Now that Week 1 of the fantasy football season is in the books it’s time to see how my start/sit advice for quarterbacks and defense/special teams (DST) went. Can’t move forward without assessing the past, right?
Start Derek Carr (20.62 fantasy points) – Carr had an excellent week even after traveling all the way to Tennessee, lighting up a Titans team that many think should be in the playoffs this year.
Sit Joe Flacco (8.84 FP) – This really only pertains to two-QB leagues, but Flacco looked awfully rusty against the Bengals in Week 1.
Start Russell Wilson ( 8.32 FP) – In what was supposed to be a shootout against the Packers, it seems that somehow the Seahawks’ offensive line is actually worse this year. Not good news for Wilson owners.
Sit Matthew Stafford (32.08 FP) – It’s true that Stafford was at home, but the Cardinals were supposed to have one of the best secondaries in all of football yet Stafford tossed four TD passes.
START THESE QBS...
Philip Rivers, LAC (vs. MIA)
Philip Rivers led a late comeback attempt that fell just short in Week 1 against a stingy Broncos defense, but he should be able to throw for more than 192 yards Sunday against a Dolphins defense playing its first game of 2017. Last year the Dolphins gave up 16 touchdowns passes and an average of 18.02 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the road, and their defense isn’t much improved this year.
Jameis Winston, TB (vs. CHI)
After a hurricane-induced bye week, Jameis Winston and the Bucs will take on the Bears, who allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 321 yards (and 17.94 fantasy points) in Week 1. The matchup for Winston is even more enticing when you consider that the Bears’ defense allowed the third-most fantasy points (a whopping 20.03 ppg) to quarterbacks on the road last season.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. MIN)
Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 36 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the opener, and will look to build on that in Week 2 against a stout Vikings unit that held Drew Brees to 291 yards and a single touchdown in their opener. While the Vikings‘ defense is tough, Roethlisberger has scored 17 or more fantasy points 16 times in the past 20 home games.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Carson Palmer, ARI (at IND)
It was a pretty dreadful start for Palmer, as he completed just 27 of 48 passes for 269 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Still, the volume was good to see for fantasy purposes, and there’s a good chance the Cardinals continue to lean on the pass as long as David Johnson is out with a dislocated wrist. Moreover, Palmer gets a dream matchup against a Colts defense that was just torched by Jared Goff for 306 yards on 29 pass attempts. Palmer should be treated as a QB1 this week.
SIT THESE QBs...
Carson Wentz, PHI (at KC)
All you need to know here is that under Andy Reid when the Chiefs are playing at home, only four opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 300 yards. It’s true the Chiefs’ defense will miss stud safety Eric Berry, but when Berry missed the 2014 season, zero quarterbacks threw for more than 300 yards at Arrowhead.
Matthew Stafford, DET (at NYG, Mon.)
Stafford will have his work cut out for him to duplicate last week's four-touchdown performance (27.08 fantasy points) against a Giants defense he struggled against last year and which held Dallas to one TD pass in Week 1. The Giants might have the best secondary in the league, especially at home, where they allowed an average of 12.16 fantasy points per game to QBs.
Jay Cutler, MIA (at LAC)
After a brief retirement, Cutler received an extra week of preparation due to Hurricane Irma and will face a San Diego defense that has a ferocious pass rush and one of the league's best cornerback duos. Hopefully you have other options at QB this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Dak Prescott, DAL (at DEN)
You can expect just about any quarterback who faces the Broncos to end up in the "concern" or "avoid" category, especially when they are at home. In the opener, Denver held Philip Rivers to just 192 yards on 22 of 33 pass attempts, although he did have three touchdown passes. The Cowboys should stick to their typical game plan of featuring Ezekiel Elliott as the focal point of their offense, especially with such a difficult matchup for Prescott against a top secondary.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Arizona Cardinals (at IND)
This one is too easy, and I can probably only get away with this one last time. But until Andrew Luck gets back, start any DST that is playing the Colts. Last week the Rams won many fantasy owners their weeks when they scored 28 fantasy points against the Colts.
Oakland Raiders (vs. NYJ)
The other team to stream DSTs against is the New York Jets and this week the Raiders get to face the Jets at home. And even with this tasty matchup chances are the Raiders are still available on the waiver wire... but probably not for long.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Minnesota Vikings (at PIT)
While the Vikings do have one of the best defenses in the NFL, facing Ben Roethlisberger at home is not the matchup you want. Last season, Pittsburgh averaged 28.3 fantasy points and 297 yards of total offense at home, and that was without Martavis Bryant for the whole season.
Green Bay Packers (at ATL)
The Packers DST surprised many last week by scoring nine fantasy points against Seattle, but that really has more to do with the Seattle’s offensive line than how good Green Bay’s D is. This week the Packers are on the road in Atlanta where DSTs averaged only 2.63 fantasy points per game last season. Stay away.
— 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.