Is it happening?!? I think it is happening! We have real football back! That means we have Fantasy Football, which means we have start/sit questions right off the bat. Week 1 should be the easiest week to set your lineup, but it is also is a week people tend to overthink. Do not get too cute and start the guys you normally would! But, I am here to help, like I will be all week. If you have followed me prior to this season, you know how this works, but if you’re new, welcome! Not only do you get my Week 1 PPR Rankings, but I also toss in rankings for Half-Point PPR and Non-PPR along with a write up of stats, breakdowns of my rankings and anything else I think you should know!
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- Let’s start near the tippy top of my Week 1 Rankings with Zeke. Ezekiel Elliott got paid this week by the Cowboys and will be suiting up on Sunday. That means he is in your starting lineup. Unless you play in an auction or a shallower league where you have multiple Top-10 options then sure, play it safe and start Zeke. But even on “20-25 reps” he will be in my lineup where I have him.
- Dalvin Cook should have your mouth watering this week. He gets to go against the Falcons and if you know me, you know I have been hammering pass-catching backs against them for years. Why? Atlanta has allowed the most receptions to RBs for four straight seasons. Not weeks. SEASONS. That is a huge sample size in football. Cook is a Top-5 back this week and the Falcons are a team to pick on all season long.
- Dede Westbrook’s breakout season begins in Week 1. He gets a Chiefs team that allowed 92.9 receiving yards per game to the slot in 2018. Additionally, we know he is Nick Foles’ top target and this is a week the Jags will certainly need to put up points. Opportunity and game script are in his favor. Still not sold? Well, PFF rates this the fourth-best WR matchup in Week 1. Yeah, start Dede with confidence.
- I am still a believer that Damien Williams is the lead dawg (insert Roman Reigns joke here), but I would be a fool if I didn’t admit there is uncertainty in this situation. Not only that, but it is against a very tough Jaguars defense that allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to RBs last year. Williams is a low-end RB2/flex option in a really tough matchup.
- T.Y. Hilton is another tricky name this week. Obviously he is downgraded with no Luck, but I am not as panicked as others. However, this week is not a great week, as PFF rates this the second-worst Week 1 matchup for QBs.
- Both 49ers RBs are in play this week. Matt Breida was listed atop the depth chart this week, but Tevin Coleman was the big free agent signing who played two-thirds of the preseason snaps with Jimmy G. He is an RB2 for me this week against the Bucs, who allowed the sixth-most PPR PPG to RBs last year. Brieda is a flex play for me in what should be an offensive affair. I am expecting Coleman to be on the heavy side of a platoon, but both are serviceable options, with high upside.
- If you are looking for WR help in a deeper league, the Bills are a team to target this week. First, the Jets allowed the most PPR PPG to WRs in 2018. Both John Brown and Cole Beasley are streamers this week. Josh Allen threw for 20+ air yards on 18.1 percent of his throws last year, by far the most in the NFL. There will be deep shots, making Brown a boom-or-bust flex option in deeper leagues. As for Beasley, Allen targeted him eight times in the preseason, the most of anyone. He should be a safe floor, chain-moving WR.
- Admittedly, I am low on the Packers this week. The Bears are a tough matchup and although Aaron Rodgers played well in Week 1 last year, he struggled in Week 15 going for less than 14 fantasy points. As for Aaron Jones, I am excited for him this season, but not this week. PFF rates this the worst RB matchup in Week 1, which makes Jones a low-end RB2 for me this week.
- Melvin Gordon will not be suiting up Week 1 and likely not for the foreseeable future. Fire up Austin Ekeler as an RB2 and Justin Jackson as a flex against the Colts. This could be a game where the Chargers play from ahead and run the ball often to milk the clock.
- Sam Darnold is a player I like for the season, but not Week 1. The Bills allowed 11.76 fantasy PPG to QBs in 2018, the fewest in the NFL. Sit him this week. If you do not have him, try to buy low after Week 1 if he struggles. However, I do love the Jets weapons this year, and recommend you add Jamison Crowder if he is out there.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
Week 1 Rankings
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Michael Florio is the winner of the 2018 FSWA Baseball Article of the Year and was a finalist for the 2017 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year. He has hosted video/radio shows, written for a number of print and web publications including the AP, NY Daily News and much more!
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