Fantasy Football Week 1 Mailbag: Solving Your Starting Lineup Conundrums

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Welcome to the first fantasy football mailbag of the 2016 NFL season.

Man, that felt good to type.

To the questions!

With the NFL getting rid of the probable designation how would you suggest dealing with players listed as questionable that play later in the day Sunday/Monday? — Jonathan, Methuen, Mass.
Before making the adjustments to injury categories, the NFL conducted a study to see how often players took the field. “Probable” players suited up 95 percent of the time, “questionable” players were a 50/50 split, and “doubtful” players played just 25 percent of the time. Getting rid of the probable category is intended to prevent teams from listing players on injury reports unless there’s a 50 percent chance they don’t play, so until things shift otherwise, it’s fair to make the same assumption for your fantasy rosters.

I want TB12 as my qb to end the season. Who is the best qb weeks 1-4 and Week 9 (Pats bye)? — Karl, North Andover, Mass.
We’re pretty high on Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions) and Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins), each of whom have pretty easy schedules in the first month of the season. Cousins also has a Week 9 bye, though, so Stafford might be a better bet for a month. Other decent replacements include Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (it’s just a month!) and Dallas Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott (for the first month only). Seriously.

QB/WR stack to live and die by — William, Belchertown, Mass.
Off the top of my head, my favorite is Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. The latter makes a huge impact on that Green Bay Packers offense and slots everyone else into their proper positions against different defenders, meaning more open receivers for Rodgers to find in the end zone. For DFS purposes, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are obvious candidates, but both will be very expensive. A cheaper-(ish) option might be something like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Though Jones will be pricey, Ryan might come at a discount and be someone fewer fantasy owners choose.

With Jamaal Charles out this week how do you feel about Spencer Ware or Charcandrick West? — Daniel, Newton, Mass.
As of this writing, Charles isn’t officially out yet. In the event he does miss time or is limited for the Kansas City Chiefs, I’d say Spencer Ware is a necessary handcuff, and I’d be looking toward him over Charcandrick West until something changes. If Ware gets a bulk of the carries (and he doesn’t split with Charles), he should punch in with at least an average performance with upside for more.

@NESN Need RB & Flex. Options: DukeJohnson / AFoster / Desean Jackson / Spencer Ware
— @Dr_Straker

I’m one of those people who believes Arian Foster will have a nice bounceback season for the Miami Dolphins and Duke Johnson will have an above-average PPR campaign for the Cleveland Browns, and I tried to draft both in all my leagues. Jackson has big-play potential against a mediocre Pittsburgh Steelers defense, though he never has been one to load up on catches.

Start Carr or Luck week 1? — Gary S, Facebook
Start Carr or Palmer in week 1? — Bob T, Facebook
Carr or ryan? For qb — Shawn H, Facebook

Lots of love for Derek Carr, huh?

Based on their skills and matchups, I’d rank those QBs like this in Week 1: Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (vs. Detroit Lions), Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (at New Orleans Saints), Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (vs. New England Patriots) and Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Luck reportedly already is dealing with shoulder soreness, so keep an eye on that. The Saints were historically bad last season, and I’m very high on Carr this year, so depending on what comes out with Luck, I might take Carr this week.

I’m in a PPR league and I have Desean Jackson, Michael Floyd and Devin Funchess who should I start as my FLEX? — James K, Facebook
The Patriots usually identify one target to shut down and let a “lesser” player attempt to beat them. They’ll have their hands full with David Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald well could be the receiver they opt to stop, so Floyd could have a nice matchup. As mentioned above, though, Jackson has a juicy matchup with the Steelers. Definitely avoid Funchess this week against the Denver Broncos.

Click to see Week 1 “Thursday Night Football” starts and sits >>

Have a question for Pat? Send it to him on Twitter at @PatBradley_.

Thumbnail photo via John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports Images

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