Written by Mikey Ostrowski
Season-Long record: 0-0 (0%) on Start Ems, 0-0 (0%) on Sit Ems
*All season long, I will be keeping track of all of the starts/sits I get correct. I like to keep myself honest here…
Start of the Week: Josh Allen (BUF)
And we’re back! Week One of the 2020 season is finally here, and so is your first start of the week: Josh Allen. Allen was taken as a mid QB1 by many in recent weeks, and I think he’ll pay dividends immediately. Allen draws a matchup against the less-than-stellar New York Jets’ defense. I’m looking for him to have top-5 upside in week one, especially since he’ll finally be able to use his shiny new toy in Stefon Diggs. He’s a set it and forget it for kickoff this weekend.
Start: Cam Newton (NE)
I was a little hesitant to include Cam as a starter this week, but if he’s healthy and getting the praise of the coaches in New England… well, that’s good enough for me. Newton draws a juicy week-one matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who admittedly have improved their defense this offseason. With that being said, this defense is still far from dominant, and I’d expect Newton to go out there and immediately prove that he is still an elite starter in the NFL.
Start: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
Jimmy G is going to absolutely tear up the Cardinals in week one. Sure, they’ve seen some defensive improvements, but their game is mostly on offense. Expect George Kittle to put up god-like numbers in this one, which should bode extremely well for Garoppolo’s week-one output. Not many people drafted him to be their starter, but his matchup in week one is enough for me to consider him as a potential top ten option in this one.
Start: Jared Goff (LAR)
This game has shootout written all over it. Seriously, Goff vs. Dak Prescott under the lights on the season’s first Sunday Night Football game? If you’re a betting man, I sincerely hope you smash the over (whatever it may be) and while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to fire up Goff as your week-one starter. All signs are pointing towards Cooper Kupp being available in this one, so I’d expect Goff to find tons of success slinging the rock against a fairly average defense.
Sit of the Week: Daniel Jones (NYG)
Danny Dimes is drawing one hell of a matchup in week one, as the Giants are slated to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. I’ve been one to preach Jones as a fantasy starter this offseason, but I would not go as far to say that this week. The Steelers are a brutal team to open the season against, especially for a young quarterback who has yet to play in an opening day NFL game. I sincerely hope you have a better option to fill in at your quarterback position because I’m not expecting much from the Giants in this one.
Sit: Baker Mayfield (CLE)
There’s tons of questions surrounding the Browns this year, but the top question might be if Mayfield can rebound after a bad sophomore year. While I do think we’ll see Mayfield return to form under a new coaching regime, I think we’ll have to wait another week. The Browns face off against an incredibly stingy Baltimore defense in week one. In 2019, the Ravens allowed an average of 12 points each week to the quarterback position… and they most definitely have not gotten worse this offseason. Mayfield is a surefire thing to ride the bench on my roster this week.
Sit: Drew Lock (DEN)
There probably aren’t many of you debating whether or not to start Lock this week, but if you are one of those people; don’t do it. He’s still got a ton to prove, his support staff on offense is young and inexperienced… I mean, there’s not a ton of things to like for the Broncos in this one from a fantasy perspective. Lock will more than likely be starting for a fantasy team in your league at some point this season; but it most definitely should not be in week one.
Sit: Sam Darnold (NYJ)
Darnold draws a week-one date with Buffalo in 2020, which as you may already know is more than enough to warrant him as a must-sit this week. Much like Lock, I can’t imagine many people are teetering between starting Darnold or not this week, but in case you are, this is your friendly reminder not to. Darnold does not have top-20 upside at the quarterback position in this one.
Start of the Week: Mark Ingram (BAL)
Many people are so quick to write off Mark Ingram because of J.K. Dobbins coming to town. However, I don’t think we have anything to fear; at least not yet. The Ravens have announced that Dobbins will have a week-one role, but then admitted he’d still have a less significant role than Ingram and even Gus Edwards on opening day. I’d imagine this to be one of Ingram’s best weeks of the season (given that the competition will be the lowest it’ll be) so I’m firing him up with confidence everywhere I have him. He should factor in as a top-15 option this week.
Start: Raheem Mostert (SF)
There are many questions revolving around the 49ers’ backfield, but I think it’s safe to assume that Mostert is going to be the majority back on this team. He doesn’t have very much PPR upside, but he’s always a threat to pop off for big yards and find the end zone. I’m expecting this game to be a shootout, so I’d gladly take any of the starters in this one. I know Mostert was taken as a fringe RB2 option by many that had landed him, but I think he can be started in this one.
