With no Melvin Gordon, Jackson should get his chances in the Chargers' backfield alongside Ausin Ekeler
The problem with a lot of fantasy football start/sit columns out there is they give you very simple, obvious advice. Start the Ravens D against the 6.5-point home underdog, the already tanking Dolphins? Really, you think so doctor?
So one of the first things I will do every week is to get all the obvious ones out. Unless you are galactically stupid and made a horrendous first-round pick, start your first-round pick this week. Even you Zeke owners should start him unless we hear a definitive reason not to start him. I would also fill your lineup with any starting offensive player in the Saints-Texans game. Conversely, I'd sit any Dolphin. I do like Albert Wilson this week, but I'm guessing you have better options. If he's one of your top three WRs, I'm sorry that you fell asleep during your draft.
Start: Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints
At first glance, this might look like a tough matchup. The Texans were perched at the top of of the DVOA (Defense-adjusted value over average) run defense rankings last season. However, they traded away the defensive mayhem known as Jadeveon Clowney and failed to retain Tyrann Mathieu who prevented anyone from running free in the middle of the field. This game actually has one of the highest over/unders the week and I agree with Vegas on this one.
In addition, the Saints offensive line was one of the best of the last year and returns four starters from last year's unit. Furthermore, Murray is no slouch either. He has 26 rushing touchdowns over the last three years along with a solid four yards per carry average during that time. With Sean Payton likely to give Alvin Kamara less than 60 percent of the snaps, I would have no hesitations with Murray as my third running back this week.
Start: Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
We know that Melvin Gordon is not playing Week 1. We also know that Jackson and Austin Ekeler will be splitting carries. What we don't know is how equitable the split will be. However, with the Chargers expected to be ahead most of the game, I think we can expect at least 30 carries total. I would be shocked if Jackson doesn't see at least double-digit carries. Jackson, like Murrary above, also averages a reliable four yards per carry. Jackson and Ekeler are extremely similar in build, but given that Jackson is an inch taller he might get the first crack at goal-line carries. I will gladly take a touchdown and about 50 yards from Jackson.
Sit: Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
I know, Peterson is not a man, he's a human cyborg. But nothing lasts forever. And yes, Peterson eclipsed the century mark again last year. But he needed some injuries to the rest of the backfield to do so and last time I checked Derrius Guice was pretty healthy. Even if he does get even half the carries, how much do you think he's going to do against the Eagles' solid defense? Game flow is one reason alone I would not play Peterson. He might still have a great season but chances are he was a late addition to your RB stable. No need to saddle him up this week.
Deep League Special
Start: Dontrell Hilliard, Cleveland Browns
Let me be very clear that this "START" suggestion is for very deep leagues only. I'm talking about guillotine leagues and leagues where at least 200 skill position players were drafted. If you're in a league where you have to start a backup running back and even half a dozen carries or targets will make you do backflips, this is the pick for you.
Kareem Hunt is suspended for eight games and Hillard is the running back to own behind Nick Chubb. Do you think Chubb is really going to get all the carries? I will tell you right now, he's not. And Hillard should see a few targets as well. Think of him as a poor man's Duke Johnson last year. Perhaps you are thinking about starting Gus Edwards or even Chase Edmonds thinking they might see a little action. They might. But of all the RBs at that level, Hillard is the one I will start.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.