IT’S FINALLY TIME! Let’s all start the fantasy season (1-0) together. Below, you will find “Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em” options for this week. Make sure to dig into each and every one of your players’ matchups. You might be surprised by some of the players on this list. Good luck, and happy FANTASYING.
- Ryan Tannehill (vs ARI) Last year’s QB7 starts the 2021 season with a very favorable matchup. Arizona finished in the middle of the pack last season against the pass. But how in the world will they defend Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, and Derrick Henry all at once? Expect a big game from the signal-caller, as he enters this season coming off six of seven games with at least 20 fantasy points.
- Jalen Hurts (at ATL) Atlanta allowed the MOST passing yards in the league last season (4,697). Hurts comes into this season with a healthy and should be improved offensive line. Expect the mobile QB to get it done on the ground as well. He has top-5 potential for Week 1.
Other Notables: Trevor Lawrence (at HOU), Matt Ryan (vs PHI), Matthew Stafford (vs CHI)
- Justin Herbert (at WAS) I know, I know. Herbert lit up the fantasy world last season as a rookie. And I’m not saying he doesn’t do it again, but he has an unfavorable Week 1 matchup against a stingy Washington defense. Their secondary is great, and their pass-rush is even better. Herbert is a MUST-SIT this week.
- Joe Burrow (vs MIN) Minnesota suffered a ton on the defensive side of the ball last season. Expect this unit to be much improved this season. That’s not entirely why Burrow is on this list. He’s coming off a catastrophic injury that he admitted is affecting him mentally. Sit him this week, and if he looks fine, think about starting him next week. He’s not worth the risk against the Vikings.
Other Notables: Jameis Winston (vs GB), Ben Roethlisberger (at BUF), Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs LAC)
- Najee Harris (at BUF) The rookie back looks to make his NFL debut against a solid Bills defense. Although he may not have the best matchup, don’t be afraid to start him. He’s clearly the team’s lead back, and he should see a heavy workload right away.
- Miles Sanders (at ATL) Some of you, including myself, have a vendetta against Sanders because of last season. Let’s put our emotions away, and really analyze his Week 1 matchup. Atlanta was not a good defense last season, and there aren’t many indications that they are much improved. Start Sanders as this game might turn into a high scoring affair.
Other Notables: Raheem Mostert (at DET), Ty’Son Williams (at LV), Myles Gaskin (at NE)
- Jets’ RBs (at CAR) Who’s going to see the bulk of carries for this Jets team? We might see a RB by committee approach, featuring Michael Carter Jr., Tevin Coleman, and Ty Johnson. Approach this week as a “wait and see” kind of thing.
- Bills’ RBs (vs PIT) Just like with the Jets above, this week should be a “wait and see” type of week. It’s hard to decipher if Zack Moss or Devin Singletary will take over as this team’s lead back. We might see something similar to last season where we really didn’t know who was going to produce on a week-to-week basis. For now, be safe and sit both of them.
Other Notables: Mark Ingram (vs JAX), Jamaal Williams (vs SF), Javonte Williams (at NYG)
- Robby Anderson (vs NYJ) Anderson will be facing off against his old team with his former QB to start the season. Fresh off a contract extension, expect the speedy receiver to light up the Jets’ secondary. New York finished 28th against the pass last season, and they will focus more on stopping Christian McCaffrey instead.
- Corey Davis (at CAR) Rookie QB Zach Wilson made a strong connection with Davis over the offseason and into the preseason as well. The two should connect a ton this year, and especially early while Wilson attempts to adjust to the NFL game. With Jamison Crowder out, Davis and rookie Elijah Moore look to be the go-to targets. Here’s a rule of thumb: trust the veteran over the rookie in Week 1 matchups.
Other Notables: Laviska Shenault Jr. (at HOU), Brandon Aiyuk (at DET), DeVonta Smith (at ATL)
- Darnell Mooney (at LAR) Mooney is dealing with back tightness, and he doesn’t have a great Week 1 matchup. The Rams finished last season with the No. 1 overall defense, and they allowed the least passing yards in the league (3,051). That doesn’t look like a formula for success for the second-year wide-out with a new QB.
- Henry Ruggs vs (BAL) The second-year pro comes into the 2021 season after an abysmal rookie campaign. His chances at proving his fantasy relevance look to be in jeopardy for Week 1, as he lines up against a Ravens’ secondary that allowed the sixth least passing yards in 2020 (3,536).
Other Notables: Kenny Golladay (vs DEN), Ja’Marr Chase (vs CIN), Marquez Callaway (vs GB)
- Kyle Pitts (vs PHI) Pitts’ Falcons face off against the Eagles, in a game that looks like it might be a high scoring contest. Expect Atlanta to rely on the passing game in this matchup. Outside of Calvin Ridley, Pitts should see the majority of opportunities for his team.
- Mike Gesicki (at NE) Expect Tua Tagovailoa to rely on Gesicki in Week 1. New England’s defense is tough, and Will Fuller is out due to a one-game suspension. Obviously there are better TEs to play this week, but Gesicki should be considered a low-end streamer who could generate double-digit fantasy points for your team.
Other Notables: Tyler Higbee (vs CHI), Robert Tonyan (at NO), Jonnu Smith (vs MIA)
- Jared Cook (at WAS) Yes, Cook’s a veteran who shows a very promising resume. But he’s 34 years old now, and his matchup against Washington is an unfavorable one. In Washington’s last 12 games of last season, they only allowed two receiving touchdowns to TEs. STAY AWAY.
- Eric Ebron (at BUF) There has been a ton of buzz surrounding rookie TE Pat Freiermuth this offseason. Many expect him to take over as the team’s TE1 at some point this season. Even if Ebron sees most of the snaps this week, Buffalo should have no issue shutting him down. In the Week 14 matchup between these two teams last season, Ebron was held to just two receptions for 30 yards.
Other Notables: Noah Fant (at NYG), Cole Kmet (at LAR), Gerald Everett (at IND)
- Denver Broncos (at NYG) In two seasons as a pro, Daniel Jones has thrown 22 interceptions and fumbled 29 times in 27 career games. On top of that, Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Evan Engram are all playing through injuries in this matchup. This is a no-brainer.
- Minnesota Vikings (at CIN) As mentioned above, Minnesota’s defense will be much improved this season. They face off against a talented Bengals’ offense that returns Joe Burrow back this season. Because Burrow should be rusty coming off his catastrophic injury, Minnesota is a great “start ‘em” defense for Week 1.
Other Notables: Carolina Panthers (vs NYJ), Seattle Seahawks (at IND)
- Indianapolis Colts (vs SEA) Indianapolis had one of the better defenses in the league last season. But their Week 1 matchup isn’t a great one, as they face off against Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, and a very talented Seahawks’ offense. Don’t drop the Colts’ defense, but go ahead and sit them for this matchup.
- Cleveland Browns (at KC) It doesn’t matter if you’re the ‘85 Bears defense, I’m not starting you against this Chiefs’ offense. Andy Reid hardly ever loses in Week 1, and this offense may have gotten even better with their new and improved offensive line. This will be a common theme this season. NEVER START THE DEFENSE PLAYING AGAINST THE CHIEFS.
Other Notables: Chicago Bears (at LAR), New Orleans Saints (vs GB)
Did you enjoy this article and want more fantasy content? Make sure to check out my recent posts, and stay tuned for other positional rankings in the future. You can also follow me on Twitter @dirrim23, where I love talking about all things fantasy football!