Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 1

Matt Ryan has a tough matchup awaiting him.

Jack Thomason
September 05, 2019 - 12:55 pm

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

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My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit whom you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of matchup. 

Let's get to it.

Quarterback

START – Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at Buccaneers) Both quarterbacks in this matchup have streaming appeal, but I went with Garoppolo because he’s being started in fewer lineups than Jameis Winston and due to how bad Tampa’s pass defense has been. The Bucs were the worst in the league in allowing 20-plus-yard plays in 2018 and the worst in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Garoppolo looked a little shaky in the preseason, but it was coming together by the end of it. The 49ers have a healthy team and a full complement of weapons ready for this road matchup.

SIT – Matt Ryan, Falcons (at Vikings) The Falcons are an offense that I'm high on this year, but this matchup doesn't present the best fantasy value. The Vikings have had the Falcons' number in the past, and I can see a lot of dump-offs by Ryan to running back Devonta Freeman. Top receiver Julio Jones will get his points, but with a Vegas implied team total of just 20.5 points, I'm avoiding Ryan if I can this week.

Running back

START – Kerryon Johnson, Lions (at Cardinals) There are a lot of positives lining up for Johnson in this matchup. Even with the Lions' use of other running backs in 2018, Johnson averaged 17-plus touches per game when he became the starter. I’d expect more of the same this year, and the Cardinals’ defense has picked up where it left off last year in not being able to stop anyone. We saw that in the preseason, and the Lions will likely lean heavily on the running game in an attempt to slow the Cardinals' offensive pace. Johnson is a low-end RB1 for me this week.

SIT – Aaron Jones, Packers (at Bears) I’m a big fan of Jones, but we still aren’t quite sure how new coach Matt LaFleur will utilize his backfield. There have been some rumblings about a committee approach, and Jones missed all of the preseason with a hamstring injury. He’s ready to go for the opener, but a game at Chicago is tough sledding. It’s unlikely that you bench Jones, but temper the expectations. He’s more RB3/flex this week than an RB1/2.

Receiver

START – Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at Bengals) Who else is Russell Wilson going to throw to? D.K. Metcalf is healthy and will be starting, but he’s still a rookie with a limited skill set. Lockett was a machine in the slot last year, and he and Wilson are efficient together. Doug Baldwin is also no longer around. The Seahawks will be utilizing Chris Carson a lot, but Lockett has the ability to score on any play and should see upward of eight-plus targets this week. Not to mention, the Bengals were one of the worst teams in covering slot receivers in 2018. Fire Lockett up without hesitation.

SIT – Corey Davis, Titans (at Browns) The Vegas implied team total for the Titans is just 19.5 points, the third-lowest of the week. We also know Tennessee wants to establish the run to keep Cleveland's offense on the sideline, meaning fewer passing attempts and targets coming Davis' way. On top of that, Davis is likely to see a lot of Denzel Ward, who's already a top-tier cornerback heading into his second NFL season. Last but not least, the Browns' front four should create significant pressure on Marcus Mariota. None of that is positive for Davis' outlook.

Tight end

START – Mark Andrews, Ravens (at Dolphins) This might be a game in which the Ravens just manhandle the Dolphins and pound the rock down their throat, but I'd bet Andrews leads the team in targets and yardage. He’s also the main red-zone option in the passing game. Couple all of that with the fact the Dolphins are horrible on defense and were one of the worst teams in covering tight ends last year. Did I mention Andrews was and has continued to be Lamar Jackson’s favorite target?

SIT – David Njoku, Browns (vs. Titans) Unlike the Dolphins, the Titans were one of the best teams at covering tight ends last year. The Browns also have a bevy of skill players, and it's possible Njoku ends up a bust without a touchdown. There will be plenty of targets to go around, but with Njoku having one of the toughest matchups, Baker Mayfield could look in other directions. Once again, you’re likely starting Njoku due to lack of depth at the tight end position, but be prepared for a down week. 

Other starts: Matt Stafford (at Cardinals), Matt Breida (at Buccaneers), Will Fuller (at Saints) and Delanie Walker (at Browns).

Other sits: Mitchell Trubisky (vs. Packers), Derrius Guice (at Eagles), Sammy Watkins (at Jaguars) and Kyle Rudolph (vs. Falcons).

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​