Week 1 is suddenly upon us! As long as the offseason seems to last, the time between the final preseason game—and thusly final roster cuts—to the first game always feels lightening quick. While I certainly hope that you have a solid fantasy football squad to roll out, it’s entirely possible that you’re a quarterback or defense streamer.
Or you might be trying to decide between two or three guys for your flex position(s). Here a few of the best Week 1 options:
Derek Carr- He had an awesome preseason and has a bunch of weapons around him. Don’t look now, but the offensive line in Oakland could be one of the best in the entire league. Add to it that they’re matched up against the porous New Orleans secondary, and Carr looks to have a great start to the season.
Marcus Mariota- While Minnesota’s defense is by no means an easy test, Mariota is by no means an average talent. A lack of proven weapons to complement Delanie Walker in the passing game has silenced some of the second-year hype on Mariota, but don’t fall prey to that. The running game is set to have a huge year, and Mariota will absolutely benefit from that. It looks like the Titans will be able to deploy the read-option effectively for the first time since drafting Mariota. This is actually more of a stash-to-stream pick. Mariota will be solid in Week 1, but he’s more likely to have a big year than a big first week. Pick him up now, because you don’t want to miss out on the upside he has to offer.
Jay Cutler- Risky move here, but—more than anything— he’s available in your league. We’ve known for a long time that Cutler possesses a rare set of physical tools—it’s merely getting everything from mind to body to align. Jeremy Langford is a solid runner, but he hasn’t proven himself to be the next Matt Forte yet. Alshon Jeffery is healthy, for now, so run with it. Jeffery is an elite level talent when healthy. Capitalize that before he goes down again. If you’re feeling BOLD, try Cutler.
Cleveland- Yeah, I know, I’m crazy. But…. Philadelphia is in turmoil right now and preparing to start a rookie who was less-than-impressive during the preseason. I think the Browns offense will be better than we expect and thus force the Eagles into passing more than they want. Carson Wentz throwing to Dorial Green-Beckham could be a scary combo in a few years, but not for Week 1 in 2016. Take a risk here.
Los Angeles- Have you seen what’s going on in San Fran? Do I need to say more? Start these guys with confidence.
Gio Bernard @NYJ – The Jets defense finds its strength on the line and in the secondary. That leaves the linebackers as the best place to attack. Gio does his damage on swing passes and in zone blocking schemes—attacking the linebackers. Big upside in PPR, solid in standard.
Terrelle Pryor @PHI – Philly has a strong defensive line, but not much else. Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell aren’t game changers, so the Browns will have to pass. I never trust rookie WRs early in the season, and certainly not on the road— much less at the Linc. That rules out Corey Coleman. A big physical guy, Pryor’s exceptional athletic tools should make him a sneaky flex play week one.