Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Jamaal Williams ready for his audition
Jamaal Williams has a big opportunity in front of him, but he needs to hit the ground running to do so. Jamey Eisenberg thinks he will, and that's why he will start
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It's here. It's finally here. All the months you've been waiting for since your last Fantasy season ended, which was hopefully with a championship, and your weeks of preparation have brought you to this point.
We've arrived at Week 1.
Hopefully, you're proud of the team you just drafted. You got the sleepers and breakouts you wanted. You steered clear of those busts. Your team is ready to set sail and lead you to a title.
If only it was that easy.
Now comes the hard part. The draft is only the beginning of your Fantasy journey, and navigating the season is how you prove your worth as a Fantasy general manager.
And it starts now. The good thing is you're ready, and if not, we have you covered.
Between our rankings, waiver wire suggestions and all of our Fantasy Football Today programming on CBS Sports HQ, as well as our Fantasy Football Today podcast, you have a plethora of knowledge at your disposal. And here, we'll give you all the start/sit suggestions you'll need, along with plenty of sleepers.
Good luck this season. And hopefully all of you start out 1-0 this week. The start of the 2018 season is upon us, and now is the best time of the year.
Editor's Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine and not Jamey Eisenberg. Projected points are for PPR leagues.
Start of the Week
The audition for Jamaal Williams to be the best running back in Green Bay starts now. And hopefully he runs away with the job.
Aaron Jones is suspended for the first two games. Ty Montgomery seems destined to be a change-of-pace rusher and play on passing downs. And coach Mike McCarthy has heaped plenty of praise on Williams in the preseason.
"He's really poised to have a big year," McCarthy said in August. "Clearly without playing a game yet, I think we'll be talking about him at the end of the season as a second-year player that's made the jump."
The jump starts now in Week 1 against the Bears. Williams faced Chicago as the starter last year in Week 10 and had 20 carries for 67 yards and one catch for 7 yards. It was his worst game of the six he had with at least 16 touches.
But there was a big difference in that matchup compared to this week, and it's that Aaron Rodgers is playing; the QB missed nine games last season with a broken collarbone. The offense is clearly more explosive with Rodgers, and that's a huge boost for Williams.
We'll find out if Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring) will play this week, and Chicago's defense got dramatically better with the addition of standout pass rusher Khalil Mack. But stopping the Packers in Lambeau Field will be a tall task, and Green Bay is a heavy favorite at home.
Look for Williams to once again get 16-plus touches this week. And he should deliver a quality stat line as at least a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues.
This should be the start of the "big year" that McCarthy is forecasting for him. And Williams will prove he's the best running back in Green Bay in 2018.
I'm starting Williams over: Saquon Barkley (vs. JAC), Devonta Freeman (at PHI), Jordan Howard (at GB), Carlos Hyde (vs. PIT), LeSean McCoy (at BAL)
Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.
|19.4 projected points|
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
|Rivers didn't play well against the Chiefs last year. In two games, he passed for just 464 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions. But forget about last year, because the Chiefs defense should be bad, especially if safety Eric Berry (heel) isn't ready to go. Rivers should benefit with the return of Antonio Gates, and hopefully we see more from second-year receiver Mike Williams. Rivers is also averaging 26.8 Fantasy points in his past five home openers.|
|18.8 projected points|
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
|Stafford has a great track record in season openers, and he comes into this matchup against the Jets averaging 27.8 Fantasy points in his past five Week 1 outings. He also averaged 23.0 Fantasy points per game at home last season. The Jets were one of four teams to allow 30 passing touchdowns last season, along with the Giants, Texans and Packers, and this defense is still a work in progress. Given that Stafford is at home in prime time, I expect him to play like a top-10 Fantasy quarterback this week.|
|20.0 projected points|
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
|Cousins will make his regular-season debut for the Vikings against the 49ers, and he should have a strong performance. San Francisco was miserable in pass defense last season, and the 49ers' secondary is still a work in progress, even with the addition of cornerback Richard Sherman. While Minnesota's offensive line is still banged up with center Pat Elflein (ankle/shoulder) ailing, and Cousins was shaky at times during the preseason, he still should make a solid impression in his first game for the Vikings.|
|20.2 projected points|
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
|Goff was great on the road last season as he averaged 21.5 Fantasy points in eight games. He should have the chance to score even more than that given the matchup against the Raiders. Oakland's defense was expected to be bad even with standout pass rusher Khalil Mack. With Mack now in Chicago, Goff and the Rams should have plenty of success, and we'll see how Brandin Cooks fits with his new team. The Rams took the preseason off with their starters, but Goff should be on in a big way in Week 1.|
|17.2 projected points|
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals QB
|I'm genuinely excited for Dalton this week against the Colts. The Bengals have an improved offensive line with the additions of Cordy Glenn and Billy Price, and Dalton has healthy targets in Tyler Eifert and John Ross joining A.J. Green and Joe Mixon (one of my favorite running backs in Week 1). Dalton looked good in the third preseason game against Buffalo when he completed 11-of-16 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and he should have the chance for a similar performance given the matchup against Indianapolis. I'm starting Dalton is a couple of leagues, and I expect him to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in Week 1.|
- Tyrod Taylor (vs. PIT): Taylor should be fine following his wrist/finger injury from the preseason, and he gets a bonus with Josh Gordon expected to play this week against the Steelers. Look for Taylor to be productive at home, especially if the Browns are chasing points late in the game.
