While researching for this article I found it challenging to compile a start sit article that would help fill voids in rosters, but the fact is that since its week one everyone has “stacked” rosters. Listed below are some of my top starts and top sits that I am either fading completely or firing up this week in all my lineups.
Emmanuel Sanders (vs OAK)
My number one start this week is one of my favorite players in the NFL and that is Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos. After what seemed as a retirement prone injury, Sanders managed to bounce back to full health and looked amazing in the few preseason snaps he was given. Sanders has a very nice matchup this week as he was ranked 2nd in WR/CB matchup advantages this week with a 27% advantage via the PPF matchup charts. If having a great matchup isn’t already a big enough reason to start him then maybe you forgot about who will be throwing him the ball. New Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco LOVES his slot receivers and good news for Sanders as he lined up in the slot on 83% of his routes last year and should stay in the slot for the 2019 season. If you need even more clarity maybe you should look back at John Brown’s fantasy production as a slot WR for Joe Flacco at the beginning of the season before he was bench for Lamar Jackson. In the first 10 weeks of the season before Joe Flacco was benched John Brown was the WR26 in full point PPR last season, and I don’t think it takes a genius to say that Sanders is a much better receiver than John Brown. FIRE UP SANDERS.
Dante Pettis (vs TB)
Like Sanders, Pettis is in the same boat when it comes to having the confidence to play him in week 1. With the recent news of Pettis being listed as the WR1 for the 49ers I am all aboard the Pettis train for week one and I am super confident in playing him in the flex and even as a low end WR2 option. Pettis has also been given a solid matchup advantage of 22% against Carlton Davis of the Bucs, and I fully expect Jimmy G to abuse this matchup in this anticipated high scoring game. Pettis thrived last year against man coverage as the Fantasy Footballers prized Ultimate Draft Kit gave Pettis a 70.20% route success rate against man coverage. This information may seem pointless when it comes to start/sit advice, BUT lucky for Pettis the new Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has a history of running man coverage and has said in multiple interviews that he will continue to do that. I am promising you that Pettis will score 10+ PPR fantasy points this week.
Austin Ekeler (vs IND)
Don’t be scared to start this dynamic running back in week one. Although recent news has released that Ekeler and Justin Jackson are going to feature a split Ekeler will get first reps as shown in the preseason when both players played. The Colts were a bottom half team in fantasy points allowed to running backs and in a game that seems like it will be a shootout I am all systems go for Austin Ekeler. If that is not enough to install confidence into your fantasy brain, then shown below are Ekeler’s splits when Melvin Gordon is off the field.
There is no reason to be scared about Ekeler’s usage, as you can see his receptions and carries practically doubled when Gordon did not play. Toss Ekeler into your flex with extreme confidence.
I know I am going to get a lot of hate for this, but I am going to stand by my analysis and place David Montgomery in the sit column for the week. Now I know that he is a stud and the Bears traded up for him, but here me out on this when I say that this backfield will be a time share at least for the first week against the Packers. The unofficial depth chart on the Chicago Bears website has Montgomery listed as the 3rd running back behind Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen. Now I know to take the depth chart with a grain of salt, but by him being listed as the 3rd back listed that means he obviously isn’t the starter by a wide margin. The Bears signed Mike Davis to a two-year contract for a reason and they aren’t going to toss aside Tarik Cohen after a top 10 ppr fantasy finish. Montgomery will EVENTUALLY take over this backfield, but for now pivot to other options for week one. This is more of an intuition take then anything, but in a RBBC against a good run defense I would stay away.
Although I love Josh Gordon as a football player, I am not going to place him in my lineup quite yet due to a couple reasons. The hype is building back up quick, but Gordon still doesn’t have his role solidified on this team yet and that should bring up a cautious sign for owners looking to play him this week. Gordon was given a 7% disadvantage (-7% advantage) against cornerback Steven Nelson this week, and for a player that hasn’t played in awhile a hard matchup is not how you want to start the season. Another reason that I am avoiding him is the resigning of Demaryius Thomas to this team as I think he will get significant work in this game as well. Gordon at best is going to be the 4th option behind Edelman, White, and Michel in a run first offense. Slow your roll-on Gordon for week one, but as a season long stash I love Gordon so if he is on waivers go get him now.
Like Gordon, Watkins has a touch matchup against cornerback A.J. Bouye as he was given a 16 disadvantage. To me there isn’t much numbers and stats that go into this one as Watkins has never been a consistent fantasy wide receiver. A hard matchup, lack of consistency, 4th option at best are all just red flags for Watkins. If he does have a good game or a good season, I will take full blame for it, but stay away from Watkins for now.