We made it! After weeks and weeks of speculating on where to draft players or battling it out over Damien Williams and his fantasy football value, we made it. Here is our Fantasy Football Start or Sit for week 1 of the fantasy season. You can also check out our fantasy football rankings here to further assist you with your week 1 lineups.
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Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 1
Lamar Jackson (BAL) vs MIA:
Everyone’s favorite breakout candidate at QB gets a delicious matchup to start the year, facing off against what figures to be the worst team in the NFL on both sides of the ball. Miami’s rush defense was consistently carved up for long gains throughout 2018 and they haven’t made any significant additions outside of Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick in the draft.
In fact, they’ve only gotten worse as they’ve pretty much blown up their entire team over the course of the preseason. Miami has already put into motion their plan to #TankForTua so putting your money on Lamar Jackson’s elite rushing ability is a safe bet for Week 1.
Jameis Winston (TB) vs SF:
Jameis Winston enters 2019 with a brand-new coaching staff led by offensive guru Bruce Arians, virtually no running game, and three stud weapons to throw to in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard. It’s “do or die” time now for Winston at this stage of his career, but the hope is that Arians can work his magic and turn him into a more consistent QB going forward. This matchup in Week 1 against a 49ers defense that gave up 22.1 fantasy ppg to QBs in 2018 should provide a soft landing.
Honorable Mentions: Kyler Murray (ARI) vs DET, Jared Goff (LAR) vs CAR, Dak Prescott (DAL) vs NYG.
Chris Carson (SEA) vs CIN:
The Seahawks will rely heavily on the run in Week 1 because A) it’s their Modus Operandi and B) their lack of depth at WR to start the season is laughable. Luckily for the Seahawks, the Bengals defense was the worst unit in terms of fantasy points allowed per game to running backs in 2018 (30.6) so expect Chris Carson to be heavily involved this week.
Sony Michel (NE) vs PIT:
Mike Tomlin has a 2-6 record against the Patriots lifetime, which includes a record of 0-4 in Foxboro. One of the oldest Credos in fantasy football is to take the starting running back for the home favorite, and that’s exactly what I’m doing this week. Sony Michel will be fed early and often while the Patriots establish their play-action game throughout this contest. I expect 20 touches and TD for Michel in Week 1.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Brieda/Tevin Coleman (SF) vs TB, Duke Johnson Jr. (HOU) vs NO, Mark Ingram II (BAL) vs MIA.
Chris Godwin (TB) vs SF:
Another consensus breakout pick that the fantasy community has fallen in love with this offseason is Chris Godwin, who we’ll get our first glimpse of as Bruce Arian’s new “big slot” receiver. He’ll likely match up against slot corner K’Waun Williams (5’9” and 185lbs), who happens to be one of San Fran’s weaker cornerbacks. The term “big slot” is not a misnomer here, as Godwin checks in at 6’1” 208lbs with 4.4 speed to boot. He should help keep the chains moving in the intermediate areas all day while facing off with a much smaller & slower cornerback.
Julian Edelman (NE) vs PIT:
Following in the same theme of “chain movers”, Edelman will be up against a defense that continuously gets torched by Tom Brady year in, year out. Pittsburgh’s personnel has plenty of talent with guys like T.J. Watt, Joe Haden, and stud rookie linebacker Devin Bush, but the problem is their scheme is often very predictable for a QB as experienced as Brady. Pittsburgh has historically run a ton of zone coverage & zone blitzes on defense, which should leave plenty of daylight for Edelman to catch 6-10 passes this week.
Honorable Mentions: Dede Westbrook (JAX) vs KC, Curtis Samuel (CAR) vs LAR, Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs CIN.
Hunter Henry (LAC) vs IND:
Hunter Henry comes into a great situation in 2019 as Melvin Gordon won’t be on the field, likely helping funnel targets his way. Henry was on the field for 93% of first-team snaps in the preseason showing his usage will be steady as long as he can stay healthy. Their offensive line is not in great shape due to Russell Okung being placed on the NFI list with blood clots in his lungs. The effects of this loss should cause Phillip Rivers to focus on lower aDOT throws early on in the season, benefiting pass-catchers that operate in the middle of the field such as Henry. He’s an excellent blocking tight-end as well, which will be something to monitor in terms of his routes run, but I’m confident he’ll be targeted heavily this week.
Mark Andrews (BAL) vs MIA:
I’m basically pressing the button on any and all Ravens this week because this matchup is looking like a massacre on paper. Lamar Jackson had a passer rating of 129.9 when targeting Andrews in 2018, so I’m expecting he will be on the field in passing situations and used often as a chain mover and red zone threat. There’s been a ton of buzz going back to last year about Lamar Jackson’s connection with Andrews and I foresee him finding the 6’5” 260-pounder in the endzone against Miami’s depleted defense.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs NE:
Pittsburgh’s offseason was an absolute dumpster fire, and yet I feel as though they will be better off for it in the long run (addition by subtraction). No matter what you think of him, the loss of all-world WR Antonio Brown is something that should have an adverse effect on the field in one way or another. I’m fading Big Ben this week largely because of Bill Belichick’s propensity to lock down your go-to guy and force you to make do with the rest of your supporting cast. Outside of James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster, I don’t see how Pittsburgh will be able to take advantage of mismatches to put up points in this game. The Pats have a strong secondary and high-motor pass rushers in Michael Bennett and Chase Winovich, who should give Ben a tough time on Sunday night.
