Whether you got off to a good start with Amari Cooper on your side, you’re staring at a Rob Gronkowski-sized deficit, or you’ve got a blank slate heading into Sunday, you need to set the best lineup you can today. Because, while you don’t need to win in Week 1, it sure would be nice after a long offseason!
That’s what the Fantasy Football Today team is here for this morning. Adam Aizer and Heath Cummings updated you on the latest news and answered some start/sit questions on this morning’s FFT podcast, and Heath is on CBS Sports HQ with Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard until kickoff to answer your questions and get you ready for the week on the FFT live show.
Make sure you check both out, but if you want more directions answers to your questions, I’ve got two more ways for you to win: Go to Twitter and use the hashtag “#AskFFT”, where our whole team will be answering questions all morning; and go to the FFT YouTube channel to chat with Adam and I from 11:30 until kickoff. We’ll be there right up until kickoff answering as many questions as we can, so make sure you’re in the chat early to get your questions in.
For more Week 1 help, here’s the rest of our preview content to get you ready:
For the rest of this morning’s newsletter, I’ve got updates on the latest injury news as well as answers to your questions in an #AskFFT mailbag — email me at chris.towers@CBSi.com throughout the week to get your emails included. But first, here are some quick thoughts on the three biggest questions for Week 1:
1. Should you start Saquon Barkley?
He’s in the RB2 discussion, but you can’t be particularly confident about what he’s going to give you this week. The hope is he gets 12-15 touches, including enough targets and hopefully some goal-line work to make it worth your time. Barkley is a threat to break off a big play every time he touches the ball, so he doesn’t necessarily need that much work to be worth starting. The problem is that 12 touches may not be the floor; it’s possible he’s only in there for 25-30% of the snaps to get his feet wet before they work him in further next week. Barkley is a risky start whose upside may not be that high.
2. Should you start Odell Beckham?
I’ve been operating under the assumption that Beckham would be limited early in the season, and it sounds like that will be the case Sunday — he hasn’t even taken contact in practice yet. The expectation is that Beckham will play against the Chiefs, but I don’t have him as a top-50 WR this week.
3. Should you start David Montgomery and Allen Robinson?
The Rams have a tough defense and I’ve received a ton of questions about both Montgomery and Robinson this week, which I certainly understand. But here’s the thing: I view both players as must-start options, and I’m just not going to be scared that by a tough matchup. That’s not to say I don’t think it’s possible they might struggle, but it is to say that I didn’t invest what I did in either to sit them in Week 1. Especially Montgomery, who had such a valuable high-volume role with Tarik Cohen sidelined that I think he’ll be worth starting against anyone as long as he’s still heavily involved in the passing game. I’m riding with both as top-12 options at their positions, and I’ve got both in quite a few leagues, putting my money where my mouth is.
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- There are no relevant quarterback injuries to watch Sunday morning.
- Saquon Barkley (knee) is expected to play in his first game back from last season’s ACL tear, however, pre-game reports indicate he may have a somewhat limited role against the Broncos. He may be used “sparingly,” according to Ian Rapoport.
- Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is expected to play without limitations. He sat out Wednesday and Thursday practices with the injury, but apparently looked good in practicing Friday on a limited basis and is worth using as an RB1 in PPR for Week 1.
- La’Mical Perine (foot) got through a full practice Friday and is expected to play. He probably won’t have a huge role sharing with Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and Michael Carter, but he could be involved in short-yardage situations. This backfield is mostly a stay-away until we get some clarity on roles, but if you need to use someone, it’s Coleman.
- Odell Beckham (knee) is expected to play in Week 1 assuming all goes well in pre-game warmups, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t play a full role even if he is active. The Browns don’t play until 4:25 p.m. ET, so we won’t know his official status until around 3, and if you have other options, it’s probably best to just go with them — Beckham hasn’t taken full reps or contact yet in practice. I’m expecting Beckham to be on a snap count and don’t have him ranked inside of my top-50 WR. Jarvis Landry is in the WR2 discussion for me.
- Jamison Crowder (COVID) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, as he wasn’t able to return two positive tests in time for the game. Keelan Cole is also questionable with a knee injury and is a “true game-time decision” per NFL Network, so the Jets WR depth will be tested. Elijah Moore is an intriguing sleeper for his debut with Crowder out, because he could get the start in the slot, while Denzel Mims could be in for a larger-than-expected role if Cole is out. Corey Davis is still the WR to start from this offense, however, and he’s a top-24 WR for me.
- Nelson Agholor’s (ankle) status for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins is not clear as of this morning, but you probably shouldn’t be planning to use him for Fantasy. Jakobi Meyers or Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry figure to have larger roles in the passing game than Agholor.
