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Week 1 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

And we’re back! It’s been an offseason for the storybooks, full of love, hate, and betrayal. But now, with just one day to go before the Eagles host the Falcons on Thursday night, the speculation of the offseason is finally being put to the test. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will stun the world with their triumphant rise and who will fall quietly into the sea of irrelevancy? Here in the world of fantasy football, we take it one week at a time. To start or sit; that is the question.

Start

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Derrick Henry
This goes for Dion Lewis as well, although Henry should be considered the lead back of the duo until proven otherwise. Miami was kinda middling against the run last year, clocking in at 14th in total yards allowed and 16th in YPC…and that was before Ndamukong Suh left. The Dolphins didn’t really address the issue over the offseason, so that ranking isn’t likely to get any better. The Titans defense should win on the other side of the ball, leading to a positive game script for Henry to take advantage of. He should see plenty of carries against a mediocre defense. That’s a recipe for success.

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James White
The Patriots are known for starting slow as they tinker with their lineup and scheme before settling in with the Boston winter. Unfortunately for them, starting slow will not sit well when up against a fully healthy Texans squad. Houston’s terrifying front seven is fully healthy to start the season, which will put all kinds of pressure on Brady as he tries to keep up with the explosive Texans offense. Normally this would be the perfect spot for Edelman, but with Edelman suspended the attention shifts to James White. White has frequently been used as a slot receiver as well as the satellite back, and it seems likely that he’ll fill this role once again as Brady looks to unload the ball quickly in order to keep the pressure off.

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Tyler Lockett
It’s been a long time since I felt comfortable recommending starting a WR against the Broncos. Of course, the same could be said about the Seahawks and look where that defense is right now. The Broncos have a more balanced offense and stronger defense, so it follows that they should be playing with a lead for most of the game. This means we’ll see a lot of sandlot Wilson. Normally Doug Baldwin would be the primary beneficiary of this, but he’ll be locked in with Chris Harris. I’m not saying the Baldwin can’t beat Harris, but it seems a lot more likely that the talented and blazing fast Lockett find success outside for chunk gains. The loss of Jimmy Graham should also free up targets for Lockett to eat.

Sit

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers
James Conner
I’m not saying he isn’t worth starting at all – he does figure to be a feature back in a high-powered offense, after all – I’m just saying to temper your expectations if you are starting him. Despite constant negative game scripts and no help from the offense, the 2017 Cleveland defense surrendered the 7th fewest rushing yards and the 2nd lowest YPC. They certainly didn’t get worse during the offseason and now might have their own offense that can force the Steelers into more of a pass-happy game script. Conner should have some volume, but don’t expect him to win you the week.

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Mike Evans
Evans has precisely one thing going for him this week; the Bucs are likely to be playing from behind. After that though, there isn’t much to like. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will be starting, Evans will be just one of many mouths to feed in this talented receiving corps, and oh yeah, Evans will face off against reigning DROY Marshon Lattimore. If we’re going to see a Fitzmagic game instead of a Fitztragic one, he’s probably best avoiding Lattimore. That means avoiding Evans.

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Jamaal Williams
Over the last few years, Packers/Bears games have gone like this; Aaron Rodgers picks apart the Bears defense for a half, the Bears have no offense to respond with, then the Packers’ running backs salt away the game, racking up massive fantasy points in the process. That script is no guarantee this year. The Bears have revamped their offense and the addition of Khalil Mack to an already quietly good defense will not make Rodgers’ life any easier. In addition to the possibility of a negative game script, Williams is still sharing this backfield with Ty Montgomery. Williams can catch fine, but if the Pack goes into hurry-up TyMo is the better back for the passing game. I’m not saying the game script of old won’t happen, but it’s looking a lot less likely this year. That’s not good news for Williams.

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