Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 1

The first week of NFL action kicked off with a replay of last seaon’s NFC divisional playoff round. Once again it came down to a red zone possession for the Falcons, and once again they couldn’t get into the end zone to defeat the Eagles. At least this time Julio Jones caught the pass from Matt Ryan, though he was out of bounds. Jones was an easy start for fantasy owners this week, catching 10 passes for 169 yards. Here are more players you can be confident to start, and some you should avoid in Week 1.

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Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings—It will be his first start with his new team and I think it will be a good one. Cousins has developed a rapport with Stefon Diggs already and had a great game the last time he faced the 49ers.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 1 rankings.

Update: Weather is having me second guessing Ben Roethlisberger and Tyrod Taylor this week. Plan accordingly as rain could be a big factor in Cleveland Sunday. If you have to play Big Ben, I’m a little more optimistic about him over Taylor in the bad weather. Two possible replacements are Marcus Mariota (at Miami) or Andy Dalton (at Indianapolis).

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers—The home-road disparity in Roethlisberger’s fantasy scoring has always been a concern, but it wasn’t that bad last season. He faces the Browns and without Le’Veon Bell he should utilize Antonio Brown a great deal.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Browns—Call it Hard Knocks hype if you like, but all signs point to Taylor having a nice outing. He turned the ball over just six times last season and scored 18 touchdowns through the air and on the ground. The pass catchers he has in Cleveland are a big upgrade from what he had in Buffalo.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals—Mixon showed great athleticism in preseason that we all expected to see in his rookie campaign. He gets to face a weak Colts defense in the season opener.

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens—Collins is expected to be the workhorse for Baltimore and he faces a Buffalo defense that gave up the most fantasy points to running backs last year.

James Connor, RB, Steelers—With Bell out, Connor could give the Steelers a glimpse of life without the All Pro. He gets to face the Browns this week and Pittsburgh may have to run due to weather conditions.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals—He faces a Washington defense that was decent against the pass last year, but lost its slot corner Kendall Fuller in a trade with the Chiefs. Fitz feasts in the slot and Sam Bradford will want to get the ball to him.

Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots—I think this is the year Tom Brady and the Patriots drop off a bit, but I like Hogan in the first week. He faces the Texans, who were sixth worst in points allowed to wideouts last year.

Broncos receivers—Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are not facing the Legion of Boom. Richard Sherman is in San Francisco and Earl Thomas isn’t happy. Last season Seattle was merely middle of the road in limiting wide receivers. Case Keenum is a major QB upgrade as well.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals—Washington was in the bottom six teams in defending the tight end. Seals-Jones has a big opportunity here with Jermaine Gresham recovering from last year’s Achilles injury.

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Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers—The hype surrounding Garoppolo is based on a solid end to last season. He can turn in some QB1 weeks this year, but this shouldn’t be one of them as he faces the Vikings pass defense led by All-Pro Harrison Smith.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants—He has Odell Beckham Jr. back and three, maybe four, solid targets to throw to, but he faces a tough Jaguars defense. Jacksonville has possibly the best defensive backfield in the league.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders—The Raiders have had a rough preseason and I see that carrying over to the opener against the Rams. Add to that, Carr is facing a defensive backfield comprised of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Not to mention Aaron Donald joined the Rams in time to harrass the Raiders QB.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots—I don’t really understand the hype around him, but it probably has to do with the eight touchdowns he scored last season and the fact that Dion Lewis is now in Tennesse. James White, a pass-catching maven, is still in town, though.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins—Some owners can’t help but get excited about having Peterson on their team. They have to realize he’s not the same running back he was a few years ago. He faces the Cardinals this week and they were fifth best in limiting running backs’ fantasy scoring last season.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks—I do think he’ll have some weeks when he could be a solid start, but this most likely won’t be one of them. He faces the Broncos and the Seahawks’ offensive line isn’t much better than last year.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers—I like Goodwin over the course of the season, but Sunday’s matchup has him covered by Xavier Rhodes. That’s a tough matchup with a strong Vikings defense.

Buccaneers tight ends—This decision is based on not knowing which one will lead the team at the position, Cameron Brate or O.J. Howard. Wait until it’s clear which one becomes the favorite.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 8

Week 8 is upon us and that means there are a ton of byes on the schedule. Players of note you’ll be missing: Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, Jordy Nelson, DeMarco Murray and Larry Fitzgerald. Hopefully you made the waiver claims I suggested Tuesday to help deal with the missing stars.

