Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 1 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Week 1 of the 2016 season is here! There is going to be real live regular season football! Woohoo! Each week I will be taking a look at some players with favorable matchups that are start-worthy and others with not-so-favorable matchups that you should keep on the bench. If you are a daily fantasy player, some of these starts could be great values. Be sure to check back often for updated player rankings and weekly waiver wire targets.

If you have Sit/Start questions, try out the Sit/Start Tool, contact me, or hit up @PDWonderland on Twitter.

Start ‘Em

Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions) @ Indianapolis Colts

Training camp and preseason was bad news for the Colts defensive back situation, and they weren’t exactly stacked at the position to start with. Top corner Vontae Davis will be out for several weeks, and the rest of the squad is dinged up in one way or another. They even had to resort to bringing in the aging Antonio Cromartie just weeks before the beginning of the season. In the end, this spells bad news for Indy and potential good news for Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Stafford may not see better matchups all season. If you’re going to balk on starting him in 2016, Week 1 isn’t the week to do it. He’s a must start versus the Colts.

Derek Carr (QB, Oakland Raiders) @ New Orleans Saints

The Saints have pretty much left us with a feeling of ‘throw at them until they can stop it’. New Orleans has perennially struggled at stopping the pass, and there’s no real reason to assume much has changed. The Saints gave up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs last season, and until they prove us wrong I say go at them. Carr should be a solid play this week.

Todd Gurley (RB, L.A. Rams) @ San Francisco 49ers

It’s a no brainer to say Gurley is a must start in Week 1, but it really is a good matchup. The Niners have struggled in recent years against the run. Last season they gave up the second most fantasy points to running backs. Combine that with Gurley’s strumph, and you have a solid matchup.

Latavius Murray (RB, Oakland Raiders) @ New Orleans Saints

Catch the trend? New Orleans hasn’t been too hot on the defensive side of the ball, and I’m going to push those matchups. The Saints gave up the third most fantasy points to RBs in 2015. Take that little tidbit, add in the Raiders coaching staff’s rhetoric about leaning heavily on Murray, and you have a good matchup combination for the Raiders’ RB. He’s a good play in Week 1.

Sammy Watkins (WR, Buffalo Bills) @ Baltimore Ravens

Watkins is a YAC monster and he’s the best thing the Bills have goin’ on offense. They matchup should be good going into Week 1 versus the Ravens. In 2015 Baltimore gave up an average of 25.1 fantasy points per week to wide receivers. They did some offseason work, but it still looks like a good matchup for Watkins.

Golden Tate (WR, Detroit Lions) @ Indianapolis Colts

See the Stafford info above. The Colts are in trouble in their secondary to start the season. Until they get healthy they are a solid matchup for just about any QB-WR combination. Looks for Tate and company to have a strong day in Indianapolis. This could be a high scoring affair.

Jason Witten (TE, Dallas Cowboys) vs. New York Giants

He may be aging and working with a rookie quarterback, but Witten remains a steady safety valve who can exploit matchups. Week 1 will be just that as he’ll face a Giants team that gave up the second most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Look for rookie Dak Prescott to look to Witten early and often in his debut.

Coby Fleener (TE, New Orleans Saints) vs. Oakland Raiders

As mentioned above, the New Orleans defense could struggle versus the Raiders in Week 1. That means Drew Brees and company will likely need to shoot for a high scoring shootout. That’s good news for newly acquired Coby Fleener. He may not be Jimmy Graham, but he’s big and athletic. Brees and the Saints offense has been known to do good things with the tight ends position, so expect big things from Fleener this season. Week 1 should be a good kick off for him.

Minnesota Vikings D/ST @ Tennessee Titans

They lost their young quarterback, but one thing the Vikings have going for them is a solid defense. That defense will be facing a Titans team that gave up the most points to opposing defenses last season. Surely, Mariota and company will be able to improve on that situation in his sophomore year, but the matchup remains good at this point.

Sit ‘Em

Marcus Mariota (QB, Tennessee Titans) vs. Minnesota Vikings

As noted above, the Titans were beat up by opposing defenses in 2015. They gave up the most points to D/STs. Mariota should improve going into his second season, but still expect him to struggle against a tough Vikings defense in Week 1. Avoid him this week.

Ryan Tannehill (QB, Miami Dolphins) @ Seattle Seahawks

Tannehill still has great potential and a lot to prove in South Beach. 2016 could be a make or break season for him. He has some very good tools around him on offense, but Week 1 isn’t going to be the start of a new Dolphins era. They’re facing the Seahawks and their stingy defense. Looks for Tannehill to struggle in his 2016 debut.

Melvin Gordon (RB, San Diego Chargers) @ Kansas City Chiefs

The second yeard RB in San Diego stands to break out this season, but the matchup isn’t looking good in Week 1. He and the Chargers will be facing a touch Kansas City run defense that gave up the fourth fewest fantasy points to runners last season. Gordon will likely have a nice year, but I’d steer clear in Week 1.

Chris Ivory (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars) vs. Green Bay Packers

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually a huge Chirs Ivory fan. He’s banged up a bit here at the beginning of the season and there’s a decent chance things will look fairly committee-esque for the Jags. I think if he stays healthy Ivory will be far and wide the top producer on the team, but there are too many things up in the air going into Week 1.

Antonio Gates (TE, San Diego Chargers) @ Kansas City Chiefs

The sunset has been looming for Gates for a few years now. That’s not to say he doesn’t have anything in the tank. He certainly does and I’m sure he’ll produce in 2016. That said, Week 1 let’s pump the brakes a bit on him. The Chiefs were as stingy as it comes last season versus tight ends. They gave up the fewest fantasy points to TEs. Look elsewhere in Week 1.









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...