Fantasy Football Week 1: Who to play, who to sit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fantasy Football Week 1: Who to play, who to sit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – NFL fans, you can exhale.

After an offseason dominated by under-inflated footballs, we are finally on the cusp of meaningful games.

And, more importantly to some, it’s also time to finalize those fantasy rosters.

Forbes said last year that more than 30 million people play fantasy football every year. And if you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you do too.

So, those of us at WDRB want to help you out.

Several times a week, we’ll post a Fantasy Football Blog, an attempt to help you come out on top in your league, maybe win some money and gain a year’s worth of bragging rights over your friends and/or coworkers.

For Week 1, here’s a look at one guy to start and one to sit at each offensive position:

Quarterback

Start: Tom Brady, Patriots

Whether you think he’s a serial cheater or not, most will admit the removal of Brady’s four-game suspension last week is bad news for the Steelers. The first game of the regular season Thursday between New England and Pittsburgh has a drastically different feel to it with the four-time Super Bowl winner under center. And after being labeled a cheater for nine months, you can bet Brady will come out in prime time with a heavy chip on his shoulder. Count on a big night.

Sit: Kirk Cousins, Redskins

With the expected starter in Washington, Robert Griffin III, out with a concussion, Cousins was given control of the team last week. Griffin may be back at some point, but who knows given the near-constant drama in the nation’s capital However, an opening game against Miami, one of the NFL’s fiercest defenses featuring newly-acquired defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, is no easy start for a fairly inexperienced quarterback. Cousins has a big arm and could have some big games this year. But Sunday may not be one of them.

Running Back

Start: Eddie Lacy, Packers

Lacy is poised to see an increased workload in 2015 after Green Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver Jordy Nelson tore his ACL during the preseason.  Lacy started slow last season, but plenty of carries and even some looks in the passing game make him maybe the top projected running back in the league. And Chicago’s 30th ranked defense last year won’t pose too much of a challenge. Count on Lacy this week.

Sit: Melvin Gordon, Chargers

Maybe the top rookie of 2015 hasn’t really impressed through the preseason.  He has struggled to find holes behind a shaky offensive line, and this week should be as hard as it gets against the Detroit Lions’ front seven. The very best run defense in the NFL in 2014 might be the toughest NFL debut Gordon could have imagined. He may ultimately win the Rookie of the Year, but wait until Week 2 for that talent to show.

Wide Receiver

Start: Jordan Matthews, Eagles

At just 23-years-old, Matthews is one of the league’s young stars at wide receiver. There is a bit of uncertainty at quarterback in Philadelphia, but Matthews is the team’s top target, regardless of who is throwing him the ball. An impressive preseason with a few highlight-reel catches didn’t temper expectations. And going against an Atlanta defense in Week 1 that gave up more yards to wide receivers than any other in 2014, Matthews could kick-start a breakout season on Monday night.

Sit: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Another talented 23-year-old faces a tough test Sunday. Hopkins is the top pass-catcher in Houston and had a few impressive showings in the preseason. But Brian Hoyer’s Texans debut at quarterback couldn’t be much tougher against a Chief’s defense that held opposing wide receivers to the second-fewest yards per game in 2014. I like Hopkins this year once he and Hoyer establish a rapport. Lay off him this week.

Tight End

Start: Delanie Walker, Titans

Walker had his moments in 2014, but lacked consistency. The fix for that could come with the arrival of No. 2 overall draft pick, Marcus Mariota. A Week 1 matchup with Tampa Bay could help as well, as the Bucs’ secondary struggled to stop much of anyone last year. Walker could become Mariota’s go-to guy in the slot. They’ll start fast in 2015.

Sit: Travis Kelce, Chiefs

Kelce is one of the more trendy picks at tight end this year. He’s versatile and may be the best yards-after-catch guy at his position in the league. But it’s hard to create separation at the line against Houston’s big and fast front seven. Kelce likely will get his share of targets from Alex Smith, but this may not be the matchup that will highlight his athleticism against such a strong defense.

Local Outlook

- Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) begins his second season in the NFL under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. A matchup with San Francisco is a welcomed start too. The 49ers lost its coach and its best defensive lineman from last year, and expectations are way down. Teddy has a great chance to show how much he’s improved since the start of 2014.

- Miami’s Devante Parker (Louisville) is still a bit of a question mark as he returns from offseason foot surgery. He caught one ball for 11 yards in the Dolphins’ final preseason game, which was encouraging. A Week 1 matchup with Washington is far from daunting, but Parker’s fantasy owners should use some caution until he proves that foot is 100 percent.

- Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman (Indiana) is sure to get plenty of carries this season, but how many is yet to be seen. Coleman is battling for the top spot at running back with Devonta Freeman, and Falcons’ coaches have basically said the two will share looks for the time being. Coleman has big play ability in the NFL, but he’s hard to rely on in the FLEX spot on fantasy rosters unless he gets the majority of the snaps in Atlanta. 

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