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 12th at 1:00 PM ET

Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

Betting Odds: PIT +6.5, 48 total via Oddsshark

Network: CBS

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger (Sit, QB2)

 

Ben Roethlisberger may be in better shape, but we have yet to see if that affects his fantasy performance. “Big Ben” finished the 2020 season solidly in QB2 territory, and it remains to be seen if he can improve or if father time has finally caught up to him. It seems most fantasy managers believe the latter is more likely because Roethlisberger was drafted at the end of the QB2 tier in fantasy drafts this year. It’s possible Ben comes out and impresses the NFL community with an epic resurgence in Week 1, but most fantasy managers should keep him on the bench for at least the first week. The Bills were right in the middle of the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year, but that isn’t enough to make Roethlisberger start-able in leagues with 12 teams or fewer.

 

Running Backs

Najee Harris (Start, RB1), Benny Snell Jr. (Sit)

 

No matter what you think about fantasy’s highest-drafted rookie running back, it will certainly be interesting to see how Najee Harris pans out this year. The hype is likely warranted. The Steelers have been raving about their rookie since the draft for good reason. Harris is a skilled back who can catch the ball just as well as he runs it. The Bills were 20th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game last year, so Harris should have a good opportunity for an impressive debut performance in Week 1. I hope it isn’t ADP bias kicking in, but I feel Najee can put up an RB1 performance against the Bills.

It seems like it’s the “Najee Harris Show” in Pittsburgh. Benny Snell Jr. is nothing more than a handcuff for now.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Diontae Johnson (Start, WR2), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start-able Flex), Chase Claypool (Start-able Flex), Eric Ebron (Sit, Low-end TE2)

 

It feels a bit odd ranking Diontae Johnson first among the Steelers’ receivers, but here we are. Johnson is talented, and he certainly deserves the distinction, but the problem is the other gifted receivers in Pittsburgh. I believe Diontae can turn in a respectable WR2 performance against a middle-of-the-road Bills pass defense, but predicting the rest of the receivers’ output will be difficult. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool both belong in the Flex conversation this week, but their floors are both likely somewhere towards the end of that tier. That doesn’t mean both of them will only put up Flex numbers; it mostly means that writers within the fantasy community don’t quite know which one has a better shot at WR2 production. Both should be start-able with reliable Flex floors. The problem will be deciding who has a better shot at WR2 output. I’m ranking JuJu just slightly ahead of Chase, but not by much. Both should be serviceable Flex plays in 12-team leagues.

Don’t bother with Eric Ebron for now. He should be on the bench in most fantasy leagues with 10 or 12 teams. The Bills allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends last year, but that still isn’t enough to put Ebron in the start conversation.

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

Josh Allen (Start, QB1)

 

Not much to see here. I’m certainly not going to be the one to tell you to bench last year’s overall fantasy QB1, even with the poor match-up. Speaking of the match-up, I find it interesting that the Steelers’ defense was second-best in opponent passing yards per game last year but were 12th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Neither stat is necessarily negative on its own, but the difference between the two is intriguing. Josh Allen is a dynamic quarterback who doesn’t need to rely on just the passing game to find success. I’m confident that Allen will continue to impress NFL fans in 2021 and achieve another QB1 performance despite the tough match-up.

 

Running Backs

Devin Singletary (Sit), Zack Moss (Sit)

 

This is a difficult call to make because Devin Singletary and Zach Moss had very similar ADPs during 2021 fantasy drafts. Singletary was slightly ahead of Moss, likely because the former led the team in rushes (156) and played in all 16 games last year. It’s possible neither running back will be fantasy relevant this year if Moss stays healthy and splits touches with Singletary. I’m ranking both of these running backs just outside Flex territory for at least Week 1 against a stout Pittsburgh rush defense. I would much rather wait and see how this backfield shakes out first. The fantasy community should start re-thinking his value if Singletary receives the lion’s share in the backfield this week. If you need one more reason to devalue these Bills’ running backs, remember that Josh Allen led the Bills in rushing touchdowns last year. 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Stefon Diggs (Start, WR1), Cole Beasley (Sit), Emmanuel Sanders (Sit), Dawson Knox (Sit, Low-end TE2)

 

Pittsburgh allowed the twelfth-fewest fantasy points and second-fewest yards to wide receivers last year. The Steelers’ defense could be a tough match-up for most of the Buffalo receivers, but Stefon Diggs (2020’s overall WR3) should impress regardless. Diggs should be capable of a WR1 performance in the first week of the season. On the other hand, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders will be tough to trust against a capable Steelers secondary. Neither is in Flex territory this week so keep them both on the fantasy bench for now.

 

The Pittsburgh defense allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last year. This cruddy match-up should have fantasy managers fading Dawson Knox this week.

 

-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)

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