Fantasy football: Start ’em and sit ’em for Week 1

Week 1 is finally upon us as the Panthers and Broncos kick off the season with a Super Bowl 50 rematch on Thursday night. The fantasy season also begins as season long and daily fantasy players a like are looking for the best bargains and under the radar players to insert in their lineups. Here are the players you should start and sit in week 1.

Start ’em

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis

Matthew Stafford

With the retirement of favorite target Calvin Johnson, many pundits are down on Lions QB Matthew Stafford this season. However, Stafford kicks off the season with a great match-up against a battered Colts secondary that could be without its top corner Vontae Davis. Even without Megatron, the Lions have a multitude of weapons including Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and pass-catching halfback Theo Riddick.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans

The 3rd-year QB enters this season after a breakout season in 2015 where he threw 32 touchdowns. Carr has fantasy owners salivating with a opening week match-up against what was statistically the worst passing defense in the NFL last season. In fact the Saints allowed 19% more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks then any other defense. With weapons like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on the outside, not to mention under the radar tight end Clive Walford, Carr should light up the scoreboard at the Superdome.

Running Backs

Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego

With reports out of Kansas City that Jamaal Charles could miss week one’s game against San Diego, the biggest beneficiary becomes Spencer Ware who ran for nearly 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in a game against the Chargers last November. His biggest competition for carries if Charles does sit out, is Charcandrick West, but Ware’s track record suggests he should get a majority of the touches on Sunday.

Lamar Miller, Houston Texans vs Chicago

Out with the old and in with the new as the Texans brought in free agent halfback Lamar Miller and cut ties with veteran Arian Foster in the offseason. Miller should be a must-start in all leagues, especially PPR where his prowess to catch passes out of the backfield make him a nice asset for your fantasy lineup. He takes on a Bears defense that was towards the bottom of the league in stopping the run.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis

The Lions signed Jones to a 5-year, $40 million contract in the offseason and are expecting big things from the former Cincinnati wide out. While Golden Tate seems to be the best bet to lead the team in receptions this season, Jones has the wheels to be a great deep threat for QB Matthew Stafford. Throw in the fact that the Colts are literally piecing together their injury-riddled secondary and Jones could have himself a good day in Indianapolis.

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Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers @ Jacksonville

After a disappointing season in 2015, the Packers are hoping Cobb can have a bounce back season this year. With a health Jordy Nelson back in the lineup, the Jacksonville defense should have its focus shifted away from Cobb who could end up being a nice sneaky play. Not only in regular leagues, but daily fantasy as well.

Tight Ends

Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Green Bay

Thomas had an up and down season in 2015 after missing the first 4 games due to injury. Thomas has huge upside and is an athletic freak, but still lacks the volume and targets to be an elite option at the position. However, if you’re looking for a borderline TE1 for this week you could do worse than Thomas.

Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles

McDonald had an impressive preseason for the 49ers and has good upside playing in Chip Kelly’s fantasy-friendly offense. Meanwhile the Rams allowed the 11th most points to tight ends in fantasy last season. Look for starting QB Blaine Gabbert to go to McDonald early and often as he faces a tough Los Angeles pass rush. If you’re short on TE depth and looking for a sleeper option in week 1 this could be your best shot.

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona Cardinals vs New England

Usually it isn’t advised to start a defense against the New England Patriots, but with superstar QB Tom Brady serving the first of his 4-game suspension I actually like the match-up for the Cardinals defense. Jimmy Garoppolo will get his first career start as he looks play the role of game manager which plays right into the hands of Arizona. With play makers like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, there is big play potential in the desert.

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