By Skyler Carlin
Fantasy football is almost in full swing so it’s time to make those tough decisions on who to start.
The NFL season is about to get underway and that marks the beginning of Fantasy Football for many avid fans. Most people have already done their drafts and are waiting to see if all their research on who to take pays off.
Last season we saw a couple guys like Jordan Howard and Dak Prescott, who were unexpectedly thrown into starting roles, help people win their leagues. On the flip side of things, there were guys like Todd Gurley, Deandre Hopkins and Allen Robinson who all disappointed owners by severely underachieving. It’s hard for any of those guys to be worse than last year especially because of how talented they are. In these weekly articles, I’ll take a look at who I believe are the best players to start that week and who you should avoid. Remember, my decisions are purely made based on PPR scoring formats.
(It’s hard for any of those guys to be worse than last year especially because of how talented they are).
In these weekly articles, we’ll take a look at who I believe are the best players to start, and who you should avoid. Remember–my decisions are purely made based on PPR scoring formats–so don’t @ me.
QBs to start in Week 1:
Derek Carr (vs. Titans): Derek Carr was on track to have his first 4,000+ yard season in his young career last year before suffering a leg injury in the final game of the season. Carr has improved every year of his career so far, and I believe he’ll continue that trend this season. Carr finished last year as the 11th highest scoring QB but would’ve been top 10 had he not gone down with injury. (The Raiders also added Marshawn Lynch at RB to take some of the load off of Carr’s shoulders.) Carr faces a weak Titans defense that was the 7th worst Fantasy defense last year, and they’ve lost a couple of key guys so they could be even worse. Carr is a fantastic option in Week 1.
Matt Ryan (vs. Bears): Matt Ryan is coming off an MVP season where he was the 2nd best Fantasy QB only to that guy named Aaron Rodgers. Ryan had a great season for the Atlanta Falcons with Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator, and together they went to the Super Bowl only to lose to the New England Patriots in a heartbreaking fashion (insert Falcons blew a 28-3 meme here). Matty Ice has a plethora of weapons in Atlanta and still happens to have Julio Jones to throw the ball to. Ryan plays against a Chicago Bears team that had the 8th worst defense in Fantasy last year. Ryan is a must start in Week 1.
Cam Newton (vs. 49ers): Cam Newton is coming off a year where he mightily struggled but it was mostly because of a shoulder injury he played with for the majority of the season. Now he’s healthy and ready to get back to being the Cam that took the Panthers to the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. The Panthers’ drafting of Christian McCaffrey will instantly help Cam by giving him a versatile weapon out of the backfield. The biggest thing for Newton is remaining healthy and staying off of the ground. Newton goes up against a poor San Francisco 49ers defense that was 2nd worst last season and will probably be just as bad this season.
Under the Radar QBs:
Tyrod Taylor (vs. Jets): Taylor faces a terrible Jets defense that is going through a huge rebuild. The only knock against Taylor is that he lost his two best WRs this offseason and is coming off a preseason injury so proceed with caution.
Sam Bradford (vs. Saints): By absolutely no means am I saying go out of your way to start Sam Bradford but in deeper leagues or two-QB leagues he’s worth a shot against the third-worst defense in Fantasy last year.
QBs to sit Week 1:
Blake Bortles (vs. Texans): Did you know Blake Bortles was the 8th best Fantasy QB last year ahead of guys like Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and Ben Roethlisberger? The Jaguars seem less confident in Bortles this season as they had a QB battle between him and Chad Henne. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say Bortles won’t repeat his top-10 Fantasy QB year. He’ll also face a tough Texans defense with a healthy J.J. Watt in Houston where the Texans will want to show up for their fans after the city endured a devastating hurricane. So good luck Blake!
Philip Rivers (vs. Broncos): Philip Rivers had an alright season last year throwing for 33 touchdowns but also had a disappointing 21 interceptions. On the bright side, he will get Keenan Allen back from injury this year. Rivers has always been a solid QB but never considered elite. He has a nice set of weapons offensively but faces a stingy Broncos defense that finished 2nd last season in scoring so I’d avoid him Week 1.