With the Fantasy Football season finally upon us, be sure to start these top 10 players to reap plenty of points in Week 1.
Nov 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs with the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter of a NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
It is officially Week 1 of the 2016-17 NFL season. With the preseason behind us and the dreaded NFL cuts, there has been a bit of an uproar when it comes to fantasy football and the Week 1 lineup.
Some starters are still not healthy enough to play which means your lineups are going to change. There are also several suspensions we need to keep in mind like running back Le’Veon Bell and quarterback Tom Brady. Not to mention the favorable Week 1 matchups.
As I look at these factors there are several players that have gained and lost fantasy value even before the season opener. But don’t worry, because where there is a will there is a way, and I am the way!
I have identified the top 10 players that should definitely start this week. A few of these players may still even be available on the wire waivers; spoiler alert, running back Spencer Ware is only owned in about 56% of leagues according to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 start ’em players for Week 1 fantasy action.
Next: 10. This receiver has three weeks to shine
10. DeAngelo Williams, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
After speaking with several fantasy football analysts, I felt the need to include DeAngelo Williams on this list even though I assumed he was a given. Ironically, not everyone agrees with this because he’s only owned in about 90% of leagues.
With the Steelers top running back (Bell) on a three-game suspension, Williams is not only starting but he has a lot to prove if wants equal playing time once Bell returns. He is a sure RB1 option for the next three weeks.
But, this week’s matchup puts him above other great running backs in the league. The Steelers prepare to take on the Washington Redskins who rank 21st against the position.
This could only mean one thing for Williams as he will have an explosive week. He is projected to earn over 20 fantasy points this week; use him while you can!
Next: 9. This defense is going to dominate in Week 1
Aug 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) and outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) tackle Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) during a NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
9. Seattle Seahawks D/ST
The Seattle Seahawks rank among the top defenses in the league. But, with their Week 1 Miami Dolphin matchup I am putting the Seahawks at No. 1.
It’s no secret the Dolphins have struggled with their offensive line. Although preseason showed a little improvement, there is no way they will be able to stand up to the Seahawks in their season opener.
The Dolphins rank 17th against defenses, which statistically proves my earlier statements. The Seahawks are projected to score about 21 points and are definitely going to outshine most of the D/ST in fantasy football.
Unfortunately, it will be a rough week for the Dolphins because the Seahawks are coming for the win! There is no doubt in mind the Seahawks’ D/ST is going to dominate this week.
Next: 8. Could he be the new Megatron?
8. Golden Tate, WR Detroit Lions
There is no doubt the Detroit Lions are going to miss their No. 1 receiver, Calvin Johnson. With Johnson retired there is room for a new superstar on the Lions.
Golden Tate is expected to be that superstar! Two seasons ago when Johnson was injured, we got a glimpse of what Tate is capable of, and boy was it impressive.
However, there has been some speculation that Tate will fall behind Marvin Jones. But, with Tate connecting with quarterback Matthew Stafford and his preseason performance so far has earned himself a respectable position in the starting lineup.
Tate’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts will also offer high production from Tate. The Colts rank 26th against the position which is why he is projected for almost 20 fantasy points this week. If you don’t have Jones, Tate is the way to go.
Next: 7. This Chief has the starting role
Jan 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) is congratulated by tackle Eric Fisher (72) after Ware scores during the first half against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
7. Spencer Ware, RB Kansas City Chiefs
Head coach Andy Reid stated running back Jamaal Charles won’t be ready for the season opener against the San Diego Chargers as reported by the NFL Network. With the Chiefs main running back not in this week’s lineup, their plan is to use a running back by committee tactic.
However, the two running backs that would be altering downs are Ware and Charcandrick West who has battled an elbow injury. With that in mind, Ware has an opportunity to earn a starting role should West not be healthy.
It is safe to assume whether the Chiefs use the running back by committee method or not, Ware will have the starting role and most of the carries. For this reason, Ware is projected to earn double-digit fantasy points in this week’s matchup.
Ware is up for grabs in most fantasy leagues, as he is only owned in about 53% of them. With the Chargers ranking 27th against the position, he should definitely go above and beyond any expectations.
Next: 6. This receiver will dominate with a little Luck
6. T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts
Quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy and the Colts are already looking like a better squad. One player, in particular, will benefit greatly from a healthy Luck; wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Hilton’s overall fantasy points and statistics declined tremendously last season. Why? Almost 30 percent of the passes to Hilton were off target.
