Hola. Welkom. Bienvenue. Welcome. Wherever you are reading this from, we are all here for the same reason – to dominate Week 1 in our fantasy football leagues. This column is going to help you avoid pitfalls and exploit matchups weekly. It’s also going to give you a unique look at upcoming matchups because we will be using the Fantasy Football Consistency Score and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score to highlight the top players to start and sit for fantasy lineups Week 1.
If you need more detailed information as to how the Consistency Score (CS) works, refer back to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score. But the basic premise is the higher CS, the more consistent a player is scoring “high-level” fantasy points. Or in when it comes to Defensive Points Allowed, the more consistently that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.
PSA: I don’t feel the need to tell you to start Patrick Mahomes ever week. I abide by the golden rule of starting your studs. However, if there is glaring evidence to sit a bonafide starter, we will discuss that when needed.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start/Sit: Quarterbacks
Start Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo’s CS for 2019 wasn’t anything to write home about. His 5.9 CS ranked 23rd among all signal-callers. Kyle Shanahan limited his role throughout the season. However, I feel confident plugging him in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, particularly as a streaming QB candidate.
Garoppolo increased his average fantasy points per game from 12.66 in the first half of the season to 18.37 in the last eight games. The Cardinals make for a juicy matchup to target. In 2019 they finished the season with the highest CS in points allowed to the position with 22.46 points allowed to quarterbacks.
Both matchups in 2019 between these two rivals were also high scoring affairs, with Week 9 ending 28-25 and Week 11, going 36-26, both wins by San Francisco. All of those factors point to Garoppolo being one of the most comfortable start/sit decisions for Week 1 of the fantasy football season.
Sit Daniel Jones
The offseason hype train for Daniel Jones has been strong this summer. We are talking “Snowpiercer” stong! So I must warn the savvy fantasy football GM that Jones isn’t the guy you want to run out there to make your Week 1 statement.
In 2019 Jones had three excellent fantasy football weekends, showcasing a 34.24 ceiling. Unfortunately, he also demonstrated a 5.24 floor while never putting together back to back top 12 finishes. His (-5.3%) Fantasy Point Differential (FPD) was 22nd among all signal-callers.
Related l 2020 Fantasy Football QB Tiers
To make matters worse, he kicks off 2020 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ranked 30th in 2019 CS Points allowed to quarterbacks. They allowed a measly 13.23 points on average to the position.
We need to see “Danny Dimes” do a little more on the field before he is a matchup-proof starter, and this isn’t a good matchup.
What running backs should you start/sit in Week 1?
Start Le’Veon Bell
The shine has undoubtedly faded from Le’Veon Bell in fantasy football. But sometimes you have to pinch your nose, open wide, and take a spoonful of medicine that you know is going to be good for you no matter how vile it tastes. Bell in Week 1 might be that medicine.
Don’t overthink it. Despite the Bell hate this summer, he was still the 12th ranked running back in CS for 2019. He was incredibly inefficient in racking up his 171.8 fantasy points with a (-25%) FPD. But volume is king, and that offense had little to no other options. The Jets find themselves in the same position again and will need to lean on Bell, especially in the passing game, as their receivers are already banged up.
Going in Bell’s favor is their matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who ranked 6th in CS Defensive Points Allowed to running backs and averaged 23.43 points per game to the position. You drafted Bell to be a starter. Don’t get cute; start him.
Sit Kenyan Drake
Chances are slim you have the luxury to sit Kenyan Drake. But if you went RB heavy at the draft, you should consider benching him. If you can’t, however, you should lower expectations and try to make up some points at another position.
Drake was a different running back in Arizona than he was in Miami. His strong finish to the 2019 season, Weeks 15 and 16 in particular, is giving fantasy GM’s high hopes to start 2020. But Drake now has DeAndre Hopkins to compete with for targets and a tough matchup to boot.
The San Fransico 49ers were stout against running backs in 2019. Their 7.26 CS in Defensive Points Allowed ranked 30th for running backs, and they were averaging only 16.42 PPR points to the position, ranking second to last. This does not bode well for Drake. He’s a sit if you have the luxury to do so.
