Fantasy Football: Starts, sits, sleepers, risks for every game in Week 1

Need Fantasy Football lineup advice? Talk to CBS Sports on your Google Assistant to get insights on the best sleepers and to help decide between players. Just start with, "Hey Google, talk to CBS Sports."

Looking for some lineup advice? You've come to the right place. First, use Dave Richard's Cheat Sheets — there's one for PPR right here, and another for Non-PPR here — and then go through every game on the schedule right here to find out who Dave is starting and sitting for all 32 teams.

Falcons at Eagles

Sneaky Sleeper

We know Philadelphia is thin on receivers with Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins hobbled. The only pass catcher who could reap with a favorable matchup is tight end Dallas Goedert. The 6-foot-5 rookie should find considerable playing time thanks to the size advantage he'll give Nick Foles. Following a solid preseason (five-plus targets per game with nine catches for 149 yards and a touchdown), Goedert's presence could put the Falcons in a bind since they'd not only have to cover him but also Zach Ertz, who is also 6-foot-5. Goedert isn't refined as a route-runner and doesn't have great speed but can be a big problem (pun intended) in the red zone and should get a lot of playing time. As streaming tight ends in Week 1 go, he's ahead of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Ricky Seals-Jones or a Bucs tight end.

Risky Starter

In four career games against Jim Schwartz-coached defenses, Matt Ryan has had multiple passing touchdowns once (2012 against a bad Lions team). This includes Ryan's last two games against the Eagles where Schwartz schemed to not only stymie Ryan but also limit the Falcons run game. Philadelphia's pass rush is also improved and should be in Ryan's face frequently. If you didn't draft Ryan to be your starter, don't change your plan now. If you did draft Ryan to be your starter, consider Andy Dalton off waivers.

Risky Starter

Agholor's never been good against Atlanta (24 yards or less in three career games including last year's playoff game) but that's not the reason to get nervous about starting him. In six games with Nick Foles last year, Agholor caught 29 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown with four or fewer targets in half of the games. Most of Agholor's touchdowns came against man coverage last year and several involved Carson Wentz biding time for him to burn downfield. Foles isn't quite as adept, and the Falcons pass rush won't let him sit back. With the hunch that the Eagles will primarily keep Agholor in the slot and not move him around too much despite their lack of receiver depth, Agholor seems a little too risky.

Bills at Ravens

Sneaky Sleeper

Maybe you drafted him as a speculative receiver you'd only use when the matchup is right. This should be one of those weeks. Brown has looked great since training camp began and gives Joe Flacco a new deep-ball threat. His speed could bust the Bills' zone coverage once or twice, especially if he finds himself in coverage against Vontae Davis, who allowed a deep touchdown to John Ross this preseason. But Brown also has a knack for doing well inside the red zone as 11 of his 17 career touchdowns have come from 20 yards or closer. If you need a spark at receiver, perhaps as a No. 3 option, give Brown a look.

Jaguars at Giants

Start Him in PPR

It's risky business starting any Jaguars receiver, but Cole should draw the best matchup among them against the Giants. While Big Blue has Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple as outside corners, they'll go with B.W. Webb as their slot guy. That's an exploitable matchup for Blake Bortles to attack. Cole proved last season he's able to extend short plays with his speed and could do the same here. I have him aggressively ranked ahead of Doug Baldwin, Robby Anderson and Randall Cobb in PPR leagues.

Sit Him

Last year the Jaguars did a good job keeping premier tight ends from putting up big numbers. Only five tight ends scored on them, and most of them were by unheralded backups. Their defense is mostly unchanged, so expect the Jaguars to lean on their safeties to match up with Engram in the red zone and their linebackers to do most of the covering from everywhere else. It wouldn't be surprising to see Engram play a little tentatively in his first game after suffering a concussion. It would be surprising if he blew up for a big game against this defense.

Buccaneers at Saints

Start Him

The Saints finished last season allowing at least one score to a running back in seven straight matchups. That includes a Week 17 showdown with Barber, who totaled 89 yards and a score on 19 touches. New Orleans added linebacker Demario Davis and will get back lineman Alex Okafor to help better contain the ground game, but Barber was really impressive this August and should be given plenty of opportunities to test New Orleans' defensive front. Clearly the Buccaneers' best running back, he should benefit from an improved offensive line and even a split of the passing downs work with Tampa's other backs. Barber had 15-plus touches in four of his past five overall and should see at least that many on Sunday with all goal-line opportunities. I'd gladly use him ahead of Chris Carson, Jay Ajayi, Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson.

