With the return of the NFL season comes the return of fantasy football. Whether you’re a casual fan or a diehard NFL enthusiast, you clicked on this article for some guidance for your weekly fantasy lineups. Each week, I’ll list three players to start and three to sit. My decisions will be based on the player’s matchup, team situation, recent performances and sometimes, my gut feeling.
This isn’t a “you must start or sit this player,” list, but I’m predicting who will outperform or underperform their expectations. Sometimes you’ll have to start a player who has a bad matchup because he’s your only option. With that, let’s get to the first “Start ‘em, Sit em” of the 2016 season.
Lamar Milller, running back, Houston Texans
Miller, members of the Texans’ coaching staff and fantasy owners should be mutually excited. Miller, last year’s sixth-ranked fantasy running back, is scheduled to take on a heavy load in Houston. The Texans run the ball frequently and more than often, it works (see Foster, Arian). Miller is a shifty runner with insane breakaway speed, and this week, the Texans are playing the Chicago Bears, who allowed 4.8 yards per carry last season. Expect Miller to get a ton of carries in front of his new fans in Houston on Sunday.
Derrick Carr, quarterback, Oakland Raiders
Carr is looking to improve on a career year when he tossed 32 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards. He’s also looking to tear up a New Orleans defense that allowed a league-high 8.7 yards per pass attempt last season. But wait, there’s more. The Saints allowed 45 passing touchdowns last season. The next highest team allowed 36. Carr’s stud receiver, Amari Cooper, is entering his second season and should improve, giving you even more motivation to start Carr this week.
Jordy Nelson, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers
Nelson is back with a healthy ACL. Nelson has been one of the best fantasy receivers over the past five years, and I don’t expect that to change, as long as he stays healthy. Nelson is Rodgers’ favorite target and will face rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has a bright future in the NFL, but I think he’ll have a tough time staying with one of the NFL’s most polished route runners this Sunday.
Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins
Landry holds the record for most receptions in his first two seasons. He’s also incredibly consistent. He also faces the Seattle Seahawks, who have one of the league’s best pass defenses. My logic here is simple: Landry is a quality receiver, but he’s not a top-tier option. He’s facing an incredibly stout defense, forcing me to shy away from starting him in my leagues. You should do the same unless your other options are sub-par.
Carlos Hyde, running back, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde impressed with a 30-point performance in Week 1 last season, but I don’t expect to see a repeat performance Sunday. Hyde is facing an impressive Rams’ defense that allowed only seven rushing touchdowns all of last season. This will be Hyde’s first game under coach Chip Kelly. Most expect Hyde to see a lot of work, but we won’t know for sure until we see him play in Week 1.
Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan is one of the most overrated fantasy quarterbacks –and perhaps in reality– in the NFL. After experiencing a deep playoff run early in his career, Ryan has failed to enter elite territory. Ryan finished as the 18th-best fantasy quarterback last season and averaged only 16 fantasy points per game in two matchups with the Buccaneers last season, who are steadily improving on defense.