It’s week 1 of the fantasy football season & I have to be honest. I don’t believe in looking at match-up plays in week 1 as you should really be playing the guys you drafted to be your studs. We can look at match-ups all day long but those rarely hold true in a new season. Top defenses from last year sometimes fall, and bad defenses from last season sometimes rise. Even rookie fantasy football owner knows to play the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Dez Bryant and Adrian Peterson, besides, it’s not the purpose of this article to state the obvious. My 3 players below are guys you must have in your lineup regardless of match-up in week 1, even though you may be nervous. You likely selected these players in early rounds of your draft and you did that for a reason. Take this advise and carry it through the entire season, don’t overthink your roster and who you are going to start from week to week. Many fantasy owners get “cute” and play one of there “backups” based on a match-up and put there stud on the bench. More often then not this type of move will burn you, why find out the hard way? If you have one of the three players listed below, get him in your lineup for week 1, and as always, enjoy!
Sam Bradford, QB, PHI
Injuries and disappointing seasons have scared many away from the once promising career of Bradford. The funny thing is, Bradford has never actually played bad, he’s just never had the chance to be consistent. While playing with the Rams he has either had a poor selection of WR’s to throw to or he’s been injured. His career in St. Louis may have come to a close when he was traded to the Eagles, but his career in Philly now has a chance to blossom. Suddenly Bradford his surround with talent at all levels on offense. He has 3 RB’s who ranging from very good, to talented, to versatile and a group of upcoming and talented WR’s. Bradford’s new greatest asset doesn’t happen to be any of these mentioned WR’s or RB’s though. His new found stardom in fantasy football is going to be due to his headcoach in Philly and the masterful offense he runs. Many have mentioned the stats previous Eagles QB’s have had the last couple of years under Chip Kelly, and none of those QB’s were as talented as Bradford. If he can remain healthy, not only will he be a great play in week 1, but Bradford could easily be a top 5 QB for the season. Start him week 1 with confidence and show the rest of your league mates you have to take risks in life if you want to win, and you did just that when drafting Bradford. Here’s to good health and a career season for Bradford, starting in Atlanta this week!
Frank Gore, RB, IND
No, its not a typo, and no, you didn’t misread the name above. Yes, Frank Gore, the 32 year RB who is coming into his 11th season in the NFL is a must start. Ignore his age and how many years he has played and focus your attention on the fact that health has rarely been an issue throughout Gore’s career and all he’s done is produce. Even on a 49ers team last season who saw more then its fair share of dysfunction, Gore still managed to rush for over 1000 yards and 4 TD’s. He is now on a Colts team that has arguably one of the best QB’s in the league and a loaded WR group which touts talented receivers like T.Y. Hilton and the newly signed Andre Johnson. Gore will be relied upon to keep defenses honest by having them respect the Colts running game. This will open up opportunities for the WR’s and TE’s, which will in turn provide Gore with more chances to produce big time stats this season. Week 1 Gore faces a Buffalo defense that enters the game highly regards and with new defensive minded head coach Rex Ryan looking to prove the doubters wrong. Still, the Colts offense will likely be too much for this talented Bills defense to handle and Gore will reap the benefits of his new & improved teammates.
Amari Cooper, WR, OAK
I know fans tend to cringe when they see an Oakland Raiders player on a must start list, but Cooper is different. Actually, the Raiders in general are different this season. Cooper is a super talented WR, who even as a rookie has displayed all off-season and pre-season that he comes as advertised. His coaches and teammates have raved about him and his ability to make plays all over the field. Cooper will be a huge part of this offense, and likely Derek Carr’s most used weapon, so in PPR leagues he receives even a bigger bump onto the must start list. The Raiders may finally have a running game in Latavius Murray, and there O-Line isn’t half bad, which all aids in Coopers pending success. The Bengals defense is in town visiting the Black Hole week 1 which does not help Cooper, and although they are a very good defense, I still believe Cooper will get his. Start Cooper in week 1 and like the late, great Al Davis would say, JUST WIN BABY!
Do you disagree with our list of must-starts? Are we missing a player you feel deserves to be on the list more then the players above? Let us know in the comment section below.