Fantasy Football Week 1: Start’em / Sit’em

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Cam Newton, @JAX (40%, 19) – The Jags defense actually didn’t suck last year. They finished in the top-10 in total sacks and in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to QBs. Cam is a special talent, but he has no one to throw too and not much talent blocking for him. The lack of weapons around him could lead to Cam running more, but he actually ran less last year in a similar situation. There are plenty of safer options this week.

Philip Rivers, DET (26%, 20) – The Lions D might not be close to what it was last season after the loss of Ndamukong Suh, but they were the 4th stingiest team in fantasy points allowed to QBs. The Chargers uncertainty at RB worries me, they are missing Antonio Gates and possibly Ladarius Green (concussion), and don’t have a ton of talent at WR. Unless Rivers comes out on fire this year, he will be a friendly match-up only fantasy start for me this season and the Lions don’t qualify.

Colin Kaepernick, MIN (8%, 19) – At least fantasy owners learned their lesson on Kaepernick. He was started in close to 50% of leagues for most of last season despite consistently falling short of expectations. I’m staying away from Kaepernick again this year especially against one of the best secondaries in the league.

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Running Back

Joseph Randle, NYG (68%, 12) – There is just too much uncertainty around the Cowboys RB committee for my taste. Cowboys beat writers seem to think McFadden is the favorite to start which hurts Randle’s chances of getting the most carries on Sunday. It certainly possible the Cowboys go with the “hot-hand” approach which could lead to a big game from Randle, but there is just no way to know for sure.

Ameer Abdullah, @SD (44%, 9) – I own Abdullah in almost every one of my leagues. I was high on him coming out of Nebraska and he’s done nothing to change my mind, but Joique Bell playing in week 1 could limit Abdullah’s touches. I’m hoping he still gets 10+, but I want to wait and see how things shake out before I put Abdullah in my starting lineup.

Alfred Blue, KC (25%, 11) – Should lead the Texans in carries this week, but he’s just not that talented. Blue barely averaged three yards a carry as a rookie (3.1) and has averaged under three in the last two preseason games (2.7). The Texans do run the ball as much as any team in the league, so Blue could put up decent stats by attrition, but if you have an option with higher upside I would use him over Blue this week.

Isaiah Crowell, @NYJ (19%, 11) – The Jets run D was one of the fiercest in the league last year and while they lost Sheldon Richardson, they drafted Leonard Williams in the first round this year. Crowell showed flashes last year, but was inconsistent and could lose touches to explosive rookie Duke Johnson.

Tre Mason, SEA (12%, 11) – Is questionable to play at all in week 1, but even if Mason does suit up a matchup with the Seahawks is about as bad as it gets.