Start: Tarik Cohen (CHI)
With David Montgomery out, it’s safe to assume that Cohen will see an uptick. I’m not saying that he’s going to be a workhorse back for Chicago to start the season, but I do think he’ll see at least 7-8 more touches than he normally does. Cohen was likely taken as a PPR upside back in the later-middle rounds of your draft, with the intentions on just holding him for your BYE weeks. However, I believe that Cohen will be able to put up legitimate starting running points from a fantasy perspective against Detroit in week one. (Temper expectations if you’re playing in a standard league… if you can’t tell, these notes are primarily for PPR leagues)
Start: Marlon Mack (IND)
Look, Jonathan Taylor will take over this backfield at some point this season, but it is not going to be in week one! Mack is going to see the majority of snaps out of the backfield in week one. We know that he is solid enough to post 1,000 yards on the ground, so why wouldn’t he be solid enough to be on your starting roster in week one? Much like Mark Ingram, this will be the week of the least competition for Mack. If you only start him one week all season, I genuinely think it’s going to be this week against Jacksonville.
Sit of the Week: Leonard Fournette (TB)
I am one of Fournette’s biggest fans, so of course it hurts a bit to list him as the sit of the week. Unfortunately, this was probably the easiest decision to make on the entire list. Fournette will do battle with Ronald Jones for touches, and while I do think he becomes the 1A to this offense, I wouldn’t expect it to happen in week one. Fournette is going to take some time to learn the offense, and although Bruce Arians has come out and said that Fournette will have a “substantial” role in week one, it’s also worth noting that Arians is still claiming that RoJo is “the guy”. We’ll see how it shakes up over the course of the season, but for week one, I think you can leave Fournette safely on your bench.
Sit: Jacksonville Running Backs
There’s a decent amount of hype for that backfield right now, between Chris Thompson being a pass-catching specialist, and Devine Ozigbo and James Robinson competing for early-down work. It’s going to make for a “hopefully” exciting competition on a team that is desperate for a running back right now, but here’s a gentle reminder: don’t start one of these guys in week one.
Here’s a bigger reminder: DON’T DO IT!
Sit: D’Andre Swift (DET)
Sitting Swift is less of a rookie hesitation and more of a real hesitation. Due to his missed days of training camp, he will enter the season firmly behind Kerryon Johnson on the depth chart (with a little of Adrian Peterson sprinkled in too). While I do think he’ll come out on top sooner than later, I wouldn’t expect Detroit to throw him to the wolves (or the Bears) in week one. They’re going to bring him on slow, so I wouldn’t have high expectations in week one.
Sit: Jonathan Taylor (IND)
Go look at my writeup again for Marlon Mack… I’m sitting Taylor for the exact same reasons. Temper those expectations; he’s doing battle with a fairly decent competitor for touches.
Start of the Week: D.J. Chark (JAX)
Between the facts that Leonard Fournette is out of Jacksonville and that the Jaguars will likely be playing catch up in this one, I’d put my money on Chark absolutely balling out. You probably didn’t need much motivation to slot him in those lineups for the start of the season, but here’s your reassurance that the dude is going to have himself a GAME.
Start: Julian Edelman (NE)
I like Newton against Miami in week one, so I must like his #1 option in Julian Edelman. Edelman has been the forgotten man this offseason, being drafted as a low-end WR3 in most leagues. If Newton can play as well as we know he can, then there’s no reason to believe that Edelman can’t be a 1,000-yard receiver this year. He’ll most definitely be Cam’s favorite target throughout the year, and they’ll look to get that chemistry cookin’ against the Dolphins this weekend.
Start: Michael Gallup (DAL)
I mentioned it before, but this game is going to be a total shootout, and who better to be the unsung hero than one of the most disrespected fantasy receivers this year: Michael Gallup. Gallup is uber talented and could arguable be the WR1 on at least 10 NFL teams. Unfortunately, he does not get the recognition he deserves since he is on a very talented offensive roster, but I think even in a crowded room, he’s going to showcase himself as a top-20 wide receiver on the season. Any time the Cowboys find themselves in a shootout, look to Gallup to be having one hell of a game.
Start: Emmanuel Sanders (NO)
There hasn’t been much out of camp on Sanders, but I think you could get away with using him as a deep flier this week. This is another game that could quickly turn into a shootout, and given Tampa Bay’s nature in the secondary, it could be a high-flying affair. You’re probably not desperate for a WR3 in week one of the season, but on the odd chance that you are, Sanders could be the perfect solution to your problem.
