Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens – at Miami
He showed last season just how electric he could be with the ball in his hands, though there were questions about his ability to actually throw the football. With a year in the offense it’s possible that he takes a significant step forward in that regard, but the bulk of his value will likely continue to come from his legs. Just look at this courtesy of Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network:
As we were talking to #Ravens coach John Harbaugh about QB Lamar Jackson’s capacity to run, @CoachBillick told him Cam Newton’s high was 139 rushes in a season. Harbaugh, w/out hesitating, said: Take the over.
Against a Dolphins’ team that’s clearly looking towards the future and yielded the third most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks in ’18, would anyone really want to bet against him?
Sit – Tom Brady – New England Patriots – vs. Pittsburgh
It’s hard to sit Brady, given his history, but let’s not forget that the strength of the Patriots offense may be their running backs this season. Brady won’t have Rob Gronkowski at his disposal and it’s also fair to wonder how much of a rapport he’ll have built with Josh Gordon at this point. It’s not to say that Brady can’t be a productive quarterback in Week 1, but given the depth at the position is it a risk you want to take?
Start – Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Los Angeles Chargers
The Colts surprisingly find themselves preparing to open 2019 without Andrew Luck under center. While Jacoby Brissett is a capable replacement, would it be surprising to see a more run-centric approach in Week 1? Mack showed that he was capable of piling up big yards at times late in ’19 (119 yards or more in two of the final three regular season games) and he also proved to have a nose for the end zone (5 TD over the final four regular season games). He needs to find some consistency, but there’s enough upside to utilize him as a RB2.
Start – Derrius Guice – Washington Redskins – at Philadelphia
There was a thought that he may be eased into action, with Adrian Peterson also playing a role. However at this point that no longer appears to be the case. According to USA Today’s Mike Jones:
“Gruden plans to start Darius Guice at RB but hasn’t decided whether to dress two more or three more backs. Could need the third back to play teams. Won’t say if Adrian Peterson is the odd man out yet. Still trying to decide.”
Assuming the lead role, Guice is a solid play in all formats.
Sit – Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
Everyone wants to assume that Singletary is going to step into the void left by the surprising cut of LeSean McCoy, but that’s simply not guaranteed. Frank Gore is going to play a role, and possibly a significant one as the Bills gain confidence (hopefully) in their rookie running back. The risk in his playing time alone is going to limit him to being more of a FLEX, though the matchup isn’t necessarily ideal either.
Sit – Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Washington
When you select a running back as early as Sanders fans are going to think that he’s going to come in and play a significant role from Day 1. While Sanders will be in the mix, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be “the man” in Week 1. Just look at this quote from Doug Pederson, courtesy of Mike Kaye of NJ.com:
“For us here, it’s worked,” Pederson said. “And we’ll continue to [use a committee]. We also ask our guys to play special teams, so that’s another aspect of the running back position.”
Jordan Howard will share the early down touches with Sanders, while Darren Sproles and Corey Clement will also be in the mix. In other words there simply may not be enough touches to go around.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals – at Seattle
The Seahawks’ defense got a boost with the addition of Jadaveon Clowney, but his impact may take a few weeks to fully be seen (similar to what we saw with Khalil Mack a year ago). That’s going to help the Bengals in general, and with A.J. Green sidelined Boyd should operate as the team’s top receiving option. As it is Boyd set career highs in receptions (76), yards (1.028) and TD (7) last year, and he only played 14 games.
Maybe the Seahawks return to being a top defense, but it’s going to take time so don’t shy away from their top skill players this week.
Sit – Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans – at Cleveland
The Titans offense didn’t look good during the preseason, and with a quarterback controversy brewing they may struggle regardless of who’s under center (Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill). There’s also the question as to who will get the bulk of the targets, even though Davis is viewed as the best receiver the team has by many. Would it really be surprising if TE Delanie Walker, healthy again, emerges as the go to receiver? What about Adam Humphries? Throw in a Cleveland defense that could emerge this season and the risk far outweighs the reward in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Format)
Start – Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – at Dallas
There were health concerns, but he should be ready to roll in Week 1. Obviously the offense is going to run through Saquan Barkley and Evan Engram has an opportunity to take a significant step forward, but Shepard should also see ample chances. Over the final three games of 2018 he averaged 8.33 targets/game, while Odell Beckham was sidelined, and a similar number of opportunities should be there this season.
Sit – Dante Pettis – San Francisco 49ers – at Tampa Bay
While Jimmy Garoppolo showed signs of turning things around late in the preseason (after missing all of ’18 with an injury), is it a guarantee that it continues into the regular season? The offense could also easily run through the running backs, while Pettis himself has been recovering from a groin injury. While the latter doesn’t seem like it’s going to impact him significantly (he was upgraded to a full participant in practice), it also can’t be ignored. With several other receivers who could step up, even in a favorable matchup he’s a risky play.
Start – Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – at Cleveland
Last season the Browns allowed the second most points per week to opposing tight ends, and while that could easily change this season it at least gives hope for Walker. It’s easy to overlook him, after he played in just 1 game a year ago, but let’s not forget that he didn’t have fewer than 60 catches the previous five seasons and could easily emerge as the go to guy once again for whichever questionable quarterback is under center.
Sit – T.J. Hockenson – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Hockenson, but he’s still a rookie and tight ends often take time to adjust to the NFL game. In his first NFL appearance we need to see that he’s going to be the exception to the rule before simply sliding him into our lineup.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings: