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Why You Should Start Donte Moncrief and Other WR/TE Start/Sit Fantasy Advice For Week 1

Donte Moncrief

Donte Moncrief

So you fell in love with the whole “zero RB” strategy during your fantasy draft and now you find yourself with a roster full of wide receivers and tight ends.

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That’s all fine and dandy, especially if you ended up with the elite guys like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen (to name a few). But for argument's sake, let's say those aren't the names that litter your roster at those positions. Now who should you start in Week 1?

Fortunately for you, you have come to the right place.

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Wide Receivers


Donte Moncrief, IND (vs. DET)

If any receiver is going to have big breakout year, it’s going to be Moncrief and it’s going to start in Week 1 against the Lions. This game has all the makings of a good old fashioned shootout, and Andrew Luck will lean on Moncrief quite a bit, just like he did last year (when Luck was actually healthy). Moncrief had at least six targets in five of the seven games Luck played, including three games with at least eight targets. Moncrief also had five touchdowns in just seven games with Luck, and the Colts' running game might struggle this week. If you consider T.Y. Hilton the No. 1 receiver in Indianapolis, which he is for now, there were six No. 2 receivers to score at least eight fantasy points (standard scoring) against the Lions last year. I expect eight points to be Moncrief's floor in this matchup.

Golden Tate, DET (at IND)

If you drafted Tate this year in you’re going to be golden (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Just like Moncrief and the Colts, the Lions’ receivers should have a great day against a poor Colts secondary that will be playing without top cornerback Vontae Davis. The Colts' defense surrendered an average of more than 24 fantasy points per game to WRs last season, and Tate should see a bunch of targets as Matthew Stafford’s new No. 1 target now that Calvin Johnson has retired.

Michael Crabtree, OAK (at NO)

The easier thing would have been to tell you to start Amari Cooper, but everyone and their grandmother knows that you need to start Cooper this week against the Saints. You definitely want a piece of the Raiders-Saints game this week and Crabtree is the best option on the Raiders after Cooper. Crabtree proved in 2015 that Derek Carr will lean on him a lot since he led the Raiders in targets. Crabtree had 13 games with at least seven targets, and he scored fewer than seven fantasy points (standard scoring) in just four of those outings. The Saints led the NFL with 27 touchdowns allowed to receivers, and there were seven times where a pair of receivers from the same team scored at least eight fantasy points. That bodes well for Cooper and Crabtree this week, making the latter a worthy WR2 in most formats.


Michael Floyd, ARI (vs. NE)

Lots of “experts” think that Floyd is the Cardinals' No. 3 wide receiver heading into the 2016 season because he finished third in fantasy points last season behind Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown. But to be fair, Floyd got off to a slow start because of a hand injury in the preseason. Once he was healthy, which was about Week 6, he took off and scored double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) in seven of his final 10 games. That could be relevant here with Fitzgerald coming off a minor knee injury in training camp, and Brown just coming back from a lengthy layoff from a concussion. We'll see how the Patriots choose to defend the Cardinals' trio, and where standout cornerback Malcolm Butler lines up. One report out of Boston suggests Butler will face off with Fitzgerald, which should mean good things for Floyd. He's worth starting in all leagues as a high-end No. 2 receiver.


Julian Edelman, NE (at ARI)

The entire Patriots passing offense, even Rob Gronkowski, could be in for some serious issues this weekend with Jimmy Garoppolo making his first career start in Arizona. Don’t forget Edelman is coming off multiple foot surgeries, which was a concern for fantasy fans in drafts, and now he'll be facing a Cardinals defense that allowed the sixth-fewest yards to WRs a season ago. He might be worth a start in PPR leagues because the Patriots should be playing from behind and might try to force-feed him the ball but still proceed with caution until Week 5 when Tom Brady returns.

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Jarvis Landry, MIA (at SEA)

Landry is the clear No. 1 wide receiver in an Adam Gase-led offense, especially with DeVante Parker hurt once again and Kenny Stills (of all people) clearly in the No. 2 role. There’s no doubt that Landry will be a PPR monster this year as usual, but it appears that Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman might be moving into the slot this week to cover Landry, who is really the Dolphins' only proven receiving threat.  Don’t forget that the Seahawks are also a pretty good defense. Seattle led the NFL with the fewest touchdowns allowed (6) to WRs in 2015 with six, and slot receivers for the most part were held in check. Landry also had just six games with double-digits fantasy points (standard scoring) last season and managed just four touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if he gets off to a slow start in Seattle.

