Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start-Sit

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All Summer we have been reading countless articles and RotoWorld blurbs, researching endless amounts of stats, participating in and criticizing various Mock Drafts, preparing for and completing official Fantasy Football drafts, and telling ourselves “Football is coming” all for one purpose, to build a successful Fantasy team for the start of the NFL season in hopes of reeling in a Fantasy Football Championship. Well my friends, Football, like the Night King himself, is finally here.

The road to winning a championship, however, is far from over. Drafting is only the start, and arguably the easiest task, of the work you need to put in to reach that title.

Now that you have your “best team I’ve ever drafted” roster, the tough part is deciding which players to play and to bench on a weekly basis. Essentially which players are going to get you the most points and which players are going to disappoint. Yeah…Don’t tell anyone I just did that.

But, as I was saying, making those tough roster decisions can be frustrating. To help mitigate the headache, you have come to the right place. I will be publishing a weekly start-sit column, and here is the first, the 2017 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start-Sit article.

Make sure you use MyPlaybook from FantasyPros to completely optimize your roster.

You can also use the Start-Sit tool and check out our week 1 rankings.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start-Sit

Starts

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals vs Detroit Lions

Palmer had a down year in 2016, finishing as the 19th best quarterback in Fantasy, after an impressive 2015 season in which he was an elite level QB1.

Old man Palmer starts the year with a cake match-up against a shaky Lions’ Defense. In fact, the Lions were dead last in DVOA against the pass last year and allowed the 30th most points to opposing quarterbacks.

Palmer may not return to 2015 Fantasy prominence, but he certainly can for at least week 1. Starting the year healthy, against a bad defense, with all of his weapons; including John Brown, at his disposal, Carson Palmer will look to start the season on fire. Have no fear in starting Palmer week 1.

Start of the Week: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams vs Indianapolis Colts

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Another player coming off of a down year, after having previous Fantasy success, Todd Gurley is a prime candidate to have a bounce back year in 2017. There isn’t much of a better way to start the season and get back on track then to play the Colts, a team that had the worst DVOA against the rush last year, and allowed double digit fantasy points to opposing running backs in all but one game.

The exploitable matchup isn’t the only factor in Gurley’s favor as he plays the Colts. The Colts are likely to be without starting QB, Andrew Luck, meaning a negative game script, normally a big problem for the Rams, shouldn’t be a concern.

The Rams improved their offense and offensive line this offseason, they added a high-caliber wide receiver in Sammy Watkins who can take some pressure away from Gurley, Jared Goff seems to have improved, and new Head Coach, Sean McVay, has experience developing an explosive offense. With all of this taken into consideration, and the Colts not only missing Luck, but some key defensive starters as well, Gurley is a must start.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers vs San Francisco 49ers

Last year, the 49ers were the dream team for owners’ Fantasy running backs to play against. They allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing teams’ running backs and had the 31st worst DVOA against the run.

The Panthers’ new weapon will look to get off to a hot start in such a favorable matchup. McCaffrey’s ability to run and catch the ball makes him a match-up nightmare for an already match-up friendly competition.

Expect Mcaffrey to burst onto the NFL scene with over 100 total yards and a touchdown.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Los Angeles Rams vs Indianapolis Colts

Speaking of the Rams, another player worth starting is the Rams’ newest addition, Sammy Watkins. Watkins was already labeled to have a breakout year this season, as many predicted that after having his second foot surgery, he would finally be 100% healthy. Then Watkins was traded to the Rams, a likely downgrade from an already horrible situation in Buffalo.

Talent isn’t the question for Watkins, rather health and situation are the major concerns. He appears to be fully healthy, and even if his situation hampers his Fantasy output, it shouldn’t limit him, at the very least, for week 1.

The Colts were 26th in DVOA against the pass last year and 29th in DVOA against opposing teams’ number one wide receiver. What’s more significant is that the Colts will be without, Vontae Davis, the teams’ best corner back.

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This match-up alone makes Sammy Watkins a player worth starting this week.

Evan Engram, New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys

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Evan Engram is one of the big three rookie tight ends out of this year’s draft. Of those three; Evan Engram, David Njoku, and OJ Howard, Engram is arguably the best pass catcher and offensive talent. He has been impressive all off season leading to the coaches finding a multitude of ways to use him in a Giants’ pass heavy offense. Engram can line up as a receiver or tight end and the Giants will move him all over the place, giving him opportunities to make an impact in games.

