Welcome to the 2020 fantasy football season. The object of the game remains the same — maximize the weekly scoring from your roster to win as much as possible. That means consistently making the right start ’em, sit ’em choices for those tough positional calls. Even in Week 1, fantasy owners undoubtedly are wondering whether they should “stick with the studs” or take a chance on a sleeper further down the rankings.
This season figures to be more unpredictable than usual with no preseason and a lot of offensive uncertainty. You will still be relying on your core early-round draft picks, but it’s those few WR3 or flex questions that can make or break your team, depending on the answers.
WEEK 1 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
The Decider is back to provide a weekly dose of start/sit lineup decisions and DFS picks for the 2020 NFL season. Sports Grind Entertainment NFL writer Vinnie Iyer breaks down the matchups and helps you pick the players you should deploy or avoid in Week 1:
WEEK 1 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. HOU), Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. CLE), Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at LAR), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (at ATL), Deshaun Watson, Texans (at KC), Drew Brees, Saints (vs. TB), Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. SEA)
Carson Wentz, Eagles (at WAS). Philadelphia seems to have countless offensive injuries, but its depth at the skill positions and the return of DeSean Jackson are plenty of boons for Wentz to light up Washington.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at SF). Murray enjoyed playing against the 49ers as a rookie, so even against this defense on the road you should confidently play him to tap into his running upside and new go-to guy DeAndre Hopkins.
Josh Allen, Bills (at NYJ). Allen was rather sloppy against the Jets in Week 1 in 2019 but still got his digits, and this Jets defense is worse than a year ago.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at NO). The Bucs will pick up their prolific passing where Jameis Winston left off, only with more efficiency with the volume from Brady while dueling with Drew Brees.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at NYG). The Giants invested well defensively, but Roethlisberger has looked great passing now that he’s fully healthy again and is loaded with playmaking wide receivers.
Cam Newton, Panthers (at MIA). The Dolphins’ defense can be much improved after splurging on Byron Jones and a few former Patriots, but Newton can run and pass himself to a solid debut.
Philip Rivers, Colts (at JAX). The Jaguars’ pass rush and secondary doesn’t resemble the powerhouse from three years ago, and Rivers carries a solid floor working with good protection, playing off the running game, and delivering to diverse receivers.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. ARI, $5,800 on DraftKings, $7,400 on FanDuel). Garoppolo tossed for 741 yards and eight TDs in two games against the Cardinals last season. That defense is a little improved, but Jimmy G should still have high volume in what should be another fun duel with Murray.
Tyrod Taylor, Chargers (at CIN, $5,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel). There’s nothing scary yet about the Bengals’ rebuilt defense and between his weapons and his running, Taylor can deliver a very pleasing day.
Derek Carr, Raiders (at CAR), Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers (vs. LV)
Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at MIN). Don’t be fooled by the Vikings’ defensive losses. They have plenty of top-tier talent for Mike Zimmer to make them pass-disruptive, especially with Yannick Ngakoue joining Danielle Hunter.
Jared Goff, Rams (vs. DAL). Goff may end up with passable numbers, but this feels more like a floor than a ceiling game as the Cowboys’ new-look defense with Mike Nolan will come out well.
Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs. CHI). Stafford returns from his back injury to take on a tough defense in the division.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. GB). Cousins draws a tricky Packers pass defense. Pretty much avoid NFC North QBs in Week 1.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (vs. IND). Minshew is debuting in a new offense against an underrated Colts’ defense.
Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. PIT). Not against that pass rush and secondary, even at home.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (vs. LAC). Burrow can have a pretty good rookie season overall but take a wait-and-see approach, especially with Joey Bosa and good cornerbacks challenging him in his debut.
Drew Lock, Broncos (vs. TEN), Ryan Tannehill, TEN (at DEN), Baker Mayfield, Browns (at BAL)
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start ‘Em: Running backs
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. LV), Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. PIT), Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (at LAR), Dalvin Cook, Vikings (vs. GB), Derrick Henry, Titans (at DEN), Alvin Kamara, Saints (vs. TB), Nick Chubb, Browns (at BAL), Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. LAC), Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at CAR), Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (vs. HOU), Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at CIN), Miles Sanders, Eagles (at WAS), Aaron Jones, Packers (at MIN), Kenyan Drake, Cardinals (at SF), Todd Gurley, Falcons (vs. SEA), Chris Carson, Seahawks (at ATL), James Conner, Steelers (at NYG)
David Johnson, Texans (at KC). Houston’s lead back will remain productive in 2020, and the Chiefs struggled with versatile backs of his ilk last year.
