Start or Sit These Players on Monday Night to Win Week 1 Fantasy
The first Monday Night Football game of the season pits the Baltimore Ravens against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Week 1 is just the beginning. Fantasy Football is a four month journey, that hopefully concludes in a Fantasy Championship. I will be with you every step of the way, with recommendations on who to start and who to sit for every Monday Night matchup.
With out further ado, let’s make the moves required to wrap up your week one victory.
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders – Sit
Derek Carr is a better QB than I believe he gets credit for. Carr had one of the best seasons of his career in 2020, throwing for over 4100 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions.
A lot has changed in Las Vegas since last season, and it mostly changed for the worst. Nelson Agholor who meshed well with Carr, has left via free agency, and the Raiders completely rebuilt their offensive line making it worse in the process.
The good news is Darren Waller remains and the addition of Kenyan Drake will help as well. There will be plenty of weeks that you should start Derek Carr, week one however isn’t one of them.
The Baltimore Ravens were third best in the league a year ago versus the opposing team QB. They gave up on 16.7 points per game to the position. Entering 2021, The Ravens’ defense is stacked. The secondary is among the NFL’s best, and the D-line is the same one that stuffed Derrick Henry in the playoffs. The pass rush might be the weakness of this defense, but in this one versus the Raiders make shift O-line it will be just fine. Sit Derek Carr on Monday night.
Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens – Start
Telling you to start Lamar Jackson seem silly, if you roster Lamar, you are starting him period, regardless of matchup.
This offseason the Ravens focused on adding pass catching weapons for Lamar. They attempted to sign Kenny Golladay, and Juju Smith-Shuster, and landed Sammy Watkins. They drafted Rashod Bateman, and Tylan Wallace. The additions are beat up for the most part, Sammy Watkins has missed time, Bateman is on IR and Marquise Brown is dealing with a soft tissue injury.
Despite the depleted WR core, Lamar still possess to give you starting level fantasy QB play with his legs alone. Initially this offseason I felt as though Lamar would run less often in 2021. The season ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill has changed my mind. Lamar is my QB2 this week start him with absolute confidence.
2. Running Back
Josh Jacobs / Kenyan Drake – Las Vegas Raiders Sit
Josh Jacobs ADP took a beating this offseason, and if you added him to you fnatasy roster in drafts this season, I believe you got yourself a nice back at a great value.
Kenyan Drake arrives via free agency after an up and down season in Arizona a year ago.
Their O-line is weak, and these two backs are certain to share the workload in the Vegas backfield. I anticipate Jacobs to be used more in the run game, and Drake to be used more in the passing game. When they enter the red zone, I have no clue how they will be used.
The Ravens run defense is legit, limiting opposing teams RBs to to a combined 20.7 points per game last season. As noted above the Raiders O-Line is a work in progress to be polite. Sit both these backs in week one and if you are forced to pick between the two, pick Drake. The Raiders should be trailing in this one and a negative game script gives Drake a boost.
The Raiders were fourth worst against the run in 2020, allowing over 1700 yards and 18 touchdowns to the position. In addition they yielded 28.6 fantasy points a game to the opposition running backs. Start Gus in this one without question.
Ty’Son Williams – Baltimore Ravens – Start
There are times that opportunity trumps talent in Fantasy Football, and that is exactly the situation is for Ty’Son Williams. Williams is an UDFA RB out of BYU. You may not have heard about him before this week, but playing on Monday Night as the No.1 RB for the Baltimore Ravens, that is going to change.
Williams is the main benefactor of the J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards injuries. Williams was set to assume the “2020 Gus Edwards” role in this offense, prior to Edwards going down in practice. Originally I had Williams as a sit this week, but that was prior to both Edwards and Justice Hill being injured.
The Ravens led the league in rushing attempts in 2020 with 555. Williams as of now is the lead back on the leagues most run heavy team. Monday night is a great opportunity for Ty’Son to grab a hold of this job. Last season the Raiders were the 4th worst team in the league against opposing running backs. Las Vegas gave up 1,701 yards and 18 touchdowns to the position, and yielded on average 28.6 PPR points to the RB.
With Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman signed off the scrap heap along with special teams depth Trenton Cannon the Ravens are a mess in the running back room. Believe it or not the best back is likely Williams and all he has to do is go out an prove it in a plus matchup.