- Marcus Mariota (at MIA): The last time Mariota played at Miami was Week 5 in 2016, and he had 163 passing yards and three touchdowns along with 60 rushing yards and a touchdown, good for 36 Fantasy points. It's the third-most Fantasy points he's scored in his career. Let's hope for a repeat performance this week.
- Sam Bradford (vs. WAS): When healthy, Bradford has been a decent Fantasy quarterback, and his track record in season-opening games reflects that. Over his last four season-opening games, Bradford is averaging 317 passing yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He's a great streaming option in two-quarterback leagues in Week 1.
|14.8 projected points|
Eli Manning New York Giants QB
|I have some optimism for Manning this season with Odell Beckham coming back, the addition of rookie running back Saquon Barkley and a strong supporting cast with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, as well as an improved offensive line. But this is not the week to trust Manning, even in two-quarterback leagues. The Jaguars defense will make it tough on all the Giants, but Manning is the easy one to shy away from in all formats. His time will come as long as Beckham is healthy, but keep Manning on the bench in all leagues in Week 1.|
|16.0 projected points|
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
|Ryan has faced the Eagles in each of the past two seasons, including the playoffs, and he's combined for 477 yards, two touchdowns and one interception over two games The Eagles offense might be missing some key parts, but the defense should still be tough, even with linebacker Nigel Bradham suspended for this game. Ryan should rebound in 2018 after a down year in 2017, but this isn't the week to start him in most leagues.|
|15.4 projected points|
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
|Over the final 13 games last season, the Vikings allowed multiple passing touchdowns to a quarterback just once, and this defense got better with the additions of Sheldon Richardson and George Iloka . Garoppolo should have the chance for a big year in 2018, but this isn't a good matchup to trust him on the road. In three road games last year at Chicago, Houston and the Rams, Garoppolo averaged just 15 Fantasy points a game.|
|16.8 projected points|
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|Prescott will have to prove he can play well despite having his standout offensive line at less than full strength. With center Travis Frederick (illness) out, it could be tough for Prescott to have a solid Fantasy outing, especially with an unproven receiving corps. He comes into this game with one outing of more than 20 Fantasy points in his past eight games from last season, including three games with five or fewer points. Until Prescott proves he can handle Frederick's absence, as well as establishing a rapport with his new receiving corps, he's a questionable starting option even in two-quarterback leagues.|
|15.2 projected points|
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
|The Jon Gruden era doesn't look like it will get off to a good start against the Rams now that Aaron Donald is scheduled to play. This Rams defense should be nasty this season, and Carr should be under duress all game, as well as trying to overcome a talented secondary. Carr will likely have plenty of good moments this season, but he's a risky starting option even in two-quarterback leagues. Gruden's return may turn out to be successful, but his first game back after a 10-year absence on the sideline could look ugly.|
Let me explain how the Bust Alert works for those of you who are new to this column: This doesn't mean Wilson is a must-sit quarterback, especially in relation to the guys listed above. It's more of a caution that he could struggle given a tough matchup.
And that's what Wilson has this week. The Broncos, despite some turnover on defense, should still have an elite pass rush with Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb. And this secondary should still be stout with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby, even with Aqib Talib gone. We don't know how healthy Doug Baldwin (knee) is, and the Seahawks are going to try and establish the run against Denver. Wilson is still worth starting in most leagues, just lower your expectations for him this week.
Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.
|10.2 projected points|
Kenyan Drake Miami Dolphins RB
|We'll see just how this split is going to work with Drake and Frank Gore, but I expect Drake is going to handle at least 70 percent of the touches. And with that type of workload he should be successful. Last year, Drake had five games with at least 15 touches, and he scored at least 11 PPR points in each outing, with three games of at least 22 points. The Titans won't be an easy matchup, but I'll take my chances with Drake at home as a must-start Fantasy running back this week.|
|9.9 projected points|
Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans RB
|The Dolphins will have to prove they can overcome the loss of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and facing Henry will be a tough test. He's going to share touches with Dion Lewis, who is a low-end starter/flex in PPR, but Henry has the higher ceiling with his touchdown potential. I expect Henry to take on a hefty workload this week, which is a good thing. He has six games in his career with at least 14 carries, and he's scored at least 13 PPR points in all of them. This game is expected to be a low-scoring affair, and Henry should be a key factor in deciding the outcome with his production on the ground.|
|9.2 projected points|
Royce Freeman Denver Broncos RB
|Thank you, Broncos, for doing the right thing and making Freeman the starter over Devontae Booker. While Booker will still get some touches, look for Freeman to handle a heavy workload and build off his strong preseason performance when he had 15 carries for 84 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, along with one catch for 6 yards. It would be nice to see him more involved in the passing game, but he should have success against this revamped Seattle defense, which will be without linebacker K.J. Wright (knee). Freeman is also the first rookie running back to start for the Broncos in Week 1 since Terrell Davis did it in 1995. Hopefully, Freeman follows a similar career path toward the Hall of Fame.|
|11.1 projected points|
Lamar Miller Houston Texans RB
|Miller is expected to handle a heavy workload for the Texans, and I'm excited for his outlook this season. That wasn't the case back in February when I started looking at Miller in 2018. But when D'Onta Foreman (Achilles) wasn't ready to return in training camp, it opened things up for Miller to remain the featured back in Houston. And he will hopefully play like he did when Deshaun Watson was healthy. During their seven games together in 2017, Miller averaged 14.0 PPR points, and he should do well against the Patriots this week. Miller is a solid No. 2 running back in all formats.|
|8.1 projected points|
Peyton Barber Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
|The last real game that Barber played in Week 17 was against New Orleans, and he had 17 carries for 71 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and a touchdown and two catches for 18 yards. Hopefully he can repeat that type of performance this week. He's coming off a strong preseason where he ran away with the starting job when he had 15 carries for 87 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns and three catches for 2 yards. It would be great if he does more in the passing game, and Barber closed last year with 12 catches in his final five games. We'll see how long Barber holds off Ronald Jones for the starting job, but in Week 1, he's at least a flex option in all leagues.|
- James Conner (at CLE): Conner should be considered a must-start running back with Le'Veon Bell not expected to play this week against the Browns. Conner is looking at a big workload, and he played well in the preseason with 19 carries for 100 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown and seven catches for 61 yards.
- Adrian Peterson (at ARI): We'll see how long he can hold up at 33, but he should have fresh legs for Week 1. And he looked good in the third preseason game for Washington with 11 carries for 56 yards. He's a flex play this week, as is Chris Thompson in PPR.
- James White (vs. HOU): Heading into Wednesday, we don't know how much work Rex Burkhead (knee) and Sony Michel (knee) will get in Week 1. That could leave White and Jeremy Hill to do a lot of heavy lifting. White has value on his own even if Burkhead and Michel are healthy, especially in PPR, and he should be involved quite a bit in the passing game with Julian Edelman (suspension) out.
- Kerryon Johnson (vs. NYJ): It's risky to trust Johnson since he's expected to share touches with LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick, but the Lions could blow out the Jets at home Monday night. Johnson could get an extended look in this game and has flex appeal, especially in deeper leagues.
- Jordan Wilkins (vs. CIN): I like Wilkins for the season, and hopefully he will establish himself as a significant contributor in this backfield. He doesn't have an easy matchup this week against the Bengals, but he should get plenty of volume if Marlon Mack (hamstring) is out. In deeper leagues, Wilkins could be a flex option.
