NFL Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'em Sit 'em

Your Starters, Sitters, Streamers, and Sleepers for NFL Week 1!

**MIAMI DOLPHINS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS could be postponed due to hurricane Irma - continue monitoring this situation**
Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots
Lesean McCoy's former backup gets a starting job in the Pats' backfield this season.  If LeGarrette Blount's 2016 touchdown total is any indication of Gillislee's potential, Gillislee is certainly worth a start in most lineups.  The Chiefs may stop the Pats' passing attack first, meaning Gillislee should have room to work.  He should have a decent outing.  
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The 3rd round rookie out of Toledo may have just gotten the opportunity of a lifetime.  He'll he starting for the Chiefs in a system that suits his skillset and should find success.  Start him in the position you drafted him (if you drafted him at RB2, start him at RB2), and watch things play out.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
Crowell's stock has fallen drastically after 2 disappointing seasons with the Browns.  This is the same reason why he could be this year's sleeper.  He's a high risk, high reward player that could pay dividends for players who are willing to take a chance on the "struggling" back.  He could find some nice lanes behind a bolstered Browns offensive line.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
This week is Lacy's proverbial homecoming, meaning it could be his revenge game.  Although the Seahawks' offensive line doesn't looked too good, Lacy could still go off against the relatively soft defense of his old team.  He'll run like he has something to prove and will try to make the Packers regret letting him go.  

Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants
Yes, Perkins struggled as a rookie.  Yes, the Giants had one of the worst run games in 2016.  However, Dallas' defense doesn't look that great either.  This makes Perkins a start this week, especially in ppr leagues.  ODell Beckham Jr.'s targets will need to go somewhere, so Perkins should see a few passes thrown his way.  
New York Jets RB's
These guys are deep league fliers only.  The combined for nearly 250 total yards and 4 touchdowns in 2 games against Buffalo last year.  The Bills also gave up two 200-yard  rushing games and 2 rushing scores to Jay Ajayi.  If that wasn't convincing enough, Matt Forte and Le'veon Bell both had hat tricks (3 TD's in a game), and Bell had 298 total yards against Buffalo.  Flex the Jets' starting back if you have them, and only if you're desperate. 

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
Over 2 seasons, Abdullah has either been injured on the sideline or struggled with ball security issue.  This week's matchup has the Lions taking on one of the best defenses in the league.  Although the Lions made changes to bolster their offensive line in the offseason, it might be wise to leave the relatively untested Abdullah on the bench.  The Cardinals may use their exotic blitzes to get into the Lions' backfield to smother any runs and/or force Stafford into making mistakes.  Abdullah may only deserve flex consideration in most leagues.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The argument can be made that Gordon had his breakout season in 2016.  Unfortunately, he didn't exactly breakout against the Broncos, who held Gordon out of the end zone in both games against the Broncos last season.  Not much has changed going into 2017, so Gordon could be shut out again in this Week 1 matchup.  
Robert Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins
Kelley came on last year and stole the starting job from Matt Jones while Jones was out.  The funny thing is that Matt Jones stole the job from Alfred Morris the year before.  There's a bit of a pattern emerging here, in that the Redskins starting backs struggle the first few weeks only to give up the starting job to their backups.  If that wasn't enough, Kelley could cede touches to receiving back Chris Thompson, making this backfield more of a committee.  Sit Kelley this week, and see how this first week goes.  They take on the Dirty Birds from Philly, who have an underrated defense.  
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers take on the Panthers in their home opener.  That means Luke Kuechly comes to town with one of the best defenses in the NFL.  It might be best to sit Hyde, who still has a bit to prove, until the 49ers figure out who they are offensively, especially against a good Panthers defense.  
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
With Luck out, the Rams can afford to stack the box so they can stop the run and blitz at will, plain and simple.  With the Colts' offensive line still a mess, it's best to leave Gore on the bench.  
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Bradford connected with Thielen 69 times for nearly 1000 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2016, making Thielen the Vikings' leading receiver in what might be the quietest fantasy performance ever.  This connection could be showcased in week 1 if the Vikings need to air it out and chase points.  The Saints' defense has looked decent, but there are still openings.  With Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and the Vikings' running game still drawing defensive attention, Thielen is almost a sleeper pick.  He could have a big week this week.  

Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
There's no denying the efficiency of the Patriots' offense.  It's hard to stop them after they get rolling, and Hogan is a big part of building that offensive momentum.  With Edelman out for the season, Gronk and Cooks getting defensive attention, and Amendola's health, Hogan should see a lot of 1 on 1 defense, making him a tempting target for Brady.  Edelman's targets will get divided up, so Hogan's targets should go up.

Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Giants
Sure, Brandon Marshall hit a slump production in 2016.  Bad quarterback play is partly to blame.  He starts the 2017 season healthy, as the Giants' WR1, with a relatively decent quarterback in a favorable matchup.  As long as Beckham Jr. remains sidelined, Marshall will have low-end WR1 upside.  Start him as such.  


Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
If the Colts, defense is as much of a mess as their defense, the 6'2", 204lb third round rookie out of Eastern Washington could be an immediate start.  Unlike Watkins, Kupp has had months to learn the playbook and develop chemistry with Goff.  The Colts will probably load the box to stop Gurley first and make Goff beat them with his arm.  Colts' cornerback Vontae Davis out and a pass rush that's lacking, Goff might actually be able to do just that.