Hilton was dealing with a hamstring issue during the preseason but, is projected to start in this weekend’s battle against the Detroit Lions. Don’t let this scare you, Hilton is expected to have a major comeback season.
The Lions rank 19th against wide receivers which will allow Hilton an opportunity to score double-digit points; he’s projected to earn almost 16 points. Don’t be afraid to start Hilton.
Next: 5. His opponent ranks 24th against the position
Dec 21, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) catches a pass over New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Stephone Anthony (50) and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Lions defeated the Saints 35-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
5. Eric Ebron, TE Detroit Lions
There has been a lot of talk around the league as to whether tight end Eric Ebron will be starting after missing training camp and all of the preseason. However, it seems as though Ebron will be suiting up for the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Ebron returned to practice for the first time this week, which could result in a sluggish Week 1 performance. But, his weekly matchup against the Colts offers better expectations for Ebron.
The Colts rank 24th in the league against tight ends. Ebron is projected to earn double-digit points, and could have a decent fantasy week given his weekly matchup.
Now, I will say this; if you have a better ranked tight end obviously choose him over Ebron. However, if you need a tight end or flex option, Ebron could be reliable this week.
Next: 4. He has a doubled his workload this season
Aug 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) rushes against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4. Amari Cooper, WR Oakland Raiders
Wide receiver Amari Cooper had a great breakout rookie season in 2015. He showed signs of immense talent and capabilities that many rookies don’t utilize in their first year.
If you weren’t impressed with Cooper last season, be impressed now! Not only did the preseason showcase his gained confidence, but he has increased his workload and production overall.
During last week’s preseason finale, Cooper completed 3-of-3 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Cooper is definitely the Raiders’ No. 1 target this season, and his production is only going to increase.
Cooper is preparing to take on the New Orleans Saints who now rank 23rd against the position. With that statistic, it’s easy to assume Cooper will earn a few more points than his projected 17.
Next: 3. This running back has been ruled healthy
Aug 18, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (34) warms up before a game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Minnesota defeated Seattle, 18-11. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
3. Thomas Rawls, RB Seattle Seahawks
I would hope that Thomas Rawls would be an automatic weekly starter. However, he is not owned in 100% of fantasy leagues, so for the same reason, the Seahawks’ D/ST was listed, I am listing Rawls; his matchup this week is excellent.
Rawls is going to dominate the field this week against the pathetic defense of the Dolphins. They have allowed 2,000+ rushing yards last season; the Dolphins are the worst team in the league against the position.
Even with his slow season start, he should have an explosive week. Head coach Pete Carroll would be best advised to have Rawls get plenty of reps in this matchup.
Rawls is expected to earn double-digit points, and will be an influential fantasy player this week. Rawls is a must-start in Week 1.
Next: 2. This Brown is making his NFL debut
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Corey Coleman (Baylor) is selected by the Cleveland Browns as the number fifteen overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
2. Corey Coleman, WR Cleveland Browns
Rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman has an opportunity to make a name for himself early in the season. Not only have the Cleveland Browns named him a starting wide-out but his first few games are against teams that allowed the most fantasy football points to the position.
This week Coleman prepares for a season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles; they rank 32nd against the position. Coleman is also going to want to prove his capabilities and worth before wide receiver Josh Gordon comes back in Week 5 from his suspension.
Coleman is projected for a little over 15 fantasy points this week. If he doesn’t let his NFL debut get in the way of his Week 1 matchup, he has the capabilities of earning closer to 20 points depending on point values.
He is only owned in about 75% of fantasy leagues and definitely is a good starter for now especially as a flex option. He will also be valuable as a Gordon handcuff so keeping him throughout the season will be beneficial.
Next: 1. He has the easiest match-up in the league
1. Derek Carr, QB Oakland Raiders
When I analyzed this week’s matchups, I had to give the No. 1 spot to quarterback Derek Carr. With the Oakland Raiders taking on the New Orleans Saints, Carr’s fantasy value has sky rocketed this week!
His fantasy performance last season should have already been enough to start or draft him. He finished the season with almost 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns.
This week’s matchup won’t be a challenge for Carr. The Saints rank last in the league against quarterbacks.
Carr is a solid QB1 option and is projected to earn almost 24 fantasy points in Week 1. Since he’s only owned in 80% of fantasy leagues, if you have him, enjoy the destruction he will unleash this week!