Football is back. All is right with the world again. And with the return of football comes the return of stressing out over your fantasy lineup. It's okay, we're here to help.
For Week 1, you probably shouldn't think too hard about who you should start. Don't sit your studs, for instance -- you drafted them high for a reason. Let the player's ADP be your guide for at least the first 3-4 weeks. That said, there are some players who could go either way, so let's examine some guys worth starting based on friendly matchups, along with some you should avoid this week.
This post focuses on the quarterback position.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (@ Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts still have a lot of holes on their defense and won't have starting cornerback Vontae Davis. Combine that with their continued lack of pass rushing prowess, and Stafford should have plenty of time to pick apart Indy's secondary. In what should be one of the highest-scoring games of the weekend, there will be plenty of fantasy points to go around here. Start Stafford as your QB1 with confidence.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Green Bay Packers)
Another game with shootout potential. The Jaguars' defense looks much-improved on paper, but Aaron Rodgers and his healthy weapons are still a significant force. That could force Bortles and the offense to keep up through the passing game, which in turn should lead to a bonanza of points for fantasy owners. Bortles has some talented weapons of his own in Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (@ New Orleans Saints)
The Saints' defense is going to be a popular target for fantasy owners once again this year. Although they should be improved from the historically bad unit we saw last season, there still aren't many elite playmakers. That makes Carr an appealing fantasy option as he looks to keep pace with Drew Brees on the Superdome's fast turf. With Amari Cooper healthy and ready to take off, Carr has top-5 QB scoring potential this week.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. New York Giants)
Prescott got a lot of buzz for his impressive preseason performances, but we should pump the brakes on his hype until he's played some real games first. The Giants made a lot of changes to their defense and should be upgraded from last year's poo performance, so it's not a given that Prescott will pick them apart. His Week 1 task may be to hand the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott and avoid turnovers. Maybe that's worth a QB2 slot in two-QB leagues, but standard 12-teamers should stash and wait on him for a bit.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cleveland Browns)
It may be tempting to give Wentz a shot, given how shoddy the Browns' defense looks this year. But a rookie making his first NFL start, after missing nearly the entire preseason, is a bad recipe. Maybe Wentz will be useful later on in the season as he learns in a trial by fire, but Week 1 is not the time to be making speculative fantasy starts. He belongs on the waiver wire for now.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. Houston Texans)
Cutller's "career renaissance" last year still wasn't all that impressive (he ranked just 21st among QBs in Yahoo! fantasy points) and he's since lost play-caller Adam Gase and running back Matt Forte. The Bears' offense looked downright putrid in the preseason and J.J. Watt is coming back from surgery earlier than expected. In other words, it's not looking good for Cutler and the Bears. There aren't many scenarios where we can recommend starting him this week.