- Duke Johnson (vs. PIT): Carlos Hyde is a low-end starter for Fantasy owners this week and should be the No. 1 running back for the Browns. But Johnson is No. 2 and should be heavily involved, especially in the passing game. Last year against Pittsburgh in Week 17, Johnson had six carries for 20 yards and a touchdown and six catches for 75 yards. He's a great flex option in PPR.
|7.8 projected points|
Marshawn Lynch Oakland Raiders RB
|Last year, Lynch closed the season on a tear with at least 11 PPR points in six of his final eight outings, and he looked spry for 31. He's 32 now, and we'll see if he can pick up where last season left off. He has a tough first test trying to get past Suh and Donald, although the Rams were not good against the run in 2017, allowing the second-most Fantasy points to running backs. Still, this is a different defense this season, and Lynch should share touches with Doug Martin. I'm OK with Lynch as a flex option, but he's not a must-start running back this week, especially in PPR.|
|5.3 projected points|
Alfred Morris San Francisco 49ers RB
|With Jerick McKinnon (ACL) out, Morris and Matt Breida are expected to share touches this week and for the rest of the season. I like Breida better in both scenarios, although I would sit both this week. Breida should be more viable against the Vikings because of his expected role in the passing game, and this is not a good week to trust Morris. The Vikings are going to be dominant against the run, and last year they allowed the fewest Fantasy points to running backs, which could happen again in 2018.|
|8.0 projected points|
Isaiah Crowell New York Jets RB
|I expect the Jets to lean on their ground game against the Lions to try and take pressure off rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in his first NFL start, which will be on the road on Monday night. Crowell and Bilal Powell will split carries, with the Jets expected to use a hot-hand approach. I like Powell better, although neither is more than a flex option this week at best in any format. Given the uncertainty of who will get the most touches out of Powell and Crowell, even in a favorable matchup, you should be hesitant to trust either Jets running back. But if you have to choose one, lean toward Powell.|
|5.5 projected points|
Chris Carson Seattle Seahawks RB
|Carson is OK as a flex option this week, but he could struggle against this Broncos run defense, which is tough when healthy. Domata Peko and Derek Wolfe anchor a solid defensive front, and Carson could find little running room this week, even behind an improved offensive line. We also don't know how much, if any, rookie Rashaad Penny (finger) will touch the ball, so Carson's value is slightly lower with that uncertainty. He should have the chance to play well this season, but this is a difficult matchup for him in Week 1 on the road.|
|10.2 projected points|
Tevin Coleman Atlanta Falcons RB
|Devonta Freeman did not play in the preseason, which should mean he has fresh legs for this matchup and might get a heavy workload. Coleman was the starter in the preseason and ran well with 15 carries for 81 yards (5.4 yards per carry), along with one catch for 10 yards. Coleman will definitely get work, but he'll take a backseat to Freeman as usual when both are healthy. And the Eagles are a tough team to run on, even with linebacker Nigel Bradham suspended for this game. Coleman did have 10 carries for 79 yards and one catch for 14 yards in the playoff loss at Philadelphia last year (Freeman had 10 carries for 7 yards, along with five catches for 26 yards and a touchdown), but that's likely the ceiling for Coleman and not something I would expect this week.|
McCoy is going to be started in every league this week, and he should be at least a flex option, especially in PPR. But this could be a tough outing for him on the road, especially with Nate Peterman starting at quarterback behind what should be a bad offensive line. McCoy had limited preseason action, which is expected for a veteran of his stature, and he only received four carries for 11 yards (2.8 yards per carry), along with one catch for minus-1 yard. He's going to need a lot of volume, especially in the passing game, and potentially a touchdown to reward Fantasy owners this week. I'm skeptical of him being a great Fantasy option this season, starting this week against the Ravens.
