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The wait is over. The NFL regular season is here. While some are awaiting their favorite teams to kick off, others have been meticulously over-analyzing their fantasy football starting lineups to maximize points potential. Week one is always tough, because you don't have much information to work off of-- just 2015's statistics and some he-said, she-said information. Besides the obvious must-start players, it can be hard to find that perfect Flex option. I take a look at a few players that fantasy football owners are likely on-the-fence about.
Start: Markus Wheaton
A typically weak pass defense in recent years, the Washington Redskins are going to have their hands full focusing on taking Antonio Brown out of the game. With their prized free agent signing, Josh Norman, likely taking on the duty of covering AB, it may require more coverage and attention than just him. Markus Wheaton, who gets the first crack at becoming the Pittsburgh Steelers official WR2, will be lining up opposite side of Brown, and will reap the benefits of a potentially high-scoring, Monday night affair. Neither team's defense has proven to be dominant, and both teams have an offense capable of putting up big numbers. Look for this game to be an offense-heavy battle, benefiting all players involved.
Sit: Kelvin Benjamin
After missing his sophomore season due to a torn ACL suffered in last year's preseason, Benjamin enters 2016 looking to reap the benefits of reigning NFL MVP, Cam Newton, throwing the ball to him. While the Panthers' offense still often looked high powered without him, there is no doubt that Newton is excited to have the big-bodied receiver back in his arsenal. The ceiling is high for Benjamin, but don't jump the gun just yet. I recommend holding off for week one, to feel it out and see how Benjamin looks in full-speed play. Not only is he going up against the toughest secondary from 2015 in the Denver Broncos, but head coach Ron Rivera has also already announced that Benjamin will see less snaps compared to his rookie season, in order to maintain his health. Kelvin Benjamin is fully capable of putting up WR1 numbers in the long run, but I recommend holding off in week one.
Start: Allen Hurns
2015 was a crazy year.... The Chinese stock market crashed, the FIFA organization was corrupt, and the Jacksonville Jaguars offense looked lethal. Who would've thought that a fantasy football team starting Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson was actually dangerous? The Jags offense enters 2016 looking to pick up where they left off in 2015. While Allen Robinson is the main benefitter of a hot Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns still sees plenty of targets come his way. I foresee Green Bay putting up an early lead, causing Blake Bortles to start firing away early, and often. Expect above average numbers for the Jacksonville Jaguars receiving corp this week.
Sit: LeGarrette Blount
Some people may be saying "who's considering starting LeGarrette Blount in the first place?" But believe it or not, Blount has proven to be one of the most dominant, consistent running backs in the NFL when given a full workload. Facing a stout defense in the Arizona Cardinals is tough enough-- take away Tom Brady from the helm, as well, and you have yourself a potentially immobile New England Patriots offense. With the Cardinals entering Sunday as the clear favorite, it is very possible that the Patriots will be forced to play from behind early on, putting all focus on Jimmy Garoppolo's arm, and limiting any run game.
Start: Amari Cooper
For many people, Amari Cooper is seen as a weekly must-start, no matter who the Oakland Raiders are playing. For others, like myself, it's best to take it week-by-week, as the Raiders have still not proven to me that they have a consistent offense. This week, though, all signs point to Amari Cooper impressing fantasy football owners. Cooper is the clear WR1 on the Raiders depth chart, with a capable quarterback in Derek Carr. Going up against a New Orleans Saints secondary that allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers in 2015, Cooper has the recipe to earn early-season elite status. Look for Cooper to put up excellent numbers in yet another potentially high-scoring match up.
Sit: Jamaal Charles
Andy Reid may make this decision easy for everyone, and hold Jamaal Charles out of week one completely. If he doesn't, I still strongly advise to look elsewhere. Charles is working his way back from his second torn ACL injury. As a major facet of Kansas City's offense, even if Charles does play, Reid will limit Charles' snap count, and attempt to ease him back into playing time. They will not rush their star running back and risk yet another injury. Look for Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware to see an increased workload during the first couple of weeks.