About one week ago today, school was not even a thought in the minds of High School West students. Although it was under a week away at the time, summer truly felt in full swing. The days went by, and school seemed to approach at a quicker rate. Now here we are, in what honestly is Week 1.
I’m sure that many students were less than thrilled to be back in class, but many students at least have something to look forward to: the real Week 1. Thursday night marks the beginning of the NFL football season, and all is good in the world again! During these last two weeks, preparation for this week’s matchups has intensified, both on NFL rosters and on the computers/smartphones of millions of Americans. That’s right, fantasy football has made it’s return! The wait is over, the time is now, so without further ado, here are my starts and sits for the first week of the NFL season.
Carlos Hyde – When healthy, Carlos Hyde has proven to be a top-tier RB for fantasy owners. In games that Hyde participated in last year, he averaged roughly 17 carries per game. The Niners have also had consecutive years with Week 1 standout performances, and their go-to running back has done so with them. Despite a matchup against the Panthers, who rank in the upper half of the NFL rushing defenses coming into this season, Hyde is not someone to sit in a Week 1 game.
Rams D/ST – The Los Angeles Rams don’t look like they will have much success in the upcoming season. Offensive struggles and a lackluster defense plagued the team in their first year in a new city. I would expect more of the same this season, but as far as Week 1 goes, the Rams defense is prime for a huge fantasy day. Their opponent to kick off the season is the Indianapolis Colts, who are missing star QB Andrew Luck due to injury. Scott Tolzien is set to start for the Colts, which bodes extremely well for Rams D/ST owners. Even with the holdout of Pro-Bowl DT Aaron Donald, the Rams should be stout enough to hold off an offense run by Scott Tolzien. I would recommend picking up the Rams defense this week, starting them, and dropping them on Tuesday.
Eddie Lacy – Lacy’s first matchup in a Seahawk uniform features the Green Bay Packers, a mediocre rush defense. Lacy has been set to split the Seattle backfield with Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise, with the ex-Packer likely beginning the season with an elevated role. However, Thomas Rawls is questionable this week, and if he cannot suit up it is very possible that Eddie Lacy can see up to 25 carries on Sunday. Monitor Thomas Rawls as the week progresses, as Lacy has some blockbuster early season potential.
Martavis Bryant – After serving a one year suspension, Martavis Bryant has been reinstated into the NFL. During his 2015 campaign, Bryant ranked 10th among receivers in total fantasy points (in the games that he had participated in). He is certainly eager to be out on the field again. Combine that with a matchup against the Cleveland Browns and Martavis Bryant is in position for a huge day.
All Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry are all players you were probably starting this week. Do not fall victim to a lack of knowledge. Don’t say “I drafted my team two weeks ago, so my lineup is already set”. If anyone on the Bucs or Dolphins is in your lineup, then your lineup is NOT set. Due to the category 5 hurricane expected to make landfall in Florida, Sunday’s game has been moved to Week 11. There is no football game between these two teams being played this week. Nonetheless, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people being affected by Hurricane Irma.
Allen Robinson – Saying last year was a disappointment for Allen Robinson is an understatement. Two years ago, Robinson ranked sixth among NFL WRs in fantasy points. Last year he fell to 24th. The decline of Blake Bortles has had a lot to do with his downfall, which is truly a shame after seeing Robinson’s talent on full display in 2015. Expect more letdown in Week 1, as the Jags head to the city of Houston against a fully inspired and top-ranked Texan defense, in an environment that is expected to resemble New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Mark Ingram/Adrian Peterson – Week 1 is quite possibly the most important week, as far as bragging rights are concerned. You want to set the tone for a great season. Therefore, committee backfields are too risky. As NFL spectators, our knowledge of who is going to play is mainly limited to game experience. In the first week of the season, we have not seen anything of importance yet. Therefore, we have no idea if Peterson or Ingram will have the better fantasy day. If the two split carries, refer to rule number one of fantasy running backs: two great running backs in the same backfield result in no great fantasy games. Week 1 is too important to take the chance on players that are not certain to get significant playing time. Sit the whole Saint’s backfield.
Joe Mixon – If Mixon’s character issues had been removed from the equation, he would’ve been a certain first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The talent is obviously there, and Mixon will most likely assume the RB1 role after a few weeks of game experience. As of now, however, he is listed behind Giovanni Bernard and Jeremey Hill on the Bengal’s depth chart. He’s just not ready yet, so stash him on the bench this week.
I wish the best of luck in the start of the NFL season!