- Darnell Mooney (back) seems likely to play in Week 1 after upgrading to a full participant in practice Friday. He’s a potential breakout candidate this season, but you probably have a more reliable option given the matchup against the Rams.
- Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring) was placed on IR Friday and will miss the first three games of the season, at least. Marquez Callaway is already expected to step up as the No. 1 receiver with Michael Thomas (ankle) on the PUP list, but Smith’s injury will likely also press Lil’Jordan Humphrey into a larger role, with Deonte Harris likely stepping up in the slot.
- Emmanuel Sanders (foot) was limited all throughout the week in practice with a foot injury, but he is expected to play Sunday against the Steelers. I would expect we’ll see the veteran on the injury report and limited at practice more often than not this season, but I think he has significant potential as Josh Allen’s No. 2 WR.
- Evan Engram (calf) is out for Sunday’s game against the Broncos after missing practice all week. Kyle Rudolph is a potential sleeper this week, though he may not be ready for a full role after coming off foot surgery this offseason, so don’t be surprised if Kaden Smith plays a larger than expected role. Neither is worth starting in a normal Fantasy league, but could be decent DFS dart throws.
- Sam Ficken (groin) was placed on IR and will miss the first three games for the Titans. Michael Badgley will kick for them in Week 1.
- Chase McLaughlin (hamstring) is questionable but was able to practice in full Friday, however the Browns activated rookie Chris Naggar from the practice squad Saturday, so it isn’t a guarantee McLaughlin will be able to go against the Chiefs.
- Ka’imi Fairbarin (leg) was placed on IR and will miss the first three games as a result. Joey Slye will take over the kicking duties for the Texans but is not a recommended Fantasy option on what should be a pretty poor Texans offense.
Send your questions to Chris.Towers@CBSi.com to be included next week
Joseph: I am starting A.J. Green over Tyler Boyd today because of an article I read where the Cardinals offensive coordinator basically called him the No. 2 option and gushed about Green. How dumb am I and should I reverse course?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! I think Green very likely will open the season as Arizona’s No. 2 receiver, and I think he’s probably been overlooked as a Fantasy option through the draft process. That’s a potentially very valuable role! However, given how much he struggled to make an impact even with a lot of targets last season, I need to see him in action before I trust him as a starter. But I certainly don’t mind stashing him, even if I like Rondale Moore a bit more in that regard. Start Boyd this week for sure.
Matthew: My opponent is going with a full Ravens stack (Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown). In a three-WR, 0.5PPR league, who would you start: JuJu Smith-Schuster or Jerry Jeudy?
Pittsburgh’s is one of those offenses I kind of need to see in action before I trust it. I’m starting Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris, but I would probably try to avoid everyone else if I can. That includes Smith-Schuster, who could be a very good Fantasy option, but who also has too many questions in my eyes to trust right now. Jeudy has some questions, too, but I feel more confident in what I’m going to get from him, and I don’t think Smith-Schuster has more upside to make up for it.
Terry: Would you sit Montgomery for Myles Gaskin? And if so, who would you play at flex, Jeudy or Laviska Shenault? Or just go with Montgomery & Gaskin?
As I said at the top, I’m going to trust Montgomery in this one. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Gaskin, but while we have questions about Montgomery’s effectiveness against his matchup, I have no questions about his role; I think there are reasons to be concerned about both for Gaskin. That being said, I think I would be OK starting both backs in this one; if you don’t want to, then Jeudy over Shenault.
Sean: Need a flex and have a few options: Marquise Brown, Corey Davis, David Montgomery or Jaylen Waddle.
I love the potential of this group, but it depends on what you are looking for. I think Brown and Waddle have plenty of upside as big-play options, but Montgomery brings a better combination of floor and upside than either given. Davis, however, might have a higher floor than Montgomery as Zach Wilson’s No. 1 target. Given the Jets injuries at receiver, Davis could see a ton of targets and is a No. 2 WR in my eyes. I would lean Montgomery’s way, but I wouldn’t blame anyone who went in the opposite direction.
Russ: Would you start Barkley or his backup Devontae Booker?
I think Booker is an interesting DFS play with Barkley likely playing a limited role, but I would still expect Barkley to get the start and most of the goal-line touches and targets.
@Radioface_88: Damien Harris or DeVonta Smith in PPR?
I don’t quite know what to expect from Smith. The Eagles will likely be a low-volume pass offense, and I think Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert might just be the No. 1 and 2 options for Jalen Hurts, which may not leave enough targets for Smith to stand out. At least, not right away. Of course, it’s also possible Smith is just so good already that he’s the top target. I would start Harris this week, but my hope is Smith is the better option in PPR leagues before long.