines up without stud corner Vontae Davis and three other starters. Detroit’s defense isn’t great either, which means we’re shaping u for serious shootout potential. Stafford is a lock for 300+ yards and at least two touchdowns.
Spencer Ware (RB – Kansas City)
We’re not exactly sure what the prognosis is for Jamaal Charles over the next few weeks, but Spencer Ware looks to be the lead back for the Chiefs in Week 1. That’s a great proposition as San Diego’s defense is as terrible as it was last year and Joey Bosa got to camp too late to suit up for this game. The Chiefs should be in the lead late in the game, which means Ware is shaping up for 20+ carries and a strong performance.
Christine Michael (RB – Seattle)
Pete Carroll is portraying that Week 1 will act as a preseason game for Thomas Rawls. In reality, Seattle doesn’t have a financial investment in Rawls, so there are even some questions as to whether or not they’re committed to him long term. That means our old friend Michael has the lion’s share of the running back work. Like with Ware, Michael looks to be in a great situation with gameflow as Seattle should get out to an early lead.
Marvin Jones (WR – Detroit)
This will be seen as chalky in the DFS community, but the regular fantasy player likely drafted Jones as his WR3 or WR4. He should feel fully confident starting Jones for the same reasons we mentioned about Stafford above. Jones immediately becomes the best receiving threat in the red zone and could match his 2013 touchdown total this season.
Willie Snead (WR – New Orleans)
It turned out that Snead had a bet with teammate Brandon Cooks about both reaching 1,000 yards last year. Snead came up short by 16 yards and he’s been working hard this offseason to get over the threshold this season. He’ll have a great start to his goal with a prime Week 1 match-up featuring the highest over of the week in 51. Cooks will always be the primary focus for defenses, so Cooks will use this opportunity to do work in the dome this weekend.
Jason Witten (TE – Dallas)
Stealing from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein: Death, Taxes, and Jason Witten killing the Giants. Witten may be aging and playing with a new quarterback, but that won’t stop him from dominating the Giants as he always does. At age 33 last year, Witten caught at least 6 balls for 60 yards in both games against the Giants. The Giants also allowed the second most points per game to TEs last year and while they improved their line and secondary, they didn’t improve their linebacking core. They still have no one to defend the TE.
Other guys you should start: Tyrod Taylor (QB – Buffalo), Jameis Winston (QB – Tampa Bay), Dak Prescott (QB – Dallas), Alex Smith (QB – Kansa City), Jeremy Langford (RB – Chicago), Rashad Jennings (RB – N.Y. Giants), Ameer Abdullah (RB – Detroit), Isaiah Crowell (RB – Cleveland), Danny Woodhead (RB – San Diego), Donte Moncrief (WR – Indianapolis), Michael Crabtree (WR – Oakland), Desean Jackson (WR – Washington), Stefon Diggs (WR – Minnesota), Clive Watford (TE – Oakland), Kyle Rudolph (TE – Minnesota)
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego)
After hearing the above comments on Ware mentioning Kansas City being ahead, you might be thinking game flow will help Rivers in this situation. Unfortunately Rivers struggles mightily against this Chiefs defense. Rivers only had four games of less than 10 points last year and two of them were against Kansas City. That’s no surprise because the Chiefs defense is stout, allowing the fifth least amount of points to QBs last year. The Chiefs may be in the lead, but they’re not going to blow anyone out so Rivers won’t even get too much garbage time. Take shots with some other guys this weekend.
Jonathan Stewart (RB – Carolina)
Recent Thursday night openers have been high flying affairs, but tonight’s game between Denver and Carolina looks quite the opposite. Despite losing Danny Travaethon, Denver’s run defense still looks to be quite formidable. All you can really hope for is that Stewart hits the end zone and those odds aren’t good in the expected low scoring game. With Week 1 providing full health and clear pictures of team plans, you can do better than Stewart in this situation.
Jeremy Hill (RB – Cincinnati)
We’re not completely sure what RB situation in Cincinnati is after Hue Jackson’s departure to coach Cleveland, but we’re fairly certain it’ll be a split in touches with Hill getting more of the rushing and Giovanni Bernard getting more of the receiving. The Jets may’ve lost Damon “Snacks” Harrison in the offseason, but their run defense will still be very formidable. Look for Cincinnati to spread the Jets out and get Bernard in space as opposed to pounding the rock with Hill.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR – Carolina)
I guess I’m not big on the Panthers tonight. Benjamin falls in a bad situation because he’s still a little rusty, there’s talk he won’t get a full set of snaps, and he has to go up against the best cornerback duo in football. Benjamin wins his battles with height, but that also requires timing. Usually you need to knock off the rust a bit before the timing works at the highest levels.
Julian Edelman (WR – New England)
Usually Edelman’s advantage comes with his shifty-ness and lack of size. That profile doesn’t fit well when he’s matched up across the field from Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu can match Edelman stride for stride and his physical nature could throw Edelman off his game. With Tom Brady also missing, things aren’t stacking up well for Edelman is what is expected to be a run-heavy game-plan.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (TE – Tampa Bay)
Most tight ends have good situations this week, so let’s focus on ASJ because of his current role with the team. It’s a large unknown as he’s the most talented TE on the roster, but is currently practicing with the second unit. He yelled at the coaches on the sideline last week, so that only added to his problems. There’s no reason to take a chance in a week in which most TEs are pointing up. Leave ASJ on the sideline where he can yell at the coaches.
Other guys you should sit: Cam Newton (QB – Carolina), Carson Palmer (QB – Arizona), Ryan Tannehill (QB – Miami), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – N.Y. Jets), Matt Jones, (RB – Washington), Melvin Gordon (RB – San Diego), Derrick Henry (RB – Tennessee), Sterling Shepard (WR – N.Y. Giants), Allen Hurns (WR – Jacksonville), Vincent Jackson (WR – Tampa Bay), Devin Funchess (WR – Carolina), Virgil Green (TE – Denver), Larry Donnell (TE – N.Y. Giants)