Drafts are over and rosters are set, now it’s time to get into the action with the first week of the NFL season upon us. Some of the toughest decisions managers face week to week is who to start in their fantasy lineups, so I’m here to make that decision a little easier for everyone. I’m going to give a player at each position who you should lock into your lineups, and also give a player at each position to stay away from. As always, it’s no fun just picking the big name guys, so here are some under-the-radar picks.
Who to start:
QB: Lamar Jackson is a guy I pushed in my last article, and Lamar Jackson is the quarterback guaranteed to explode this week. He has a juicy matchup against a Miami Dolphins defense that gave up the second most rushing yards per game last season. Look for 200+ passing yards, 80+ rushing yards, 2 passing td’s, and a rushing td.
RB: The only team that gave up more rushing yards a game last season than the Dolphins was the Arizona Cardinals, which is why this week Kerryon Johnson is a must start. Johnson finished last season as the RB32, but I expect him to come out of the gates hot and finish as one of the top scoring backs of the week. Expect 17 carries, 110 yards, 3 receptions, 25 yards, and 2 total touchdowns from the Lions starter.
WR: My lock of the week for any position is Tyler Lockett to have a monster game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals gave up more yards through the air per game than any team last season, and many are anticipating they’ll be even worse this year. Russell Wilson’s main guy surely won’t disappoint and Lockett is going to put up 13 receptions, 155 yards, and a touchdown.
TE: The New York Giants don’t have a whole lot going for them this season, but one shining spot (other than Saquan Barkley of course) will be third year tight end Evan Engram, especially here in week one. With a depleted receiving corps without Odell Beckham Jr. anymore and Golden Tate suspended the first four week of the season, Eli Manning is going to have to throw to someone. Engram starts the season on fire with 8 receptions, 120 yards, and a touchdown.
Who to sit:
QB: There is an insane amount of hype and expectations surrounding Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, and although they may live up to it by season’s end, Mayfield sure won’t in week one. They play the Tennessee Titans, who gave up the 6th least amount of passing yards per game last season, and are bringing back pretty much the same secondary as last season. This game will be a battle of the running backs leaving Mayfield to put up 210 passing yards and 1 touchdown.
RB: This might be the most shocking of the season, but Saquan Barkley isn’t going to live up to being the first overall pick on average to start the year. They’re matched up against the Dallas Cowboys and divisional games are always tough ones, and it will be even lower scoring if Ezekial Elliot is yet to sign his new deal. Barkley comes out with 18 rushes, 68 yards, 4 receptions, 22 yards, and no touchdowns.
WR: Juju Smith-Schuster has quickly become a household name in the NFL and at only 22 years old he’s already the Steelers number one receiver. It’s just unfortunate that he opens the season against the New England Patriots and the evil genius that is Bill Belichick. The one thing Belichick does better than anyone else is eliminate one phase from the opponent, and I have a feeling that means eliminating Smith-Schuster this time. Juju finishes the game with just 6 receptions for 65 yards and no touchdowns.
TE: There aren’t too many expectations floating around Tampa Bay this season, but the Buccaneers third-year tight end is a bright spot for the team. O.J. Howard should have a very strong season, it’s just not going to come to fruition in his week one matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Howard will finish the game with only 5 receptions and 55 yards.
Just like last time, all I ask is for a simple thank you and a small percentage of your earnings when my picks save your week. Be ready next week when the next issue comes out to save your week two lineups.