Koerner: How to Make Your Fantasy Start/Sit Decisions for Packers-Bears

Koerner: How to Make Your Fantasy Start/Sit Decisions for Packers-Bears article feature image
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Denny MedleyRandomPhotography. Pictured: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison

  • Sean Koerner is here to help you make your first fantasy start or sit decisions of the season.
  • See which Packers and Bears players are must-plays (or stay aways) for Thursday Night Football.

It’s the first football game of the season!

Let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players in Packers-Bears. (Hint: The Antonio Brown news is shifting my rankings, so there might be better alternatives to certain wide receivers and tight ends in tonight’s game.)

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Rodgers owners open the season with a sit/start decision as this is a brutal matchup for him. With his projected points, he’s all the way down to my QB15.

His ceiling is about as low as it will be all season: My Week 1 sim gives him only an 18% chance of finishing as a top-five QB. However, he still has a higher floor than some QBs ranked ahead of him. My sim is giving him a 44% chance of finishing as a top-12 QB (ranked 11th at the position) and only a 31% chance of what we would consider a dud — finishing outside the top-20 (ranked eighth).

While we likely won’t get a 300-yard, three-touchdown game from him, he’s still a safer bet for 250-270 yards and two TDs.

Kirk Cousins would be the only potential available QB I would consider over Rodgers. Still, you should look at this situation like Rodgers gets a downgrade and likely won’t have his best game of the season, but is still a back-end QB1 and should still be started by his owners.

Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky has nearly an identical outlook as Rodgers in terms of chance to finish top five, top 12 or outside the top 20. For Trubisky, however, that means this is a plus matchup. And if you waited at QB to draft Trubisky in the later rounds, this is the week to play him.

I don’t have any potential streamers ranked ahead of him. There will be times when a QB on the waiver wire will pop up as a better play than Trubisky, but this isn’t one of them.

Running Back

Aaron Jones

Jones opens the season with a brutal matchup and is definitely in the sit/start discussion this week. My sim gives him a 46.7% chance to finish as a top-24 RB this week and all RBs in this range have similar floor/ceiling combos, so it’s safe to say that using my rankings straight up to make a sit/start call here is the way to go.

There also isn’t any sort of TNF vs. waiting-for-news-on-Sunday decision to make here that I can see right now.

If you are starting Jones, put him in your RB slot and one of your RBs in the Flex slot. In the low likelihood something happened to your Sunday/Monday RB before lineup lock and you needed to bench them for someone else, you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself by not having the Flex slot available for that.

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Aaron Jones

Most people know this trick, but we need to get into the good habit of doing it.

David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis

We’ll finally get our first glimpse at how the Bears three-way committee will shake out.

I have Montgomery as a low-end RB2 who has a good enough matchup and should see enough touches to be considered safe with the potential for even more upside. Similar to Jones above, let the rankings make your sit/start decisions as there is no TNF vs. Sunday/Monday news that should effect this decision.

Cohen’s main asset is providing a safe floor in PPR formats. However, the unknown nature of how Montgomery/Davis will impact Cohen’s role is a threat to that. I would consider him a low ceiling and low(er) floor than we are used to. It’s best to use a wait-and-see approach with him. Only throw him out there Week 1 if you have no alternate options.

Davis can’t be trusted yet and is nothing more than a dual handcuff to Montgomery and Cohen.

Wide receiver

Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison

Adams is a must-start despite the tough matchup. I have him projected for fewer yards than most weeks, but he’s always a threat to score. My only advice is to simply temper your expectations of him this week.

Both MVS and Allison are in the WR46-49 range and are safer on your bench this week. Most weeks I’ll have MVS in the WR3 range as I think he has the most potential long term, but Allison draws the better matchup this week against Buster Skrine. No need to get cute here — avoid this situation if you can.

Both receivers are good long-term investments to see who emerges as Rodgers’ second-favorite target, and my money is on MVS.

Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel

Robinson is a solid WR2 this week and wouldn’t be part of a sit/start decisions unless you are absolutely stacked at WR/Flex.

Miller is coming back from an ankle sprain that cost him the past few weeks and could be eased into things early in the season while Gabriel is not going to be consistent enough to trust outside of deeper leagues during heavy bye weeks.

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anthony Miller

If you were planning on starting Miller or Gabriel, it’s worth seeing if Hunter Renfrow is available on your waiver wire. After the news that the Raiders plan on suspending Antonio Brown, I adjusted their projections as if AB is out this week and Renfrow passed up Miller as the WR47.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham

The Brown news also has an impact on TE sit/start decisions in this game.

Graham is a popular streamer play this week, but Darren Waller passes Graham up with my adjusted Raiders’ projections. If you were planning on starting Graham here, I would hold off and take a flier on Waller instead. He would likely be a better ceiling/floor combo than Graham, who likely needs a TD in order to useful this week.

Trey Burton

Trey Burton missed the entire preseason following sports hernia surgery and is now dealing with a groin injury. There’s a real chance he sits and Adam Shaheen could see a bit of a boost as a result. Still, neither is start-able this week and Shaheen wouldn’t get enough of a boost to enter the streaming discussion.

As I noted above, if you were planning on starting either Burton or Shaheen and Waller is available in your league, you should add him instead.

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