The 2018 fantasy football season begins Thursday night — can you believe it?
The Philadelphia Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field, where the home team will hoist its Super Bowl LII championship banner. Once the pomp and circumstance ends, however, it’ll be time for some football.
The first “Thursday Night Football” matchup is intriguing from a fantasy perspective, as the game will feature no shortage of star power. With two of the NFL’s most potent offenses squaring off in prime time, fantasy points could be awarded in bunches.
Not everyone is worth starting Thursday night, though. Here’s who you should start and sit in Eagles vs. Falcons:
Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles. We’re not sold that Ajayi will be an RB1 for the bulk of the fantasy season, but he should get enough action Thursday night to warrant a flex start, at the least. He gets plenty of work in the passing game, too, so he’s a safe bet to post respectable numbers.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. While Freeman faces a pretty tough opening matchup in the Eagles’ stout run defense, he’s still a start-worthy RB1.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons. Jones might cede some targets to rookie Calvin Ridley, but we’re still talking about one of the most dominant wideouts in the game. Start him with confidence.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles. We’re bullish on the Eagles passing game without quarterback Carson Wentz, but Agholor nevertheless is a good option Thursday night. With Alshon Jeffery out while nursing an injury, expect Agholor to see plenty of balls thrown his way.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons. We’re big on the rookie wideout. Sure, he’ll have his struggles, but with Jones likely to draw opposing teams top corners, Ridley should get enough targets to provide legitimate fantasy value. Starting him in his pro debut might be risky for fantasy owners, but we’re taking the gamble.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles. One of the best tight ends in the NFL, Ertz should be in your lineup whenever he’s available.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles. Foles is a good real-life quarterback, but he still doesn’t belong in fantasy lineups. Sure, he might post big numbers in Week 1, but take the safe bet and start a more proven signal-caller.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons. For whatever reason, Ryan has proven to be an unreliable fantasy starter throughout his career. He rarely will cost you a game, but he also isn’t likely to put up gaudy numbers that propel you to victory. Keep him on your bench for now.
Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons. Hooper has talent, but he simply doesn’t get enough action as owners would like. He’s behind Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Ridley in Ryan’s pecking order, so it’s unwise to expect TE1 production.
Eagles D/ST. This unit should be a strong fantasy option going forward, but this a tough matchup in Week 1. Yes, the Eagles will have a raucous home crowd at their backs, but the Falcons probably will rack up a decent amount of yards and points. Look elsewhere.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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