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
Tate rallied late in his 2016 campaign to reward patient owners with some nice numbers.  Unfortunately, he could hit a defensive wall this week against the Cardinals.  Look for plenty of double/bracket coverage on both Tate and Jones, and look for the Cardinals' defensive line to try and force Stafford into some mistakes.  
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Hopkins had a relatively disappointing 2016 fantasy season.  He could repeat that this year due to Houston's quarterback controversy.  Oh, there's also the issue of the Jags' potentially underrated defense.  Hopkins is a flex this week at best.  
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is out and no timeline has been provided for his return.  That means Hilton probably won't have someone throwing to him in the near future.  The Colts' offensive line probably won't be able to protect whoever is under center from Aaron Donald and his buddies this week, so the Colts' QB won't have time to wait for Hilton to get open.  Leave Hilton on the bench.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
In addition to his health issues, he'll also be facing a top-ranked defense which probably will not give Rivers time to throw, or allow Allen to get open.  Leave him on the bench this week, lest he goes out with an injury on the first play and fantasy roster spots go to waste.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
If you subscribe to the "start your studs" mantra, you may already have Witten in your starting lineup.  The fact of the matter is the 35 year old averaged just under 700 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in the last 2 seasons.  The reason you should start him is because Zeke is suspended and the offensive line is a little more leaky.  This means the run game may not be as strong, so Dak will need to attack through the air.  Look for Witten to be a good safety outlet.  Who knows?  Witten's QB may even look for him in the end zone.  Start the ageless wonder.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Given Washington's lack of receiving threats, Reed could should be in line for lots of targets.  He knows the system and has been reliable when he's healthy.  If you have him, start him before you need to place him on IR or drop him.  Cousins may be hurried more often than not against an underrated Eagles pass rush, so he may look to dump the ball off often to one of his most reliable targets.  
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills
If the Jets' defense looks as bad as their offense, AND if Tyrod Taylor is under center, Clay will be a good streaming option.  Jordan Matthews is still hurt, Zay Jones is still a rookie, and LeSean McCoy cannot catch every pass.  Clay is a veteran who knows the offensive system, and should get plenty of targets he can handle this week.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Green Bay Packers
The Seahawks have historically had trouble with elite tight ends.  While Bennett's numbers aren't exactly elite, he's still one of the biggest targets on the field and tough to match up with at 6'6", 275lbs.  He'll do his best to step in for Jared Cook.  It'll be worth rolling the dice with Bennett this week, especially in deep leagues.  
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Doyle sits this week for the same reason as every other Colt: Andrew Luck.  Yes, Luck has been activated off of the PUP list, but no timeline has been given for his return.  Luck could be back as soon as week 3, or as late as week 6.  Doyle should be left out of the lineup because of the QB question mark.  
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
With the Giants' run game being a mess, Eli will need to let it fly against a high-powered Cowboys team.  Even with ODB out, he still has plenty of targets including Brandon Marshall, sophomore wideout Sterling Shepard, and rookie tight end Evan Engram.  Paul Perkins is an excellent pass-catching option out of the backfield also.  Eli should put up at least 350 yards and 2 scores in a shootout against the Cowboys.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
With all the talk about Minnesota's defense, Brees will prove why he's still an elite QB.  He has Thomas and Ginn (Snead is OUT - suspended this week), and an excellent receiving playmaker out of the backfield in Alvin Kamara, which could be key.  
Sam Bradford, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Bradford threw for nearly 3900 yards, 20 touchdowns and just 5 picks last season.  He ended his career year with a QB rating 99.3.  He could find himself playing catchup this weekend.  He has plenty of targets, including a rookie receiving playmaker out of the backfield named Dalvin Cook.  He'll be a start against a relatively soft Saints secondary.  
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mariota takes on a suspect secondary this week, and may need to let it fly against a Raiders team that can run the ball.  Questions remain about Mariota's chemistry with veteran Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis because both receivers missed the preseason.  However, he should still be able to connect with pass catchers Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker.  
Matt Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
This Arizona secondary isn't something to mess with.  Although the Cardinals lost Calais Campbell in free agency, they still have some pretty potent defensive weapons that can force Stafford into some mistakes.  Peterson and Mathieu are also still one of the most dynamic defensive duos in the league.  Stafford is a high-end QB2 this week.
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Rivers put up some decent numbers last year, except when he faced the Broncos.  Like Bortles, Rivers has trouble with this tough divisional matchup, throwing for an average of just under 220 yards per game, an average rating of 70.8, and 5 touchdowns with 5 picks in his last 4 contests with the Broncos.  Start Rivers if you don't have any other options, but expect pedestrian numbers at best.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles has been inconsistent at best against the Texans.  They'll look to take on Watt, Clowney, and Cushing in what will be an emotional opener following hurricane Harvey.  In 2015 and 2016, Bortles has thrown for 5 scores and 7 picks in 4 games vs. Houston, with an average rating of around 60.  Although one of the Allens could have a big day, chances of Bortles having a positive fantasy impact in week 1 are slim to none.  


Atlanta Falcons: Remember when the Seahawks stomped the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII?  Yep, it was Falcons' Head Coach Dan Quinn engineered that championship defense.  He leads one of the most underrated defensive units against a Bears team that has a lot of unknowns and a QB that has looked rough at times during the preseason.  Look for Atlanta's defense to get plenty of takeaways and eat up the clock with their ground game.


Los Angeles Rams: The Colts are still without Andrew Luck and the team looks lost.  Their offensive line won't be able to stop the Rams' pass rush and their defense won't be able to stop Todd Gurley.  Expect the occasional pass from the Rams to keep the Colts honest.  The Rams should be able to run at will and dominate time of possession.  
Buffalo Bills: Although the Jets still have a lot of questions to be answered at multiple skill positions, the Bills defense may disappoint again.  Although Matt Forte only averaged 3.3 yards per carry in week 2 of last year, he still found reached paydirt 3 times in that game.  This game might be more evenly matched than anticipated.  Start the Bills' defense with caution, and only if necessary.  

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