Wide Receiver Starts
John Ross vs Colts
The Colts legitimately have players on their defense that would probably be cut by most other teams. Considering their best is going to be covering AJ Green, what exactly does that leave for Ross? Green is going to feast all day long Sunday but there’s no reason to think Ross won’t see his share as well.
I’m recommending Andy Dalton as my top streaming option this week at quarterback so fire up all his weapons. Ross makes a great flex play or WR3 in deeper leagues.
Cooper Kupp vs Raiders
Kupp is going to play the slot and most likely see the Raiders 3rd option at corner with Woods and Cooks playing the outside. Kupp has outstanding hands and a good rapport with Goff.
The Raiders are a mess and just traded their best player in Khalil Mack. With the middle of the defense now compromised and the locker room in turmoil this could get ugly quickly. This game also has one of the highest O/U of the weekend at 49.5 so there should be plenty of scoring.
Kenny Stills vs Titans
Jarvis Landry is gone, Jay Ajayi is gone, and Devante Parker is….well, Devante Parker. Kidding, but he is returning from a broken finger and is not expected to play. Who else is going to catch the ball in Miami? Amendola is a fine option but unlikely to play a full game at this point in his career.
I fully expect Malcolm Butler to follow Stills but Butler has always been a bend but don’t break player, giving up his fair share of yards and catches since his improbable Super Bowl hero moment. Don’t get me wrong, Malcolm is one of my favorite players for his work ethic and hustle, I just feel like Stills is going to get his yards come Sunday. The Titans are a slight favorite in a game that should go back and forth and require more passing than running. Flex Stills and enjoy your just reward.
Wide Receiver Sits
Mike Evans vs Saints
In 2 games vs the Saints and Lattimore Evans has a whooping 6 catches for 68 yards. That’s it. Now add in to that all the other weapons on offense, a backup quarterback starting for a suspended Winston, a suspect run game, a sneaking good Saints defense, and Vegas staking them as 9.5 point dogs? Hard pass.
Doug Baldwin vs Broncos
Baldwin is officially listed as healthy but has been open about his knee being something he’ll have to deal with all season. I tend to take a cautious approach with issues like this in week 1. Let’s see how he comes out and plays before locking him in to lineups going forward.
He is also going to see a lot of Chris Harris which isn’t an ideal matchup. He has only played the Broncos twice, both in 2014(once in season, once in the Super Bowl), and only posted 4 catches for 56 yards on 5 targets and 5 catches for 66 yards on 5 targets with a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Not great numbers, especially from a guy you are most likely trying to lock in to your WR1/WR2 slot. Playing a guy with more upside and lower injury risk in week 1 makes more sense until we see how his knee responds.
Running Back Starts
James White vs Texans
There are a lot of proponents out there pushing Rex Burkhead this week and I’ve even seen several for Cordarrelle Patterson. People, please don’t do this to yourselves. Burkhead is a fine flex, but like Baldwin, in week one I take an air of caution on players nursing injuries. We saw last year what the Patriots did with Dion Lewis to preserve his usage for the entire year and playoffs. I suspect they will take it easy on Burkhead in much the same way. And Patterson? Child Please. You start him and that’s on you.
White will play a big role while Edelman is out, running most of the screens and lining up out wide to create mismatches. In PPR leagues he’s got huge upside this week against the Texans in what figures to be a shootout. He’s very cheap in DFS this week and makes an excellent play there as well.
Lamar Miller vs Patriots
As mentioned for James White, this game should be a high scoring affair with the highest over under of the weekend at 51. Miller has a lock on 3 down work in the Texans backfield and should see better lanes with a healthy Watson behind center. Miller should put up low RB1 numbers this week.
James Conner vs Browns
I had earmarked Conner as a good flex play prior to yesterdays news from Le’veon Bells agent that hinted at a long term holdout. With Bell yet to report, even if he had(or does) report before the game it’s hard to envision him getting a full workload with no prep time. Now with the latest news, Conner becomes at immediate RB2.
While the Browns are sneaky good in rushing defense, giving up less than 100 yards a game last year, they should be playing from behind and seeing the Steelers run the clock down. The volume will be there for Conner in week one.
Running Back Sits
LeSean McCoy vs Ravens
McCoy is now 30 and playing behind arguably the worst offensive line he’s ever seen. Nathan Peterman starting at quarterback won’t do him any favors either.
The Ravens are favored by 7 with a very low implied total against of just 13 points. I don’t see much scoring from the Bills here either and this is another game that could get ugly fast. There are much better options this week at running back to plug in ahead of McCoy.
Alfred Morris vs Vikings
With Jerrick McKinnon’s injury the 49ers backfield suddenly became a mess. Alfred Morris instantly jumped to the top of the list due to his connection to the Shanahan’s however I believe this will be a committee with Matt Breida with Breida ultimately winning the majority of the work. What “majority” means is up to interpretation…60/40? 55/45? Either way, this situation is one to avoid until there’s some clarity (which may never happen).
Morris also faces a stout Vikings defense at home and doesn’t offer much in the passing game. Other than a super deep league, there’s no other scenario I see where I’d start him.