We’re In This Together
My goal is to make the tough decisions for you. You won’t see the obvious starts or sits on these lists. I want to help you choose who to flex between guys like DJ Chark and Michael Pittman. Help you pick which QB to start while Patrick Mahomes is on a bye. Or maybe even help you decide which defense you should stream for a given week. I want YOU to win a championship. Let’s do this together.
The first QB I would say is a must-start this week is Lamar Jackson. They will be battling the Las Vegas Raiders in a Week 1 Monday Night Football matchup. For the last two seasons, we have seen Lamar Jackson light it up opening week. Scoring 5 TDs to open up 2019 and 3 to start 2020. The Raiders last season were bottom 10 in passing (26th) and rushing (24th) yards allowed. The defense did not do much to improve this offseason, so start Jackson.
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The next QB you should consider for your lineup is Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. They square off against the Philadelphia Eagles and their cast of aging defensive backs. Match those guys up with the likes of Calvin Ridley and newly drafted Kyle Pitts and you can expect some big numbers from the former MVP.
I expect the newly named starter, Gus Edwards to have a huge game against Vegas as well. JK Dobbins would have been here this week if he didn’t tear his ACL in the last preseason game, but this is Edwards’s job now. The Ravens should go up big and early in this one allowing Edwards to grab a high number of totes. Feel free to check the numbers on that Lamar Jackson paragraph for the proof!
Let us revisit that Falcons-Eagles game and highlight running back Mike Davis. He was fantastic in Christian McCaffrey’s absence last year and I expect him to show out in his new starting role with the Falcons. You probably grabbed this guy as an RB2 or flex option, make sure he is in your lineup!
The last RB you need in your lineup is James Robinson. The undrafted rookie signed on to be the Jaguars 3rd string option last year. He quickly rose to the RB1 spot on the depth chart and did not look back rushing for over 1,000yds. He was the lone bright spot for the Jaguars last year and they still spent one of their first-round picks on a running back.
Well, Travis Etienne is out for the season, so James Robinson should be out to prove why they should have left the job to him. He plays against a Texans defense that allowed the most rushing yards in all of 2020, I expect a massive performance.
A 100% must-start at wide receiver is Minnesota Vikings’ own, Adam Thielen. Not only are the Vikings playing the Cincinnati Bengals, but the #1 option, Justin Jefferson will likely command most of the attention from the Bengals #1 CB, Chidobe Awuzie. Thielen will be a great option, especially in PPR formats.
This next guy is someone I noticed would fall well below their rank in fantasy drafts, his name is DJ Moore. The Panthers’ #1 WR is matching up against the New York Jets, and their QB is former-Jet, Sam Darnold. I would expect Darnold to have a big game and to look Moore’s way often.
Please start Michael Pittman Jr. The Indianapolis Colts are taking on the Seattle Seahawks and the conditions are ripe for a big game. Unproven corners, Carson Wentz is healthy, T.Y. Hilton is injured, and the Colts look to be down most of this game, so lots of passing plays. Look for the Colts’ #1 WR to have a big game.
This last guy you should at LEAST have in your flex, Brandon Aiyuk. The Niners are playing the worst team to enter a season since the 2017 Browns (they went 0-16), the Detroit Lions. New coach, new personnel, and many of their starts would be depth guys on other squads. Look for the Niners and their #1 receiving option outside of George Kittle to have a big day.
We all know how sparse the position is. The top five tight ends go in your draft and the rest do not seem worth a draft pick. Let me help you with two TE starts, the first being Rob Gronkowski tonight. Gronk looked like a shell of himself to start the season last year, but he became a bit of a red-zone threat towards the end of the year. Look for him to build on that starting with tonight’s game. I see a TD or two in his future.
The next guy you need in your lineup is Jonnu Smith. The newly added Patriots TE was supposed to be part of a tandem w/ Hunter Henry. Henry was injured in preseason, leaving Smith all of the prime TE targets, and I expect a lot of them with Mac Jones under center.