Sit of the Week: Christian Kirk (ARI)
I know I said this game has shootout written all over it, but I just don’t think it’ll be in the cards for Kirk. He’s WR3 at best on the depth chart. Combine that with a mobile quarterback, two running backs that know how to catch the ball, and three sophomore receivers looking for their big break… well, not only am I fading Kirk in week one, I’m fading him for the entire season. I know some may be tempted to slot him in as a back-end receiver this week, but I’d stay away from that completely.
Sit: Marquise Brown (BAL)
There’s a very decent chance that Brown could be the fantasy equivalent of DeSean Jackson; an awesome receiver when he’s on, but when he’s off… phew, man is he off. I have a hard time believing that the Ravens will see the same passing efficiencies as last year and I sure as hell am not going to use the first week of the season to place a wager on them keeping it up. Brown’s gotta be a tough to sit option given where you probably drafted him, but I think there are many better options, especially in a matchup against Cleveland.
Sit: Mecole Hardman (KC)
Hardman is just a very shiny boom/bust option given that he’s on the NFL’s best offense. You don’t have to make desperation plays in week one, and Hardman, in my opinion, is the definition of a desperation play. Sure, he could go off and get you 20 points, but he could also bottom out at less than five. Don’t take unnecessary risks in week one.
Sit: Allen Lazard (GB)
Lazard’s ADP has shot up (quite a lot) over the last couple of weeks. While it may be enticing to start Aaron Rodgers’ #2 target, you may want to take a week or two to actually figure out who that target is going to be. In all likeliness, it will be Lazard holding that title this season. But Green Bay is still figuring that out and may not feature any one receiver more than the next at that #2 spot. I think he’s a great stash for the season, but a must sit in week one.
Start of the Week: Hayden Hurst (ATL)
The Falcons have a week-one date with the Seahawks, and while that defense isn’t easiest to play, I wouldn’t sit any of the receivers from Atlanta. In fact, I’d go as far to say that Hurst can be thought of as a top-8 option for his first game in a Falcons’ uniform. Seattle was one of the worst teams against tight ends last year and given that they’ll have their hands full with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, I’d expect Hurst to emerge as the unsung hero. Fire him up!
Start: Dallas Goedert (PHI)
Philly receivers are hobbling into week one, which means that their tight ends will continue to lead the way. Goedert was not drafted as a starting tight end in many fantasy drafts this year, but he most definitely can be treated like one, especially against Washington. Goedert is a lock to finish as a TE1 in this one, and unless you have a complete stud ahead of him on your roster, he’s gotta be in your lineup.
Start: Noah Fant (DEN)
As I mentioned, I think Drew Lock is going to struggle a bit in week one, but that’s always good news for the tight end, especially a tight end that Lock knows he can trust. The Titans were a bottom-five team last year against the tight end which is also an added bonus. I think Fant will prove to be a TE1 this week and get the fantasy community buzzing over him once more.
Start: Eric Ebron (PIT)
Ebron isn’t exactly the first player that comes to mind when you’re thinking of a starting tight end of week one, but if you waited a bit too long to grab a starter, he could be the answer to your prayers. The Giants are less-than-average at containing opposing tight ends, and the Steelers seem to always feature one (as long as Ben Roethlisberger is slinging the rock). I think Ebron is a top-15 option at this position this week, and while he may not put up absurd numbers to start the season, the upside is definitely there and comes with a relatively safe floor.
Sit of the Week: Austin Hooper (CLE)
Hooper balled out last year in Atlanta, so I guess it’s ironic that he ends up as the sit of the week, while the new guy in Atlanta is the exact opposite. All kidding aside, Hooper is a guy I’ll be fading until Cleveland proves that they can make him fantasy relevant once again. There’s so many mouths to feed on that offense, and given that I don’t think it’ll be the most productive game in the air for Baker Mayfield, Hooper can be left on your bench in this one.
Sit: Jonnu Smith (TEN)
I’m one of Smith’s biggest truthers, but I’m going to avoid him if I can in week one. The team says that they are looking to get Smith the ball a ton more this season, but it’ll be nice to see it before I can believe it. I think the Titans will have a firm grip on this game, which means that Derrick Henry should maintain the reins for the majority of it. Smith figures to be a breakout candidate this year, but I’m not counting on it happening in week one. He seems to be a touchdown-dependent option against Denver.
Sit: Chris Herndon (NYJ)
Chris Herndon is a lie.
Sit: Jimmy Graham (CHI)
Nobody in their right mind is starting Graham this week, but I figure it was safe to say he’s an obvious bench option. Unless you’re in a two-TE league (do those exist?), you’re probably not even considering starting him.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we give out our 2020 NFL season predictions including division winners, playoff predictions and Super Bowl champions!