NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Start or Sit Mailbag
Aug 16, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) gets past Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez (50) to score a touchdown in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
- Each week we crowdsource Start or Sit questions on Twitter @ActionNetworkHQ and @ActionNetNFL and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ryan Collinsworth answers a variety of questions, including whether to roster Joe Flacco or Jimmy Garoppolo and whether to FLEX Chris Hogan or Tyreek Hill.
The fantasy football season finally begins Thursday night at 8:20 p.m. ET with the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons. You’ve done your research, built your models, crafted your strategy and (hopefully) crushed your draft. Now there’s only one hurdle remaining on the path to fantasy glory: Start or Sit?
Each week we crowdsource Start or Sit questions on Twitter @ActionNetworkHQ and @ActionNetNFL and by email at email@example.com. Remember to include your league settings (standard, PPR, superflex, etc.) in your question.
Thanks to everyone who reached out with Week 1 Start or Sit questions for this week’s mailbag. Let’s jump into it.
What to Expect From James Conner
Question: Half-Point PPR: Start James Conner for either Alex Collins or Jamaal Williams?
Alex Collins should be a lock for you this week. He boasts the 13th-highest median, floor and ceiling projection among running backs for Week 1. On top of that, Baltimore is one of the NFL teams dealing with heavy wind this week. The Ravens will likely employ a conservative, run-heavy game plan against the Bills.
James Conner vs. Jamaal Williams is intriguing, though. In terms of raw projections, they’re really neck-and-neck. Conner boasts the 18th-best median and ceiling projections among running backs; Jamaal Williams is 19th in both.
So, if we’re splitting hairs between the two, I’d advise going with the more established back: Williams. Especially with Aaron Jones suspended to start the season, Williams’ workload is going to be rock-solid. Furthermore, due to the uncertainty shrouding Le’Veon Bell‘s holdout, it’s hard to gauge the Steelers locker room. Take a wait-and-see approach with Conner until we get more clarity from Pittsburgh.
Question: LeSean McCoy or James Conner?
- Stephen Montague @5tephenmontague
Shady. No contest.
LeSean McCoy is our consensus 10th-ranked running back for Week 1 and boasts the 11th-best median and ceiling projections among running backs. As mentioned previously, the Ravens and Bills will be dealing with heavy wind. With the Bills starting Nathan Peterman at quarterback, they may run the ball 40+ times in this game.
Question: Which two players to drop: Austin Ekeler, Alfred Morris, James Conner, Tarik Cohen or Anthony Miller?
Do not drop Conner — especially with all the craziness surrounding Bell’s holdout. When Bell tore his MCL midway through the 2015 season, DeAngelo Williams became the Steelers’ lead back and finished as the No. 4 running back in fantasy that season.
Both Alfred Morris and Tarik Cohen have too much upside to part ways. Especially given the scarcity of starting fantasy running backs, you don’t want to hamstring yourself early in the season by letting go of starting talent.
Drop Austin Ekeler and Anthony Miller. For what it’s worth, I love both those guys in season-long formats. Ekeler crushed in the preseason, and Miller garnered enormous preseason hype during spring camp. Still, neither of them has easy paths to stable week-over-week fantasy value. If you’re forced to drop two of those five guys, it has to be Ekeler and Miller.
Is Tevin Coleman a fantasy starter?
Question: Start Tevin Coleman tonight against a tough Philly D?
- Chris Yerkins @Yerks8
For the last two seasons, Tevin Coleman has provided top-25 running back value in PPR settings. When Devonta Freeman has missed time due to injury, Coleman has put up RB1 numbers. As of this writing, our consensus rankers project him as the 29th-best running back this Week 1. So, this decision hinges on the Eagles defense.
Good news. Philly’s defense may have played well last season, but our consensus projections have the Eagles with the 16th-best fantasy defense for Week 1. With an average expected outcome, you shouldn’t be overly concerned with the Eagles defense.
Coleman is a high-floor option with a limited ceiling unless Freeman misses time. If you’re already playing several high-upside guys such as Tyreek Hill or Josh Gordon, then Coleman could be a good selection to stabilize your fantasy floor. But, if you need a big game from your RB2, consider starting a running back with higher upside such as James White or Bilal Powell.
Question: Standard scoring: Lynch or D. Lewis?
- Rob @Fantasylegend69
Marshawn Lynch gets the nod here. He’s our consensus RB22 for Week 1 and boasts the 23rd-best ceiling and 19th-best floor projection among running backs. Be honest: Do you really believe Doug Martin, Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington are going to steal snaps away from Beast Mode?
Dion Lewis, on the other hand, comes in at RB30 in our Week 1 consensus rankings and boasts the 34th-best ceiling and 32nd-best floor projection among running backs. Lewis proved last season that he’s more than just a pass-catching running back, but he still takes a hit in standard settings that don’t reward his receiving acumen.
Fantasy Football Rankings
Question: Half-Point PPR for FLEX: Chris Hogan or Tyreek Hill?
This one is incredibly close. Hogan and Hill rank 32nd and 33rd, respectively, in our consensus FLEX rankings for Week 1. However, I have to give the nod to Chris Hogan.
The real difference is projected floor. Hogan boasts the 35th-best floor projection among FLEX players, whereas Tyreek Hill has the 42nd-best floor projection. Tyreek is more of a boom-or-bust option.
PPR FLEX: Sterling Shepard, Chris Thompson, Allen Hurns or Mike Williams?
- Jets fan @NuebaYolk
Mike Williams is off the table. He had the entire preseason to show any improvement from last season, and he put up a goose egg yet again. Until he shows me otherwise, he’s a stash selection at best — not starting material.
The other three players in contention for FLEX duties all have very similar median and ceiling projections. However, Chris Thompson has by far the highest floor projection among the players you listed. Thompson’s projected floor ranks 68th among FLEX players in PPR formats. Sterling Shepard comes in at 94th and Allen Hurns is ranked 99th.
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If You Have Two Starting Quarterbacks, You Really Have None
Question: Joe Flacco, or Jimmy Garoppolo vs. the Vikings?
- Jack Settleman @Jsettleman23
Jimmy GQ. Although, you should consider dropping Flacco in favor of a streaming quarterback such as Tyrod Taylor off waivers.
Jimmy Garoppolo has top-12 season-long upside, but he doesn’t have a favorable matchup against the Vikings. His median, ceiling and floor projections for Week 1 are mediocre at best.
However, if Joe Flacco is his competition, then it’s no contest. Flacco is our consensus 29th-best quarterback for Week 1. For some perspective, Garoppolo’s 21st-ranked median projection is still higher than Flacco’s ceiling.