Fantasy Football Week 1: Start’em / Sit’em
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Football is finally back! It seems like the preseason took forever, but with the regular season kicking off tonight in Foxborough the wait is finally over. I’m back again this year to give you my start’em / sit’em picks for this season. For those of you who didn’t read last year, this is more off an over / under column. You can all see the weekly projections from whatever site is hosting your league and we all know that those projections are a bit of a crap-shoot. Some are more accurate (Yahoo, CBS) than others (NFL, ESPN), but it is a difficult job and plenty of errors are made every week.
A lot of fantasy players use these projections to set their lineups and it can lead to some tragic mistakes. It’s hard to trust your gut when the player you want to start is only projected to score half the fantasy points of another option on your bench. I’m here to give you a second opinion on which projections are accurate and which are full of it. I’ll be listing both players that I think will outperform their projections (start’em) and those that will under perform and disappoint (sit’em). For the purposes of consistency I will be using Yahoo’s projections in a default scoring league with .5 PPR.
I’m not going to waste your time and tell you to start Aaron Rodgers or Jamaal Charles every week. Most teams have three or four core players they are going to start every week and that is a solid strategy. You paid a premium for those players for a reason. This column is for those tougher decisions like who to start at your flex or in your 3rd wide receiver slot.
I will track how my picks fare each week so you can decide for yourself if my opinions are worth a damn. For the record I finished with 63% percent success rate (307-181-34) last season and I was over .500 every week. Yahoo has gotten much better at projecting fantasy points since partnering with Pro Football Focus, but they still get it wrong often. I’ve been right on over 60% of my picks since I started writing for Beargoggleson and hopefully this year will be more of the same. If not, feel free to rip me in the comments when I make a mistake. I do feel bad about it, but sometime a little criticism makes me work harder. Also if you have a specific player that you are on the fence about, hit me up on Twitter or in the comments and I will do my best to get you a quick answer.
Note: Only players started in less than 75% of Yahoo league will be eligible for the start’em category. As I mentioned above, this is for advice on players that you are unsure of not the no-brainers like Rodgers and Charles. I’ll usually list at least one “Deep Sleeper” pick for players started in less than 10% of Yahoo leagues who I think are undervalued.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading this column the last two years and welcome to any new readers. Check out my week 1 picks and good luck in your respective leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, @WAS (42% started, 19 projected points) – Last season Tannehill was a top-10 fantasy QB, he has more weapons this year, and the Redskins gave up more points to fantasy QBs than any team in the league last season.
Matt Stafford, @SD (33%, 16) – For the last two seasons Stafford has been a top-10 fantasy QB in the first half of the season before falling apart down the stretch. With a healthy Megatron, an established rapport with Golden Tate, and a new weapon out of the backfield in Ameer Abdullah, Stafford should start this season out strongly as well. The Chargers were fairly easy to throw on last year and didn’t do much to upgrade their secondary or pass rush.
Sam Bradford, @ATL (27%, 18) – He’s healthy and has one of the easiest match-ups in the league on paper, so if you have him on your roster there may not be a better week to play him. Bradford looked very sharp in the preseason and could put up huge numbers in Philly’s fast-paced offense.