Titans at Dolphins

Sneaky Sleeper

No doubt about it, starting Davis means taking a leap of faith in Week 1. Including the playoffs he had just two games out of 13 last season that equated to nine-plus Fantasy points, and we didn't see him make as much as a reception in a preseason game. But the 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver stood out in practices, including in joint workouts with the Buccaneers. Tennessee changed its offense and will move Davis all over the formation looking for matchups to exploit. Miami has a number of underrated, tall cornerbacks who will see a lot of Davis on Sunday, but it's not quite enough to sway Fantasy owners from trying Davis. He's much better as a third receiver or flex than as a No. 2.

Start Him in PPR

Lewis' injury history made him a risky choice on Draft Day, but he's healthy and available for Week 1, and I suspect the Titans will find unique ways to use him. It's not so much that the matchup is great for him — he's had mixed production against Miami going back to his days with the Patriots and the Dolphins weren't bad at all against pass-catching running backs. It's simply the assumption that Lewis will make a few plays as a receiver, pick up a handful of carries and help deliver north of 11 Fantasy points in full PPR leagues. He's more of a low-end flex in non-PPR.

Start Him

We've surmised all summer that Stills is the Dolphins' best receiver heading into 2018. The toughest matchup he'll have on Sunday would be going man-to-man with Adoreé Jackson, who has the speed to run with him, but even that wouldn't be so bad because Jackson allowed seven touchdowns last year. Jackson is far from guaranteed to shadow Stills anyway — that's good. And you might be worried about Ryan Tannehill throwing, but nine of Stills' 18 scores with the Dolphins have come from Tannehill — and that number would obviously be higher if Tannehill played last season. The upside here makes Stills a No. 2 Fantasy receiver with a better outlook than Amari Cooper and Marquise Goodwin.

Bengals at Colts

Start Him

This is the perfect matchup for Eifert to begin his season. Indianapolis will use players like Clayton Geathers and Najee Goode to try to contain the 6-foot-6 Eifert. With Andy Dalton happy to have his big red-zone buddy back, expect him to focus on this specific matchup to help build a lead. It also bears repeating: Eifert has 20 touchdowns in 39 regular-season games, so he pretty much has a 50-50 shot to score each week. This matchup should make that probability more like 60-40.

Start Him

The Colts pass rush is weak and their secondary inexperienced. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Dalton have an efficient, if not incredible, game to kick off 2018. Eifert's healthy, John Ross' speed will give Dalton a fresh dimension to utilize and A.J. Green should keep doing great things. It sure doesn't hurt that Dalton had a clean 243-yard, two-score game versus Indy last season without Eifert (and Ross had one target). If you drafted Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garoppolo or even Russell Wilson and want an alternative, use Dalton just for this week — then feed him back to waivers when he plays the Ravens in Week 2.

Start Them

After T.Y. Hilton, who is the second-best target for Andrew Luck? On a weekly basis, one of these two should be it. Ebron profiles as more of a receiver, but Doyle has great hands and is a huge target near the line of scrimmage. More importantly, Frank Reich helped curate an offense in Philly that routinely used two tight ends — one who would work downfield and another who could also block. Count on the Colts using both of these tight ends quite a bit, if only because they don't have the receivers to make plays and because they'll play from behind a bunch. Cincinnati's starting safeties are a potential matchup target for Luck. Ebron has more upside of the two, but both can be considered usable starters in Week 1.

Steelers at Browns

Start Him

As of this writing, Le'Veon Bell hasn't signed his franchise tender from the Steelers. That would make James Conner the Steelers' starting running back against the Browns. Conner is a pretty good back — he averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 8.7 yards per catch this preseason and 4.5 yards per rush in 2017. He might lose a few touches here and there to Jaylen Samuels, but Conner should get his hands on the ball at least 15 times. He won't produce like Le'Veon but he sure will serve as at least a No. 2 running back. His matchups get better in Weeks 2 and 3, so if you have him, hope Bell stays away.

Start Him

Can Vince Williams be the run-stopper Ryan Shazier was? He couldn't put the Steelers defense back toward the top of the run defense mountain last season — 10 of the 16 rushing touchdowns allowed to backs came after Shazier's injury. Now Williams will man the middle of the defense with journeyman Jon Bostic, keeping the concerns about stopping the run rolling into 2018. The Browns' interior offensive line remains strong and they upgraded their run game by adding Hyde. He meshed successfully with the offense this preseason and even told CBSSports.com that the scheme fits him better than previous offenses he was in. It would be an upset if Hyde laid an egg in his Cleveland debut. I'd put him ahead of Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller, Marshawn Lynch and any 49ers running back.

