Week 1

ryan-tannehillFrom week to week the biggest question every fantasy owner has is “Who do I start?” And this week that’s a hard question with so many matchups to consider. If you have Doug Martin, do you trust him against a Carolina defense that has proven it can shut down running games? What about Marshawn Lynch against Green Bay? Does the regression for him start here, in week one? What do you do with the tight end position?

Yes, lots of choices to make, and here at The Fantasy Ace I’m committed to helping you every single week figure out who to play and who to avoid. Now, I’m not going to be talking about studs, so you won’t hear me tell you to play Peyton Manning or LeSean McCoy. Those are too obvious. Studs are studs for a reason, even if they do disappoint from time to time, which is why you should play Rodgers this week even with that tough matchup in Seattle.

In “Setting Your Lineup” you’ll be given four players at each primary offensive position who should have a good day based on matchups and recent history, as well as one player you should avoid at each position, someone who could really burn you if you play him this week. So, let’s get down to business…

QUARTERBACKS

Matthew Stafford, DET. He won’t be advisable every single week, but he has a juicy matchup against that Giants defense on Monday night. Get him active.
Matt Ryan, ATL. You didn’t draft him high, but you recognize the matchup against division foe New Orleans means a probable shootout. Plus, he has Julio Jones back. That’s enough for me.
Nick Foles, PHI. Foles isn’t as good as he played last year, is he? He’ll have to do more to convince me. However, with an opening game at home against the Jaguars, he will look just as good.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA. This is proving ground for Tannehill. He has looked alternately good and bad during the past season, and he doesn’t usually play well against New England. But I like how he looked in the preseason, and I think he’s due for a big one against the division rival.

AVOID: Eli Manning, NYG. I don’t care what you say about him not possibly being as bad as he looked last season. Stats don’t lie, and his offensive line hasn’t gotten any better. Stay away.

RUNNING BACKS

Andre Ellington*, ARI. This is his team now, and Ellington has shown flashes of brilliance in limited time. We’ll see what he can do with the majority of the load, and I’m a believer. He will showcase that speed and agility against San Diego, starting this week.
Fred Jackson, BUF. Say what you will about Jackson, but he’s as consistent as they come. That Chicago run defense may be improved from last season, but they’ll have to prove it. I think Jackson gets it going.
Knowshon Moreno, MIA. Funny how much doesn’t change in a year. Last year at this time Moreno surprised most people by becoming a force in fantasy when he wasn’t supposed to be. This was supposed to be Lamar Miller’s year, but I think Moreno steals the spotlight in week one.
Chris Johnson, NYJ. I’m not a Johnson fan, but against that Oakland defense, I think he’ll shine. Geno Smith needs a security blanket, and Johnson will be his guy.

AVOID: Ryan Mathews, SD. That Arizona defense will be incredibly solid this year, and they will focus on stopping the run from the opening kickoff. Mathews has traditionally not played well in week one anyway, and Rivers will be throwing the ball a lot in this one.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Eric Decker, NYJ. I think Decker regresses this year with Smith as his quarterback, but he is the top guy in that offense, and did I mention they’re playing Oakland this week?
Pierre Garcon, WAS. The only reason Garcon isn’t automatic here is because of the inefficiency of RGIII in the preseason, and even at the end of last season. But I think RGIII steps up here and Garcon is the primary weapon in his arsenal.
Vincent Jackson, TB. Who else is McCown going to target down the field? Besides, I think that Carolina defense isn’t as strong now as they were toward the end of last season. I like Jackson here. A lot.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN. Normally, I would just tell you to play any and all Denver receivers, but Sanders fits the bill even more so now with Welker out and the possibility that he gets some time in the slot in this game. I think he goes absolutely nuts in this game. The perfect flex choice this week.

AVOID: Victor Cruz, NYG. Can you tell I’m not sold on this Giants offense at the moment? Unless Manning can straighten out this new offensive scheme in a hurry, it will affect every single starter, including Cruz. I predict no salsa dancing on Monday night.

TIGHT ENDS

Martellus Bennett, CHI. Bennett was hit-or-miss last season, but he finished strong, and with a healthy Cutler under center I can see Bennett making a lot of catches with the double coverages on Marshall and Jeffery. I think he is entirely underrated and will make owners really happy this week.
Jared Cook, STL. He started off strong last season, and I think he does the same this year against Minnesota. That defense has been exploited by tight ends lately, and I say Cook continues the trend. Stream him this week if you’re not happy with your low round tight end.
Heath Miller, PIT. Antonio Brown demands a lot of attention from defenses, but I think Miller is more opportunistic. Roethlisberger relies on him for a lot, and it shows week one against Cleveland. Count on Miller for 100 yards in this matchup.
Zach Ertz, PHI. Ertz is the main main in Philly now at the tight end position, having usurped Brent Celek for that job. But now he has to prove himself even more, and against a Jacksonville defense that suffers when it comes to tight ends, he should produce this week.

AVOID: Jordan Cameron, CLE. With the news that Josh Gordon would be out the entire season on suspension, Cameron’s stock went south. Now teams can key in on him and only him. Having Brian Hoyer as his quarterback doesn’t help matters either. You may have drafted him as a high end tight end but it won’t happen in this matchup.

One of the key questions I often get is which player should be used in the flex position, a running back or a wide receiver, and the answer is a relatively simple one. Depends on who that player is, who the matchups are, and the possibility that the player will make an impact in the game. Some of the best flex options this week should be Frank Gore, Jeremy Maclin, and Giovani Bernard.

Good luck setting your lineups.

The Fantasy Ace

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