Fantasy Football Friday -- Week 1 Start or Sit ‘Em

By Steve Tsilimos | Posted 16 days ago

We can all rejoice because the NFL season is upon us. With your fantasy football draft in the rear-view mirror, you will now have decisions on who to start or sit as the weeks press on. You better believe that Week 1 is not too early to play the matchup games. 

A start-or-sit list is more a good-or-bad matchup list and you should only listen to the advice to start or sit a player if your roster calls for it. It is not smart to bench a running back on the list if your best backup is someone who is not expected to play much early in the season. 

Some of the best fantasy matchups this week include the Vikings at Bengals, Jets at Panthers and the Jaguars at Texans. None of the teams listed above were playoff teams from a year ago and they will have some tough matchups ahead of them when they play against good teams. If you have players on any of these teams -- Week 1 is a great time to start them. 

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Wide Receivers

Tee Higgins vs. Vikings (1 p.m. ET):

You heard it here first -- Higgins is WR1 in Cincinnati and will be the best fantasy WR for the Bengals. Teammate WR Ja’Marr Chase has gotten all the offseason hype, but it definitely could take the rookie some time to get going in the NFL. In the meantime, Higgins will be a security blanket for QB Joe Burrow. The Vikings’ defense allowed 24 touchdown catches and the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers a season ago. Chase and Tyler Boyd are all good starts this week but Higgins is my favorite.

D.J. Moore vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET)

Moore is going to have some opportunities to get deep against the Jets in Week 1. The only question I have is about Sam Darnold and Moore having the chemistry to connect on these opportunities. If there is a week Darnold has been wanting to shine, it is the opening game against his former team. The Jets’ defense allowed 8.64 yards per target (22nd) last season.

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers

Kenny Golladay vs. Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET)

Golladay joined the Giants this offseason and has already missed a lot of practice time due to a hamstring injury. Add in that the Giants’ offensive line has looked awful in the preseason and you understand why this is a tough matchup. DE Von Miller is healthy and the Broncos’ defense will be ready to get after Daniel Jones. Even if Saquon Barkley plays he will probably be limited because the Giants do not want to rush his return. It could be a long day for the Giants in Denver. 

Jaylen Waddle at Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET)

The Miami offense should be better than they were a year ago but I have a hard time trusting this passing offense until I see Tua Tagovailoa threaten a defense with his arm. I am super excited for this matchup because these teams will be fighting for the playoffs but they both have a lot of questions to answer on the offensive side of the ball. It should be a low scoring defensive battle. The Patriots allowed an average of fewer than 150 receiving yards per game to opposing wide receivers last season.

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

James Robinson at Texans (1 p.m. ET)

The Texans' defense allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs (31. 8 PPG) in 2020. The season-ending injury to RB Travis Etienne means Robinson should see a healthy workload to help relieve pressure off of rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. Robinson has top-5 RB upside this week.

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers

The place you want to run if you are an NFL back is against the Detroit defense. Dan Campbell talks a big game and that is great. However, his players don't have what it takes to back up their coach.  Look for Raheem Mostert and the San Francisco 49ers to enjoy a track meet at Ford Field. In case you need another reason to believe, the Lions allowed the most fantasy points to RBs in 2020. They won't turn that around quickly, will they?

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Josh Jacobs vs. Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET)

I think Jacobs was a value pick for most people but he will most likely struggle against the Ravens defense this week. Baltimore only allowed an average 88.8 yards per game on the ground to backs last year. With the addition of Kenyon Drake to the Raiders backfield, Jacobs is not expected to get much passing work. Jacobs will get his touches but it will be tough sledding in Week 1.

Zack Moss vs. Steelers (1 p.m. ET)

I expect Moss to handle most of the running workload in Buffalo as the season progresses, but I do not expect the Bills to rely on the running game at all against a stout Steelers defense. Josh Allen will probably have more than 50 pass attempts as the Bills try to attack the Steelers’ secondary. Running mate Devin Singletary could have some value in the passing game but I recommend staying away from both these guys in Week 1.

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee vs. Bears (5:20 p.m. ET)

Higbee no longer has to share snaps and targets with Gerald Everett and has Matthew Stafford throwing him the ball instead of some guy named Goff. The Bears allowed 12 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Week 1 is just the beginning of Higbee’s top-5 fantasy TE season. 

Logan Thomas vs. Chargers (1 p.m. ET)

Thomas finished the 2020 season as TE3 and now has had a whole offseason to get to know his new gunslinger -- Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Chargers’ defense allowed seven touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points (16.4 PPG) to home tight ends a season ago. Everyone is expecting a huge boost in scoring from the WFT’s offense this season and Thomas should see his fair share of targets near the goal-line.

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends

Jared Cook at Football Team (1 p.m. ET)

Cook could be a good TE for the Chargers as his second-year QB comes into his own. Justin Herbert liked throwing to tight ends  a year ago but the matchup for Cook in Week 1 isn’t good. The Washington Football Team’s defense allowed the fifth-fewest points to visiting offenses last season, and tight ends averaged just 11.1 fantasy points overall. 

Evan Engram vs. Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET)

Engram is a great athlete at the tight end position but he may not be available for the game against the Broncos. His doubtful status mixed with an offense that is dealing with other injuries and horrible offensive line play, means stay away from most if not all Giants’ players this week. 

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET)

Tannehill has Julio Jones and A.J. Brown to throw the ball to in 2021. If you have never seen these two play football, then you need to just look at some videos of them and you will understand why Tannehill is set to have a big day. The Cardinals’ young-secondary is a weakness on their team and the Titans newly-retooled fifth-rated passing offense from a year ago should be a huge problem for Arizona.

Jalen Hurts at Falcons (1 p.m. ET)

The Eagles-Falcons’ over/under is set at 48.5, which means Hurts should be able to put up big numbers against a bad Falcons’ defense. Last season road quarterbacks averaged over 23 fantasy points per game against the Falcons. Hurts has a lot to prove this season and it starts Week 1 in Atlanta. 

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Quarterback

Carson Wentz vs. Seahawks (1 p.m. ET)

Wentz is still recovering from a foot injury that sidelined him for most of the preseason. I don’t think Wentz will be as bad as he was in 2020 -- the worst starting QB in the NFL -- but I do think it will take him some time to get going this season. The Colts are going to run the ball and rely on good defense, hoping they will not have to put too much on Wentz shoulders early on this season. 

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