Is Ben Roethlisberger worth starting in Cleveland without Le'Veon Bell?
The NFL has returned and so has fantasy football, which means it's time to make those difficult start/sit decisions for your team, especially when it comes to quarterback. Everyone wants to get off to a good start in Week 1 but choosing who to start and who to sit can lead to frustration and utter disgust when you sit someone, especially a QB, who has a big game.
Fortunately for you, I have decided to tackle this exact question. So let's find out which QBs to start and which ones to sit. I also have some suggestions for defense/special teams (DSTs) too.
START THESE QBS...
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. NYJ, Mon.)
The Jets may have a new franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, but the team’s defense is a work in progress. Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson are both 28-year-old veteran corners entering their seventh year in the league. They’ve both earned their place as starters in the Jets' secondary, but neither are world beaters. With a lack of pass rush mainly from having to start third-round pick Nathan Shepherd at DE, Stafford will have the time he needs to pick apart the Jets secondary at home on "Monday Night Football."
Jared Goff, LAR (at OAK, Mon.)
Without Khalil Mack, the Raiders' pass rush will be almost non-existent. Trading Mack to the Bears was not something the Raiders had planned on, and while the Black and Silver did have an above average draft class, I’m not sure starters DT P.J. Hall (2nd round pick) and DT/DE Arden Key (3rd round) will make enough of an impact up front. The over/under for this game is 49 points, which is one of the highest totals of the week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. BUF)
If you’re playing in a 2-QB or deeper league, or you plan to stream quarterbacks based on matchups in 2018, don’t sleep on Flacco. It's true he has a history of being the least attractive fantasy option available, but the Ravens are one of my dark horse teams in 2018. Flacco finally has a group of wide receivers that have all of their thumbs and 20/20 vision. I expect them to blow the doors off the Bills.
SIT THESE QBS...
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (at MIN)
It’s challenging to make start/sit predictions on players heading into Week 1, but it's hard to like the 49ers' chances on the road this week against the Vikings. The loss of Jerick McKinnon makes the offense extremely one-dimensional. One of the biggest reasons why Kyle Shanahan liked McKinnon so much was his ability to contribute in the passing game. Altering your game plan a week before the season starts while facing one of the league's toughest defenses is something to avoid.
Russell Wilson, SEA (at DEN)
It might sound insane to fade a quarterback who was involved in 37 of his team’s 38 touchdowns last season but consider this: Wilson’s new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, thinks the key to winning games is to run the ball. Whether Schottenheimer’s Stone Age play-calling will come to fruition remains to be seen, but the Seahawks own the third-lowest implied team total (19.75) this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. CLE)
There are a lot of talented starters on paper for the Browns' defense including a healthy Myles Garrett. Coordinator Gregg “Bountygate” Williams is a solid defensive coach that should cause problems for the Steelers at home on Sunday. The Steelers opened the season against the Browns last year, and Big Ben had 267 yards, two TDs and an INT. He finished the day as QB15, and I feel like he could repeat that stat line in 2018. If you have a better option, take it.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THIS DST...
Arizona Cardinals (vs. WAS)
The Redskins' running game took a hit with the loss of Derrius Guice, and the addition of Adrian Peterson is just a temporary Band-Aid. The Cardinals are an underrated defense and could make things difficult for the Skins on the road this week.
SIT THIS DST...
Cincinnati Bengals (at IND)
It’s time to start buying the hype that Andrew Luck is back and will have a big season. Frank Reich is an excellent coach, and the Colts could have an explosive offense this season. The Bengals are on the road and don’t have much game film of Luck or the new offense to plan for. I think the Bengals could get exposed.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.