Fantasy Football Week 1: Top 5 Start ‘Em Picks
By Genna Preston
Be sure to include these top 5 starters in your Week 1 fantasy football starting lineup to start the season off with a win.
Welcome to Week 1 of fantasy football. It’s officially the 2017 season and your lineup just got real. Before you know it, it will be game time and you’ll be scrambling to set your starters, even after Thursday’s season opener.
We have some great games ahead of this week. Adrian Peterson will get the revenge game of a lifetime as the New Orleans Saints take on the Minnesota Vikings.
Long time rivals, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys take center stage on Sunday night’s prime time game. This week is going to epic!
But, with all the great games ahead of us come too many fantasy football decisions. What makes a great game on TV might not make a great fantasy outcome.
With that said, it’s important you make the best of your lineup and weekly matchups. Based on Week 1 NFL season openers and last year’s stats, I have identified the top 5 start ’em picks for Week 1. Be sure to add these five players to your starting squad.
Next: 5. This quarterback attempts to save face this season
5. Cam Newton, QB Carolina Panthers
I am not this biggest Cam Newton fan, but after last season, what fantasy football owner is? After making a Super Bowl appearance, Newton didn’t live up to anyone’s expectations.
Luckily for fantasy owners, Newton is a versatile quarterback. If he’s not giving you passing yards, chances are you’re gaining running points.
He has been cleared of his shoulder injury and is practicing in full. With Newton looking healthy, this week’s matchup could earn owners a tremendous amount of points.
The Carolina Panthers came face-to-face with the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 kickoff game. Last season, the 49ers gave up the 10th most points to opposing quarterbacks.
Last season when the two teams faced off, he threw for a little over 350 yards and four touchdowns. If Newton has a repeat game, expect him to earn over 20 fantasy football points.
Next: 4. This running back will rebuild your trust
4. C.J. Anderson, RB Denver Broncos
C.J. Anderson is starting the season with everything pointing in the right direction. The preseason showed some small improvements, and he even scored a couple touchdowns.
On the depth chart, he’s listed as the No. 1 running back for now. If he plays his cards right, he could continue to be the Denver Broncos main back.
This week we’ll get to see him in action as he takes on the Los Angeles Chargers. This game should easily showcase Anderson’s talents.
Not only are the Chargers missing a starting linebacker, but the Chargers defense allowed the eighth most fantasy football points on the ground averaging almost 100 yards per game.
This should be an easy season opener for Anderson! Hey, we may even get a glimpse of the player we all remember.
Next: 3. His new team will do fantasy owners justice
3. Sammy Watkins, WR Los Angeles Rams
I struggled with Sammy Watkins this week. I wasn’t sure if he should be on my fantasy football start ‘em or sleepers list.
This week tells it all for Sammy Watkins owners, and I decided it’s better to just throw him in there Week 1 then be disappointed all season.
Before he arrived, the Los Angeles Chargers had no receiving corps. Throwing him in now might add a little confusion and timing errors, as he hasn’t had much time to build a relationship with Jared Goff.
But, this week he will get a ton of practice. The Chargers play the Indianapolis Colts who surrendered the sixth most passing yards. They also gave opposing wide receivers almost 20 fantasy football points per game on average.
This is the week to test the waters with Watkins. His timing and versatility will only improve as the season goes on.
Next: 2. This tight end deserves a starting role
2. Delanie Walker, TE Tennessee Titans
Delanie Walker is the tight end you draft if player’s like Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce aren’t available. Some fantasy owners are hesitant to start Walker, but he’s really a decent tight end option.
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He’s completed at least 800 yards in the last three years; one of those seasons went for over 1,000. He had a career high of seven touchdowns last season.
Walker has a beautiful thing going with Marcus Mariota. He’s at almost a 70 percent completion rate for a little under 12 yards per play on average.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Oakland Raiders in their season opener. Luckily for Walker owners, the Raiders gave the ninth most points to the position last year.
All the pieces are there. Walker is a must start in Week 1 fantasy football.
Next: 1. He's Back!
1. Martavis Bryant, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
This is the week to go all in with Martavis Bryant. Firstly, it’s Week 1. Better to lose a game early out, so you can adjust your lineup for weeks to come.
Secondly, the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns. I don’t expect him to be rusty, but what a week to shake it off.
In 2015, he completed almost 180 yards and a touchdown against the Browns; not much has changed with Browns since then.
I don’t usually suggest starting someone coming back from a hiatus, but how could you not start Bryant? Fantasy football owners should see a lot of production from him over the next few weeks.
Must Read: Fantasy Football Week 1: Top 5 defenses to consider starting
Although the Steelers are playing the Browns, I am most excited to see Bryant’s return! Bryant’s return just clinched them the playoffs.