The NFL’s opening weekend already has brought plenty of fantasy football surprises. But the drama isn’t quite over yet.
NFL fans again will be treated to a Week 1 double dip on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football:” The Minnesota Vikings will host the New Orleans Saints in Adrian Peterson’s “revenge game” before the Denver Broncos welcome the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC West showdown.
Four teams in action means plenty of fantasy activity, as each club features a decent handful of players who could end up deciding your Week 1 matchups. So, which guys should you roll with?
Whether you’re playing a daily fantasy sports contest or making a last-minute roster move in your season-long league, here’s who we think you should start and sit Monday night.
VIKINGS VS. SAINTS
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. It’s always risky starting a rookie in his NFL debut, and there still are questions about Minnesota’s offensive line. But the matchup here is too good to ignore: Only two teams allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Saints last season in standard Yahoo! leagues. Cook should get the ball early and often.
Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings. New Orleans’ pass defense is nearly as bad as its run defense, and while Thielen isn’t the Vikings’ No. 1 wide receiver, he actually could see the heaviest workload out of the slot. The Saints likely will key on top wideout Stefon Diggs and tight end Kyle Rudolph, making Thielen an intriguing volume play, especially in PPR leagues.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Saints. Michael Thomas should see the lion’s share of targets, but Ginn is Drew Brees’ new deep threat with Brandin Cooks out of the picture, making him an intriguing option as a big-play wideout despite a tough matchup against Minnesota’s stingy defense.
Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings. Don’t even think about it. Sure, Bradford has some decent weapons at his disposal and is playing a terrible defense, but he just doesn’t take enough chances in the passing game to warrant being a fantasy starter.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Saints. Peterson has plenty of motivation entering his first game against his former club. But that’s about all he has. We have no idea how the Saints will use the 32-year-old, but he’ll have to compete with Mark Ingram for carries and is facing one of the NFL’s best run defenses. No thanks.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. While we’re on the subject: We don’t like Ingram in this game, either. The Vikings allowed just nine rushing touchdowns in 2016, third-fewest in the NFL, and Ingram isn’t the best pass-catching back. Start him if you need to, but his ceiling is pretty low.
BRONCOS VS. CHARGERS
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Yes, Trevor Siemian is his quarterback, but with Demaryius Thomas still recovering from an injured groin, Sanders is the safest bet in this passing attack. The Broncos’ slot man is a consistent source for targets and should be a pretty safe play here.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos. Anderson didn’t generate much preseason hype, but we actually like him in a home matchup against a Chargers defense that doesn’t give up a ton of yardage but allowed 20 rushing touchdowns in 2016, third-most in the NFL.
Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers. Denver’s elite secondary should make life tough for Chargers receivers Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams. Yet that might allow Henry to break free for a few big plays, and the Broncos were middle-of-the-pack against opposing tight ends last season.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos. Don’t be fooled by the big name. It will be interesting to see how Denver employs Charles, but Anderson still should see most of the workload here, making the 30-year-old nothing more than a desperation play in deeper leagues.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers. The Chargers actually have had their fair share of success against the Broncos in recent years, but we don’t care about wins and losses. Rivers threw three touchdown passes to three interceptions in his two meetings with Denver last season and isn’t worth starting on the road against arguably the league’s top defense.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers. You might be able to justify starting Allen, since he’s Rivers’ No. 1 target. But all other L.A. wideouts are just too risky, especially Williams, who also suffered a groin injury in preseason.
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP