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September 08, 2018

Fantasy football: Week 1 start 'em, sit 'em

For fantasy football owners, the big day has finally arrived. And in case you're at little rusty after a long offseason, we decided to help you set your lineups for Sunday with a few players who can help your cause — and a few others to avoid at all costs.

Here's your Start 'Em/Sit 'Em for Week 1.


Will Fuller, WR, HOU — Deandre Hopkins is the obvious No. 1 wideout in Houston, but that doesn't mean you should be sleeping on Fuller. With Deshaun Watson back under center, Fuller has some added value, considering he caught seven touchdowns in four games with Watson last season. Unfortunately, Fuller is once again dealing with an injury (hamstring), so you'll have to keep an eye on his status heading into Sunday's game against the Patriots.

Keelan Cole, WR, JAC — If Fuller is unable to go, you don't even have to look outside the AFC South to find an alternative option. Cole, who figures to be the Jaguars No. 1 wideout in the wake of the Marqise Lee injury, should see a spike in targets this season. And, despite the Jags' propensity to be a run-first team, a Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants bodes well for Cole (and his fantasy owners).

Blake Bortles, QB, JAC — Speaking of the Jags, why not take a flier on Blake Bortles this week if you're looking for a spot start? Maybe you drafted Carson Wentz thinking he'd be back in time for Week 1? Maybe you're just a big Jason Mendoza fan (like me)? Either way, grab your molotov cocktails and slide Bottles into that QB slot this week.

David Njoku, TE, CLE — I have a slight bias towards Njoku because he went to The U, but that's not why I'm picking the Browns tight end this weekend. I think he's flown under the radar this preseason, and with Tyrod Taylor as his QB, there's a good chance he sees a healthy number of targets in Week 1. In recent years, Taylor has done a nice job of getting his tight ends involved, especially the last two years in Buffalo, where TE Charles Clay finished with the most targets and receptions over that span. 

Dion Lewis, RB, TEN — Derrick Henry is going to be the lead back in Tennessee, but Dion Lewis has proven before that he doesn't need to be the No. 1 guy on the depth chart to make an impact in fantasy. Expect to see plenty of Lewis on third down, meaning he has added value in PPR leagues. Facing a Dolphins team whose linebackers have struggled in pass coverage, Lewis could do some damage on Sunday.


Alfred Morris & Matt Breida, RBs, SF — Here's a nice two for one to get you started. While Morris and Breida might have value down the road, it's smarter to wait on them in Week 1. For one, let's see how the 49ers plan to split the carries in the wake of the Jerrick McKinnon injury. Furthermore, they're going up against one of the best defenses in the league in Minnesota, so even if we knew one or the other was going to be the team's feature back, it would be a hard pass from me on either one of these two guys on Sunday.

Eli Manning, QB, NYG — Eli and the Giants are facing the Jags this week. Stay away. It's pretty self explanatory.

Mike Evans, WR, TB — Evans value takes a significant hit in the absence of Jameis Winston. Facing a tough Saints defense, it'd be wise to stay away from Evans, at least until we see what kind of rapport has developed between Evans and Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

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