|13.0 projected points|
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers WR
|The last time Smith-Schuster faced the Browns was Week 17 last year when he went off for nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Antonio Brown didn't play in that game because of a calf injury, but he's healthy now. Still, don't buy that narrative that Smith-Schuster can only produce when Brown is out. This will be a big year for Smith-Schuster and a big game for him this week at Cleveland.|
|11.8 projected points|
Chris Hogan New England Patriots WR
|The storyline we've been telling you about all offseason starts now for Hogan with Cooks and Danny Amendola gone, as well as Edelman out. Hogan should see plenty of targets, and he was great against the Texans last year with four catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns on six targets in Week 3. He's one of my favorite breakout candidates this season, and I'm expecting him to start off his season playing well against Houston at home.|
|11.1 projected points|
Brandin Cooks Los Angeles Rams WR
|This could be the guessing game again of picking the best Rams receiver out of Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but I wouldn't be surprised if coach Sean McVay wants to show off his new toy on Monday night. Goff should have all day to look for Cooks, and he's worth starting in the majority of leagues. And in two career games against the Raiders in each of the past two seasons, albeit with different teams, Cooks has 12 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns. I would also consider Kupp and Woods sleepers for this week since this should be an offensive bonanza for the Rams in this matchup.|
|10.7 projected points|
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos WR
|Sanders seems to have the better rapport with Case Keenum right now over Demaryius Thomas, and I like Sanders' matchup better this week against Seattle. He had seven catches for 88 yards in the preseason compared to three catches for 18 yards for Thomas. Now, I'm still starting Thomas this week, but don't be surprised if Sanders ends up with the better stat line. Both are quality No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues given the matchup with this revamped Seahawks' secondary.|
|13.4 projected points|
Golden Tate Detroit Lions WR
|This has a chance to be a Tate game compared to his teammates in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. The outside receivers for the Lions have the tougher matchup against Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne, while Tate should see softer coverage against Buster Skrine. In his past five home games, Tate has three outings with at least 15 PPR points. He also has at least 13 PPR points in two career meetings against the Jets.|
- Will Fuller (at NE): In four games with Watson last year, Fuller had at least 14 PPR points in each outing, and he averaged 20.3 PPR points over that span. The Texans should be chasing points in this game, and Watson should lean on DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller quite a bit. Now, if Fuller doesn't score, he might not do much. But he's a sleeper for a reason given his high ceiling and low floor.
- John Ross (at IND): Like Fuller, Ross has a high ceiling and low floor, and look for Dalton to take a couple of shots to Ross down the field against the Colts. He had a big play in the third preseason game against the Bills with a 57-yard touchdown on the first play of the game, and hopefully another moment like that happens in Week 1.
- Josh Gordon (vs. PIT): Gordon falls into sleeper category this week, hopefully for the last time ever, because of the report that he's not expected to start. He'll play, and he should play a lot if the Browns want to win. In a scenario where Cleveland is likely chasing points, don't be afraid of Gordon, and keep him active in all leagues.
- Kenny Stills (vs. TEN): Stills will operate as the No. 1 receiver for the Dolphins this season with Jarvis Landry gone, and look for Ryan Tannehill to lean on him in this matchup. Danny Amendola is also an option in PPR leagues whenever he's healthy, but Stills has the chance to be a star this season and a quality starter this week.
- Jamison Crowder (at ARI): I'm excited about Crowder's outlook this season, and hopefully he can stay healthy for 16 games. He will avoid Patrick Peterson playing in the slot, and expect Alex Smith to lean on him as a prime target in this passing game. Last year against the Cardinals in Week 15, Crowder had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown on seven targets.
|12.0 projected points|
Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers WR
|I'm excited about Goodwin's outlook for the season as the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers, but I don't like his matchup this week against the Vikings. He could see plenty of coverage from Xavier Rhodes, and that's a scenario that Fantasy owners might want to avoid. In 2017, Minnesota was one of five teams along with Jacksonville, Baltimore, Buffalo and Detroit to allow fewer than 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers.|
|14.3 projected points|
Robby Anderson New York Jets WR
|With Darnold making his first NFL start on the road, it's hard to expect his receivers to have quality opportunities to make plays this week. For Anderson, we also have yet to see Darnold drive the ball down the field in his preseason outings. And Anderson should see plenty of coverage from Darius Slay, which is a tough matchup for him. I'd only use Anderson as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.|
|12.1 projected points|
Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks WR
|I'm hopeful Baldwin will be fine with his knee injury, but he's already said he'll be playing this season at 80-85 percent. And this week, he's facing a tough matchup against Denver cornerback Chris Harris. Since we didn't see Baldwin in the preseason, it's tough to trust him in Week 1 as anything more than a No. 3 receiver in most formats. Consider Baldwin more of a bust alert since it's hard to outright bench him given the investment you made in him on Draft Day.|
|12.0 projected points|
Corey Davis Tennessee Titans WR
|This might seem like a favorable matchup if you didn't watch the Dolphins last season, but cornerback Xavien Howard has developed into a matchup most Fantasy owners want to avoid. And Davis, while oozing with upside, isn't on the level yet of someone who is a must-start Fantasy option. He also loses some target upside with Rishard Matthews (knee) expected to play this week, and I would only use Davis as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in most formats.|
|10.10 projected points|
Sammy Watkins Kansas City Chiefs WR
|Watkins was awful in the preseason with one catch for 15 yards, and he never seemed on the same page with Patrick Mahomes. It's hard to trust him in any format this week until we see him start to produce on a consistent level. Maybe that never happens this season. For now, just stash Watkins on your bench, especially in a tough matchup with the Chargers. As you can probably tell, I'm not excited about Watkins' outlook in 2018.|
Like most of the bust alerts, you're probably not sitting Cooper this week. And maybe there's a chance for some garbage-time production against the Rams. But this secondary will be tough on Cooper since he has to face Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and he doesn't have a good track record against either cornerback. Gruden says he plans to feature Cooper in the passing game, and we'll see if that develops in Week 1. I'd treat Cooper as a low-end starting option at best this week, but I'm not excited about using him given this matchup with the Rams.
