The time is finally upon us. Football is back.
It’s imperative to make sure you have everything you possibly need for your weekend full of pigskin. That includes your lucky jersey, plenty of snacks and beverages and…your laptop or phone. Because you’ll need to incessantly refresh your fantasy football league’s site to see how your team is doing against that guy from work whose face you just hate for some reason.
And because workplace violence is generally frowned upon unless you are in the NFL or UFC, the best way to take aggression out on that person you just can’t stand at the office is by kicking his butt in fantasy football.
But you have to make sure you have the perfect lineup, which means there will be some difficult decisions while setting your team.
Here are a few players to start and a few to avoid ahead of Week 1:
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
Week 1 Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins really enjoys playing against the Eagles.
In five career meetings, he’s 4-1 with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions while averaging just under 316 yards per game. In terms of fantasy football, he’s averaging 27 points per outing against them.
It looks like he’ll have a full arsenal of weapons available as Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder are ready to go. Newly-acquired Terrelle Pryor will also make his Redskins debut after a big year with Cleveland in 2016.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Week 1 Opponent: New Orleans Saints
Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook looks to be the main man in Minnesota’s backfield. But with a veteran like Latavius Murray waiting in the wings, we don’t know how long Cook’s leash will be.
That being said, he has a pretty favorable matchup to start off his NFL career. The Saints allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs in 2016 and could very well be that bad again this year.
Cook rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries during the preseason and also added six receptions for 35 yards. A dual-threat option against a bad Saints defense could yield some solid point production.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 1 Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is back from a year-long suspension that completely wiped out his 2016 and he’ll be looking to pick up right where he left off.
In 21 career games spanning between 2014-2015, Bryant put up 14 touchdowns while averaging 17.3 yards per catch.
Ben Roethlisberger will look to get him back in the groove in order to support Antonio Brown as their first test comes against the Cleveland Browns, whose secondary is even more suspect now that they released Joe Haden…who signed with the Steelers.
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 1 Opponent: Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have had one of the finest defenses in the league over the past few seasons, which is reason enough to stay away from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers this week.
But looking at his fantasy numbers really should make owners keep him out.
He’s only had two games of 300 yards passing or more and hasn’t had a 20-point outing in six years.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 1 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
While Joe Mixon is expected to become the No. 1 back in Cincinnati, it won’t be in the season opener against the Ravens.
After getting nicked up during preseason play, Jeremy Hill is healthy and will start for the Bengals on Sunday.
Don’t forget, the dynamic Giovani Bernard will also be competing for touches, which means there just isn’t enough football to go around for the rookie yet.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Week 1 Opponent: New York Giants
Last season, the developing Giants secondary shut down Dallas’ No. 1 receiver.
In two games against the G-Men, Bryant could only reel in two catches for 18 yards. He actually had a negative combined output thanks to a lost fumble during their final meeting of 2016 in Week 14.
The Giants secondary is just as good, if not better as they continued to jell as a unit that fueled them to the postseason.