You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.
There are times I watch Jared Goff play and feel like he’s the West Coast Trubisky, but I have high hopes for him this season. The Rams loved to run the ball when they got near the goal-line in recent years. But with fluidity at the running back position (which is the polite way to say we don’t know what’s happening there), I expect the Rams to throw the ball more in the red zone. Which can only help Goff improve on his 22 touchdowns from last year and get back to his 2018 totals (when he threw 32). The Cowboys are learning a new defense under Mike Nolan and will be looking to replace Byron Jones (Dolphins), Robert Quinn (Bears) and Maliek Collins (Raiders). The Cowboys' defense could be good this year. I loved the selection of cornerback Trevon Diggs. But feel like this a great spot for Goff and the Rams. (Fun fact, the Rams are undefeated in season openers under Sean McVay.)
It’s funny. People don’t want to start Roethlisberger in Week 1 because he missed so much time last year. But those same people are willing to start Matthew Stafford in Week 1 (and we can talk about that later). It’s like the guy who tells you that you shouldn’t eat fast food, while he’s holding a lit cigarette. I would much rather have Big Ben here against the Giants who allowed 20.69 fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2019. And yes, they should be much better with James Bradberry at corner, but they have made some other moves in the secondary, including the release of former first-round pick Deandre Baker. I’m not afraid to supersize to Roethlisberger this week.
Speaking of quarterbacks I’m not afraid of starting despite injury concerns, here comes Cam Newton. The Dolphins allowed 21.31 fantasy points to quarterbacks last year. But they have improved. Byron Jones should be a top cornerback tandem with Xavien Howard. And for most matchups this season we might shy away from quarterbacks playing the Dolphins. But Newton is different. The strength of the Patriots' offense is up the middle on the offensive line. I will take Cam in this spot and expect him to be the goal-line back when the Patriots get into the red zone. And remember, Newton was the QB5 through the 14 games he played in 2018.
He has one of the best matchups this week, based on last year’s totals. The Cardinals allowed an average of 22.81 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year. And I understand the 49ers are a run-first team, and it’s always dicey to just play the matchup here because he could end up throwing for just 116 yards. But Jimmy threw for 741 yards and eight touchdowns against the Cardinals last season. Jimmy G nearly threw for 4K last year, and about 800 of those were in two games against the Cardinals. I would love to stack Jimmy G with George Kittle (the Cardinals allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends last year) in Week 1.
I’m going to cut this one off before you even ask about your traditional fantasy league. No, we are not starting Jimmy over Kyler Murray. We’re still looking for upside here. Plus, as great as Jimmy G was last year against the Cardinals, Murray wasn’t too had himself. Murray scored at least 23 fantasy points in both of his games against the 49ers. And you might be surprised to learn the 49ers allowed 22.41 fantasy points to quarterbacks from Weeks 9-17, which was the most in the NFL.
The Packers dominated Cousins last season. He had just two touchdowns in two games, while he tossed three picks. Week 16 was exceptionally miserable for Cousins as he was sacked five times. To watch it, it was the kind of thing that would make you feel bad for Cousins if not for the fact it was happening to Kirk Cousins. The Packers' defense really improved last year, as they allowed just 14.2 points per game over the last five regular season games. They had allowed 22.0 points per game from Weeks 1-12. The Vikings have the 23rd-ranked offensive line according to Pro Football Focus. But are widely considered better in run blocking than pass.
All right. I don’t want to start a thing where I’m dogging Baker every week because that would be dumb. I like Baker this year. He didn’t get a lot of in-game coaching last season. The Browns had six opening drives that resulted in touchdowns. Two in field goals. And they had a lead in 12 games. They even beat the Ravens last year. The talent is there with the right coach. But this is going to be a tough matchup in Week 1. The Ravens allowed just over 12 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year.
Consider me one of the conductors on the Danny Dimes Hype Train this year. Jason Garrett is a huge addition to this staff. In fact, Tony Romo had more than 4,200 yards and tossed 36 touchdowns in his first season with Garrett back in the day. I’m not saying Daniel will post those kind of numbers this season. But he should be very good. The thing is, the Steelers were one of the best against quarterbacks last year. They allowed 12.84 points per games to quarterbacks. If you want to get on board with Jones, you might need to wait until the schedule loosens up.
I know, I know. Stafford was on an MVP-level pace before he went down with an injury last year. I completely understand. But the Bears were tough on opposing quarterbacks last year. They brought in Robert Quinn who is a massive upgrade over Leonard Floyd. Eddie Jackson will be able to slide back to his natural position and Jaylon Johnson was a steal in the second-round. Stafford is a great quarterback and I hope he returns strong this season. Because he’s one of my favorite players in the league. I’m just not going to start him this week.
I just saved your season by keeping you from starting a guy you had no intention of starting anyway. You’re welcome. But I wanted to use this space to remind you that Adam Gase is still the coach of the New York Jets. That’s the kind of information that’s like finding out Blue Bloods is still on the air. Like, how is this possible? Then I go over to my in-laws’ house and they are watching it around the clock and it makes sense, I guess. I should also point out the Bills allowed 12.52 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2019. And also the Jets coach is still Adam Gase.