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Week 1 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Top Fantasy Football Stars in Opening Games

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 08 Sep 2016

Week 1 of the NFL season ends the excruciating wait for fantasy football owners who are excited to roll out top stars in contests after plenty of prep that went into drafts.In a funny sort of way, it's the same story for NFL teams. It's part of what makes the league so appealingevery team has newfound hope after an offseason of moves.For owners, it's important not to end up like a dud. Think of the Dallas Cowboys last year, a team with high hopes that wound up winning four games.Knowing when to start and sit star players is a key component of avoiding dud status. Below, let's compare some notable players at each position, identify the better matchup and break down some stars.QBStar to Know: Matthew Stafford, DET (at IND)Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford playing without Calvin Johnson seems like a scary situation.It's not. In fact, it's quite the opposite in large part because the Lions get to play the Colts. Indianapolis is without the injured Vontae Davis and has to rely on Antonio Cromartie as its top corner, a guy who couldn't get a job for most of the summer.Stafford finished last season on a tear while hitting double-digit production in eight consecutive games. Going against an iffy pass defense that is missing its top corner, he's facing the perfect situation to break in his new Golden Tate-Marvin Jones tandem.Star to Sit: Andy Dalton, CIN (at NYJ)Andy Dalton has been a serviceable fantasy option for years thanks to how the Cincinnati Bengals have built the roster around him.The ride ends this year, especially in Week 1 when the Bengals encounter the New York Jets. Remember, Dalton suffered a thumb injury in Week 14 last year and hasn't played since.Not only will Dalton show some rust, but the Bengals lost Mohamed Sanu and the aforementioned Jones over the offseason. Plus, star tight end Tyler Eifert is hurt. A.J. Green is still around, but he'll step onto the field with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis this weekend.Dalton isn't dead in the water by any means, but it's time to take a wait-and-see approach. RBStar to Know: DeAngelo Williams, PIT (at WAS)What, DeAngelo Williams isn't a top star'Try telling that to the guy who finished fourth in scoring at his position last year while posting nine double-digit outings. He had four games of 20 or more fantasy points while taking the load for the missing Le'Veon Bell.Bell is out once again on a three-game suspension, this time leaving Williams to tee off on Washington. While the opponent ranks among the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed last year, Washington did cough up 20 or more points to opposing backs six times.Williams can easily go for 20 or more given how thin the Pittsburgh passing attack will spread the Washington defense. Star to Sit: Arian Foster, MIA (at SEA)It's always exciting to think about a star in a new place and how it could change his new team's outlook in a big way.Maybe this happens in time with Arian Foster and the Miami Dolphins. Week 1, though, isn't the week to take such a gamble.Foster has won the starting job in Miami's backfield, but his Dolphins debut at 30 years old coming off an Achilles injury comes against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense. For his part, Foster doesn't want anyone to worry about his comeback, per Around The NFL:Owners had better worry, though. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points on average to backs last year at 10.1, and that doesn't figure to change much. WRStar to Know: Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. CLE)In most cases, leaning on a wideout with a rookie quarterback under center isn't the best scenario in the world.The Carson Wentz-Jordan Matthews connection for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 isn't most cases, though, thanks to an encounter with the Cleveland Browns.Cleveland surrendered the most points to opposing wideouts on average last year, allowing 12 receiving crews to go for 20 or more points. Matthews might not hit this number on his own, but he's going to see a healthy dose of targets while Wentz looks for a safety valve.With no proven wideouts or tight ends behind him, Matthews will see plenty of chances to make big plays after the catch. Star to Sit: Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (at DEN)While it's an exciting time to own Carolina Panthers wideout Kelvin Benjamin, Week 1 isn't the game to trot him out.Benjamin missed all of last season with an injury, which was a huge disappointment given his 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Now he's heading back into an offense that is looking to spread the ball out more, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press:The hits keep comingBenjamin might play limited snaps in a comeback game against the Denver Broncos, who feature defensive backs Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. The Denver defense gave up the fewest points to wideouts on average last season.Benjamin might end up being a touchdown machine again, but it won't seem like it in Week 1. TEStar to Know: Jared Cook, GB (at JAC)Jared Cook is a guy to trot out in his debut with a new team.Cook spent years attempting to stand out in locales such as Tennessee and St. Louis, but the wait is over. Now he gets to suit up for the Green Bay Packers and catch passes from Aaron Rodgers.In fact, Cook was Rodgers' favorite target in the all-important third preseason game, where he caught four passes for 54 yards.Expect this new explosive pairing to come out of the gates swinging thanks to an encounter with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are perennially bad against tight ends. The trend continued last year when the Jaguars allowed the sixth-most points to the position on average. Star to Sit: Charles Clay, BUF (at BAL)Charles Clay looked like he was poised for a massive debut with the Buffalo Bills last year.Instead, he fought his way to three double-digit outings and has done little more than battle a nagging back issue over the preseason. Though the injury doesn't sound like much of a problem now, the matchup isthe Baltimore Ravens allowed the fourth-fewest points to tight ends last year.In fact, Baltimore allowed all of three touchdowns to the position last year. The situation makes Clay seem like a high-profile decoy so Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins can go to work. All scoring info and statistics courtesy of ESPN.comstandard leagues, as arepoints-against info and ownership stats. Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.
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