Week 1 Start'em/Sit'em

Tuesday, Sep 7, 2021 at 10:14 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. Analysis is aggregated from multiple sources including FN. Rankings are based upon PPR (point per reception) scoring. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce, or Davante Adams. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Ryan Tannehill (TEN, QB)
We're going to get our first glimpse into what Ryan Tannehill can do with both AJ Brown and Julio Jones. While it may not look like a great matchup on paper, the Cardinals secondary is inexperienced and should present a tasty Week 1 matchup for the Titans' air game.
14th Fewest Pts to QB
Start 'em Jalen Hurts (PHI, QB)
Ranked #10 this week on FN, last year's surprise QB stud gets a fantastic matchup against the Falcons whose secondary ranked near the bottom last season. Even better, rushing quarterbacks owned Atlanta last season (Top 10 in most rush yards allowed). This is a great matchup to start the season.
2nd Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
Ranked #12 this week is Matty Ice. He may have lost Julio to the Titans, but he still has a talented receiving corp around him including Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. The last time he played the Eagles, he put up 28 fantasy points. He remains a consistent fantasy option and a low-end QB1 for the opener.
13th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Mike Davis (ATL, RB)
We will have to see how the workload breaks down for a backfield that has gotten more crowded (Cordarrelle Patterson/Wayne Gallman). Still, this is Mike Davis' opportunity to show why he sits atop the depth chart. Last season, Davis led all running backs in broken tackles with one every 7.9 attempts - he still has gas left in the tank. Davis is ranked 19th among all RBs this week making him a low-end RB2 in all formats.
11th Fewest Pts to RB
Start 'em James Robinson (JAC, RB)
Ranked just inside our Top 12 this week is James Robinson with a juicy matchup against the Texans. No other team gave up more fantasy points to running backs last season than Houston. If you drafted Travis Etienne, hopefully you also landed Robinson or managed to get him when Etienne went down. Robinson could wind up being the best value pick in fantasy drafts. He's certainly a great DFS play in Week 1.
2nd Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, RB)
Edwards-Helaire is dealing with an ankle injury, but he appears ready to go for Week 1. Although Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon plan to factor into the rushing workload, CEH should have the lion's share of touches. It's not a great matchup as the Browns gave up the 9th-fewest fantasy points last season, but Edwards-Helaire should still post RB2-type numbers.
9th Fewest Pts to RB
Start 'em Deebo Samuel (SF, WR)
You couldn't ask for a better Week 1 matchup than the Lions. Detroit gave up the 3rd-most fantasy points to receivers last year. With a banged up Brandon Aiyuk, the only real competition for targets is going to come from George Kittle this week. Samuel is ranked 25th this week making him a solid WR3/flex option. If he can stay healthy (a known problem), he can flirt with his first 1K yard season.
2nd Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Marvin Jones (JAC, WR)
There are quite a few options in the passing attack for rookie Trevor Lawrence, but none that have the experience of Marvin Jones. There has been great rapport between these two all preseason, and Jones comes into our initial weekly rankings at #32 putting him solidly within flex consideration. We're anxious to see how the targets will be spread between Jones, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault.
7th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Brandin Cooks (HOU, WR)
We have one piece of advice for Tyrod Taylor who has been named the starter for the Texans: find Brandin Cooks and find him often. Cooks comes into this week's rankings at #24 as the primary receiver for Houston. He's been incredibly efficient posting 1,000+ yard seasons in five of the past six years. He's really the only weapon that Taylor has. Hopefully he uses him.
11th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Noah Fant (DEN, TE)
The combination of Noah Fant's size and athleticism combined with Teddy Bridgewater's knack for quick, short throws should translate to fantasy points this season. While Fant has been dealing with a leg issue, Broncos' coach Vic Fangio expects him to suit up. He's ranked 7th this week on Fantasy Nerds.
11th Fewest Pts to TE
Start 'em Logan Thomas (WAS, TE)
Logan Thomas should remain a big part of this offense (he played 93% of the offensive snaps last year). With an upgrade at QB, he is poised to continue the fantasy production that saw him finish as one of the top fantasy tight ends of 2020. Thomas comes into our rankings at #8 and could flirt with a Top 5 finish.
11th Most Pts to TE
Start 'em San Francisco 49ers (SF, DEF)
The Niners come into this week's rankings as the top fantasy defense facing a Lions offense that has plenty of question marks surrounding them. Jared Goff is a serviceable QB and both Swift and Hockenson have big play potential, but a receiving corp consisting of Tyrell Williams, Amon-Ra St Brown, and Quintez Cephus is not a legitimate threat.
11th Most Pts to DEF
Start 'em Younghoe Koo (ATL, K)
This is a great matchup for Younghoe Koo and the Falcons. Philly gave up the 7th-most fantasy points to opposing kickers last season. Koo is our top-ranked fantasy kicker this week.
8th Most Pts to K
Sit 'em Trevor Lawrence (JAC, QB)
