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 4:25 PM ET

Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

Betting Odds: KC -6, 54.5 Total on Oddshark

Network: CBS


Cleveland Browns



Baker Mayfield (Sit)


When these two teams met in the Divisional Playoffs last season, Baker Mayfield finished with 204 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. It may seem harsh but that’s not too far off what Mayfield is expected to perform against a top-half defense like the Chiefs. It’s not that he is a bad player, far from it, but his effectiveness in fantasy has fallen to the wayside as the running game has become the star of the Browns offense. In fact, last year Mayfield failed to score a touchdown in 4 games while only scoring more than 2 TDs in 2 games. Mayfield has a pretty low ceiling and his floor is just below where you would like to consider him as a starter.


Running Backs

Nick Chubb (Start, RB1), Kareem Hunt (Start, RB2)


Since entering the league in 2018, Nick Chubb started great and has only gotten better. Starting with 12 points per game in his rookie year, Chubb ascended to 16 in 2019 and 17.5 in 2020. Even in an offense filled with talent, Chubb is undoubtedly the star and will be the first option. This is a good matchup for him too, as the Chiefs found themselves in the bottom-10 of points given up to RBs last year. They brought in Jarran Reed to attempt to sure up their run defense, but the front seven is still the biggest weakness for Kansas City.

It is quite incredible that despite Chubb’s dominance in fantasy, Kareem Hunt has still been able to carve out a significant role behind him. To start last year, Hunt’s touches were only slightly behind Chubb’s and both were able to put up good numbers even as part of a rotation. Assuming that is how the Browns start the season again, Hunt should have no problem finding himself a top-12 RB in 2021. The only potential issue is, Hunt’s usage decreased drastically towards the end of the season. From week 13 onwards, including their two playoff games, he never had more than 10 rushing attempts which would significantly restrict his production. We will have to wait to see which version we get.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Odell Beckham Jr. (Sit), Jarvis Landry (Start, FLEX), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Sit), Austin Hooper (Start)


Unlike their rushing defense, the Chiefs were excellent at shutting down receivers in fantasy last year. Only the Rams, Washington, and Ravens allowed fewer fantasy points. This leaves the run-orientated Browns with little to work with for their receiver’s group. The Browns WR1 is Odell Beckham Jr. but the 28-year-old has failed to live up to his hype after the explosive New York Giants years. In his two years with the Browns, he has averaged 8 and 9 points per game, hardly a convincing starter. It does not help either that OBJ is coming back from a 2020 season shortened by an ACL injury and is still on the road to full recovery. He is expected to play but may show some signs of rust. Beckham has the potential to return to form but I would not bet on it happening in this game.

Opposed to Beckham, who can never quite live up to his hype, Jarvis Landry is the model of consistency. Generally not a particularly high ceiling option, you can always count on him to pull in plenty of receptions and a decent number of yards. 2020 was one of Landry’s worst years in fantasy, only scoring 12.5 points per game, but that is his floor and a good one at that. Quietly, Donovan Peoples-Jones had a very productive rookie season in 2020 and will provide further competition to Beckham and Landry for targets. The former sixth-round pick had over 300 yards in limited playing time and has looked good in preseason. Still, he is likely only a fantasy option if one of the bigger names goes down with an injury.

Tight End Austin Hooper is an intriguing option to start this game. The Chiefs defense gave up 954 yards to tight ends last year, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. If the Browns find their WRs shut down, Hooper might find himself open more than usual. The former Falcon signed a four-year, $42million contract last offseason but the 2020 season felt like more of a development year to fit him into the system. With an offseason to become more comfortable in the system, Hooper could return back to his 2019 standard of TE6 and take advantage of this Chiefs defense.


Kansas City Chiefs



Patrick Mahomes (Start)


Former MVP Patrick Mahomes is just about the easiest selection you will have to make in any week for your fantasy team. The Chiefs QB can explode from week to week and only had one game last season where he failed to score at least 18 fantasy points. The Browns were a bottom-half defense against QBs last year so expect yet another big day for Mahomes.


Running Backs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Start, RB2), Jerrick McKinnon (Sit)


There was a ridiculous level of hype around Clyde Edwards-Helaire in his rookie season, and he didn’t quite live up to it. Still, that is not to say he did not play well. In 13 games, he rushed for over 800 rushing yards and nearly 300 yards receiving. Those aren’t bad numbers but, with his talent and in this offense, there is still room to improve, particularly with more involvement in the passing game. Edwards-Helaire can easily find himself on an upward trajectory but Week 1 will be a tough test. The Browns had one of the better rush defenses in the league, allowing just 16 points per game to the position, and added Jadeveon Clowney to an already strong defensive line. Injuries are also a concern for CEH after suffering an ankle sprain in the preseason. He is expected to go but may see concede more snaps than other options until he’s fully healed.

The Chiefs also added Jerrick McKinnon to their RB group in 2021. McKinnon has missed the majority of the last three years due to continuous injuries but came back in 2020 to be relatively productive for the 49ers, particularly in their passing game. McKinnon is far from being startable in fantasy but he is likely to see the field relatively often if he can stay healthy and may cut into Edwards-Helaire’s touches. Who you see in the backfield on 3rd down will majorly affect how this backfield is judged for fantasy.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Mecole Hardman (Sit), Byron Pringle (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)


Tyreek Hill has been the best partner in helping the ascension of Patrick Mahomes to the NFL’s best QB. Hill finished last year averaging almost 22 points per game, the best season of his career so far. A large part of this was due to the 15 TDs scored over his 15 games. Only Davante Adams scored more. This is a considerable number and you might expect a little bit of regression coming into 2021. However, Hill is still one of the best receivers in the league and guarantees significant points regardless of the matchup. When he hits his ceiling it can be astronomical, shown by his 58 points scored against the Buccaneers last year.

Behind Hill, other options comprise predominantly of Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle. The Chiefs always seem to have a player that comes out and has a surprisingly big game, particularly in week 1, but this happens far too irregularly to rely on for fantasy. Neither have the floor to consider starting.

At 31-years-old, Travis Kelce does not show any signs of slowing down. The 2020 season was confidently the best of his career so far, finishing with 313 points on the way to easily being the TE1. That’s not just high for tight ends either, that would have put him as the WR3 behind only Hill and Adams. Until he shows signs to think otherwise, which does not seem will be any time soon, he will always be your starting TE. The Browns gave the 4th most points to receivers in 2020 but you have to take that with a grain of salt because there are not any TEs like Kelce. He will spend the entire afternoon double-teamed, not that it will make a difference to his production.


Statistics courtesy of Fantasy Data.

-Patrick McAndrew (@PMcAndrewNFL on Twitter)

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