Kicker & Defense
I have been told in the past that kickers and defenses do not matter, but they DO, okay? You need to start Jason Sanders at kicker this weekend. The bend-don’t-break defense of the Patriots is going to allow Sanders to flourish.
On the defensive side, you need to look at Carolina & Miami. The Panthers take on the Jets with a rookie QB, a rookie HC, and an offense with one proven weapon, Corey Davis. I see low points, sacks from Brian Burns, and turnovers. Miami takes on New England with their rookie QB as well. So expect some first-game jitters from Mac Jones and a pick or five a la Nathan Peterman.
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DO NOT START Trevor Lawrence!!! It may seem tempting to start the rookie QB in a juicy matchup against the Texans, but I do not advise. I may eat my words on this one, but leave the rookie on the bench. It’s a philosophy being forgotten about by NFL teams and I do not want your fantasy team to suffer any consequences. Let’s see what he can do first.
This next guy has a ton of hype around him for 2021, it is Matthew Stafford. He is going to be playing against a tough Chicago defense and I expect the game to be a low-scoring affair with plenty of defensive moments.
I think the game of football has aged beautifully, but the RB platoon has not aged well for fantasy football. Since it is Week One, I advise you to stay away from the platoon back scenarios. Give them a week if your team can afford it to sort out the hot hand. The big ones to avoid are the Bills (Zack Moss & Devin Singletary), the Rams (Darrell Henderson & Sony Michel), and ANY Texans RB (David Johnson, Philip Lindsay, & Mark Ingram).
Two of these teams, the Bills and Rams, will be playing tough run-stopping defenses on top of that. As for the Texans’ RBs, I would proceed with caution ANY week.
This WR’s situation is similar to the platoon RB I mentioned earlier. You need to leave Kenny Golladay on the bench this week. They play a tough Denver secondary and with Engram, Shepard, and Slayton on the roster, there is no telling who the top target will be.
The next WR you need to leave on your bench is Chase Claypool. The Steelers are fielding three potential starting WRs. Claypool also suffered an ankle sprain in the preseason, so that may continue to hobble him. Let him rest this week.
Back to the rookie discussion with this guy. Ja’Marr Chase needs to be benched this week. Not only did he struggle in the preseason, but he is on a crowded WR depth chart featuring Tyler Boyd & Tee Higgins. Let him simmer this week and see how things go for him against Minnesota.
This last receiver is related to the Trevor Lawrence sit, DJ Chark. The Texans matchup is juicy, but with a new QB, you never know who the primary target is going to be, come game time. Let Lawrence get some game time under his belt this week, and revisit week 2!
These two Tight Ends should ride the pine on your fantasy team. The first one is Zach Ertz. He seemed to have patched things up with the Eagles, but with Dallas Goedert on the roster, I would not expect him to do much this season barring an injury. Even then, Jalen Hurts has a lot to prove on the field this year.
Cole Kmet is another TE you should consider leaving on the bench this week. I think the man will have a hell of a season in the grand scheme of things, but I do not see him starting well against the LA Rams. If you took a flyer on this guy, wait until next week to really evaluate him.
Kicker & Defense
As I mentioned earlier, these positions matter! What you do not want, however, is for your kicker or defense to lose your fantasy team points. Nothing worse than entering a Monday night game with a 10 point lead only to see you lose by 3 because your defense put up a -3. Trust me, I know from experience.
For that reason, we need Ka’imi Fairbairn to sit this one out this week and we need the Cleveland Browns defense to ride the bench. Fairbairn plays the Jaguars, but I don’t see this coming down to field goals and after a strong 2019 season, we saw him regress a bit in 2020.
As for the Browns, they drew the Kansas City Chiefs for the home opener – come see me at Arrowhead in C11 before the game and we can discuss some more starts & sits – and any defense that plays them will be on this Sit Em list moving forward. You can count on that!