If you're feeling adventurous, Trevor Lawrence may be worth a gamble, but a rookie starting his first regular season game is probably going to get rattled a bit. Historically, #1 overall draft picks at QB have only won two games in their first career start, so the odds are against a breakout game. Lawrence looked fantastic through the preseason including completing 11 of his 12 passes for 139 yards and 2 scores against the Cowboys in preseason Week 3 action. He's ranked just outside our Top 12 this week, and while expectations are low, he has the potential to finish as a QB1 in Week 1.
7th Most Pts to QB
Sit 'em Jameis Winston (NO, QB)
As expected, Jameis Winston beat out Taysom Hill for the starting gig. We're expecting more down field shots this year, but he'll be playing without Michael Thomas for at least a few weeks. Plus: due to Hurricane Ida, the Saints will not be playing at home, so home field advantage is gone. He'll also be facing a Packers defense that was pretty stingy to signal callers last year.
7th Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
Ranked 25th among all QBs this week is a healthy Ben Roethlisberger facing a Bills defense that he has historically struggled against. The Steelers also have an overhauled offensive line...but not for the better. DeCastro, Foster, Pouncey, Gilbert, and Villanueva have all been replaced with younger, less-experienced linemen.
12th Most Pts to QB
Sit 'em Saquon Barkley (NYG, RB)
This is not so much a sit recommendation as much as it is a leveling of expectations. You drafted Barkley with either a first or second round pick, so you're starting him. He's expected to suit up and play this week, but all reports seem to indicate that the Giants are going to ease him into the season. His workload remains to be seen, but we already know that the offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL and there isn't a legitimate passing threat at the moment - both of which factor against Barkley having a big fantasy day.
10th Most Pts to RB
Sit 'em Josh Jacobs (LV, RB)
Like Saquon above, this is more about keeping realistic expectations. Jacobs has missed multiple practices this week, although he should be back by Thursday - hopefully they are just resting him. The time off has given the Raiders an opportunity to get Peyton Barber up to speed. The timeshare with Kenyan Drake also has us concerned. Plus, the Raiders have a new look to their offensive line which Pro Football Focus graded as one of the ten worst lines in the NFL. Jacobs could still produce for you, but perhaps lowering your expectations is the best advice.
5th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Devin Singletary (BUF, RB)
Ranked 35th in our Week 1 rankings is Devin Singletary who finds himself in a tough matchup with the Steelers. Pittsburgh gave up the 4th-fewest fantasy points to RBs last season, and although Singletary sits atop the depth chart, he'll cede some ground to both Josh Allen and Zack Moss - especially in the redzone. He's a flex option until he can show some consistent fantasy production.
8th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Kenny Golladay (NYG, WR)
When Kenny Golladay came out and said that he thinks the Giants could get the 2021 season off to a slow start, the fantasy world took notice. He's missed a fair amount of practice and hasn't done much with Daniel Jones yet - neither of which is a good sign. Golladay has the skillset to be the top option in this passing offense, but it may not happen right away - especially against a Broncos secondary that gave up the 13th-fewest fantasy points last season.
12th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Curtis Samuel (WAS, WR)
Like Golladay above, injuries have prevented Curtis Samuel from generating a rapport with his new quarterback. Samuel is ranked 49th among receivers this week facing a brutal matchup against the Chargers who have given up the 4th-fewest fantasy points last season.
7th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Jamison Crowder (NYJ, WR)
We're expecting Crowder to suit up Sunday assuming he's cleared from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but that doesn't mean that we'd rush to plug him in - not even as a flex play. There is plenty of competition for targets here from guys like Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Denzel Mims. Crowder may struggle to put up double digits this week against a Panthers secondary that ranked 14th in fantasy points allowed last year.
13th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Jared Cook (LAC, TE)
Jared Cook was one of the few big additions to the Chargers this offseason. With a one-year deal and expectations high on replacing Hunter Henry, Cook is poised to play a significant role for Los Angeles. That may have to wait until after this week though as Cook will face a Washington defense that kept tight ends in check last year surrendering the 9th-fewest fantasy points.
9th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Evan Engram (NYG, TE)
Already a long shot to play this week, there's very little to get excited about with Engram and this matchup. Assuming he suits up, he'll have a tough matchup against Denver. He's ranked 31st this week on Fantasy Nerds placing him well outside even flex territory.
13th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT, DEF)
The Steelers defense is perennially good, but a matchup with the dynamic, playoff-bound Bills is tough even for them. Defenses who faced Buffalo last year ended up in the bottom five in points scored. The Steelers D will have better weeks, but we'd fade them in Week 1.
5th Fewest Pts to DEF
Sit 'em Daniel Carlson (LV, K)
We're looking forward to seeing what the Vegas offense can produce this year, but a matchup with the Ravens isn't likely to bode well for Daniel Carlson and the kicking game. No team gave up fewer fantasy points to kickers last year than Baltimore.
Feweset Pts to K