Melvin Gordon, Broncos (vs. TEN). There are concerns of a split between him and Phillip Lindsay, but as a new addition Denver should look to get Gordon going early. It’s worth seeing right away what you have in him as an RB2.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers (vs. ARI). Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman make it interesting behind him, but he’s still the man after operating at a high level to get his new deal.
Cam Akers, Rams (vs. DAL). Don’t be surprised if Los Angeles comes out featuring him early to replace Gurley.
James White, Patriots (vs. MIA). With all their early-down running back injuries, White will see an expanded role beyond receiivng to help Newton, and he has been very good filling in that way in the past.
Tarik Cohen, Bears (at DET). David Montgomery (groin) is a longshot to play in Week 1, and like White, Chen can expand from the passing game to be viable in the running game when needed.
JK Dobbins, Ravens (vs. CLE). The rookie likely has earned his way to 10-12 explosive touches in Week 1.
Boston Scott, Eagles (at WAS). Miles Sanders is a little banged up, and Scott could end up being rather busy in the second half.
Mark Ingram, Ravens (vs. CLE, $5,500 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel). Dobbins is expected to see a significant role out of the gate, but the Ravens’ high-volume, effective running means it can still support two backs especially in a game they should be leading well in the second half. Ingram initially will see a role similiar to his big 2019 until the backfield tilts more to Dobbins.
Jonathan Taylor, Colts (at JAX, $5,700 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel). In this case, it’s Taylor the rookie battling power-back Marlon Mack for touches in another dominant rushing attack. Taylor is likely to see something close to lead duties early and Indy should run all over the Jags to boost Philip Rivers.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Le’Veon Bell, Jets (at BUF). This whole Frank Gore thing is one concern; the Bills’ defense is another.
Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, Bills (vs. NYJ). This young-back situation is a little cloudy, so if you can, avoid in Week 1 to get some more clarity.
D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson, Lions (vs. CHI). This young-back situation is a little cloudy so if you can, avoid in Week 1 to get some more clarity.
Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (at NO). Fournette should be the Bucs’ new lead back, but the Saints are tough against the run and his role could be reduced this week.
Kareem Hunt, Browns (at BAL). It’s not a game for him to do a lot of damage as a receiver.
Peyton Barber/Byrce Love/Antonio Gibson, Washington (vs. PHI). Don’t force the issue with this suddenly Adrian Peterson-less backfield in a brutal matchup.
Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, Dolphins (at NE). These guys can have use in better matchups. This isn’t one of them.
Ryquell Armstead and Chris Thompson, Jaguars (vs. IND). Without Fournette, the Jaguars’ backfield will need to sort itself out and youth behind them complicates things.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
Michael Thomas, Saints (vs. TB), Julio Jones, Falcons (vs. SEA), Davante Adams, Packers (at MIN), Tyreek HIll, Chiefs (vs. HOU), Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at NO), DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at SF), Kenny Golladay, Lions (vs. CHI), Allen Robinson, Bears (at DET), JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (at NYG), A.J. Brown, Titans (at DEN), D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. LV), Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. GB), Calvin Ridley, Falcons (vs. SEA), Odell Beckham Jr., Browns (at BAL), Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, Rams (vs. DAL), Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. ATL), Courtland Sutton, Broncos (vs. TEN), D.J. Chark, Jaguars (vs. IND), Terry McLaurin, Washington (vs. PHI), Keenan Allen, Chargers (at CIN), Stefon Diggs, Bills (at NYJ), DeVante Parker, Dolphins (at NE), Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. MIA), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at JAX), Deebo Samuel, 49ers (if he plays, vs. ARI)
Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. LAC). The Chargers are loaded at corner with Casey Heyward, Chris Harris Jr. and Desmond King, but Boyd will get it done with high volume in the slot from Burrow.
Marvin Jones Jr., Lions (vs. CHI). On paper the Bears’ matchup is tough, but Jones tends to put up pleasing numbers against them away from Golladay.
Brandin Cooks, Texans (at KC). He’ll be busy and operate as the new go-to guy for Deshaun Watson replacing DeAndre Hopkins.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (at LAR). The Rams have a real weakness outside opposite Jalen Ramsey, and Dak Prescott should exploit that often deep.
John Brown, Bills (vs. NYJ). The Jets’ secondary stinks, and with Stefon Diggs burning up, Brown also will have a shot at good volume and big plays.
Emmanuel Sanders, Saints (vs. TB). The Bucs have improved on the back end but are still vulnerable to crafty, speed route-runners such as Sanders.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers (at NYG). The Giants’ secondary now has James Bradberry, but Big Ben should get Johnson some big plays.