What WRs should you start/sit in fantasy football Week 1?
Start Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman and company face off against the Miami Dolphins to start the season, and you couldn’t ask for a better secondary matchup than that (I write in peril as most of my bosses here are diehard Dolphins fans).
In 2019, the Dolphins allowed, on average, 41.35 fantasy points to the receiver position (second in the NFL) and had a Points Allowed CS of 20.33 (first). In layman terms, they gave up a ton of points to receivers.
But this offseason, Miami invested a lot of money and resources into their secondary. The signing of Byron Jones made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. Now, paired with Xavien Howard, the Dolphins are home to two of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league.
On top of that, they drafted Noah Igbinoghene out of Auburn in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Once this defense starts to gel, they shouldn’t be hemorrhaging yards and points the way they did last year. But right now, they haven’t proven anything as a unit so they are still unproven heading into Week 1.
The disrespect Edelman has received from the fantasy community this summer is bonkers. With a new quarterback, some of that is expected. Cam Newton is going to want to show the world he still has it however, and Edelman is his new go-to receiver.
This might be the perfect time to get this Dolphins defense, while all the new pieces are still working out the kinks. With the 10th best CS among receivers for 2019 and a good Week 1 matchup, GM’s should do what they’ve been doing for the past six seasons – start Edelman.
Sit Cooper Kupp
From Week 1 up until their bye week, Cooper Kupp was averaging 17.34 points per game and had a CS of 5.38, which would have been good enough for 8th among all receivers. After their bye week, however, was an entirely different story. The Los Angeles Rams offensive style underwent a dramatic change, resulting in Kupp’s average slipping to 9.36 points per game as well as plummetting to a 2.75 CS. That would have ranked 53rd on the season.
Then factor in he is matched up against the Dallas Cowboys, who finished 2019 as the 27th team in both Defensive Points Allowed CS and average points allowed, and it is easy to see why one should pivot from Kupp given a chance.
We still don’t know if this offense is going to revert to a scheme heavily reliant on 11 personnel (three wide receivers), which is where Kupp shined, or stick with the two tight end sets (12 personnel) that they found success with at the end of last season. Until we know that, Kupp is far more matchup dependant than in years prior.
Taking a look at the tight ends in Week 1
Start Dallas Goedert
The Philadelphia Eagles were the only team to showcase two tight ends in the Top 10 in terms of Consistency Score with Dallas Goedert’s’ 2.99 (TE10) and Zach Ertz’s 4.19 (TE5). Much of this can be attributed to a lack of healthy pass catchers for Carson Wentz. Well, 2020 is shaping up to be much of the same.
With Alshon Jeffery, Miles Sanders, and Jalen Reagor already nursing injuries, not to mention left tackle Andre Dillard out for the season, Wentz’s options are already being limited. He should look to get the ball out of his hands quickly to compensate for a degraded offensive line.
That all bodes well for Goedert. With a plus matchup against the Washington Football team, whose 6.16 Defensive Points Allowed CS was second highest in the NFL, it’s hard not to get excited about the third-year tight end. Start, not sit, Goedart for Week 1 of the fantasy football season.
Sit Austin Hooper
Hooper was a stud in 2019. His 4.32 CS ranked fourth at tight end, and he was averaging 14.09 points per game before getting injured. But 2019 feels like a different decade at this point (hell, March feels like it was three years ago).
A lot has changed for Hooper in 2020. Now on the Browns, Hooper is one of many pass-catchers competing for targets. Aside from Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt, there is still once-hyped David Njoku skulking around the tight end room.
Related l Week 1 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
No tight end for the Browns finished 2019 better than 42nd in terms of Consistency Score, that being Ricky Seals-Jones. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has not shown a propensity to target the position, with tight ends as a group averaging a 14.17% target share throughout his tenure in Cleveland.
Then you have to add in that the Browns face off against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. The Ravens were the 31st team in Defensive Points Allowed CS with a score of just 3.16, while also allowing the lowest average points in PPR scoring. The Ravens are a matchup to avoid when possible. This is especially true for a player who is on a new team with a lot of other mouths to feed.