Thursday night Miami faces Baltimore and I’d feel good starting Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry and even Matt Moore as a possible streaming quarterback. Ajayi has a great opportunity to get on a roll against a run defense that allows a league-high 145 yards rushing per game. Here’s who else you should start, and sit, in Week 8.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 8 rankings.

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Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Though he faces the Patriots, who looked good against Matt Ryan, Rivers has been a model of consistency this season. With just one truly bad game on his log, I expect him to have success against the Patriots, especially after he had a good week against the Broncos.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: His run of solid outings came to an end against the Steelers last weekend, but I wouldn’t be afraid of starting him against the Colts this week. The Colts are second worst in passing yards allowed, giving up over 300 per game.

Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals passes in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 22, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: Watson takes on the Seahawks who are good against the pass, but they’ve had some issues against running quarterbacks. They allowed at least 27 yards rushing to both Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota. Both had at least a touchdown pass as well. I think Watson’s more talented than both of those QBs and he’ll be helped with a good rushing attack.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Game script held him to just seven rushes last week as the Bengals had to try to catch up during the second half of the loss to the Steelers. Before that game Mixon had at least 15 rushes in each of the previous three games. He has a dream matchup against the Colts this week.

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins: The Cowboys are middle of the road in defending running backs, but they especially struggle against pass-catching running backs. They gave up nearly 94 yards receiving and a touchdown to Todd Gurley. Andre Ellington caught five passes for 59 yards and Shane Vereen had 51 yards receiving.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots: Lewis is taking control of the backfield in New England, carrying the ball at least 11 times in each of the last two weeks. He clearly looks like the most talented back for the Patriots and he should have a nice day against the Chargers who give up over 140 yards rushing per game.

Dion Lewis #33 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during the second quarter of a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: He’s on a touchdown streak and the Eagles are very hot right now with Carson Wentz entering the possible MVP conversation. Agholor’s been targeted at least four times in four straight weeks and should be productive against the 49ers.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: Cam Newton had another bad week after having a nice two-game stretch. He should bounce back this week against the Buccaneers to the benefit of Funchess. Tampa Bay gives up over 300 yards receiving per game.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins: I like Stills as a flex start this week since he plays well with Matt Moore at quarterback. Stills has three touchdowns in the last two games. Both of his scores this week came when Moore entered the game for an injured Jay Cutler.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter by tossing the ball to a fan against the New York Jets on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers: Although he’s had two scoreless weeks this season, he’s starting to become the consistent tight end target for Rivers. Henry has a good matchup against the Patriots this week.

Saints defense/special teams: They’re trending in the right direction and should keep it up against the Bears’ rookie quarterback who has few receiving options.

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Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: He’s been blessed with a pretty good schedule early on, but this week he faces a really tough Steelers defense. Pittsburgh allows just 147 yards passing per game. They give up a league-best 5.6 yards per completion.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Big Ben is on the road this week so you’re automatically wary. The Lions pass defense is better than average. They give up more than 244 yards passing per game, but they intercepted Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan three times each. They also picked off Drew Brees twice.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: He finally broke a streak of terrible performances with a big game last Thursday. Carr has a tough matchup against the Bills on Sunday. Add a rainy forecast to the mix and I don’t think he puts up another top-12 performance this week.

Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings: Murray had a great game last week, but I don’t think he can keep it up against the Browns. They allow just 83.7 yards rushing per game. I’d expect Jerick McKinnon to have the most success as he’s a bigger receiving threat.

Latavius Murray #25 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled with the ball in the first half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 22, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: I’m not sure if it’s even necessary to tell you to sit him at this point. He’s facing the Vikings so he’ll have a tough time. They give up just 76.6 yards per game and have allowed just one touchdown on the ground.

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears: The Saints defense has played well in four straight wins. Cohen looked good to start the season, especially as a passing option, but he probably won’t have success against New Orleans. The Saints have been doing a great job of limiting running backs catching out of the backfield.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: I don’t trust him at this point. He’s got a tough matchup against the Bengals this week and the Colts offense is just terrible.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: I’ve given him a lot of chances this season, but it’s not looking like he’s coming around. He’s frustrated and it’s hard to see him being productive while being a distraction. With the team demoting him to scout team, he’s definitely a player you can drop. Holding out hope for a trade may end up being foolish.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: Parker is dealing with an ankle injury and has a tough matchup with the Ravens. He doesn’t have the same rapport with Moore that Stills has.