|11.5 projected points|
Trey Burton Chicago Bears TE
|Burton should be considered a must-start Fantasy tight end, but I just wanted to write about him in his first game with the Bears. I'm expecting Mitchell Trubisky to lean on Burton quite a bit, and he looked good in his third preseason game against Denver with four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Chicago is going to move Burton all over the offense, and he should have the chance for plenty of positive performances, including this week against the Packers. Burton is headed for a big year and a big week at Green Bay.|
|10.2 projected points|
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins TE
|Reed is healthy for the first time since Week 8 of last season, and hopefully he won't have any setbacks with his toe injury all year. When healthy, Reed is among the best Fantasy tight ends, and he should see plenty of targets from Alex Smith this week. We have yet to see how Smith and Reed will look on the field together in game action since Reed didn't play in the preseason, but Smith has a good track record with his tight ends (see Vernon Davis in San Francisco and Travis Kelce in Kansas City). This could be the start of Reed re-establishing himself as a premier tight end in the NFL.|
|8.1 projected points|
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals TE
|Let's hope Eifert stays healthy all season because it would be fun to see him perform as he did in 2015 when he had 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He's healthy now, and he's worth using as a streaming option in Week 1 at the Colts. As always, Eifert will likely be touchdown or bust, but I like the Bengals passing game in this matchup behind Dalton, who likes leaning on Eifert when he plays. Consider Eifert a No. 1 Fantasy tight end this week.|
- Eric Ebron (vs. CIN): I like both Colts tight ends this week with Ebron and Jack Doyle, and Andrew Luck should lean on these guys as primary targets behind T.Y. Hilton. Rookie safety Jessie Bates could be someone Luck tries to pick on if he's in coverage, and the Bengals are without linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension). Ebron could come up big in his first game with the Colts at home.
- Antonio Gates (vs. KC): Gates is back with the Chargers as the replacement for Hunter Henry (ACL), and he should benefit if Berry is out. He will likely need to score to help your Fantasy team, and he does have two touchdowns in his past three games against the Chiefs overall.
- Dallas Goedert (vs. ATL): With Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) out, look for the Eagles to be creative and use plenty of two tight-end sets with Zach Ertz and Goedert. He had a strong preseason with nine catches for 149 yards and a touchdown and is worth using as a streaming option in deeper leagues.
|7.6 projected points|
David Njoku Cleveland Browns TE
|Njoku should have the chance for a big season in 2018, but he could struggle this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh was fantastic against tight ends in 2017, allowing the fewest touchdowns to the position with just two. Njoku, in a limited role with a worse quarterback situation, only had four catches for 58 yards on five targets against the Steelers as a rookie last year, but don't expect a quality performance this week. He's a No. 2 Fantasy tight end in Week 1.|
|6.4 projected points|
George Kittle San Francisco 49ers TE
|Kittle isn't even guaranteed to play coming off his preseason shoulder injury, although the early practice reports are positive. However, he might want to sit this one out against the Vikings, who were dominant against tight ends last year. Only three tight ends scored against Minnesota in 2017 and none in the final 11 games. This defense will be difficult for most tight ends again this season, and Kittle at less than 100 percent isn't worth the risk of starting in most leagues.|
|8.1 projected points|
Charles Clay Buffalo Bills TE
|We'll see how the Bills do with Peterman starting, but I don't have much confidence in any of Buffalo's players in this matchup on the road at Baltimore. Clay comes into this game with a 10-game streak without a touchdown. Now, he is more viable in PPR leagues since he should see plenty of catches, and he had four receptions for 24 yards on six targets in the third preseason game against Cincinnati. But that's the typical stat line for Clay, so start him at your own discretion in Week 1.|
Engram is expected to play this week after dealing with a concussion in the preseason, and we'll finally get to see how this Giants offense looks when everyone is healthy. We've yet to see Engram on the field with Beckham, Shepard and Barkley at the same time, and that's my concern for Engram this year because he should struggle for targets. And in a tough matchup against the Jaguars on the road, you might want to consider other options. It's difficult to bench Engram since he's likely your only tight end, but he will likely have minimal production against Jacksonville this week.
