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September 04, 2019

Fantasy football: Start Dede Westbrook, sit Josh Gordon, and other Week 1 start/sit advice

Assuming you've had your draft (and hopefully you held it late enough to make some good decisions on Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott), it's time to actually start preparing for games. 

Each week, like we did last year, we'll give you a player at each fantasy football position to avoid and to try and start. We will avoid the no-brainer players (like Pat Mahomes, Saquan Barkley, Michael Thomas, Zach Ertz, etc...) who you'll be sure to start each and every week and instead focus on mid-level players who may prove to be tough to decide on.

Here's a look at our sit and start suggestions for fantasy football Week 1:


Start: Lamar Jackson, Ravens, vs. Dolphins

The Dolphins all but solidified their rebuilding status this offseason as they'll start the season with a good chance at being the worst team in football. Jackson, who could be a fantasy darling this year thanks to his run-first approach, may have a great chance to get his feet wet in Miami to open an anticipated 2019 campaign. The Fins were awful against running QBs last year. If you have a choice between Jackson and nearly anyone else in Week 1, lean Jackson.

Sit: Matt Ryan, Falcons, vs. Vikings

Minnesota allowed just four passing touchdowns at home all year in 2018. Their defense should be just as good in 2019. Nothing against Ryan, but of all the matchups in Week 1 he has one of the worst. Start someone else if you have a chance to.

Running back

Start: Kerryon Johnson, Lions, vs. Cardinals

More of a good player vs. a bad defense decision, Johnson has a good chance of carving up an Arizona defense that surrendered around five yards per carry last year. He could be a full service back in Detroit this season.

Sit: Devin Singletary, Bills, vs Jets

Ignoring the fact that the Jets' defense has a chance to be pretty good this year, Singletary is a risky start in Week 1. Yes, we know his path to getting carries was made even clearer with LeSean McCoy being cut, but he still has ageless Frank Gore and veteran T.J. Yeldon fresh and healthy to split snaps with. Be patient with Singletary — once we get a few looks at the Bills' offense he could become a safer play.

Wide receiver

Start: Dede Westbrook, Jaguars, vs. Chiefs

Coming off of a 2018 campaign where he led all Jaguars players in catches, targets, yards and touchdowns, Westbrook could actually play his way into a fantasy WR2 (or even 1 role) with Nick Foles at the helm in Jacksonville. The duo hooked up a few times in the third preseason game and he may wind up being Foles' favorite target this year.

Sit: Josh Gordon, Patriots vs. Steelers

This is a wait and see situation. Sure, in limited action last year Gordon showed flashes, but it's yet unclear how the Rob Gronkowski-less Pats offense will function and if you have the liberty of starting someone else, it's worth it as we learn more about his role in 2019.

Tight ends

Start: Jared Cook, Saints vs. Texans

Cook had a career year last season and will look to continue to draw targets from Drew Brees against Houston to kick off the new season. No team was worse against tight ends last year than the Texans, making Cook a no-brainer.

Sit: David Njoku, Browns, vs. Titans

If you happen to have a tight end you can start in lieu of Njoku, do it. The Titans allowed only two touchdowns to tight ends last year, and the Browns' offense has a lot of weapons to manage, making his value a little low  for now, anyway.

Defense to stream

Broncos, vs. Raiders

If you didn't take a top defense in your fantasy draft and are planning to pick matchups week to week, the Broncos are likely available in at least 40% of leagues right now. The Raiders are a big unknown offensively but they could be a total train wreck — even with Antonio Brown. 

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