Broncos defense/special teams: They’re not the same dominant defense they have been in the recent past and they face a potent offense in the Chiefs. Kareem Hunt is on a great roll and should continue to play well.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 4

The tundra isn’t frozen yet but Lambeau Field will still be an apt setting to kick off Week 4 on Thursday night. You’ll want to start all the usual suspects in that game. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Jordan Howard and even Tarik Cohen should be productive. Here’s a look a a few of this week’s tougher calls.

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Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals: Palmer had a rough start to the season, but it looks like that was due to the Lions being better defensively than originally thought. Since then he had good performances in Week 2 and Week 3. Palmer moved well in the pocket on Monday night and put up solid numbers against a good Cowboys pass rush. He should do well against the 49ers this week.

RELATED: Week 4 fantasy football rankings.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: He finally looked decent in Week 3, throwing for two touchdown passes, as the Bengals switched offensive coordinators. Dalton should keep it up against a Browns defense that allowed Jacoby Brissett to throw three touchdown passes.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks: Carson is starting to take over the lead back role and should get the majority of touches as he faces the Colts on Sunday. Indy is playing well against the run, allowing just over 85 yards per game, but they’ve already surrendered four rushing touchdowns in three games. An expected game script would allow for a lot of carries for Carson.

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) gets past Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Avery Williamson (54) as Carson scores a touchdown on a 10-yard run in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Mixon had 18 carries and over 100 yards of offense so it looks like Marvin Lewis will give the rookie a decent shot at becoming the lead runner. He gets a nice matchup as he faces the Browns.

Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins: He has a great matchup as he gets to face the Saints at home. Jay Cutler has the right mentality for a receiver like Parker. And if they get behind due to an effective Saints offense led by Drew Brees then the Dolphins should be passing often and late.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: Hopkins has caught at least seven passes in each game this year. His lone score came in Week 1, but the Titans have already surrendered seven this season.

Broncos receivers: Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have been great so far this year, even when Trevor Siemian has a bad game. Feel safe about starting either one and look for Thomas to catch his first touchdown of the season.

Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos is tackled by Tre’Davious White #27 of the Buffalo Bills during an NFL game on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Benjamin Watson, TE, Ravens: He’s caught 11 straight targets and the Ravens get to play at home this week rather than across the ocean. The Steelers give up six fantasy points per game to tight ends in standard scoring leagues.

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Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: The Ravens are a tough draw with one of the best defenses in the league right now. Big Ben has trouble on the road, so if you’ve got another option, let him sit this one out. The Ravens have eight sacks and eight interceptions in three games.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: It’s time to park this guy. If he’s not going to produce against the Saints defense, then you can’t trust him to do it against the Patriots. Start to stream your quarterback if necessary.

Hau’oli Kikaha #44 of the New Orleans Saints sacks Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: He’s got to go into a tough environment as Washington visits the Chiefs. Cousins hasn’t found a rhythm with Terrell Pryor yet and needs to have more plays than just dump offs to Chris Thompson.

Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals: He’s taken over the lead back role for the injured David Johnson, but it hasn’t translated to many fantasy points. Andre Ellington seemed to have a little more spark in Monday’s loss to the Cowboys. I’m not expecting Johnson to be that effective against the 49ers.

Most Raiders*: Derek Carr has a tough time in divisional games. He’ll be on the road facing the Broncos this week and looked bad against the Redskins. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t looked great this season, but he’s been OK. You should probably find another option this week, though, as the Broncos haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown this year. They’re also holding opponents to less than 60 yards rushing per game. Michael Crabtree is ailing with a chest injury, and I wasn’t high on starting him even before that with this matchup.

*-Jared Cook may be the only reliable start against the Broncos. Jason Witten had a huge game against that tough defense. Where you drafted Amari Cooper, you almost have to start him if you haven’t hit the jackpot on waiver pickups.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) is stopped by Washington Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith (94) during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Andrew Luck almost started practicing this week, but he’s out again. I’d let Hilton sit the matchup against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins: It’s to the point where you have to let him sit until he show’s something, anything, in a game. It’s not likely he does that in Kansas City.

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers: He’s had two scoreless weeks in this young season. Don’t start him until he shows any kind of consistency.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.