Allen Hurns, JAC (vs. GB)

Hurns was a fantasy surprise last season (like the entire Jaguars' offense), scoring 10 touchdowns while finishing in the top 13 in fantasy points at his position. Still, you might want to think twice about starting him against a Packers defense that allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs last season. Hurns could end up matched up against cornerback Sam Shields.

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Jeremy Maclin, KC (vs. SD)

The San Diego Chargers might not have the best defense in football, but they do have a very good secondary. Only six No. 1 receivers scored double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) against San Diego in 2015, and Maclin wasn't one of them. He had nine catches for 97 yards and no touchdowns on 15 targets in two meetings. When you remember that the Chargers’ secondary also allowed the fifth-fewest touchdowns (11) to WRs last year, starting Maclin looks less enticing.

Tight Ends


Dwayne Allen, IND (vs. DET)

Hello narrative street! Allen has scored a touchdown in each of his last three season openers and he could make it four in a row

against the Lions, which tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns surrendered to tight ends last year (12). The Colts should be throwing a lot in this matchup, and Allen should be the main red-zone target for Luck. In Luck's last full season (2014), the Colts got 18 touchdowns from their tight ends (Coby Fleener had eight, Allen had eight and Jack Doyle had two), and new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is a tight end savant. Allen is going to have a big year and it starts in Week 1 at home against the Lions.

Coby Fleener, NO (vs. OAK)

Fleener was everyone’s favorite tight end pick this year. Last year a 35-year-old Ben Watson managed to catch 74 balls for 825 yards and six touchdowns in his only season with the Saints. Just imagine what an athlete like Fleener can do in offense like the Saints with Drew Brees throwing to him? Last year the Raiders were one of the worst defenses against tight ends, allowing an average of more than 10 fantasy points per game and the third-most fantasy points to TEs overall. The Raiders did revamp their defense in the offseason, but this is a great spot for Fleener to get off to a hot start at home.

Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. MIN)

Just because rookie wide receiver Tajae Sharpe has been the talk of Titans' training camp doesn’t mean that Marcus Mariota is going to stop throwing the ball to his favorite target. Walker is an absolute target machine, which we saw last season when he led tight ends and finished 15th in the NFL with 133. He's also had success against NFC teams, averaging six catches for 90 yards with six touchdowns in his last six games against the conference. It's an out-of-the-box trend, but we are in Week 1 after all.

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Jared Cook, GB (at JAC)

The reports coming out of Packers training camp was that Cook was “catching everything in sight.” Haven’t we heard that for, like, the past seven years? It’s going to be really hard to trust Cook all season, but he did have a strong preseason and has showed a good rapport with Aaron Rodgers. In the preseason, Rodgers had nine receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown, including four catches (on five targets) for 54 yards in the third game against San Francisco. If Jordy Nelson is on a snap count, look for Cook to see more targets, especially in the red zone. Also, don’t forget that the Jaguars allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year, which makes Cook an excellent streaming option this week.


Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. MIA)

Somehow in the miracle of all miracles it appears that Jimmy Graham is going to start Week 1 after missing most of last season after his devastating patella tendon injury. If Graham does play, he will be the fastest player to ever come back from such an injury – just ask Victor Cruz. But the Seahawks will no doubt ease Graham back into action and probably have him on a snap count to help prevent any injury setbacks, and this will limit his opportunities. Even when he was healthy last season he only scored twice, and the Dolphins gave up just four touchdowns to tight ends in 2015. Let Graham prove himself first before starting him in the majority of leagues. There should be little confidence in trusting him this week.

Martellus Bennett, NE (at ARI)

Bennett is probably going to finish the season as a top-12 tight end, and there is a chance that he gets off to a good start in Week 1 against the Cardinals with the report that Rob Gronkowski isn’t 100 percent because of a hamstring problem. But can you really trust Jimmy Garoppolo to get the ball to Bennett enough for him to score enough fantasy points this week? The Cardinals only allowed six touchdowns to tight ends last season and if any Patriots tight end is going to score, you know it’s going to be Gronk. Hold off on starting Bennett this week.

Zach Miller, CHI (at HOU)

Miller has some definite deep sleeper appeal after his hot finish to 2015, but this week's matchup against the Texans makes him anything but a sure bet. Houston was tough on tight ends a season ago, allowing a mere five touchdowns and an average of just seven fantasy points per game.


Antonio Gates, SD (at KC)

The Chiefs are among the best at defending tight ends, and they made things tough on Gates last year, holding him to seven catches for 82 yards and no touchdowns in two games. Gates has just one game with double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) in his past six against Kansas City, and he's failed to score a touchdown in the past five meetings, a span that goes back to 2011. No tight end scored more than seven fantasy points against the Chiefs last year, which is why Gates should be considered a low-end starting option at best.

— 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.