Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our fantasy football start’em column, which takes a look at favorable matchups and how they might impact lineup decisions for your fantasy football roster. Let’s take a look at some players that you’ll want in your starting lineup for Week 1. If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.


Colin Kaepernick SF @ DAL

The 49ers offense starts off the season with a dream fantasy matchup against a porous Cowboys defense. Kaepernick is a dynamic athlete that will equally pick up fantasy points with his legs as with his arm. The addition of Stevie Johnson from Buffalo and a healthy Michael Crabtree are just some of the many reasons he’ll start off the season on a good note for fantasy owners. Think about that Cowboys vs. Broncos game last year. Dallas lost DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee from one of the worst defenses of all time last season, so I’m thinking Kaepernick is chasing 30 plus points Sunday.

Jay Cutler CHI VS. BUF

Cutler, the windy city gun-slinger, probably wasn’t someone who was targeted until the final rounds of your fantasy draft. He’ll be gold for owners come week 1 with all his weapons healthy against a suspect defense. Alshon Jeffrey’s emergence, Brandon Marshall’s steady hands and Matt Forte’s dynamic pass catching abilities make Cutler a possibility for a big time game every week. Look for him to strut his stuff in the home opener against the Bills.

Running Backs

Andre Ellington AZ VS. SD

This all-everything running back for Arizona starts off the season in the final game of the week on Monday night. If you need a big performance from him for the W – expect it. He’s a strong candidate for breakout player of the year. He’s expected to be a workhorse in the Cards offense, much the same way Forte is used by the Bears to get him into open space where he can turn on the burners. San Diego’s run defense is average. Plus with Mendenhall having hung up his cleats, there’s nobody who will be splitting carries with Andre in the desert.
Editor’s note: Andre Ellington aggravated his left foot in practice on Thursday and it is reported that he could miss a significant amount of time. Be sure to check his injury status before setting your lineup.

Giovanni Bernard CIN @ BAL

This UNC product is primed to be a 2nd year phenom in Marvin Lewis’ offense. He’s the Bengals’ version of Ray Rice, similar to a bowling ball but with lightening speed and moves. Baltimore still has Suggs rushing from the end and Ngata to plug the middle but Bernard is also a pass catching threat. These division rivals will punch each other all game long, so once fatigue cathes on in the 2nd half, expect Bernard to do work.

Wide Receivers

Percy Harvin SEA VS. GB

Will Harvin catch more than 5 passes for the Seahawks this year? As long as Percy is healthy, you’ve got to start him the first few weeks. He’s so expolosive and the Green Bay secondary is it’s primary weakness. Clay Matthews & Co. won’t be able to line up against him in Seattle’s disguised formations all game. Don’t forget to insert him into your lineups early for this Thursday night rematch of the Failmary debacle.

Antonio Brown PIT VS. CLE

Who exactly is Big Ben going to throw the football to this year? Look no further than Antonio Brown to be that answer for the Steelers. Brown has a difficult man-to-man matchup vs. Browns CB Joe Haden. However, there is too much talent to silence him. Without Emmanuel Saunders there it’ll be Brown and Wheaton who’ll get all the targets and fantasy points outside of La’Veon Bell.

Tight Ends

Dennis Pitta BAL VS. CIN

Pitta has battled back from last preseason’s season-ending injury and has looked great in camp. New offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, loves to pound the football and target the tight end in jumbo and spread formations. If there is one place Bengals’ DE Geno Atkins won’t be all day, it’s guarding Dennis Pitta in the flat. Pitta has top 5 TE potential this week and for the season.

Travis Kelce KC VS. TEN

Andy Reid’s offense has a new weapon at Tight End this season and Kelce is primed to emerge on the scene. Coming off a knee injury from last season, Kelce led the preseason in receiving yards at his position. He’s also got equally impressive speed to burn. The Titans are relatively weak at defending against the tight end, so this matchup should put Kelce on the waiver wire radar after this week.


New England Patriots NE VS. MIA

Look no further than your opponent for picking the defense to start this week. It appears that Miami is improving with Tannehill as QB, but New England upgraded it’s secondary with the addition of Darrell Revis too. The Patriots have a way of being consistent defensively and statistically a solid play most weeks. They have a favorable beginning part to their season so use them wisely. The Pats should capitalize with turnovers when Tannehill aggressively tries to drive the deep ball down field. I can smell a pick 6 in this unit. Start’em!