Anthony Miller, Bears (at DET). Miller had a big game his last time in Detroit and should play off Allen Robinson well.
Jamison Crowder, Jets (at BUF). The Bills are tough outside with Tre’Davious White, but Crowder carved them up in the slot last season.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles (at WAS, $4,900 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel). It’s all about the deep threats with our recommendations. The Eagles’ wide receivers are hurting, but he’s back healthy and will be unleashed for one big scoring play.
Henry Ruggs III, Raiders (at CAR, $5,100 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel). Las Vegas can’t wait to roll the dice on the rookie Ruggs, and the Panthers’ secondary is pretty bad, meaning he’ll burn them a handful of times downfield.
Robby Anderson, Panthers (vs. LV, $4,700 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel). The Raiders shored up linebacker coverage but their cornerbacks make them more vulnerable to the deep ball, and don’t be shocked if Teddy Bridgewater catches them napping with a successful long scoring shot off play-action.
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. LAR), Mecole Hardman, Chiefs (vs. HOU), Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. GB)
Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Amari Cooper, Cowboys (at LAR). Jalen Ramsey can bottle him up, and Dak Prescott won’t have any issues working to Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb instead.
A.J. Green, Bengals (vs. LAC). The Chargers are mighty in the secondary, and on the outside he’ll be harder-pressed to break free than Tyler Boyd.
Will Fuller, Texans (at KC). Fuller is more volatile than Brandin Cooks, and the Chiefs were pretty tough on downfield wideouts last season because of their pass rush and speed coverage.
Jarvis Landry, Browns (at BAL). They may limit him post-hip injury against a tough secondary, so he’s hard to trust initially.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. CLE). You’re still big-play dependent with him, and the Browns actually can contain those with their pass rush and corners.
Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Golden Tate, Giants (vs. PIT). The Steelers’ secondary is nasty all-around, and Daniel Jones will be under heavy duress.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (at TEN). Cool off on both Denver rookie wideouts (also K.J. Hamler), as there are plenty of mouths to feed and this matchup isn’t great.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals (at SF). DeAndre Hopkins will be bus,y and this feels like more of a game for ‘Nuk and Larry Fitzgerald.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. HOU), George Kittle, 49ers (vs. ARI), Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. CLE), Zach Ertz, Eagles (at WAS), Darren Waller, Raiders (at CAR)
Hunter Henry, Chargers (at CIN). Henry will be more involved right away with Mike Williams hurting, and the Bengals will be a step behind him.
Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. DAL). The Cowboys didn’t really upgrade safety coverage, and Higbee will stay busy like he did at the end of last season.
Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (at NO). The Saints were good in tight end coverage last season, but you can bet the Bucs will find a good few ways to deploy their new toy in a high-scoring game.
Noah Fant, Broncos (at TEN). It’s a good idea to attack the Titans in the intermediate middle vs. testing their cornerbacks.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at WAS). More wide receiver injuries means more 12 personnel and a chance for him to produce along with Zach Ertz.
Hayden Hurst, Falcons (vs. SEA, $4,300 on DraftKings, $5,200 on FanDuel). It’s a very nice opening price for a new integral part of a high passing offense against a team still vulnerable in tight end coverage.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
Evan Engram, Giants (vs. PiT). You can’t trust anything against the Steelers’ pass defense, especially with Minkah Fitzpatrick looming.
Austin Hooper, Browns (at BAL). New team, different vibe early for Hooper, as the Ravens can still cover the position well without Earl Thomas.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (at NE). The Patriots did not really get weaker at safety in the offseason.
Jared Cook, Saints (vs. TB). The numbers of the Bucs’ defense and Cook say yes from 2019, but that’s so last year.
Jonnu Smith, Titans (at DEN). The Broncos can be tough on the position with Justin Simmons and others.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Start ‘Em: Defenses
Steelers (at NYG), Bills (vs. NYJ), Eagles (at WAS), Patriots (vs. MIA), Ravens (vs. CLE), 49ers (vs. ARI), Bears (at DET), Chargers (at CIN), Colts (at JAX), Broncos (vs. TEN)
Lions (vs. CHI, $3,700 on FanDuel, $2,700 on DraftKings). The Bears’ lame QB mystery should inspire Matt Patricia’s defense to be aggressive and make some big plays at home.
Fantasy Football Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Defenses
Vikings (vs. GB), Titans (at DEN), Chiefs (vs. HOU), Seahawks (at ATL), Cowboys (at DAL), Saints (vs. TB), Rams (vs. DAL), Packers (at MIN)