Start Him

Until further notice, Njoku is a touchdown-or-bust tight end, but the Steelers secondary has so many questions that it wouldn't be wrong to trust Njoku to come down for six. Last year Pittsburgh used Ryan Shazier and William Gay to help cover tight ends, but they're not on the active roster. Now those chores could fall on Jon Bostic, Morgan Burnett or rookie Terrell Edmunds. It puts a target on the Pittsburgh defense, a unit that allowed 52 yards and a touchdown to a tight end from Tyrod Taylor in his only game against them in 2016 (same defensive scheme).

Texans at Patriots

Risky Starter

We know Miller looked slimmer and quicker this preseason, but a lousy track record against the Patriots makes him a dicey proposition. He's averaged 18 carries and three catches over his three games against the Patriots as a member of the Texans and he's failed to exceed 10 Fantasy points (14 in PPR) in any of them. You can even take it back to his past eight games against Bill Belichick's crew and he's still failed to rack up double digits even with a good workload. For what it's worth, New England's run defense looked much improved this preseason thanks to the bigger bodies they added this offseason. Miller is barely in the RB2 conversation this week.

Risky Starter

This is a frustrating case of a good running back sunk deep within a committee against a strong defensive team. The Texans' front seven is at full strength after missing several key players last season. Last year it held the Pats' backs to 76 total yards on 23 touches (Burkhead didn't play), but in the 2016 playoffs (pre-Burkhead) the Pats' rushers tallied three touchdowns and 114 collective yards on Houston. The larger issue involves just how many touches Burkhead will get — the Pats can use Jeremy Hill at the goal line as well as to kill the clock, and James White will at least work as the passing downs back. Burkhead had 10-plus carries three times last season and 15-plus touches twice. He also averaged over 4.0 yards per game three times all season. Seems unlikely he'll see even more work. Better to take a wait-and-see approach with Burkhead if you can.

49ers at Vikings

Sit Him

Goodwin will have some very good weeks, but I'd be surprised if this was one of them, at least in non-PPR. The Vikings boast one of the deepest cornerback groups in the league and also tend to scheme very well against No. 1 receivers. They also have a pass rush that will challenge Jimmy Garoppolo and make it hard for him to connect deep with Goodwin — something he's already not perfect at. Goodwin could catch a bunch of short-range passes, saving his PPR value, but don't expect a slew of yards or a touchdown from him in what will be one of maybe four or five difficult matchups he'll have.

Risky Starter

Nothing about the matchup is concerning for Thielen. Really this is more about his slow start in the preseason and the continuing development of chemistry with Kirk Cousins. Another issue: As decent as the matchup is for Thielen, it's especially good for Stefon Diggs. And if that's not enough, the Vikings should be able to build a comfortable lead without leaning on Thielen, giving fewer targets for the tall slot receiver to work with. He's fine as a flex or a No. 3 receiver but I'd be nervous to start him as a No. 2 choice.

Chiefs at Chargers

Sneaky Sleeper

Before you shy away from trying Mahomes in your lineup, consider this: Andy Reid's quarterback (read: Alex Smith) has put up the kind of numbers to produce at least 18 Fantasy points in four straight games against the Chargers. In those games, the Chiefs have scored 33, 37, 24 and 30 points and are 4-0. Reid has had all offseason to prepare Mahomes for this matchup, and gets the Bolts without top cornerback Jason Verrett. Bench him if you can't find it inside you to trust him, but going with Matt Ryan, Marcus Mariota or Jimmy Garoppolo instead feels like a mistake.

Start Him

The Chiefs pass rush is iffy, the secondary is shaky and Rivers has arguably his most diverse offense — complete with a solid O-line — in at least four years. Look especially for Rivers to pick on slot corner Orlando Scandrick if he draws Keenan Allen in coverage, or on the 5-foot-10 Steven Nelson if he goes head-up against the 6-foot-3 Mike Williams (or 6-foot-4 Tyrell Williams), or on Ron Parker with Antonio Gates on the field. Point is, he'll have matchups all over the place. While it's scary that Rivers hasn't posted even 20 Fantasy points in eight straight games against the Chiefs, the matchup screams success.

Cowboys at Panthers

Sneaky Sleeper

You didn't think I'd tell you to draft Gallup in every league and then not consider starting him, did you? The Panthers secondary is loaded with question marks, right down to rookie corner Donte Jackson. This is the matchup Gallup can handle in his first NFL game, rolling against a corner he has a size advantage against. The Panthers might end up playing a ton of zone coverage anyway, but that benefits Gallup based on the crisp routes he ran this preseason. Gallup was also a target in the end zone a handful of times, something that will help him greatly. In non-PPR leagues he's worth a shot over Golden Tate, Randall Cobb, Cooper Kupp, Kelvin Benjamin and every other rookie receiver.