Join the Discussion

If asking a sit/start question, be sure to provide your scoring format and contribute to answering questions from other FN members as well.

The Grinch CommentedSep 10, 2021 9:18 am

where could i see the stat or Sit for my team ?

ojones CommentedSep 10, 2021 9:28 am

I think you have to use their lineup analyzer. I found it after clicking on the NFL tab and then the top menu had it.

jamisdiablo CommentedSep 10, 2021 7:10 pm

Site has an analyzer. It’s good.

IGOTTHIS CommentedSep 19, 2021 10:51 am

Go to home page
Scroll down

The Grinch CommentedSep 10, 2021 9:19 am

Start or sit

Jirola CommentedSep 10, 2021 9:25 am

Do I start Trevor Lawrence or Matt Ryan?

Nerd CommentedSep 10, 2021 5:19 pm

I think Ryan is probably safer given that this is Lawrence's first game, but I would personally roll the dice with Trevor Lawrence. Good luck!

jamisdiablo CommentedSep 10, 2021 7:09 pm

Gotta go Ryan I think. Give ol Trev a few weeks… and cross your fingers.

drcharlie CommentedSep 11, 2021 4:03 pm

I like Ryan better

jamisdiablo CommentedSep 10, 2021 7:06 pm

Hey guys, ready for another championship season?!?! Hell yeah!
So after Gronking on out both my teams last night (BOOM), who would you choose from Edmonds, Swift or Gaskin in a PPR this week? Thanks! Comment mine I’ll comment yours. Cheers.

Nerd CommentedSep 10, 2021 7:15 pm

It's Swift for me

drcharlie CommentedSep 11, 2021 4:04 pm

Swift for sure. The groin injury doesn't seem to be a factor any longer.

The Gooch CommentedSep 11, 2021 10:14 am

Henderson vs Chicago
Williams vs LV

drcharlie CommentedSep 11, 2021 4:05 pm

I think Henderson is safer.

jamisdiablo CommentedSep 12, 2021 7:30 am


49er Ted CommentedSep 11, 2021 10:34 pm

Aiyuk vs Detroit, Start em

49er Ted CommentedSep 11, 2021 10:34 pm

Aiyuk vs Detroit, Start em

jamisdiablo CommentedSep 12, 2021 7:29 am

Uh, thanks?

hoop2311 CommentedSep 12, 2021 10:08 am

half point PPR Waddle, Elijah Moore or Terrence Marshall

Nerd CommentedSep 12, 2021 10:17 am

Waddle but it's close

spittdogg CommentedSep 12, 2021 10:54 am

What do you think about Darrel Henderson vs. Brandon Aiyuk in the flex, standard scoring? Currently rolling with DH, but second guessing.

Nerd CommentedSep 12, 2021 11:01 am

Flip a coin. Typically I like the RB in the flex, but I'd give a slight edge to Aiyuk.

Wallstreet Skeeter CommentedSep 12, 2021 11:02 am


Kyle Thieken CommentedSep 12, 2021 11:15 am

Robert Woods or Brandon Aiyuk?

Nerd CommentedSep 12, 2021 11:24 am

Woods in all formats.

Be sure to check the site for rankings, or click on the NFL tab from the top and plug their names into the Start/Sit.

Good luck this week!

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