Lions (vs. NYJ) – 12.1 projected points
I've been saying all summer to draft the Lions DST for their Week 1 matchup at home against the Jets, and I'm hopeful they will deliver a quality performance. It's a great situation for them against Darnold in his first NFL start on the road in a prime-time game. We'll see how he handles the pressure, and the Lions defense wasn't exactly stellar in the preseason. But I expect this DST to be a top-10 unit for Week 1. And last year the Lions started the season with at least 14 Fantasy points in each of their first four games.
- Falcons (at PHI): I expect the Falcons DST to be a breakout candidate at the position this year, and this has become a favorable matchup for the unit in Week 1. With Carson Wentz (knee) and Jeffery out, Philadelphia could struggle to move the ball, and Nick Foles has not looked good in the preseason. Maybe Foles re-creates his postseason magic from last year, but his worst playoff game was against Atlanta when he passed for just 246 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in a 15-10 victory. I'm trusting the Falcons DST this week.
- Titans (at MIA): We'll see how Ryan Tannehill does in his first real game since Week 14 of the 2016 season, but the Tennessee defense could be tough on him. The Titans DST closed last season on a high note with at 12 Fantasy points in four of their final six games, and the defense should be improved under new coach Mike Vrabel. This should be a good week to trust the Titans, even on the road.
- Packers (vs. CHI): This will be Trubisky's first trip to Lambeau Field, and we'll see how he performs in a tough stadium in a prime-time matchup. The Packers sacked Trubisky five times in their lone meeting last year in Chicago, and despite the revamped offense for the Bears, the Packers DST is a good play for Week 1.
Texans (at NE) – 5.9 projected points
The Texan DST should return to prominence this season with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus healthy, as well as the addition of Tyrann Mathieu. But this could be a tough week to trust them against the Patriots on the road. While we've seen New England get off to slow starts before, and there is plenty of turnover with this offense in the offensive line, backfield and at receiver, it's still going against Tom Brady in his building. If the Texans DST is the only one on your Fantasy team and you can't afford to carry another option, then just take your chances and see what happens. But I'm not confident in the Texans DST performing at a high level this week.
The last time Crosby faced the Bears was in Week 10 last year, and he made 3-of-4 field goals, including one from 50 yards, and two extra points. He played in that game without Rodgers, so the offense should be better this time around, and Las Vegas has this game as one of the highest totals for the week at 48 points. Most of the scoring should come from Green Bay, and Crosby is coming off a solid preseason with 6-of-6 field goals. If you haven't bought back in on Crosby this season with Rodgers back, there's still time to add him and start him in all leagues for Week 1.
- Adam Vinatieri (vs. CIN): Like Crosby with Rodgers, Vinatieri will benefit with Luck coming back from injury, and he's worth starting this week against the Bengals. Last year, despite the offense struggling with Luck out, Vinatieri still made all 15 field goals he attempted at home, including two kicks of 50-plus yards.
- Graham Gano (vs. DAL): Gano was great at home in 2017, making all 16 of his field goal attempts at Bank of America Stadium. He also was 8 of 8 on field goals in September last year. Hopefully, he'll remain perfect again this week against Dallas, and I expect the Panthers offense to be explosive in this matchup, leading to plenty of points.
- Ryan Succop (at MIA): Succop didn't do much in last year's trip to Miami, making just one field goal and one extra point in Week 5. But he should do better in the rematch. Last year, Succop got off to an amazing start with 10 field goals and eight extra points in his first three games, and I'm counting on another hot streak to open the season in 2018.
Elliott made three field goals against the Falcons in the playoffs last year at home, although he missed his only extra point. He could finish with about nine Fantasy points again in the rematch, but the Eagles offense could struggle this week with Wentz and Jeffery out and Foles starting. Foles didn't perform well in the preseason, and this offense could be in trouble against a good Falcons defense without Wentz.
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.
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