Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 1 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season is finally here! Now it’s time to look at matchups and figure out the best start/sit scenarios for the first week of our fantasy football leagues. We’ll be doing weekly start ’em/sit ’em advice all season long, so be sure to check back each week. Good luck in Week 1!

If you want to see how your picks and rankings stack up against ours, check out the FantasyPros Start/Sit Challenge.

Start ‘Em

Colin Kaepernick (QB, San Francisco) at Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas defense is hurting going into week 1. Injuries and suspensions are leaving the secondary in shambles, and there’s a very good chance Monte Kiffin could employ some kind of no-corners defense with extra safeties and/or linebackers on the field. Kaepernick’s ability aside, you should start just about any QB against this defense as it is now.

Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions) vs. New York Giants

Stafford has the honor of being on an offense that should be one of the best in the league on paper. Going into Week 1 he’ll be facing a Giants defense that was middle of the pack in 2013. More importantly, Eli and company could be showing signs of early connection problems. Detroit should get plenty of chances to show off that flashy offense, and Stafford should have a big game.

LeSean McCoy (RB, Philadephia Eagles) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a no brainer, right? McCoy is the top ranked RB going into Week 1, and all indications are pointing to another year of success in Philly’s fast paced offense. He’s a dual threat as a runner and receiver and he should have a solid performance to kick off the season versus the Jags.

Ben Tate (RB, Cleveland Browns) at Pittsburgh Steelers

It certainly looks like Tate is being given the opportunity to be an every down back in Cleveland, and that’s a very good sign for his fantasy owners. The Browns will be facing a Steelers defense that finished in the top third in terms of giving up points to running backs in 2013. That said, Tate will get the ball in his hands early and often. I foresee Cleveland leaning heavily on the ground game to start off the season given their quarterback uncertainties. If he can stay healthy, Tate should be a solid start.

Antonio Brown (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Cleveland Browns

Brown has silently been a top receiver for the last three seasons running, but somehow he is often overlooked. The Steelers will be facing a Cleveland defense that has a number of questions in their secondary, and those questions could spell good things for Brown. He’s a solid Week 1 start.

Hakeem Nicks (WR, Indianapolis Colts) at Denver

This game has the makings of a shootout. Certainly, T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne are going to get the majority of targets. However, Nicks could benefit a great deal from that very fact and his size and athleticism could create significant mismatches. In a game that could see a lot of touchdowns scored, Nicks is a nice under-the-radar option.

Vernon Davis (TE, San Francisco 49ers) at Dallas Cowboys

See the Kaepernick suggestion above. The Niners are facing a Cowboys defense that has great potential to struggle. The well is dry in terms of cornerback help, and they may have to come up with some creative ways to make their secondary work. Mismatches should abound for a tight end with the skill set that Davis brings to the table. There’s great potential for him to have a great Week 1.

Houston Texans (vs. Washington Redskins)

Houston was a train wreck in 2013, but all indications are pointing towards things really looking up at least on the defensive side of the ball. The 2014 team has a fairly fearsome front seven, and they should give just about any team fits this season. I’m exptecting RGIII and the Redskins to struggle mightily in Week 1 against a tough defense. Keep an eye on this Houston D.

Sit ‘Em

Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay Packers) at Seattle Seahawks

It’s hard to suggest sitting an elite QB like Rodgers, but it’s worth looking elsewhere in Week 1 if you have other options. Rodgers and The Pack will be facing the best defense in the league in their own house. It’s hard to beat the Super Bowl champs, and it’s particular difficult when they’re at home.

Adrian Peterson (RB, Minnesota Vikings) at St. Louis Rams

Another one that’s hard to believe. AP is going near the top in all fantasy drafts and the likelihood of you realistically benching him isn’t so great. That said, temper your expectations in Week 1. Peterson and the Vikings are facing a Rams team with a monstrous front seven and probably the best defensive line in the NFL this season. It’s going to be tough sledding all day for “All Day”.

Jordy Nelson (WR, Green Bay Packers) at Seattle Seahawks

I mentioned above the potential struggles that the Packers could see Week 1 versus the Super Bowl champs. Green Bay’s potent offense could get off to a slow start against the league’s best defense, and that’s no good for Nelson. Typically a must-start, there will likely be better options than Jordy for Week 1. Owners beware.

Rob Gronkowski (TE, New England Patriots) at Miami Dolphins

I know you’re hanging onto hope that Gronk will play in Week 1, and he very well could make it onto the field. Coach Belichick hasn’t made a decision as of Tuesday as to whether the tight end will suit up or not. Even if he does, he’s a fantasy risk. There’s going to be rust and I don’t expect him to burst back onto the scene just yet. Be wary of starting him in Week 1.

Dallas Cowboys (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

I think we’ve covered this storyline enough. The Cowboys defense is hurtin’, and until they get folks healthy and back off suspensions their secondary is going to struggle. Big D is going to struggle versus the Niners in Week 1.

Have a fantasy start/sit question? Feel free to ask a question or get a hold of @PDWonderland on Twitter.

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...

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