Seahawks at Broncos

Start Him

This isn't the Seahawks defense you remember. The Legion of Boom is history, and now the likes of Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman will see Sanders up close and personal. That's going to look good to Case Keenum, who targeted Sanders 15 times in two preseason games (the next closest is Demaryius Thomas at five). Sanders' versatility and speed will make him a tough cover for Seattle's revamped secondary. He's worth taking a chance on as a No. 2 receiver.

Sit Him

I appreciate Baldwin as a player and even more so as a candid personality, but when he announced he wouldn't be 100 percent at all this season, I felt like he was almost warning us. He's been good for about 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns each of the past three seasons, but his consistency has waned. He'll open the season lined up across from cornerback Chris Harris, who won't always play in the slot but figures to take on an opponent's No. 1 guy. Harris allowed just three touchdowns over 70 targets last season with never more than 67 yards in a single outing. Russell Wilson's going to have to lean on other teammates to get the job done at Mile High.

Redskins at Cardinals

Sit Him

We will probably never see Reed play as explosively as he did a few years back because of all the injuries he's suffered. While it's great to have him back and doubly good to pair him with a tight-end happy quarterback like Alex Smith, there's a specific track record that does not favor him at all. New Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is a long-time defensive guru who has done a nice job profiling and strategizing against opposing tight ends. In his last game calling plays against Alex Smith he schemed to take Travis Kelce away (3-31-0) and in two career games against Jay Gruden offenses he held Jordan Reed down (6-46-0 in 2015) as well as the Redskins tight ends group (5-29-0 in 2016). With the Panthers last year, Wilks' squad allowed just five touchdowns to No. 1 tight ends all season. Already given an edge with Patrick Peterson playing on the outside corner, bank on Wilks doing plenty to limit Reed and keep him out of the end zone.

Bears at Packers

Start Him

Don't be nervous to start Robinson in what is evolving into a decent matchup. The Packers defense will eventually be great but for now they're flooded with inexperience at corner, thin at middle linebacker and satisfactory in the pass rush department. It all should make things easier for Mitchell Trubisky to connect with all of his receivers, including his big-bodied outside target who's scored a touchdown in 22 of 43 career games. Best of all, the Bears should either find themselves in a shoot-out or playing from behind, making it more likely that Robinson gets pelted with targets. I'm fine starting him over Demaryius Thomas and Michael Crabtree.

Jets at Lions

Sneaky Sleeper

We're working under the assumption that LeGarrette Blount will start and hog goal-line carries along with Theo Riddick taking passing downs. But who would take the carries in a clock-killing situation? There is a chance the Lions will hold the Jets to just a handful of points, making it easier for Detroit to lean on the run in the second half. Why not give the work to their young rookie running back and see what he can do? It's a risk — the Lions have three running backs to utilize, after all! — but Johnson could begin landing some needed experience and help save those Fantasy owners who are thin at the position.

Sit Him

It's a combo platter of trouble for Anderson. Problem No. 1: New Lions coach Matt Patricia coordinated the Patriots' defenses that hounded Anderson the past couple of seasons, holding him touchdownless and under 80 yards in each of four games. Problem No. 2: The Lions have a great cover corner in Darius Slay, who should see plenty of Anderson in this game. Problem No. 3: Anderson will catch passes from rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who will make his regular-season debut. The two hooked up for zero touchdowns and zero completions of 15-plus yards in the preseason, highlighting concerns about Darnold's deep passing ability. And in case that's not enough, Anderson has one career game with 10-plus Fantasy points while on the road in his two-year career. Please don't start him.

Rams at Raiders

Sit Him

Lynch will go up against a Rams defensive front that should be very tough to run on. With Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh clogging the interior offensive line, Lynch will have to make plays along the edges and through the air. It wouldn't be surprising to see him break a few decent plays that way but not more than three or four, and certainly not when the Raiders are chasing the Rams' score in the second half. This won't make Lynch a bust for the season, but it will be evidence that the Rams defense is legit.

Risky Starter

At the very least, Cooper should get plenty of targets. However, the Rams figure to put the clamps on him with their much-upgraded secondary. Los Angeles newcomer Aqib Talib has covered Cooper plenty going back to his days with the Broncos and has never allowed a huge play to him. Similarly, Marcus Peters also has experience with Cooper, and despite the receiver ripping up the Chiefs in recent history, Peters never allowed any big plays to him. The Rams pass rush will hinder Derek Carr and make it hard for him to even get the ball consistently to Cooper. It's going to be a long night for the receiver.

So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 1 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking TE is going to finish in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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