Week 1 of the 2020 NFL Season is about to kick-off and that can only mean one thing: last-second lineup decisions for your fantasy teams. We understand the grind of managing a championship roster, so we’re here to help you navigate the muddy waters of a season that is sure to be one for the ages. Here is our Start Em- Sit Em for Week 1:
Start: Phillip Rivers
This is a simple one: you should start any Colt on your roster. The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to launch their #TankForTrevor campaign this weekend and that bodes well for a Colts team that is stacked with weapons. Rivers is set to deliver low-end QB1 numbers this weekend as he makes one last push for a Super Bowl.
Start: Derek Carr
Carr is going to rely on Darren Waller and two rookies in this matchup against the Carolina Panthers… and ghat should be just fine. The Panthers struggled against the pass last season (12th against QBs in points allowed) and Ruggs and Edwards should give Waller space to dominate the middle of the field. This will be important for the Las Vegas Raiders and I expect Carr to be a top-15 option.
Start: Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben is back and our fantasy lineups are better off because of it. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger facing a defense that let up 300+ passing yards eight times in 2019, but he’s doing so with his full supporting cast. JuJu Smith-Schuster has something to prove, Diontae Johnson is looking to make the leap, and James Conner is eager to return to workhorse status. Against a rebuilding Giants defense, Big Ben should have a grand return tomorrow night.
Sit: Matthew Stafford
Stafford is going to be a QB1 this season, but not this week. Stafford is coming off an injury-shortened season that saw him average 312 yards per game; he was also the QB6 through 8 weeks. However, the Bears will present a stiff challenge Week 1 as they were 4th in QB points against last season. Stafford will be a go-to starter most weeks, but this is not one of them.
Sit: Aaron Rodgers
This is likly the first of many appearances for Aaron Rodgers on this list. Not only is the NFC North home to great defenses, but Rodgers looks like a QB without the support necessary to be a QB1. While the rushing game should thrive, Rodgers himself did not score more than 18 points in 4 straight games to end the season and starts this campaign with Allen Lazard as his WR2. Against a defense with a shutdown corner, Lazard is going to need to step up for Rodgers to have any value. My guess is he doesn’t.
Sit: Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones has an absolutely atrocious schedule to begin the season and it all starts with Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s defense carried the Steelers throughout the entirety of 2019 and was a terrible matchup for opposing QBs. With most of the defensive starters returning, the Steelers should shut down a still-developing Daniel Jones.
Start: Jonathan Taylor/Marlon Mack
See above. The Jaguars had a fire sale on the defensive side of the ball as they continue to acquire future assets in the hope of surrounding their franchise QB with weapons (and I don’t mean Minshew). I expect the Colts to be up early and run their offense through Mack/Taylor. This week, both are low-end RB2s.
Start: Sony Michel
Damien Harris has been placed on the PUP and just like that Sony Michel is the back to own in New England. While this is typically a backfield to shy away from, Michel has the opportunity to earn a significant share of rushing attempts against a weak defense. With Newton debuting and the Patriots expected to roll, I’m expecting Michel to be a serviceable RB2 this week.
Start: Matt Breida
Matt Breida is the best pass-catching back in Miami and that should pay dividends during a game where the Dolphins could find themselves down early and often. Even with the departure of Tom Brady (and 7 COVID opt-outs), the Patriots should still outclass the Dolphins. Donta Hightower’s opt-out also opens up the running game significantly. If injuries to the likes of Miles Sanders has ruined your weekend,
Sit: James Robinson
Robinson is receiving plenty of hype, but I don’t think it’ll be warranted Week 1. Not only should the Colts dominate this game, but it is likely Chris Thompson is the back that receives most of the snaps. Thompson excels at being a pass-catching back and, with the Colts likely to build an early lead, it is Thompson who should be considered a low-end flex in PPR formats, not Robinson.
Sit: Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette may be excited to have a real QB for the first time in his NFL career, but we aren’t excited about his fantasy prospects this weekend. For starters, Bruce Arians claims that this is Ronald Jones’ backfield for now. Consequently, Keshawn Vaughn and LeSean McCoy are poised to find themselves stealing touches from the former Jaguar. Lastly, the Saints didn’t allow a single 100-yard rusher last season and it’s unlikely Fournette will be the first one to do so in 2020.
Start: DeSean Jackson
The Eagles are lacking weapons and Jackson is in line to receive a large target share because of it. Jeffery is out. Jackson will feast. Against an undermanned Washington defense, expect Jackson to thrive.
Start: Stefon Diggs
Stefon Diggs is already reaping the benefits of being away from the NFC North. His first opponent will be the New York Jets, a team that was 19th against WRs in FPPG. A weak secondary should allow for Diggs to make himself known to his new fanbase fairly quickly and he was WR1 potential this week.
Sit: Odell Beckham Jr
It’s no secret I think Odell will be great this season, but that journey will not start against the Baltimore Ravens. Odell was shut down by Baltimore last season and the secondary remains largely the same. This game will be about Beckham’s supporting weapons and the offensive line, so treat Beckham as a must-sit this week.
Sit: AJ Green
Not the greatest matchup for a returning A.J Green, that’s for sure. Despite the loss of Derwin James, the Chargers still have an elite secondary and have a chance to lock down Joe Burrow and his supporting cast. It’s been almost two years since A.J Green has been in your lineup, but I would keep him on your bench one more week.
Sit: Amari Cooper
While this should be a high-scoring affair, it likely won’t be because of Amari Cooper. Jalen Ramsay, who just signed a long-term deal with the Rams, is eager to prove his contract was worth it and will likely shadow Cooper all night. I’d rather take my chances with Gallup or Lamb than Cooper on this night.
Start: Mike Gesicki
Gesicky faces a new-look New England defense that has historically struggled against tight ends. Without Patrick Chung, that is surely set to continue. While I don’t expect much production from Miami’s wide receivers, expect Fitzpatrick to exploit the mismatch and target Gesicki early and often.
Start: Tyler Higbee
The Tyler Higbee bandwagon is surely going to grow this weekend. The Rams are facing off against a team that let up the 4th most points against right ends. Not only that, but the Rams are also debuting their new stadium. Last but not least, this game’s over/under is 51.5, setting the stage for an explosive high-scoring affair. r Higbee figures to be a big part of that, so make sure he’s in your lineup.
Sit: Chris Herndon
Herndon’s “breakout” campaign is going to get off to a rough start. The Jets face the Vills in what should be a one-sided affair. Even if it isn’t, it won’t be because of Herndon. The Bills were great against tight ends last season (top 3 in points allowed) and will look to shut down New York’s starting right end.
Sit. Austin Hooper
Hooper was hyped up all season and is likely to fall flat on his face Week 1. The Ravens are an awful matchup for any team, but particularly the Browns. Hooper and Beckham (see above) are facing great odds to put up numbers and Hooper especially isn’t likely to see the endzone (Ravens allowed 3 touchdowns to tight ends last season). If you’re looking for a stream, consider Jonnu Smith or Eric Ebron instead.