Derek Carr (OAK) vs DEN:
Carr was woefully bad when throwing under pressure last year and has to go up against the combination of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb with two offensive linemen on the shelf for this matchup (including Richie Incognito). I’m finding it difficult to count on Derek Carr producing against what still is one of the most stingy defenses in the NFL. He does have a bevy of new weapons in AB, Tyrell Williams, and Josh Jacobs, but this is shaping up to be a very tough, low-scoring divisional game. Carr will have startable weeks this year, but it’s more likely we see Oakland try to establish the run with Josh Jacobs against a Denver defensive unit that was middle of the pack in fantasy ppg allowed to the running back position.
Honorable Mentions: Jacoby Brissett (IND) vs LAC, Sam Darnold (NYJ) vs BUF, Matthew Stafford (DET) vs ARI.
Derrick Henry (TEN) vs CLE:
Henry suffered a calf injury early on in camp that caused him to miss most of his training camp reps and be held out of preseason action. The news out of Tennesee is that he’s fully recovered, however, fantasy owners should be cautious as these types of injuries have a high risk of recurring throughout the year. The lack of reps and the overall game script has me cautious about this matchup with Cleveland’s young and fast defense. Additionally, the weapons on offense for the Browns could have the Titans playing from behind all afternoon meaning we could see a heavy dose of Dion Lewis in passing situations. I’d wait for a better matchup to deploy Henry as your RB2/FLEX.
Kenyan Drake (MIA) vs BAL:
Another running back dealing with lower-body injuries ahead of Week 1 is Kenyan Drake. A foot injury had him wearing a walking boot as recent as two weeks ago so its something to monitor as he starts the season. The Miami offense is going to have a tough time putting up points in this matchup but word from head coach Brian Flores is that Kenyan Drake will “get a lot of touches”. I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking the cheese on it. Kalen Ballage has been steadily pumped up all offseason and will receive early-down work in this game, making Drake’s upside this week severely capped in what will likely be a major blowout win for Baltimore to start 2019.
T.Y. Hilton (IND) vs LAC:
The relationship between T.Y. Hilton and Andrew Luck was truly special, on and off the field. They had this sort of “mind-meld” that happens when great QBs and WRs stick together for years (i.e. Big Ben & AB, Brady & Edelman, Manning & Harrison, Montana & Rice). If I had to bet money on Hilton replicating the same level of consistency he displayed with Luck in the past with Jacoby Brissett in 2019, I’d take the under. Moreover, this week T.Y. will be matched up with Casey Hayward in an effort for LA to take away Brissett’s first read and make him hold onto the ball as long as possible. The combo of a tough secondary and elite defensive line has me fading all Colts this week. Hilton will be a useful WR2 in plus matchups, but he is no longer that “set it and forget” option without Luck on the field.
Robby Anderson (NYJ) vs BUF:
Anderson drew the short straw for Week 1, as he’ll match up with the Bills’ best cornerback Tre’Davious White. The Bills had the second best unit in defensive DVOA only behind the Chicago Bears in 2018. Not only does Anderson have one of the toughest CB matchups this week, but he also popped up on the injury report with a calf injury recently. I’d bench Anderson in Week 1 due to the combination of a bad matchup and a possible chance of reinjury.
Eric Ebron (IND) vs LAC:
Ebron was an absolute weapon last year for the Colts, amassing 14 total TDs. This all came with Andrew Luck as the Colts’ signal-caller, but alas, Captain Andrew Luck has fought his final battle and retired to his family farm (https://twitter.com/CaptAndrewLuck). In all seriousness, now that Andrew Luck has retired from football, the remaining weapons in Indy should all take a hit in the efficiency department. The Colts also have a ton of different options at WR, TE, and RB, which will make it tough to rely on Ebron for consistent volume this week and throughout the year. Not to mention that he will have to compete with Jack Doyle for tight end snaps and targets. He is more of a TE2 this week.
David Njoku (CLE) vs TEN:
Cleveland’s offense has become a star-studded outfit almost overnight. I don’t love using the cliché of “there are a lot of mouths to feed”, but this offense is designed to spread the ball around and utilize Baker Mayfield’s playmaking abilities. The Tennessee Titans only allowed 8.9 fantasy ppg to the tight end position last year, which tells me they’ll be tough to beat over the middle of the field. This is setting up to be a great matchup for both OBJ on the outside and Nick Chubb on the ground, so I’m fading Njoku.
Honorable Mentions: Vance McDonald (PIT) vs NE, Austin Hooper (ATL) vs MIN, Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs ATL.