3. Wide Receiver
Henry Ruggs III – Las Vegas Raiders – Sit
Second-year receivers tend to be popular breakout candidates, but Henry Ruggs doesn’t quite have the same appeal as others from his 2020 class. A disappointing rookie year saw Ruggs get just 43 targets in 13 games, catching 60.5% of them for numbers that don’t reflect well on the former first-round pick.
35% of his entire target share came on deep throws, where he caught 5 of 15 such passes. In this one, I don’t expect Derek Carr to attempt many passes over 20 yards, and htat limits Ruggs’ ceiling.
I like Ruggs in 2021 to vastly improve on his 2020 numbers, in this one however he is an easy sit for me.
Bryan Edwards – Las Vegas Raiders – Sit
Of all the members of the RotoHeat team, I am the lowest on Bryan Edwards. I was the lowest when he entered the league last season and I am the lowest as he enters his sophomore season.
The news out of Raiders camp all throughout the offseason programs and into training camp, seems to indicate that he will take the next step in 2021. I don’t doubt that as he has very little to do to improve on his rookie season.
In addition to being a good fantasy defense against the QB and RB, the Ravens also showed well versus the opposing WR last season, finishing 4th best. Edwards should see some targets in the slot as I anticipate that Carr will need to get the ball out quickly. I don’t see it being enough for Edwards to be worthy of a start. At best he is a desperation flex play and you pray he scores.
Sammy Watkins – Baltimore Ravens – Start
It’s been an minute since Sammy Watkins has been a fantasy WR that you can trust. In 2018 he averaged 11.1 PPR points per game in 2018. Other than that you’d have to go back to 2015, when he put up 16.3 PPR points per game on average.
Watkins will catch passes from Lamar Jackson in the Ravens’ run-heavy offense this season. Lamar Jackson hasn’t produced an 800-plus yards in his short career. At the same time, Watkins hasn’t gone over 700 yards since 2015.
All that said, Sammy gets the start in this one for me. The past two seasons in week one, Watkins has delivered. In 2019 he posted 46.8 PPR points and finished as WR1, and in 2020 he posted 21.5 points and finished as WR10. I know this is silly, but I am rolling with it.
Marquise Brown – Baltimore Ravens – Sit
Marquise Brown is a boom-or-bust No. 3 wide receiver. Brown has only topped 50 receiving yards in nine of 30 regular season games he’s played. That being said, he’s still just 24 years old and he’s entering his third year in the league, so there’s plenty of time for a breakout.
I am not betting on his breakout coming anytime soon however. Marquise still has his issue with his hamstring and I doubt he is going to be 100% at any point in the 2021 season. The Ravens won’t need him this week against the Raiders and he is an easy sit for me.
4. Tight End
Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders – Start
Death, taxes, and starting Darren Waller. The keys to Waller’s success have included staying healthy, seeing a steady diet of targets (7.3 per game in 2019, 9.1 in 2020). What is interesting is the amount of time that Waller missed this offseason with a mysterious ankle injury. He appears to be good to go reagdless.
Waller has scored at least 10 PPR points in 22 of his past 32 games and at least 15 PPR points in 10 of his past 16. It doesn’t get much better than this at the TE position. Waller is Carr’s top target regardless of opponent, and this one versus Baltimore its a near certainty.
Baltimore as noted has a solid defense, they allowed 11.1 points per game to the TE a season ago, 21st in the league. Regardless of opponent, if Darren Waller is on your roster you are starting him, end of discussion.
Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens – Start
Mark Andrews took a small step back in 2019, but he should still be considered as a top-five tight end and started weekly.
Despite missing two weeks on the COVID-19 list, Andrews tied Marquise Brown for the team lead in receptions and was the only Raven besides Brown with more than 50 targets. Andrews is also very efficient with his targets. His 8.9 yards per target ranks fifth amongst tight ends since he entered the league and his 8.5% touchdown rate trails only Jared Cook.
Las Vegas yielded 12.9 points per game to the TE position a season ago, finishing 15th in the league. This is a beatable matchup for Andrews in a game that he should lead the Ravens in targets. Easy start here.
Thank you for reading Start or Sit These Players on Monday Night to Win Week 1 Fantasy
For all your start/sit questions be sure to reach out to me on Twitter @RotoHeatSully.
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