After months of stewing over what could have been last fantasy football season, you get the chance to get back on the horse Sunday. It’s crucial to get off to a hot start in your fantasy league because leaving points on your bench in Week 1 is scientifically proven to be the main cause of missing the playoffs.
So make sure your starting lineup is at optimal capacity for kick off come Sunday afternoon.
Here are NESN.com’s top five fantasy football starts and sits for Week 1:
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texas
Watson dazzled last season before suffering a torn ACL in practice. But one of the teams the Clemson product torched before going was his Week 1 opponent: the New England Patriots. Mobile quarterbacks tend to give the Patriots issues, and Watson has the ability to make explosive plays with his arm and legs.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell isn’t going to play in Week 1 as he continues his contract holdout. Enter Conner, the second-year running back out of Pittsburgh who is more than capable of picking up the slack in Bell’s sted. Couple that with the Steelers’ Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns and you should have a recipe for success.
Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
The Oregon product has been getting a ton of preseason hype after going relatively under the radar during his college career. Freeman is a powerful back who has the speed to create big plays in open space. In Week 1, the Broncos will face a Seattle Seahawks defense that is a shell of its former self, and Broncos head coach Vance Joseph has been adamant that he wants to pound the rock. Ride Freeman in Week 1.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
With Julian Edelman serving a month-long PED suspension, the Patriots’ passing game will rely on Hogan, Rob Gronkowski and running back James White for the foreseeable future. Tom Brady trusts Hogan so expect the wide receiver to get plenty of targets in Week 1.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton’s fantasy value is directly tied to the health of quarterback Andrew Luck. When No. 12 is healthy for the Colts, Hilton tends to be a fantasy stud. Luck is slated to play his first snap since the 2016 season Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, and if he’s 100 percent healthy then you can expect Hilton to rack up the numbers.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
Oakland Coliseum will be rocking Monday night for Jon Gruden’s return. It won’t be easy for the Raiders, though, as they face a talented Los Angeles Rams defense that should give quarterback Derek Carr plenty of issues. Cooper still is Carr’s top weapon, but until he shows he’s cured his case of the drops from a year ago, you might want to put him on the pine.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay always claims to want to run the ball more and yet it never happens. The Packers might try to ride Williams early, but likely will abandon it in favor of the aerial attack against the Chicago Bears. Bench.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Who is Prescott throwing to? Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley? It’s going to be the Ezekiel Elliott show for the Cowboys on offense, so Prescott has limited value in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland looks to be going with running back by committee to start the season, with Hyde, Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb all expected to get carries. Expect the Steelers to stifle Cleveland’s ground game, take an early lead and force Tyrod Taylor to air it out.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The Jimmy G. hype train leaves the station for its first full season and heads to Minnesota to face the Vikings ferocious defense. Garoppolo is the real deal, but he isn’t exactly surrounded by a murderer’s row of weapons, so if you have another option, you might want to look that way.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images