Sit/Start Week 1: Reviewing All Fantasy Relevant Players In Every Single Game

Fantasy Football Sit or Start recommendations for every player in Week 1 of the season.

Game Info

 

Kickoff: Sunday, September 11th, 8:20 PM ET

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Betting Odds: TB -2.5, 51 total via PFF.com

Network: NBC

Writer: Chris Sanzo (@Doombot12_FF on Twitter)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Quarterback

Tom Brady (Start, QB1)

 

This is a borderline call. Going into his 53rd season in the league, there are always going to be questions about when the precipice will hit. While I certainly won’t be the person filing his retirement papers, he has a lot against him Week 1 in Arlington. Dallas is no slouch team. They appear stronger in the front seven than they have in years and that bodes poorly for Tampa’s offensive line that has had a preseason full of injuries and turnover. Going into AT&T Stadium as the road favorite is certainly already a dangerous game, doing it in the opener without arguably your best weapon in WR Chris Godwin, assuming he doesn’t suit up or at very least is not at 100%, is another level of difficult. Brady projects to be a back-end QB1 so if you drafted him later as your QB2, consider your other options first, but don’t actively fade him if he’s your QB1.

 

Running Backs

Leonard Fournette (Start, RB1), Rachaad White (Start, Flex), Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Sit)

 

There has been talk all offseason about RB Leonard Fournette‘s workload. Fournette played 10 of the first 11 games under 80% snap share and still averaged over 15 points in those games. When he received over 80%, he averaged over 25 points per game. He also finished the regular season on the sideline as he injured his hamstring and did not play another regular season down after he briefly came back in Week 15. When Fournette did play against the Cowboys, he nearly had as many targets as he did carries. Not only will his 9 carries for 32 yards increase this year, but he should be close to the 7 targets as well. If Tampa is going to reel back his snaps, it creates an opening for RB Rachaad White to be a contributor from day one. White has the ability to open up distance when he catches it in the flat, and if the Bucs want to play to his strengths, this will be the James White role people expected from Gio Bernard that never materialized. White, unlike Gio, does not have to come off the field and could spell Fournette for longer stretches, matching up with the front office’s plans. Against a Dallas team that has had issues stopping RBs and in a projected high-scoring affair, both backs could be potential starts. Sorry Ke’Shawn Vaughn, it’s not your week.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Mike Evans (Start, WR1), Chris Godwin (Sit), Russell Gage (Start, Flex), Julio Jones (Sit), Cameron Brate (Sit), Cade Otton (Sit)

 

This group is largely tied to the injury report this weekend. Mike Evans is the only locked and loaded starter and he should earn somewhere in the area of 10 targets, including plenty of red zone work. He will have a tough draw with Trevon Diggs likely covering him on the majority of his snaps. In his last game against the Cowboys, Evans was held to just 24 yards and 3 receptions on 6 targets. However, the three leading pass catchers in that tilt were WR Antonio Brown, WR Chris Godwin, and TE Rob Gronkowski; none of these three will (probably) be playing in week 1. TE Cameron Brate is on the cusp of sneaking into the ranks as the Cowboys present an easy target in the middle of the zone, but the Bucs will need to show he’s a clear starter and not just an interchangeable part of a messy TE committee. If you drafted Russell Gage, this is exactly why. With Evans and Julio Jones on the outside and Chris Godwin not being 100% coming off last season’s injury, Gage is in a perfect spot to pay fantasy managers back immediately. The weakness to the Cowboys’ defense is in the interior and that is where you’ll not only see the RBs picking up targets, but Gage should be the second highest target earner on that squad come Sunday. Brady loves the quick hitters with room for more and that is the perfect marriage to Gage’s game. He lives off low aDOT, high YAC targets. If the injury report doesn’t flip on its head, start Gage with confidence.

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott (Start, QB1)

 

Last season was a tale of two halves, as they say. There was pre-injury Dak Prescott that averaged over 300 yards and 2.66 TDs per game. Then there was post-injury Dak that had trouble throwing outside and averaged barely over 260 yards and only 2.1 TDs per game. Now with Dak’s health back, he should be closer to the guy that dropped 403 yards and 3 TDs in their opener against Tampa last year. Though the offensive line looks to have just as many questions as, if not more than, Tampa, they will have their two top pass-catching options in WR CeeDee Lamb and TE Dalton Schultz. If Dak can keep the jersey clean, he should be in line for another big day in the air, and maybe some bonus rushing yards when the pressure gets through.

 

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott (Sit, RB3), Tony Pollard (Sit, Flex)

 

This is not the dream start you want to see as an Ezekiel Elliott manager. Despite last year’s game taking place in Zeke’s “healthy window” earlier in the season, he managed just 33 yards on 11 carries and added 2 receptions for 6 yards. It was a rough game last year, and nothing should change. Tampa is still just as solid up the middle of their defense and Zeke isn’t about to head to the slot for more opportunities. One player that may, however, is Tony Pollard. There has been off-season chatter that has grown louder as we progress that Pollard will take snaps to spell Zeke, but will also occasionally line up in the slot in certain packages. As this game should provide some shootout opportunity, the preference is to take the back with the highest ceiling in the passing game, Pollard, but without any rushing upside whatsoever, he’s just nothing more than a speculative start. On a more positive side, he caught all four of his targets for 29 yards last season to go along with the 14 yards he posted on only 3 carries. The efficiency was there, but as usual with this crack Dallas squad, the volume was not. He’s not the worst start if he can build on last year’s work, but only if he’s your RB2 in a Zero-RB-styled running back room.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

CeeDee Lamb (Start, WR1), Michael Gallup (Sit), Jalen Tolbert (Start, Flex), Dalton Schultz (Start, TE1), Noah Brown (Sit)

 

The obvious sit of the group is Michael Gallup as he personally confirmed weeks ago that he will miss the season opener while he finishes recovering from his injury. Noah Brown becomes his direct replacement but is also a Sit as the aerial game will consolidate around WR CeeDee Lamb, TE Dalton Schultz, WR Jalen Tolbert, and RB Tony Pollard. Lamb is a must-start in all formats and has every opportunity to become the alpha Dallas drafted him to be. In their season opener last year, Lamb logged 15 targets on only a 73% snap share. With his share nearly guaranteed now, it isn’t unreasonable to think he could post a similar line this time around. The surprise rookie performance this week could very well be Jalen Tolbert. When he was drafted, it appeared he was brought in to replace Gallup as the skill set for the Z seemed a natural fit. However, he has become the de facto slot receiver for the Cowboys, taking over 75% of his snaps from the slot this preseason. If he does control a snap share of over 60% and get an aDOT under 10 yards, Dallas has shown it can sustain fantasy relevance from the middle of the field alone. Dalton Schultz will start the season as the number two pass catcher behind only CeeDee Lamb. With no Gallup in the lineup and Amari Cooper out in Cleveland, his red zone share should also improve from the limited involvement he had last season, securing only 9 receptions in the red zone in the regular season.

5 responses to “Sit/Start Week 1: Reviewing All Fantasy Relevant Players In Every Single Game”

  1. Tracey says:

    Great format! I’ll be looking at your site all year if this is the standard. Thanks

  2. Gustavo says:

    Excellent job! Thanks for the info !!!

  3. Anthony says:

    This is great info, love the format. Will definitely be looking for more.

  4. Mark Borezo says:

    Me likey the list !!! Bestest start/sit list this side of the Mississippi buster !

  5. CB says:

    Thank you for this! I look forward to reading this every week!

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