Furthermore, the Giants could be without star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., causing Eli Manning to rely upon Engram even more.

Playing against a Cowboys defense that allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing teams’ tight ends last year, and a team with the 30th ranked DVOA against opposing team’s tight ends, Engram has a juicy matchup to start his career.

Honorable Mention: Dalvin Cook vs NO; Doug Baldwin vs GB; Ben Roethlisberger vs CLE; Zach Ertz vs WAS 

Sits

Sit of the Week: Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers vs Denver Broncos

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Philip Rivers has been a consistent Fantasy quarterback, finishing as a QB1 in three of the last four years. Rivers is primed to have another solid year with additional offensive weapons and a healthy Keenan Allen. Those of you hoping for such a year, like me, will have to wait at least a week into the regular season for some solid production out of Rivers, however. Rivers has a matchup against the Broncos, also known as the “No Fly Zone”, which was the number one defense against the pass according to last year’s DVOA.

The Broncos were absolutely dominant last year against quarterbacks, as they allowed the least amount of Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, allowing more than 12.7 Fantasy points only twice in 2016. Rivers was no exception and fell victim to this dominance twice in 2016. He scored only 11.1 and 12.7 Fantasy points in both games against the Broncos last year, averaging less than 225 passing yards, and only managing to throw for three touchdowns, while throwing three interceptions. Rivers may be set for a bounce back year, but expect his “flight to be delayed” and sit him against the dreaded “No Fly Zone”.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals

Ameer Abdullah is finally back, healthy, and ready to be the Lions “featured” back. There are a few factors that should limit his week 1 production. First, the Lions play the Cardinals, a team that had the seventh best DVOA against the run last year and allowed the least amount of Fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Second, Abdullah isn’t necessarily a typical “work horse” back and will cede passing down work to Theo Riddick and red zone and goal line work to both Riddick and Zach Zenner. This will limit Abdullah’s opportunity for yardage and touchdowns.

Finally, the Lions are just bad at rushing the ball. They were 25th in rushing DVOA last year and tend to lean heavily on the pass. Abdullah will certainly help improve on an abysmal rushing attack, but against a solid rush defense, with a limit on his opportunity, Abdullah can have a seat on the virtual bench.

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers vs Denver Broncos

After writing about why Phillip Rivers is a must sit, it is easy to explain why you should temper your expectations for Allen in week one. Along with the Broncos’ number one DVOA against the pass, they also allowed the least amount of Fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last year. The Broncos limited ALL of the Chargers wide receivers, combined, to less than 180 yards in two games, and only one wide receiver touchdown was allowed. Keenan Allen is finally healthy, but is set for a rough start against an elite pass defense that only allowed 15 total wide receiver receptions to the Chargers last year, an area where Keenan Allen gets his value.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

Narrative as it may seem, Dez Bryant just doesn’t perform well against the Giants, a team that had the fourth best DVOA against the pass, the best DVOA against opposing teams number one wide receiver, and allowed the 6th fewest Fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2016. In fact, in 2016 Bryant averaged negative .1 (-0.1) standard fantasy points against the Giants. That’s right! A negative average after scoring 0.8 and -1.0 in the two contests against the Giants last year. He was also bad against the Giants in 2015, in which he scored 4.80 points in the only game he played against the Giants.

The Giants defense is talented, and with his recent struggles against this defense, Bryant’s production will be disappointing.

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles

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After playing in the Redskins week 3 preseason game, Reed appears ready to play in week 1 of the regular season. He starts the season against the Eagles, a team which had the second best DVOA against the pass, had the best DVOA against opposing teams’ tight ends, and allowed the second fewest Fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

The Redskins offense has looked terrible throughout the preseason. If their offensive struggles continue into the regular season, and with Reed likely not at 100% health, Reeds Fantasy production should suffer, making him a tight end worth benching week one.

Honorable Mention: Marshawn Lynch vs TEN; DeAndre Hopkins vs JAC; Dak Prescott vs NYG; Eric Ebron vs ARI


Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Alex Hamrick

Alex is an avid fantasy football enthusiast and writer for Fantasy Six Pack. With a background in quantitative methods and analysis, Alex enjoys using statistics and data analytics to develop detailed fantasy football analysis. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @AlexBHamrick

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